Top 5 Traits Clients Will Be Looking for in their Virtual Assistant in 2017

Top 5 Traits Clients Will Be Looking for in their Virtual Assistant in 2017

2017 figures to be another big year for the Virtual Assistant. In 2016, more and more businesses contracted the services of virtual assistants. In fact, the largest companies in the United States has been integrating virtual assistants into the work force since 2014.

It is estimated that by 2020, more than 50% of US workforces will be composed of virtual assistants or home- based workers.

But just because business is hiring does not mean landing clients will be as easy as picking up daisies. Given the greater degree of involvement and responsibility virtual assistants have in business, expect clients to be more selective in the qualifying process.

Here are the top 5 traits clients will look for in a Virtual Assistant in 2017:

Self- Motivated. If you work from home, the client expects you to be more responsible with accomplishing your tasks.

You no longer have to deal with the inconvenience of the daily commute. You are no longer subject to office politics. You save more money.

These welcome changes should motivate you to perform better so you can build a successful, rewarding and dependable career as a Virtual Assistant.

Accountable. Business owners and companies are looking for leaders in 2017. They want people who are willing to take accountability for the decisions they make and the actions they take. Without accountability, it is difficult to progress forward.

A person who does not want to account for his actions will never make the decisions that matter. In the virtual world, in the absence of shared space collaboration, the Virtual Assistant must be willing to take charge of his or her areas of responsibility.

High Level of Technical Proficiency. Technology will continue to evolve in 2017. New programs and gadgets will be introduced. If your business wants to be competitive, you should be able to understand the new technology.

But if you are technologically challenged, it would be best to hire a Virtual Assistant who isn’t. Technology evolves to introduce greater efficiency. You need to integrate new technology into your business so you can survive and thrive.

Great Communication Skills. One of the challenges in the virtual world is communication. Even with the latest technology, there will always be obstacles to clear cut communication.

Perhaps it is because the virtual world creates new filters that diminishes its effectiveness. People may feel “safe” or “confident” working from the other side that he or she sees no urgency in clarification.

But mistakes can be costly and these often arise from misunderstandings. In 2017, the Virtual Assistant must have better communication skills and should not hesitate to seek clarification especially on key matters.

Highly Professional. It should go without saying that you should always conduct yourself as a professional every time you work with clients.

But given the large number of virtual assistants in the industry, conduct may distinguish you from everyone else.

Professional conduct includes the following:

  • Being punctual
  • Courtesy
  • Respectful
  • Timely with deadlines
  • Reliable
  • Responds immediately

Do not get complacent just because you know there is great demand for virtual assistance services. On the contrary you should work harder and represent your profession in the best way possible.

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Improve Business Efficiency by Hiring a Virtual Assistant

If you’re an entrepreneur who feels 24 hours isn’t enough time in a day to run a business, here’s a tip: hire a Virtual Assistant.

The amount of time you spend on your business isn’t proof that you are managing your enterprise well. Quantity will not automatically translate to dollars and cents in your bank’s coffers. But quality of time will.

Success is always measured by productivity and productivity is a by-product of quality time.

If you do an accounting of the amount of time you have in a day, you probably have fewer than 15 hours available for productive work. It will be less if you have family and have children to take care of.

The good news is you don’t need 15 productive hours to become successful. In the first place, that goal is unrealistic and difficult to attain. If you can identify 3 to 4 crucial, revenue- generating or cost saving tasks you can accomplish every day, your day will already be exponentially productive.

Studies show that productivity begins to decline after 90 minutes. So if you allocate 90 minutes per task, you only need 4 and ½ hours to accomplish 3 tasks every day.

If you add 30 minutes of rest after each task, that is only 6 hours of work per day. In this case, even rest is productive because it recharges you for the next task.

Now by hiring a Virtual Assistant, you will 100% increase your productivity even further. How? Let us count the ways:

Delegate Non- Essential Tasks. Transfer administrative tasks such as phone handling, e-mail filtering, calendar management and appointment setting to your Virtual Assistant. You will never miss opportunities and the VA will find ways to fit in important meetings to your schedule.

