Editors Note: Dianne McDonald has been working with ConnectUs
on our Network to Get Work events. We first met at a Chamber
of Commerce event and began to build a rapport, the information
and resources Dianne can provide for us has proved invaluable
– we recommend that everyone consider a virtual assistant
when it comes to filling many of those special needs.
In the business world today, a term you may be hearing frequently
is “Virtual Assistant”. Just what is a Virtual Assistant?
Virtual Assistants or (VAs) are entrepreneurs and independent
contractors who are highly-skilled administrative professionals
providing business support assistance off-site from their own
fully-equipped offices, to clients located virtually anywhere
in the world.
With the introduction of the internet, corporate downsizing,
and more people venturing into small business ownership, the
VA industry is expanding rapidly. There are already hundreds
of VAs in business worldwide, communicating with clients via
email, phone, fax etc. Geography does not limit their client
base because they work in a completely virtual environment.
Time zones work wonderfully to their advantage as they can have
a client on the other side of the world sending them work midday
EST time – which is the end of the day their time - and
when the client arrives at work the next morning, the task is
completed, emailed back and waiting for them!
A VA’s objective is to build strong, mutual business
relationships with a handful of clients, partnering with them
towards a common goal – the success of their clients’
businesses. ‘Partnering’ means - getting to know
and understand their clients, and their clients’ businesses,
so they can more effectively assist them in achieving the highest
level of success possible in their businesses.
What are the benefits to clients working with a VA?
By outsourcing non-productive, time-consuming tasks clients
|More time and less stress to achieve their
|More focus to increase their earning power
|Improved productivity and efficiency
|Consistent, flexible business support without the commitment
& expense of hiring an employee
|The option of choosing the number of hours per month they
would like their VA to set aside to work for them
|To pay only for time actually spent on their projects
Who should consider working with a VA?
overworked, stressed professionals
who need to delegate unproductive tasks to concentrate
on more important issues
|home-based entrepreneurs who prefer not to hire an employee
due to the commitment & expense or lack of sufficient
workspace to accommodate an extra person in their home office
|executives who have left the corporate world to become
professional consultants and require the same executive
assistance they have been accustomed to
|businesses who prefer to outsource a sensitive project
to an outside confidential third party such as a:
• restructuring or relocation of the
• impending layoff plans & procedures
• confidential board meeting presentations & documentation
In these cases, a VA is invaluable as a highly-confidential
professional resource to assist upper management to assist with
successful completion of their plans.
Some bosses may worry that their full-time assistant will feel
threatened if they contract a VA. No necessarily so. Contracting
a VA as an assistant to their assistant will make them feel
very special, especially when they realize they will have someone
working for them who they can pass on all the tasks they don’t
have time for and don’t really like doing anyway! They
will thank and appreciate their boss for recognizing that they
could use this extra assistance. This also lends them the opportunity
to strengthen their project management skills when planning
and outsourcing tasks to a VA and ensuring everything is completed
on time. And all the while - lightening their own workload!
What assistant wouldn’t be happy with this arrangement!!
In the case of a special project and the full-time assistant
lacks the skills to complete it, a VA can quickly finish the
special project and then train the assistant how to complete
the next special project that comes along. It’s a win-win
situation. And trust me - you will be a hero!!
Now some may say… “I already have a qualified assistant.
I really don’t need a VA too.” Think of the times
when your assistant has been overloaded, off sick, on vacation
or on maternity leave? You find yourself scrambling to find
a temporary replacement who must be quickly trained to take
their place. If you & your assistant have been outsourcing
projects to a VA all along, the VA will already be familiar
with your business and will be prepared to step in and bridge
the gap until your assistant returns.
Ideal Clients for a VA
Business coaches, professional speakers, authors, writers, executive
consultants, marketing specialists, etc. etc.
What services are offered by a VA?
This varies with each VA. Some specialize in only one or two
areas; usually tasks they enjoy doing the most and have great
expertise in such as Website design. Other VAs, who were formerly
Corporate Executive Assistants for many years, are qualified
to offer a wide range of services and expertise. An example
of tasks they may offer would be:
• Database creation and management
• PowerPoint presentations
• Word Processing / Editing / Proofreading
• Desktop publishing
• Event Planning (Meetings/Seminars/Receptions)
• Office Organization
• Tradeshows – booth setup, invitations, responses,
• Spreadsheets creation and management
• Association management
• Concierge services (cars, hotels, travel, restaurants,
If you are still trying to justify whether working
with a VA is for you think of this…
Everyone in business has many, many tasks that must be taken
care of. The bottom line is… if you are trying to look
after everything yourself, you are working much too hard for
too little reward. It makes far more sense to outsource as many
tasks as you can so you can spend your valuable time on more
productive and important issues such as generating more income.
If your assistant is constantly overloaded, levels of productivity
and efficiency are suffering. Make a list of all the tasks you
need to accomplish each day and if you have an assistant, have
them also make a list of their tasks. As you read through both
of these lists, you may be surprised just how many tasks are
unproductive, time-consuming and really could be outsourced
to a VA.
Now you have an overview of Virtual Assistance and why it is
rapidly becoming the way of the future. More and more professionals
are discovering the powerful, positive impact that a VA has
on their business and they are quickly spreading the word to
their colleagues. There are now hundreds of VA’s in business
worldwide and this number continues to grow.
Forward-thinking professionals embrace the concept of virtual
assistance and recognize that the support of their VA plus the
benefits derived from their efforts, are the perfect solution
for their business!
An interesting quote from a leading professional in this field
“By the year 2005 the question won’t be…
WHAT is a VA, but WHO is your VA”?
If you would like more information about Virtual Assistants,
please contact: Dianne McDonald Virtual Business Resources Inc.email@example.com
519 880 8200 www.vbri.ca