Hiring a virtual assistant (VA) is a smart move because having an extra hand to help you in your business means less stress for you and greater productivity for your company. When you hire the right person for the job, you’re not only freeing up more of your time to attend to other important matters, but you are also giving your business the opportunity to grow with the unique set of skills and expertise they can bring to your company.

However, sometimes, it’s hard to decide which tasks you should assign to your virtual assistant. Here are some nifty pointers that should help make this decision easy.

1. Give them tasks they are good at.
It may be tempting to just assign tasks that are lying around without considering the skill set of your virtual assistant. This will result in low productivity and low-quality output. If you want to maximize your VA’s, give them tasks that match their interests and skills. This can be easily determined during the hiring process. Outline your job requirements and ask the potential VA what they can accomplish. Ask for work samples or offer to conduct a trial period where you can both see whether the person is the right fit for the job.

2. Delegate tasks that are you cannot complete on your own.
What are tasks that you cannot complete on your own? These are tasks that you don’t enjoy doing, repetitive tasks that will take away too much time from focusing on growing your business, or tasks that are too far from your expertise and will require intensive learning. It takes time to master a skill and it is always more cost-efficient and effective to hire someone else who can do it better and faster than you.

3. Don’t assign tasks that are part of your main responsibilities.
If you are the manager or the owner of the business, avoid assigning your key responsibilities to your virtual assistants. These tasks include setting goals for your business, formulating strategies, and other tasks that would set the direction of your company. If the VA leaves and you have been dependent on him or her to work on your main responsibilities, it might be difficult for you to adjust and catch up at work. Also, you are giving the VA the opportunity to start a similar business after learning the trade secrets from you.

4. Never assign tasks with sensitive information.
When assigning tasks to your VAs, make sure these are tasks that don’t contain too much sensitive information such as access to your financial accounts, trade secrets and operations, and client lists. While the best and most competent VAs can be trusted, it is still a prudent move to keep confidential matters safe. It is better to err on the side of caution than risk losing money and your reputation in case your VA’s computer gets hacked or he loses your confidential files and falls into the hands of unscrupulous people.

Know What to Delegate
The most common mistake that entrepreneurs commit when delegating tasks to their VAs is delegating blindly. They delegate almost everything they believe they can make their life easier, without considering the capabilities of the VA and without complete and clear instructions on what should be done. Before you delegate, determine beforehand what you want to accomplish with the task you are assigning to your VA. Save time and effort by clearly explaining your expectations and instructions for the task. This is the most important step that can help you truly boost productivity at work

1. Take a vacation—the kind that matters.
It seems like a counterproductive advice for ambitious and wired 24/7 business professionals, but vacations are part and parcel of a life that’s balanced and yes—productive. If you have been cancelling that trip to Napa for wine tasting, take it now and make it two weeks. Being enriched through travel provides unlimited opportunities for more business ideas that you may have been missing because you have been so focused in your line of work. Also, travel makes way for more ideas that can be applied into operations or marketing.
Travel in itself is always a win-win situation—it brings back the professional in you more refreshed and more eager to take on more challenges.

2. Work on your personal brand.
Sure, your Facebook page is well updated with news on your business, but how about you? People are keen to know the people behind the brand they buy and even consider that in buying it in the first place.
Work on your LinkedIn profile and blog. Consider guest blogging and contribute to websites pertinent to your line of business. Also, change your profile pictures into something more professional and representative of who you are as a professional especially on your LinkedIn account. Thought leadership is the name of the game and you can now use the time to work on your influence.

3. Read up and get updated.
Reading is the most underrated bullet in the business arsenal. But as the industry giants such as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and famous capitalist Warren Buffet make us known, reading is the secret to great leadership.

It does now always have to be a business book. Polish up on your fiction by picking titles that are into fantasy, suspense or even romance. Magazines are great too for quick reading. The thing with reading is that it makes you more of a logical and critical thinker in general, the top two things that many decision makers lack today. It helps as well in making you a better writer and communicator. Reading also updates a person quickly and with many titles going online, there is absolutely no excuse as to why you would not know the latest news.
Enjoying your free time? Use it wisely by relaxing, building your personal brand, and updating yourself with the latest developments in your industry.