Re-Align Cost Savings. Hiring a Virtual Assistant will generate cost savings. You don’t pay the VA benefits and the VA is responsible for his or her cost of business.

Hiring a regular employee will cost you at least 40% more in terms of total compensation and incremental expenses.

You can use the cost savings to fund other projects such as marketing and promotion or product development to increase the prospects of profitability.

Audit Your Tech Profile. Virtual assistants are well- versed in technology. Over the course of their experience, they have managed many clients and have used different forms of technology.

Do not hesitate to ask your Virtual Assistant for advice or suggestions on how to improve your technological profile. Technology evolves to make life and work more efficient.

Having the right frameworks and processes in your system will not only save you more money but improve output as well.

This brings us to the fourth and most overlooked benefit which may probability be the most important on this list.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant will increase your business efficiency simply because it will give you time to take off and recharge your batteries. Entrepreneurs are so obsessed with quantity of time that they forget the value of rest and relaxation.

Taking a few days; even weeks, off work will not shut down your business. You just need to stay in touch with your virtual assistants a few days during the week to keep you updated on work developments.

By the time you get back to work, you will be refreshed and revitalized. You will be able to perform your tasks with greater clarity and focused energy.

How a Virtual Assistant can Change Your Life

How a Virtual Assistant can Change Your Life

The Virtual Assistant has been credited with turning around the fortunes of many businesses. If you want proof read up on the success stories of Tim Ferris, Michael Hyatt and Pat Flynn. These are all entrepreneurs who were able to build highly successful businesses by using virtual assistants.

If you read further into their life stories, hiring virtual assistants more than just improved the profitability of their businesses. The decision to bring virtual assistants into the fold also changed their lives.

If you are an entrepreneur who feels like he is living for work not working to make a living, then stop what you’re doing. Consider a few ways hiring a Virtual Assistant can change your life.

Have more time with those who matter the most. Why do you put in the time and effort to succeed in your business? For many entrepreneurs, the answer is to provide food on the table and money to pay the bills.

However if you get caught up with your goals, you may overlook your purpose. It’s good to have the sense of responsibility to take care of those you love. But it’s even better to share your time with those you love.

For sure your children, spouse, parents, siblings and close friends would appreciate you more if you could spend more time with them.

By delegating work to your Virtual Assistant, you will have more time to spend with your loved ones.

Remember, time lost can never be found.

Take a vacation. If you haven’t taken a vacation the last 2 years, you may be enjoying great success but chances are, you haven’t lived out your life.

A vacation is one of the best ways to recharge your batteries and enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you have family and have children between the ages of 7 and 12, it is the best time to take them to the happiest places on earth.

Sure a vacation can be expensive. But you can plan and save up for it. Figure out where you want to go and set aside money every month to cover all of your expenses and then some.

The memories alone will be worth it!

Once your Virtual Assistant has become more proficient with the current set of tasks, introduce new ones that entail greater responsibility. Then hire another VA who can take over the first VA’s original set of tasks.

Manage Stress. In the United States, Australia and most countries, stress remains the number one killer.

Stress can lead to many debilitating conditions and illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, strokes, high blood pressure and certain forms of cancer.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant relieves you of the stress of having to manage non- essential tasks. It also allows you to allocate 1 to 2 hours a day for exercise which is the best way to manage stress.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant will not only benefit your business. It will also benefit your life.

Realize that a good life is not all about having money. It is about experiencing everything life has to offer and living it to the fullest.

Work Less With The Help Of A Real Estate VA

How To Earn More And Work Less With The Help Of A Real Estate VA

If you were born in the 1960’s, you’re part of Generation X. Gen X’ers are known for putting in hours at work. For them, there’s a very fine line between quantity and quality of work. Those born in the 1990’s probably think typewriters and pagers were monsters that hid under the bed. Advancements in technology have shifted focus toward efficiency. But it’s not just the tools. With the Internet, you can earn more and work less with the help of a real estate virtual assistant.

