Know What to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant

Know What to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant

Choosing to outsource to a Virtual Assistant is only the beginning, the next step is to figure out the tasks you will be outsourcing. This informative guide will help you formulate a process to curate the tasks you should outsource irrespective of your specific project requirements.

By Daya Mukherjee

Daya is the Head of Content at VirtualEmployee and holds international certifications in Copywriting, University degrees in Journalism and English. An ex-journalist with over two decades of experience with leading national dailies like the Times of India and Hindustan Times, Daya also been teaching English online to American college and University students with an award-winning US organization.

Need to Know

Are you looking to hire a virtual assistant? Too many options in front of you, but nothing fits perfectly. Or, worse! You don’t even know where to begin. Don’t let the initial confusion stop you from hiring a VA who has the potential to become the reason for your business success in the future.

In this age of remote working, virtual assistants have become a common theme in the business world. There are people who completely put their faith in their VAs and reap the rewards. Once they taste success, they are unable to stop themselves from recruiting new ones. But there are many others who desperately want to hire someone, but they simply can’t because – they have never hired one before.

They just simply can’t get the monkey off their back and keep on procrastinating. If you identify with the situation, we have the perfect system to help you make up your mind.

The Perfect System to Find the Virtual Assistant You Need

First of all, you need to find an outsourcing company that you can trust. After you figure out the company from which you can recruit your virtual assistants, you need to select people that are right for the job. However, a company outsourcing its business can invariably not outsource all its functions in one go. It has to move step by step and start outsourcing functions intelligently. So, it is crucial to test the waters before you dive into the deep end.

Our Virtual Employee team understands the predicament of outsourcing companies. We do see clients coming to us with a puzzle in their head that they so desperately want to solve – who to hire and who to hire first? Everyone knows they want someone, but very few are sure about the exact positions they want to fill.

Seeing that this topic causes our prospective clients so much confusion, we have designed a simple process to align their priorities so that they can choose the appropriate VAs.

Our system comprises three steps to make the recruitment of virtual assistants simple:

  • Jot Down Everything
  • Categorize Tasks
  • Find the Best Talent for Specific Tasks

Jot Down Everything

Detailed documentation is crucial for understanding your own mind. When you write in detail, you elaborately define exactly what you want from your Virtual Assistant (VA). Make a habit of jotting down requirements every day. Give the writing process at least a week. Taking your time, and being as detailed as you can be will eliminate the risk of missing out on any vital point. Also, ensure that you keep future tasks in mind while creating the list. For instance, if you have a job that will require more attention in the future, always mention that. Remember, when you have virtual assistants working for you, there is a good chance that you will be able to scale up your business. As a result, the number of tasks you perform will increase with time. 

Categorize Tasks

When you are sure that you have added every task in the list, it is time for categorization. Although categorization for every business might not be the same in every scenario, we can broadly classify functions in 4 different categories as mentioned below:

  • Tasks I don’t know how to do
  • Tasks I absolutely dislike doing
  • Tasks I simply can’t find time to do
  • Tasks that only I can do

Once you clearly define these four categories, it is time to revisit them with a clear mindset. Ask yourself (from the bottom of your heart) if what you think at first is what you ‘really’ think. So, ask yourself the questions below to reaffirm your initial categorization:

  • Do I really need to know how to do the tasks that I currently don’t know how to do?
  • Can I learn to love the tasks that I don’t like currently?
  • Can I find some time to accomplish the tasks for which I don’t have time?
  • Can I hire someone else to do the tasks that I believe only I can do?

Questioning yourself repeatedly is very important as it gives you clarity. Look at things from a broader perspective before coming to a conclusion. As this activity is very important, don’t worry if you are spending extra time contemplating these tasks. 

Look at real-life situations to gain a crystal-clear perspective of what needs to be done. For instance, if you have a business process of sending weekly newsletters to your customers, try to figure out if a professional writer can do that for you. Or, if you spend a large part of your work schedule on managing your Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns, visualize someone else doing it under your guidance. Think: Will it work if I can train someone? 

