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Saving $16,000 by Hiring a Virtual Assistant

There are millions of examples where Virtual Assistant  have saved businesses and ordinary people countless hours, energy and money. Unmeasurable success.

virtual-assistant

Two years ago on a trip to Australia I caught up with my cousin Andrew we spoke to him about Outsourcing. He was interested and had open ears so we had a great couple of hours of discussion about where and how to start. Soon after, Andrew began hiring. This a superb example I take great pleasure in sharing with you.

 

Here’s how my cousin saved $16,000 (AUD) by Hiring a Virtual Assistant:

Andrew started with a Virtual Assistant. Well, Andrew actually started with mine and Tim Ferris’s advice. But then he started by hiring a simple VA from Odesk.

 

Online Personal AssistantAt first, he made errors and wasted time; however, it wasn’t a complete waste as as he learnt from his mistakes. Andrew had his research (I hadn’t written these articles at that point) and started his Odesk advertisements smartly like he would in a newspaper. Lots of people replied. Too many he says, far too many. So he cancelled the job and re-posted with significantly more information. Like our VA Article. He proceeded with testing, interviewing, and hiring multiple VA’s for short periods of time keeping the best ones until he had just 2 good ones left. Andrew says, “What we need is the right people, not the right skills.”

“The personalities are most important to me. I can train them or even leave them to learn the required skills. But I can’t teach them to be motivated and diligent.”

 

Andrew learnt how to hire and manage his VAs effectively. With these VAs, he began using them to outsource more and more. Andrew and his VA together created guidelines, roles, responsibilities, and procedures which laid the path for effective Virtual Staff Management.

 

Nine months later Andrew had put on 18 full time Virtual Staff from the Philippines and India. Andrew is saving his company $16,000 AUD per month. And that was just nine months after starting. These figures are still rising.

 

Andrew has since been featured in the Australian Papers as an upcoming business success star. However, it is still not widely known that a large part of his business success comes from hiring Virtual Assistant. His competitors haven’t caught on yet and it remains one of his business secrets. For this reason, I keep all details of Andrew’s company confidential.

 

For a lot of people, hiring, delegating, and managing are totally new skill sets to discover and to master. Doing this online can make things both easier and harder. If you learn from your mistakes, it will get easier and easier. It’s when you don’t learn from you mistakes that you have a problem. So give it a go—make errors, learn, make system, and develop. Simply don’t let your lessons become too expensive.

virtual office assistant

The Different Roles of Commonly Employed Virtual Staff

The different roles of commonly employed virtual staff: Virtual Assistant, Website Manager, Content Writer, Ghostwriter  and Search Engine Optimizer

Seriously, I have made lots of mistakes with Outsourcing. Wasted countless hours trying to automate sometimes the most simplest tasks such as starting a contact list or sorting emails.

I have learned from the mistakes though. It is my pleasure to share my knowledge with you to help you gain more free time and a higher quality of life— the ultimate goal of Outsourcing.

 

Most recently I have used my Outsourced Team to present a collection of functional and usable information for you. This exact article is to explain the different roles of commonly employed virtual staff.

 

The Different Roles of Commonly Employed Virtual Staff: 

1.      VIRTUAL ASSISTANT (VA) – Provides administrative, secretarial, technical, or creative services to businesses externally. A good VA can save you a lot of time and energy. VA’s can also save you from hiring real staff. Imagine working at home with a VA taking care of the repetitiveVirtual Assistant | Outsourcing tasks. From orders, phone calls, sourcing, mailing lists, you name it. If your VA doesn’t have the skills, there is also the possibility of training them just like a real assistant, at a fraction of the cost.

 

TYPICAL TASK OF A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT:

  • Calendar Management / Schedule Online Marketing
  • Data Entry
  • Transcribing
  • Link Building
  • On and offline Research
  • E-mail Response / E-mail Sorting
  • Blog Postings / Article Writing
  • Initiating and maintaining Customer rapport
  • Updating / Record Management
  • Booking Transportation
  • Reserving tables and tickets to events

 

 

2.      WEBSITE MANAGER – The Website Manager will be responsible in developing the  organization’s online presence. A website manager can be used to develop and maintain various sites together. The Website Manager can work closely with other Virtual staff and can even manage other staff such as SEO, Content Writers, or required Technical Specialist.

I feel that one of the main benefits of a Website Manager  is that they can keep all of your site content up to date. Often we all see outdated information website contents, it doesn’t look good. For a small regular amount of money you can have a someone take care of this for you.

 

TYPICAL TASK OF A WEBSITE MANAGER:Website Manager

  • Sustain a constant awareness of all web properties
  • Build up and maintain all websites in a method that is pleasing to targeted viewers
  • Develop, sustain, and make certain reliability of discussion posts, such as blogs or forums
  • Responsible for crafting site promotions, email newsletters, and online outreach campaigns
  • Guarantee web-based information is archived for potential requests and indication
  • Create, widen and supervise content for organization’s web presence.
  • WordPress design and layout
  • Theme customization
  • Installing and managing plug-ins
  • Other WordPress site management tasks

 

 

3.      CONTENT WRITER – A Content Writer is an individual who specializes in providing relevant text based content for websites. A content writer can also help quickly expand your content or process excess sting material into fresh content. A good content writer can also quickly turn audio recordings and interviews into articles for you.