It’s great to own your business. No longer is your productivity measured by a salary and benefits which is probably the same as what your less-productive co-worker makes. You have more control over your time, finances and how your business operates.

And perhaps that is the problem; having too much control. In this day and age of digital technology where almost everything is done via mobile gadgets plus the accessibility of the Internet you have the conditions in place to make your business more efficient without compromising productivity.

The way to achieving efficiency is to begin relinquishing control. It all starts with the tasks that you need to do on a daily basis.

In the real estate business, you probably receive calls in the most unlikely of hours or situations. You could be in the middle of a history-making presentation, negotiating a sales contract or meeting with a big-time client for the listing of his property. Then your phone rings; again and again and again. Even in silent mode, the vibration can be distracting.

Or how about the time you needed a PowerPoint presentation made within 24 hours but you still had to review contracts and update the MLS? How many appointments have you missed? How many e-mails and calls were not promptly responded to? Were you able to pay last month’s bills for electricity and Internet service?

How many family reunions have you missed? How often have you cancelled dinners with the spouse or time at the public park with the kids? When was the last time you exercised? When was the last time you got 8 hours of sleep?

It may be the case that you may no longer be working 9-to-5 but putting in 14 hours, 7 days a week. Now take a look at your bank account.

Does your productivity equate to your earnings?

Productivity still equates to time. But it no longer equates to quantity; it’s what you do with your available time that matters. If you do work 14 hours a day, what is the breakdown of those hours? Chances are you probably don’t even track time.

Technology has given you the means to work less and earn more. You can accomplish this with the help of a real estate VA.

The “VA” stands for Virtual Assistant but it might as well mean “Valuable Asset” because the VA can change your life and career in the real estate business in positive and productive ways.

1. Distinguish Your Core Tasks from Your Non-Core Tasks

Core tasks are those that deal with the main enterprise of your business. In real estate that would include:

  • Meeting clients
  • Making presentations
  • Attending auctions and open houses
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Building your leads list

Non-core functions are tasks that support the business. These include:

  • E-mail filtering
  • Appointment setting
  • Calendar management
  • Phone handling
  • Preparation of contracts

Delegate non- core functions to your real estate VA so you can have more time to focus on the key areas of your business.

2. Track Your Finances

The number one reason why businesses fail is poor money management. There are a multitude of expenses in the real estate business.

Aside from operating expenses, you also have to fund marketing activities. Ad placements, design of marketing collaterals and online subscriptions to listing sites can accumulate and put a dent on your wallet.

Hire a Virtual Assistant with a background in Accounting and request for financial reports to be prepared on a weekly basis. These reports should include the cash flow statement and the cash disbursement schedule.

3. Delegate Specialized Tasks to the VA

The real estate business can be very competitive. You cannot afford to fall asleep on a prospect or forego activities that could add to your bottom-line. These activities include:

  • Marketing
  • Website Management
  • Sales Follow Up

A real estate VA can manage a variety of marketing tasks from social media postings, creating designs for collateral, e-mail marketing, blogging and expanding your network.

You can find virtual assistants who can manage your website to make sure it is functioning at 100% and those with experience in doing sales follow up calls.

Remember it is possible that a prospect is dealing with more than one agent. The day you miss a follow up call could be the day that prospect becomes a client of another agent.

Once you have hired a real estate VA and delegated the non-essential tasks, here’s what you do:

  • Identify your long-term goal.
  • Break down the long-term goal into smaller short-term goals.
  • Focus on accomplishing 3-4 goals every day.
  • Dedicate 90 minutes per goal; 100% pure focus, no distraction.
  • Accomplished or not, give yourself a 30 minute break then move on to the next goal.

By following this daily routine, you can accomplish 3 to 4, maybe even more goals in only 6 hours of work per day. Each small goal you accomplish brings you closer to achieving your long-term goal.

You can even afford to take weekends off and spend time with the family. How about that vacation or new hobby you’ve been putting off the last few years?

Hiring a real estate VA will not only help you find efficiency at work but also discover that there is more to life than just business.