The answers to the questions mentioned above will provide you with critical insights on what to outsource. Ultimately, correct categorization will help you decide where to use your energy and where to use VA’s.

Find the Best Talent for Specific Tasks

A first-time outsourcer primarily outsources to lower the cost of operation. But experienced outsourcers outsource to access specific skills. Contrary to common belief, outsourcing is more about ‘quality’ than cost-cutting. The reason – you have the freedom to pick and choose talents that have attained the desired level of expertise in their work. 

The freedom to interview VAs provides you the opportunity to dive into the psyche of your prospective employee. If you know what you want and have a pool of talented professionals to choose from, the likelihood of finding the right employees in a specific field increases considerably. It’s no rocket science, just simple math. However, it is next to impossible to have such options when you are plying your trade in a developed country such as the US. The sheer cost of talent prevents you from finding ‘geniuses’. 

Outsourcing to Virtual Employee opens the door to a huge pool of talents. You can recruit experienced employees who love their job (an essential concoction of attributes required to reach a genius level in any given task). As a by-product of this exercise, you receive the benefit of picking and choosing the task that you excel at yourself. The result – every position has the best talent.

Move from Working’ IN’ the Business to Working ‘ON’ the Business

Hiring Virtual Assistants in the right roles allows you to free up time from working ‘in’ your business and invest that time ‘on’ the business. By ‘on’ the business, we mean that you are able to strategize and take the business in the direction you want.

‘In’ business tasks like general clerical work can be allocated to VAs. You can continue working on the tasks you are good at and let the VAs handle monotonous and repetitive tasks. By handing over low-priority assignments one-by-one, you will be able to create a significant transition in your workflow.

Although most entrepreneurs understand the importance of VAs, very few actually take the plunge into the outsourcing world. Just like any other venture, the fear of the unknown stops them from putting their plans into action. As a result, many promising business endeavors fail to come to fruition because entrepreneurs aren’t able to work on their ambitious business plans. 

Many entrepreneurs have excelled at their work because they have figured out the tasks that are better left to VAs. So, let’s have a look at them in the next section.

What to Do Section

6 Tasks You Can Outsource to VAs for Best Results

Clerical/Administrative Tasks

General business tasks consume a significant portion of an entrepreneur’s time. Many entrepreneurs don’t even realize it and often keep on wondering how their competitors are doing so much more than what they are doing. Mostly, clerical/administrative tasks fall under the umbrella of general tasks. Let’s have a look at a few of them:

  • Appointment Management: Managing appointment is a cumbersome task. Taking calls and scheduling appointments can be easily offloaded to virtual assistants who can help you save a significant amount of time.
  • Email Management: Emails are the primary mode of communication for many entrepreneurs. Managing emails can be a chore if you handle them yourself. But when you find a dedicated VA with adequate experience, your email management improves drastically. Not only are you able to respond to every customer on time, but you also get a perfectly managed mailbox with relevant emails only. As VAs perform email management day-in and day-out, they are able to look at finer details for added convenience, e.g., they would manage spam mails so that your mailbox is uncluttered. 
  • Miscellaneous Tasks: Apart from appointment and email management, there are many other miscellaneous tasks that can derail your schedule. For instance, something as small as preparing a questionnaire or drafting a PPT can take several hours to complete. But with a VA by your side, you need not worry much about these tasks. 

Digital Marketing

The scope of digital marketing makes it the most appropriate task for outsourcing. Even if you are a digital marketing expert, you would still have to spend long hours getting the job done. But with specialized virtual assistants, you need not worry. 

Digital marketers perform over 100 different tasks on a day-to-day basis. The list can seem endless and mind-numbing, from technical SEO to sprucing up your social media profile. 

On the contrary, you can get the best talent for every role when you decide to outsource. Let’s have a look at certain digital media functions that you should outsource:

  • Social Media: Updating Facebook Pages, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Writing a social media corporate policy, monitoring competitors’ social media updates, developing social media marketing plans, and much more.
  • Website Management: Fixing broken links on the company website, installing tracking codes on the company website, checking website speed on mobile and PC, etc.
  • Search Engine Optimization: Finding appropriate keywords for the website, managing relationships with the major search engines, reviewing website backlinks, and a lot more.
  • Video Creation: The VA can also create videos for YouTube marketing. Videos have better impact and reach than textual content.

