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Posts Tagged ‘virtual assistant’


Small Biz Resource Tip: BookFresh

December 16th, 2010 ::

BookFresh

Are you getting to the point in your business where you could use an assistant or receptionist to schedule and keep track of your appointments, but you don’t want to deal with the HR hassles? Salaries, benefits, worker’s comp…ugh! BookFresh is online appointment software for small and midsized businesses. You can book appointments online, get appointment reminders by e-mail or text messages to your phone, use an iPhone or Facebook app, sync calendars and even take payments if you’re scheduling customer service appointments. Plus, the booking system enables you to keep track of repeat customers’ preferences and needs. Prices range from free to $29.95 per month.

A VA’s Point of View: What Wanda Green Can Do For You

December 8th, 2010 ::

The tough part of bringing a virtual assistant into your organization is figuring out just what he or she can do to help you get more done. To make things more complicated, many VAs offer a wide variety of different services — you can just as easily find one who specializes in bookkeeping as one who works on social media projects. But a good VA can give you some guidance on what tasks he or she can handle.

Wanda Green is both a virtual assistant and a certified bookkeeper. In this interview, she offers a little insight into what she does.

Getting Started

When Green begins working with a new client, she starts with a
conversation with the client. It may be via e-mail or by phone, but
it’s extensive and helps to nail down exactly what the client needs
and how Green can help. For certain projects, such as tax
preparation, she needs to go beyond just a conversation: “Again, it
starts with a phone conversation, and then a questionnaire via e-mail
that the client must answer [and] usually an e-mail with a scanned copy
of last year’s tax return, payment [PayPal or Google checkout] and we
go from there.”

Green makes sure that the process is easy for a new client working
with her. The crucial point is making sure that both sides understand
what the virtual assistant can and is expected to accomplish. “There
is always a clear understanding of all that is to be accomplished with
the virtual working relationship,” says Green.

The Services Available

While the services that the average virtual assistant offers can vary
dramatically, Green has focused on some of the more standard services,
along with offering help with bookkeeping and tax preparation. Her
services include:

  • Telephone reception
  • Bookkeeping
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Tax preparation
  • E-mails (response and preparation)
  • Sales (inquiries and sales and adjustments and just general questions)
  • Whatever a company needs

Because Green keeps the process simple, her clients are pleased with
her work — driving home the point that a small business owner in
search of a VA needs to know just what sort of approach that virtual
assistant takes to work before setting an agreement in stone. If you
want a VA who touches base at each step of the project, that’s OK —
but there are also VAs who operate with little communication. Green
notes, “The business owner just needs to realize that there can be as
much communication, or as little, as needed. They are always pleased,
because they just did not realize how easy the process is. They do
have to trust and show a little faith.”

10 Inbound Marketing Strategy Tasks a VA Can Handle

April 16th, 2010 ::

The tasks that make up an inbound marketing strategy are known more for requiring constant attention than some of their outbound counterparts. With a trade show, for instance, you’ve got some prep work to do, but once the show is over you can relax. With a blog, though, you have to keep adding new content at the very least. Working with a virtual assistant who specializes in that sort of work can help you focus on running your business while still getting the benefits of those inbound marketing strategies. It’s just a matter of deciding what tasks to outsource to your VA.

  1. Writing blog posts: Depending on your VA, she may be willing to simply write the posts and other materials you need for your inbound marketing efforts. That can be one of most time-intensive parts of a strategy like blogging, freeing up your time significantly.
  2. Finding freelance writers: If you need more content than your VA is ready to put together, you can have her handle the process of finding more posts and articles.
  3. Managing social media profiles: Twitter, Facebook and all those other social networking sites can make a big difference in your ability to connect with potential customers. Setting up and maintaining those profiles is a job that a VA can take off your plate.
  4. Publishing posts and newsletters: Even if you’re comfortable creating content for your site, the time it takes to get your writing ready to publish could be better spent writing even more. That’s why it can make sense to have a VA handle the publishing process.
  5. Creating online events: Want to run a webinar to bring in leads for your business or, perhaps, another kind of online event? Hand your ideas over to a VA and she can set up the tools you need as well as help you promote it.
  6. Sourcing photos and images: Need a stock image to go with a newsletter? Have your VA find a few options to help you get the right picture without spending hours looking.
  7. Commenting on other sites: One of the fastest ways to build up traffic on a blog is to comment on other sites, a task that a VA can do just as easily as you can. Your VA can use her own name, just as long as she links those comments back to your site.
  8. Respond to comments and emails: A good inbound marketing strategy will generate comments and responses on your website, as well as through email. Responding can quickly get out of hand, especially if you need to focus on the day-to-day details of running your business.
  9. Optimizing search engine results: There are pages and pages of tactics you can use to help improve your search engine results, and most of them are not ‘set it and forget it’ approaches. Many VAs specialize in SEO tasks, however, making the process easier.
  10. Creating ebooks: Creating informational resources can be crucial to helping leads find you. While you may not need to put together entirely new material, a VA can help you gather information for an ebook, as well as edit, design and promote it.

These ideas are just starting points. There are thousands of virtual assistants out there, many of whom specialize in inbound marketing. It’s just a matter of finding a VA who will be a good fit with your business.

Image by Flickr user gmahender

11 Ways a Virtual Assistant Can Take Your Business to the Next Level

January 25th, 2010 ::

Many of you out there are overwhelmed with running your growing business and the things you never thought you would have to do are piled on top of the things you have to do to as your job. You might be growing at a rapid pace and need help but not in a place where you can hire a full time person. Enter the concept of the Virtual Assistant or VA and they might be the solution you have been looking for all this time.

Because VAs work on an “as needed basis” and only when you have work, hiring a VA can save you money. Most models have you only pay for the work done and it is usually in a block of hours you can utilize each month. The best part in these cash conscious days and don’t have to pay for benefits, equipment, or supplies. What a cost savings that can be.

To understand how you can utilize a Virtual Assistant to take your business to the next level, we put together this quick list of 11 ways you can do it.

  1. Marketing support and publicity helping you to spread the word about your product or services
  2. Web design and search engine optimization but this one can be tricky and is a very specialized skill. At a basic level you can get help updating content on web pages and simple SEO tasks.
  3. Polishing, Printing, Binding and if necessary, shipping your presentations
  4. Proofing, editing, and typing your business communications
  5. Managing your calendar and schedule your appointments
  6. Meeting and travel planning which can be amazing if they know how to find great deals and you communicate your preferences
  7. Transcription of Your Recorded Notes – If you like to dictate, this can be an amazing solution. I have personally used Evernote to record the notes and filed them in a folder to be processed
  8. Good old fashioned data entry – you might need business cards added to your address book or info added to your CRM system
  9. Bookkeeping, payroll, creating and managing financial reports
  10. Keeping Your Social Meda accounts up to date – this means getting blog posts published or updating your Facebook Fan Page and Twitter accounts
  11. Good old fashioned call management – this can be your normal voice mail and other channels like Skype

Find a Virtual Assistant and if You are One, Leave a Comment

If you want some great instructions on how to leverage a Virtual Assistant from someone who does on a daily basis, check out Jeff Widman’s post on How to Hire and Work with a Virtual Assistant. If you need to locate on, you can search for the term “Virtual Assistant” or check out the The Virtual Assistant Networking Association Forum.