Hiring an Online Assistant
Hiring an online assistant is a smart move for business owners everywhere. Not only can they transfer tedious administrative tasks to a skilled professional, but they also make room for themselves to innovate for the business.
There are several ways outsourcing makes your life easier. For instance, when outsourcing work to an online assistant, you don’t need to provide office space, hardware or supplies because they work at home. Temp agencies, on the other hand, don’t always send the right person for the job and most of the time, and on top of that, temp agency contractors usually need to be paid for a minimum amount of hours whereas an online assistant is only paid for the time she spends working.
A business can frequently use the services of the same person, whereas this is almost impossible with temps. An online assistant is an independent contractor thereby eliminating administration on the client’s behalf in terms of payroll, superannuation, sick leave, etc.
Online assistants are not paid for spending time on personal phone calls, coffee breaks, surfing the net, or doing other things irrelevant to her tasks. These assistants are home based employees offering an ample administrative support to businesses of all sizes. With today’s technology, we don’t have to be on a business premise, we can perform all our work in our home offices.
So, many entrepreneurs are outsourcing online assistants to accomplish most of their administrative tasks in maintaining the smooth operation of their businesses with less worries and minimal expenditures. A client does not have to pay rent for an office space or spend hundreds of dollars for equipment; neither has to pay taxes nor leave credits, none of those usual costs associated with having on-site employees. These entrepreneurs can immensely reduce their costs by just paying an online assistant her hourly rate for work performed.
So many online assistants have pronounced that their workload dramatically increased in the recent few months. This is truly a recession-proof business, where in contrast to their temp agency counterparts who are gradually losing their jobs and their tasks are being delegated to the individual contractors offshore.
These days, a lot of people surf the net looking for online assistant employment giving opportunity for more businesses to choose from a wide pool of talents. Well the word ’employment’ is confusing as you are gainfully employed working as an online assistant, but you are not an in house staff; online assistants are self-employed, independent contractors.
There are specific skills depending on your niche service, i.e.: data entry, secretarial, bookkeeping, website design, etc. But generally, a minimum of five years ‘bricks and mortar’ office experience behind you, be computer savvy, able to work unsupervised and independently, are self-reliant, motivated, have outstanding grammar, spelling, language and communication skills are must haves to be an in demand online assistant. The former is also known as a Social Secretary, Family Assistant, or Executive Assistant.
Online assistants work closely with the client then coordinate with the various outside elements. Most of the time, they deal with administrative and secretarial tasks like answering the phone, making appointments, organizing schedules, producing presentations, doing background research, organizing meetings, arranging travel accommodation, event planning, gift shopping, filing paperwork, and making decisions in the absence of the client. They may sometimes be asked to do other duties. This may involve handling accounts and budgets, carrying out a specific project, and taking on some of the client’s load.
They love a challenge, so if your requirements aren’t listed here, ask them. They will also offer that extra technical help a client may need to get going – something that not all temp agency contractors can provide. They can even get your phone list updated, enter all information needed; afterwards assist you on how to best utilize the system.
They can update your social networking sites to market your business. They adore technology and can translate tech-speak. They are clever enough to think ahead and anticipate what a client needs. The very purpose of employing an assistant is to have assurance that a part of the business is being managed smoothly. And hiring an online assistant who will handle this seems quite a logical one solution considering the above-mentioned skills and services she can offer.
5 Telltale Signs Of An Unreliable Online Assistant
Finally got yourself an online assistant? Good for you! But hey, buddy. Evaluate first that online assistant because you don’t want someone who will be a burden.
Of course, you have all the right to complain about a bad online assistant, but an unreliable one is an entirely different story. That’s just plain unfair for you, right?
And the list for the unreliable goes like this:
- Nothing But Excuses
Excuses, excuses – some cases are understandable, but if these are all that come out of your VA’s mouth (or chatbox), it indicates minimum productivity and can get pretty frustrating! A lot of managers are already sick of this cliché, and we wouldn’t blame you if you were too.
In a non-virtual corporate set-up, employees can make thousands of excuses in order to get away with not working to their full potential. But who will believe in clearly fabricated, crazy and wild excuses like a-bird-pooped-on-my-head-on-the-way-to-office that happens at least thrice a week? You can roll your eyes answering, ‘Really? The bird hates you that much?’ You can give them the benefit of the doubt, but in the end it’s really about whether they’re able to do what they’re being paid to do or not.
If employees who see their bosses on a frequent basis are capable of making up excuses, it’s possible for your online assistant to do the same thing. It’s usually easier to just whip up an excuse out of thin air than to exert the effort to finish a task. Watch out for invalid excuses early on, and whether they’re able to recuperate or not. It might be an indication of flakiness in the future.
- Missing In Action
She says she will submit the report on Monday, but fails to do so. She assures you the report on Tuesday, but still, no sign of report on that day. She, then, promises to make it on Wednesday, but to no avail. Before you know it, the week’s over and her task is still on piles – untouched.
Encountered an online assistant like this? Give up on her asap
- Too Dependent
If your assistant keeps on bugging you about simple things that can and should be done without you having to micromanage, such as what to include in that proposal you asked him or her to do for the zillionth time, it’s a sign from the heaven that you should fire her now. You do not need an online assistant whose work life heavily depends on you like asking you specifically what to say in e-mail. Yes, you may give a general instruction, but she or he should be able to pen it without your help.
Online assistants are – guess it – assistants. It means they should know how to make their own decisions which they perceive as helpful to you and your company. They assist you. Thus, they do not need to constantly bother you about the tasks they can do on their own, especially if instructions are concise and clear enough, and they have been doing those tasks a number of times already.
- Unable To Improve
You gave your assistant a really good constructive criticism about the way he or she did that marketing plan, but manages to commit the very same mistake again no matter how often you tell her how to improve. A person who is good at his or her job is always seeking ways to improve, most especially in the areas they are told to do so. If your virtual assistant refuses any constructive criticism and does not take the initiative to grow, you’ll need to rethink why you hired this person in the first place.
- Communication Barriers – Lots Of It!
Looking for the secret recipe for teamwork? It’s assuring first that you and your assistant are on the same page, looking at the same big picture. Communication is a key factor for a smooth corporate relationship between you and your assistant. If your virtual assistant is unable to understand your vision, or understands but is not in favor of it, then you two have no reason to work together.
If you’re the boss and find these traits in your assistant, it’s time to move on. On the other hand, if you are an online assistant and find yourself in the list below, it’s time to send yourself to employee repair. You clearly need to review your work ethics and go back to basics, so school is another good option for you. Trust us, it’s for your own good.