]The biggest misconception that people who work from home such as virtual assistants and freelance writers and designers have is that they do not need to work on their leadership abilities compared to their 9 to 5 warrior counterparts.

But they are the very ones who have the most opportunity to maximize their leadership due to 1) their lack of a superior, 2) lack of hours they need to strictly lock in, and 3) their ability to change their workloads as they wish.

Here are specific ways for virtual assistants to take the next step when it comes to leadership skills:

1. Read more books

Sharpening the ax never ends and reading is one of the best ways to do so. Every article on executives lists reading as their number one activity that helps them be a step ahead of the pack and be aligned with their purpose.

Business books such as those that are into customer service or even biographies can help them be inspired to take stock of their lives and provide better output to their clients. Magazines and trade-specific literature is also a great way to stay updated in the industry they are in.

2. Attend seminars on leadership and finance

Attending forums and talks are always a networking opportunity aside from the learnings that they can glean from the speakers. Being out with people in the same industry provides them with an idea as to their hours and pay. Think of it as benchmarking to ensure that they are at par with the rest of them.

Finance seminars are also important as it creates in them the idea that there is more to life than simply doing the work that pays weekly or monthly. Creating wealth is the name of the game of leaders and virtual assistants and they can tap into this power for themselves as well.

3. Outsource their work

Creating more leaders is the best way to be one. Virtual assistants, especially those who have been in the industry and have a cadre of clients, can create jobs for other people as well. They can hone others into becoming successful virtual assistants as themselves and they can also become thought leaders in the subject by coming up with blogs or webinars.

Doing so is a winner in all aspects: they get to provide job opportunities to other people and at the same time, increase their profile, making them the virtual assistant of choice – something a great leader is ought to do.

Outsourcing to virtual assistants or VAs has becomes popular among business owners in the recent years. This is because many businesses in various industries have experienced the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant, including saving time and cost and generating more income for the company. If you haven’t tried working with a virtual assistant and you are considering hiring one to help you with your day-to-day operations, it would help to know the types of tasks you can outsource to a VA.
Tasks that You Can Outsource to Virtual Assistants

Michael Hyatt, virtual mentor and one of the leading business bloggers in the world, says that a virtual assistant can do anything for you, as long as it does not require physical presence. If you think of jobs that don’t require a person to be physically present, you’ll realize that there’s a lot that you can outsource—from accounting to marketing, to recruitment.

You can outsource almost any kind of task to a virtual assistant. Gregg Landers, CBIZ MHM director of growth management says in an article published in Entrepreneur that there are three categories of tasks that are best outsourced. These are: specialized knowledge, expertise, and highly repetitive tasks.

Expertise tasks are those tasks that require a high level of skills such as management of legal matters, analysis of your sales and financial performance, and other tasks that require executive-level expertise. Highly repetitive tasks are those that include data entry and general administrative work like responding to emails or organizing your inventory. Commonly outsourced tasks like blogging, graphic design, and web development all fall under specialized knowledge, or those tasks that require a specific set of skills.
Here is a list of tasks that are commonly outsourced or assigned to VAs:

1. Blogging and Blog Management – Writing blogs and ensuring that your blog is regularly updated can be done by a VA who has the writing skills and a working knowledge of blogging platforms.

2. Graphic Design – Tasks that involve designing corporate identity materials, marketing collaterals, product packaging and the like can be performed by VAs with graphic design skills.

3. Website Design and Management – VAs can also design and manage your website, as long as they have designing and programming skills.

4. Video Creation and Editing – Another technical and creative task that you can outsource to VAs is creating and editing videos. This can be done by VAs with the creativity and knowledge of video editing software and media production programs.

5. Social Media Management and Marketing – A social media-savvy VA can help you set up and update your social media pages. VAs can also create a social media plan for your business.

6. Email Management – You can ask your VAs to respond to incoming messages and filter your emails on your behalf.

7. Transcription – A VA with excellent typing, listening and transcription skills will be able to accurately transcribe audio and video files like interviews, podcasts, etc.

8. General administrative work – General administrative work that are usually done by executive assistants like scheduling, answering phone calls, taking down notes during meetings, and even doing personal errands for you online can also be done by a VA.

9. Research – Work that requires research like reports, product development, and strategies can be done by a VA.

10. Marketing – All marketing tasks, as long as they can be done online, can be performed by VAs with sales, marketing, or advertising background.