A Content Writer may help automate your business by having articles regularly written, sent to the Webpage Manager and submitted on your site.

 

TYPICAL TASK OF A CONTENT WRITER:Article Writing

 

  • Research, write and edit web and intranet content from scratch
  • Write web content based on material supplied by client or employer
  • Edit print documents for publication online
  • Edit web pages for on-screen readability
  • Proofread final draft of web pages
  • Test and edit forms for usability
  • Evaluate web sites for strategy, readability, legibility, find-ability, usability, interactivity and credibility

 

 

4.      GHOST WRITER – A writer who writes books, articles, stories, reports, or other texts that are officially credited to anotGhost Writerher person. Now, more than every everyday people writing extra ordinary books.

Writing and publishing has been made much easier with the rapid acceptance and use of Ebooks. If your writing, look at a how a ghost writer can help speed up your results.

 

TYPICAL TASK OF A GHOST WRITER:

  • Research topics
  • Write article or blog for the topic given in behalf of the client
  • Transcribe
  • Followed the writing style of the client

 

 

5.       SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZER (SEO) – SEO exist to draw more traffic to your site. If you have an online presence or at least a webpage. Why not consider using a SEO to boost your traffic.  As most internet users simply use Google or similar search engines, the SEO will take actions to make your site appear higher and higher in the search results. This will help by drawing more traffic to your site. However there is more to it than just that. For example, we don’t actually want traffic, we want customers. For this reason you will need your goals defined and to make a SEO plan with the Website Manager and SEO candidate.

 

TYPICAL TASK OF AN SEO:SEO

  • Perform keyword research in coordination with client business objectives to optimize existing content and uncover new opportunities
  • Provide SEO analysis and recommendations in coordination with elements and structure of websites and web pages
  • Provide recommendations and execute strategies for content development in coordination with SEO goals – general and keyword specific
  • Administer search engine programs (XML site-maps, shopping feeds, webmaster tools) for purposes of diagnostic reporting on client projects
  • Help to create and support marketing content to socialize and use for social media purposes (such as; customer videos briefs, customer case studies, blog posts, posts from analysts and customers)
  • Implement link building campaigns in coordination with client SEO goals
  • Research and administer social media tools in support of clients’ social media strategy

 

Note: I strongly advise, do not just hire and start a SEO guy. It can really cause damage to your site. It’s important to understand the basics of SEO first and make a plan with your Webpage Manager or VA to outline what the SEO can do.

 

 

As a westerner or someone focused on achieving goals, Virtual Staff can be a golden opportunity. I would most strongly recommend reading our following articles on Outsourcing and look at hiring your first VA soon.

 

 

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Procedure for Employing Virtual Staff: Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistant (VA):

A VA refers to an independent service provider, who provides administrative, secretarial, technical, or creative services to businesses externally. Since ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ use of VA’s has dramatically risen. Basically for the business or webpage owner, you source online assistants at a fraction of the rate those similar staff would cost you in your own city. In places such as America, Australia, England, Western Europe, and other highly developed countries the minimum Pay for a Receptionist for example could be $8-18USD. An Outsourced VA on the other hand range from $2-8USD depending on the level of skill and experience. Not only price, VA’s can actually do a massive variety of tasks and of course, can learn new tasks for you.a

VA’s are most commonly found in India and Philippines, however many more nationalities are available. Philippines being the most popular as they have high English skills and ethics. Philippines are already having well established outsourced IT and Call centre head quarters for many global companies. For many of them, being a VA makes an ideal home based business or work in a nearby shared office environment. Many VA’s are quiet entrepreneurial and able to help with much more than the simple expected tasks.

Indian VA’s are also highly regarded. From my personal experience many Indians are easier to understand language wise however many ‘Westeners’ do not like the ‘typical’ Indian accent. I have used a variety of Staff from India and Philippines and speak highly of both countries.

A VA should be the first person you hire if you’re new to Outsourcing. If you’re just thinking about it, why not give it a try. Allocate a few hours per week and see what can be achieved. We can also assist you if you’re really too busy but want to give it a shot.

 

Typical Task of a Virtual Assistant:

a)      Calendar Management / Schedule appointments.

b)      Online Marketing.

c)      Data Entry.

d)      Transcribing.

e)      Link Building.

f)       Online Research.

g)      E-mail Response / E-mail Sorting.

h)      Blog Postings / Article Writing.

i)        Initiating and maintaining Customer rapport.

j)        Updating / Record Management.

 

 

 

JOB ADVERTISEMENT SAMPLE

 

Virtual Assistant:

We are looking for a self-motivated individual with experience and skills in Virtual Assistant.

Applicant must have 2 years or more experience in VA or other related marketing strategy, able to write articles and blog posting, has knowledge in Online Marketing, Data Entry, Web Research and E-mail Response. Applicant must have the ability to meet project deadlines, exceptional English communication (both written and verbal) and organizational skill and has the ability to work quickly without sacrificing quality.