Apart from the tasks mentioned above, you need specialists for Google analytics, pay-per-click campaign management, sales, email marketing, and brand management. 

Nowadays, no brand can survive without a solid online image. Even if you are doing well today, you need constant improvements in your digital media strategy to stay relevant. As digital marketing VAs can be recruited for different roles, you have the added advantage of picking talent based on your current requirements. For instance, if you want to focus on website core vitals instead of social media, you can simply replace the VA with a new one at short notice. 

Customer Support

Every company needs customer support to stay in the good books of its customers. But unfortunately, smaller business operations don’t always have the finances to support a customer support department. In many cases, a lack of a customer support department prevents companies from competing with big companies. 

But it is now possible for SMBs and even solopreneurs to provide the best support to their customers by executing a customer support strategy. By recruiting virtual assistants, you can:

  • Run a Live Chat support
  • Conduct customer surveys
  • Provide real-time customer service, even during graveyard hours (by outsourcing to a company in a different time zone)
  • Respond to customer inquiries
  • Transcription and Data Entry

Transcription and data entry tasks are extremely monotonous. However, they are still important and need to be performed. Finding people who are dedicated to these tasks can be a challenge, especially at an affordable price point. 

Virtual Assistants are ideal for transcription and data entry as they are well-drilled in their responsibilities and take their job very seriously. If you are currently struggling to get these tasks done in-house, you should not think twice before outsourcing them. But make sure that you choose a trustworthy organization as you will be handing over business-critical functions to a third party.

Graphics and Video Editing

With platforms like YouTube and Instagram becoming instrumental in the success of businesses, graphics and video editing tasks are rising in number. Although you can perform these tasks in-house, the sheer effort and resources you need to use will be immense. Moreover, it is hard to find people who specifically excel at these tasks. 

On the contrary, it is easy to find VAs who perform these tasks day in and day out. By hiring VAs, you will get higher productivity and excellent quality. The creation of tutorials, webinars, and podcasts will be a cakewalk as the professionals you hire will have the following skills:

  • Fundamental video editing, including music editing, graphics editing, etc.
  • Recording and editing podcasts
  • Removing noise from audio and video recordings

Content Management and Content Writing

Content is the life and blood of a website. As most businesses are done online, you need excellent content on your web platform to woo your audience. Moreover, experienced content writers help you come up with:

  • Content for specific demographics
  • Informative and concise content
  • Keywords optimized content for the search engine 

The responsibilities of dedicated content writing VAs also extend to: 

  • Write and publish blog articles 
  • Writing guest blogs 
  • Developing landing pages
  • Coming up with excellent press releases and newsletters
  • Developing promotional material like white papers, infographics, and eBooks
  • Writing reviews and responding to blog comments

Accounting Tasks

  • Reconciling basic bank records
  • Creating clients’ invoices
  • Managing basic payroll
  • Basic Bookkeeping

Key Points

  • Due to innovations in IT technologies, Virtual Assistants have become an essential part of modern-day business operations.
  • Virtual Assistants provide the perfect balance of cost and quality as they can be hired on an hourly basis.
  • Despite VA recruitment advantages, it is hard for entrepreneurs to figure out the type of personnel they would need to recruit to get their work done. 
  • Writing down your work requirements in detail, categorizing them, and then selecting VAs based on your criteria is the best way to hire VAs.
  • It is possible to find genius-level VAs in specific roles as you choose from a vast pool of talent, which is otherwise very challenging when hiring full-time employees. 
  • Some of the most critical VA roles are – administration, digital marketing, content writing, graphics and video editing, customer support, transcription, and data entry.
Concluding Thoughts

In recent times, the business world has woken up to the fantastic advantages Virtual Assistants provide in terms of quality work and cost-effectiveness. However, despite knowing about these advantages, first-time outsourcers might be unable to make up their mind because of a lack of knowledge. Therefore, we have created this guide with the intent of helping you streamline your thoughts and figure out the best course of action to hire VAs. 

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