Defining Your Scope of Work
Before hiring a VA, the first thing you should do is to determine what you need to outsource. What will be your goal for hiring a VA? After determining your needs, define your scope of work. Specify your job requirements, including the skills you are looking for. Doing these will help you attract the right candidates for the job.

You have heard many positive things about hiring a virtual assistant. Friends in the industry may have informed you about how working with a virtual assistant has either made their life easier, added value to their business or both. After learning about these benefits, you are convinced that hiring one would definitely help you grow your business and free up more time to pursue your passions. But the question is, do you know where to find a virtual assistant?
Follow these tips to help you find a VA to hire.

1. Look for virtual assistant agencies.

The increasing demand for reliable and competent virtual assistants has led to the rise of VA agencies like yourvirtualassistants.net. These agencies may have VAs that specialize in one type of task such as copywriting or web design, or they can offer several services and serve as a one-stop shop for your business needs. To ensure that you are working with a legitimate agency, do a background check prior to hiring them or anyone from the agency. Ask for references, check their portfolio and see what their past clients say about them online. Once you decide to hire them, have a contract that stipulates the work hours, your requirements, and other conditions that you and your VA have agreed upon. It would also be prudent to have a non-disclosure agreement, especially if you plan to share your personal details or trade secrets with your VA.

2. Check freelancing platforms.

Popular freelancing platforms like Upwork (formerly oDesk) and Elance will help you find virtual assistants for various types of jobs. You can create a free account and post job ads for the type of VA you are looking for. There are literally millions of contractors on these freelancing platforms, and it may be challenging to attract the kind of applicants you need. The key here is to write a detailed job description that communicates what you need from your virtual assistant. Make your job description as enticing as possible by also including how your virtual assistant will benefit from working with you.

3. Post on social media.

Twitter is a good place to start. Just tweet about your job opening and add a #virtualassistant or #virtualstaff hashtag. You can also look for VA communities on LinkedIn and Google+ and post your job ads there. Any of these three ways will help you find your ideal virtual staff. To save your time, remember to be clear on your goals and the results that you are looking for from your VA and include these in your job posting.

pen writes website  on paper.

People have this attitude towards businesses: if it can’t be searched online (first page at that), then it does not exist. Such is the reality that companies face today as more and more people are accessing information at their fingertips with the widespread availability of internet access and low priced gadgets.

If they do not ride this wave, surely, competitors can quickly catch up and take over the market or niche that they are not serving. The first thing to do is to set up a good company website that instantly makes for a good footprint online and is one of the biggest online spaces that the company can invest in and profit from for the years to come.

Here are some tips to building a company website that pays off:

1. Make it easy for the visitor to contact you

Creating a separate page for the contact information of the company is the primary requirement for any professional website. This ensures that potential clients can quickly inquire about products and services wherever they are.

The list may include a working company landline, an email address (which a real person does receive and respond to), a social media page, and an office address for traditional correspondence.

2. Well-written content

As they say, design is queen but content is still king. Poor grammar and composition do not only reflect severely against the company, but also creates space for misunderstanding. The number one reason for a company website to exist in the first place is to communicate the many ways people should do business with it. With bad writing, it tells people that the company simply just does not deserve anyone’s time as they obviously cannot be bothered with their own reputation.

What is well-written content? Well-written content is content that clearly conveys what your clients need to know about your company. Perfect grammar and composition are just the minimum requirements. You need to write content that’s substantial, relevant and helpful to your readers. You also need the content to be SEO-optimized. It needs to use keywords that your target market uses to locate your business.

3. Cross linking to social media sites.

Another off shoot of a website is the company Facebook page, Twitter and in some cases, Instagram and Snapchat sites. These make the company more human and easy to interact with. It also makes the brand more engaging and current. However, if you are maintaining a social media page, you need to update it regularly and respond to messages and inquiries immediately. Questions that don’t get answered gives clients an impression that you don’t care about them.

4. Easy to navigate

One key ingredient in a great website is if it’s optimized for all kinds of gadgets including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. People today are more connected than ever which makes them all the more impatient.

Can you imagine needing to zoom in or out just to check a website? It’s every competitive company’s nightmare. So invest correctly in a website and let it pay dividends in the long run.