 

Requirements:

– Applicant must be willing to work for a Long term (6months +).

– Expected to work on a regular basis of (10-15 hours per week).

– Complete tasks within 48hours (preferably 24hours).

– Willing and ready to start ASAP.

– Able to communicate with us over Skype during standard business hours (AEST or London time). This is a must. We may give instructions verbally as it is quicker and more efficient. You can work at your own time provided you can complete tasks within our deadlines.

– Must provide sample of previous work.

– Prepared to undergo a 10-20minute Test.

– Successful applicants will then are required for a Skype interview.

 

Please ensure you include your Skype name, examples of your previous work, and any questions in your reply to this position. Thank you and have a great day.

PS. Who are we?

images3We are …… (2-4 sentences about your organization and its goals)

 

 

PROCESSING JOB APPLICANTS:

 

1. Eliminate Time wasters, focus on possible applicants:

a)      Ignore any applications that clearly do not fit our listed criteria.

b)      Any quotes outside our Minimum – Maximum Pay.

c)      If requested English level required is high-exceptional, no major errors acceptable.

d)      If requested English level required is medium, no more than 3 errors acceptable.

e)      Choose before hand, if using experienced staff or willing to try new members.

f)       Applications must show some evidence of being unique, showing that they actually read our advertisement, not simply copy pasting to every job position.

 

2. Asses remainder of applications based on our job description:

a)      Look for those fulfilling all requirements.

b)      Look for evidence of Pro-Active or other important behavioral qualities.

c)      Asses their personality. Staff needs to be focused on achieving tasks, making things happen and going the extra mile, rather than staff that will do the minimum. Staff that do only the minimum may still be capable, however not ideal.

 

3. Send 2-3 short questions to any suitable applicants:

a)      Availability, desired work hours (time and duration).

b)      Future Goals, aspirations.

c)      Experience, evidence of their experience.

d)      What makes this job attractive?

e)      Send more information on the position.

f)       Request they complete basic test if everything is suitable.

 

4. Send test for all continuing prospects:

a)      Hi, thank you for your application and time. In order for us both to save time would you mind completing a 10 minute test? It is for testing our ability to work together.

b)      Please also add the time it took, all the answers to our previous questions, along with your Skype and email address to the bottom of your test.

c)      We want to include this. Perhaps a 3 minute Audio file or picture saying, thank you for applying, please write out for us your top 3 goals for the next year, your first and last name, your email address and Skype name, and then we will be happy to talk on Skype. Simple, thank you and have a good day.

 

images45. All completed and returned Tests are now the job application:

a)      Looking at who has fulfilled task 100% with all details. Including their details.

b)      Who has made sense of the document?

c)      Who has presented it in a reasonable format with heading, bold, italics, etc?

d)      Thanks and apologies to those that is under skilled. Let them know why nicely.

 

6. Skype Interview:

a)      Before starting ask them to install, Ifreeskype recorder.

b)      General chat, understand their situation.

 

Here are 5 questions you NEED to ask during an interview with VA applicants:

1.      Why do you think you are perfect for this job? This helps you identify, the applicant’s skills that would benefit you or your company.

2.      What are your proudest achievements? This helps you identify the applicant’s priorities, or the things he/she considers important in life.

3.      What are your goals for the next 6 months? This helps you identify whether this VA has goals that is in line with yours.

4.      How would you describe yourself? This helps you understand the applicant’s attitude and how he views himself in general, and whether it fits the job and your personality altogether.

5.      Where did you work previously and what was your reason for leaving? Knowing the applicant’s work history tells a lot about themselves. It tells you if the applicant is most likely going to stay on longer, or move on to another new opportunity quickly.

 

c)      Thank them, any questions. If unsure, let them know we will get back to them in the next 10 days. (This way if we hire someone else, and it falls through we have this candidate still possibly available.)

d)      If applicant suitable, proceed straight away so that we can have them start their first task which also tests them further before we say no to possible applicants.

e)      Set out your first clear tasks for them straight. Have them reply with an email outlining what the task is, any questions they may have and how they are going to achieve them. Highlighting deadlines and priorities. Short deadlines.

 

7. On receipt of this email:

At the receipt of this email, it should be really clear if the staff understand the tasks given from the Skype interview. If this email is very off track or wrong there may be big problems ahead. Having staff confirm tasks in detail is vital in Outsourcing. Provided they understand your tasks set out in Skype or Email, you can now start the contract.

 

8. In the first week:

Start tasks clearly, and build up from there. It is possible that your Staff will understand everything and your intent clearly. However start small and build up. Also look at awarding a quick bonus to make up for excess time spent in the interview. Emphasize fair pay for fair work or your best work for the best bonus.

 

9. Longer term:

Look at other ways to keep staff motivated and happy. We have a few suggestions you can email us for them. Once you have spent a lot of time with your staff they become more valuable and harder to replace. Take care of them. They are real people with families, lives and dreams of their own too.