Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What is a Virtual Assistant?

What does a Chiropractor, a Spa, a holistic health consultant, and a hat shop owner have in common?   

Answer:  They use a Virtual Assistant
What is a Virtual Assistant?
Per Wikipedia - A Virtual Assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office.  Because virtual assistants are independent contractors rather than employees, clients are not responsible for any employee-related taxes, insurance or benefits, except in the context that those indirect expenses are included in the VA's fees.  Clients also avoid the logistical problem of providing extra office space, equipment or supplies.  Clients pay for 100% productive work, and can work with Virtual Assistants, individually, or in multi-VA firms to meet their exact needs.  Virtual Assistants usually work for other small businesses, but can also support busy executives.  It is estimated that there are as few as 5,000-10,000 or as many as 25,000 virtual assistants worldwide.  

Common modes of communication and data delivery include the Internet, e-mail, and phone-call conferences, online work spaces, and fax machine. Increasingly Virtual Assistants are utilizing technology such as Skype as well as Google Voice.  Professionals in this business work on a contractual basis and a long-lasting cooperation is standard.    

Virtual Assistants provide a wide range of products and services. The virtual industry has changed substantially as it attracts others new to the field.  Virtual Assistants come from a variety of business backgrounds, but most have several years experience earned in the "real" (non-virtual) business world.

Given the definition above, a Virtual Assistant can take on many tasks for a busy business person so that they can do what they do best.  For example, a Sales person and/or business owner who needs to be networking, prospecting, and making presentations, may not have the time, patience, inclination, skills, etc. to do consistent marketing.  This is the specialty of Painted Lady Enterprises, i.e. Relationship Marketing.  What is Relationship Marketing?  Relationship Marketing is building a relationship with a prospect and/or keeping in touch with a client over time, so that when they need products / services, or would like to make a referral, the business that is  ‘Top of Mind’ will be the one whom they have heard from on a consistent and regular basis.  The means of communication could be through social media, periodic newsletters, videos, email marketing, direct mail, etc. 
So for a struggling business person who trying to do it all themselves, they might want to consider looking into advantages of letting someone else do those tasks that seem to be overwhelming. 

Recently I attended a presentation on productivity, and the example was given from the book, The Four Day Work Week, on the 80/20 rule.  The example given was that businesses only spend 20 percent of their time doing what increases the bottom line, however they spend 80% of the time on all the other tasks pertaining to their business.  The recommendation is to hire those experts who can do that other 80%, thus giving back the time to concentrate on the bottom line.

There are many Virtual Assistants who specialize in many areas.  What is the 80% that you would like someone else to do for your business?  Your comments and feedback are welcomed and appreciated.

In appreciation,
Painted Lady Enterprises
"Helping You and Your Business Look Good"


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