What is Outsourcing?
Outsourcing is to contract (work) out. It is becoming popular these days and businesses are seeing the benefit of outsourcing tasks in their day-to-day operations.
Businesses and small businesses are becoming more and more specialised in their own areas and specialties. We’ve seen an increase in outsourcing some activities, such as catering and administrative services. This means that menial tasks and tasks that you aren’t necessarily good at or have time for can still be performed to a high standard.
So, how exactly can an outsourced Administrative Assistant (or VA) help your business? Let’s use an example from the dog industry, which I am dearly passionate about:
You’re a small business owner operating your own Dog Grooming business. Your area of specialty is bathing, drying and styling different breeds of dogs (to put it simply, we know how demanding and skilful a job grooming is). As a conscientious business owner, you want to spend your time effectively… working IN your business, not ON your business. What this means is that you want to spend your time grooming and tending to your fur clients… buuuut not so much the paperwork side of things.
What Exactly Can A Virtual Assistant (VA) Do?
A virtual administration assistant may help you with your general admin such as data entry, ordering stock, research, document creation, responding to your client’s enquiries, take bookings, scheduling your diary etc. There’s even a service for event management and travel bookings (think bookings for interstate seminars or competitions if you’re a groomer, for example).
You could also outsource your Social Media – a specialised VA can manage your socials for you (and some specialise in certain platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and/or twitter alone). They can help you respond to your followers, increase your followers, create content, schedule posts, create competitions, create and manage a content calendar. They can also engage with your followers and target audience pages; that is, liking and commenting on other pages and profiles for further interaction which, as a general rule, can lead to more followers and people following you back – engagement is key here!
There are of course other services a VA can do such as graphic design, website design, ad management, SEO and event management. Anything that can be done virtually can be done by a VA. And yes, we all have our own individual titles, not everyone falls under “hi, I’m a virtual assistant”. Some are more specialised and say “hi, I’m a graphic designer” or “hi, I’m an event manager”. So, you see, not one hat always fits all. Not one VA can do EVERYTHING.
And you know what? So many VA’s hire and work for other VA’s too! There are VA’s who specialise in subcontracting to other VA’s. Even a VA can’t do it all for themselves in their own businesses. But that’s ok too. It just goes to show how popular outsourcing has become and what an integral part of a business it can be.
What a VA should be
A lot of people hear Virtual Assistant and think of an overseas VA and how “cheap” they can get them for. Now, I’m in no way having a go at VA’s from overseas but you usually will get what you pay for. Why not support local? The expense of hiring a VA is deductible as a business expense anyway, so why not go that route? A lot of people prefer someone local, someone they can talk to at reasonable hours of the day, someone that they can relate to and has similar interests. Someone who knows our laws and culture!
Look for someone who has drive. Ask for their Professional Profile and if they offer you a phone call or a video call beforehand, you’re on a winner. You want to make sure you “click” with them because they will be playing a very important role in your business.
Remember, a VA is not an employee. They are a contractor. The benefits of hiring one are exponential! A VA can significantly reduce your workload and are much more cost-effective than hiring an employee… more on that in another post 😉
For now, though, I hope you’ve found this useful!