5 Ways Hiring a Virtual Assistant can Jump Start Your Marketing

5 Ways Hiring a Virtual Assistant can Jump Start Your Marketing

Marketing is an integral component for every business. Without marketing, your sales team would have difficult time generating revenue. Many businesses understand the value of marketing but are hesitant to fund in-house operations because returns cannot be guaranteed. The best option is to hire a Virtual Assistant.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant is cost effective because you only pay him or her per hours worked. They are not entitled to benefits and if the engagement does not produce significant results, it is easy to terminate the arrangement.

But most of all, virtual assistants can increase your productivity and quality of work simply because they have the experience, expertise and time to focus on the tasks you want accomplished.

For example, you want marketing to be consistent for your business. A Virtual Assistant can jump start marketing the following ways:

Manage Your Social Media

Social media is a powerful online marketing tool. It can create strong awareness on your product or service, build followers and highlight your expertise. But it needs time and effort. You have to regularly update content and information to remain consistent.

For example, you are planning to sell your home privately. A big part of going the For Sale By Owner or FSBO route is marketing.

A Virtual Assistant can set up an account for you at a reputable FSBO site and link it with your various social media accounts. The VA will regularly update its content from images to text. If there are inquiries, the VA will attend to them on your behalf.  

Frequently Publish Content

In order to remain relevant and visible, you must remain active online particularly in social media. Your followers would want to hear from you on a consistent basis.

The most effective marketing solutions are content- driven. You must be able to frequently publish blogs and articles that are relevant, usable and engaging to your audience.

There are virtual assistants who are also prolific writers and understand how to use keywords to optimize your content.

Build Your Network

In any business, you should always look to expand your network. These are connections and associations that could potentially help your business grow further.

Networking is a time- consuming task. You have to qualify each person that you plan to connect with. He or she must be related to your industry or linkages to your existing value chain.

A Virtual Assistant is experienced with networking. He or she knows how to qualify potential connections and draft customized invitations or introductory letters.

Engage with Your Followers

One of the most important tenets of online marketing is to respond within a reasonable time frame. A second important tenet is all responses; even those that are negative in tone, are valuable.

A Virtual Assistant will seek to issue a response within 24 hours from receiving the comment or inquiry. If the comment is unfavorable, trust that the VA will not argue but remain respectful in the response.

The VA appreciates that the person took the time to comment even if it was not to your favor. After all, the first step to building a relationship is engagement. A professional and courteous response is the best way to turn detractors into followers.

Generate Leads

The objective of online marketing is to generate leads. Successful social media, content marketing, Pay-Per- Click advertising and link building strategies will build inbound roads that lead to your website.

Leads are people who have been qualified as potential customers. They have already expressed some measure of interest in your value proposition. It saves time for your sales team and they can solely focus on moving these leads down the sales funnel.

Marketing is a process that takes time to yield significant results. You have to be consistent with it. Hiring a Virtual Assistant will ensure continuity of your marketing program. It is a low cost, high value option that has been proven to be effective in generating ROI.

 

Why the Virtual Assistant Means Big Value for Big Business

Why the Virtual Assistant Means Big Value for Big Business

It used to be that the Virtual Assistant was identified with small businesses. These were enterprises with tight capital and limited access to funding. Small businesses that needed help to manage the administrative side as well as specialized tasks would contract the services of a Virtual Assistant.

But all that would change in 2011. Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer conducted a test to see if integrating home based workers in the work force would lower costs and improve productivity. Initially, Meyer allocated 10% to 15% of the work force to virtual assistants.

When the preliminary findings were successful, Meyer increased the allocation to 30%. Unfortunately, Meyer was not satisfied with the results of the program and discontinued it. Whether her decision was valid or not, it did uncover a third factor of productivity which was overlooked by big business.

Attrition.

When Meyer discontinued the home- based program, there were reports that morale at Yahoo! went sharply down. Employees were unhappy and productivity suffered. Since assuming the position of CEO at Yahoo! in 2012, Meyer has not turned in a single profitable year for the company.

However, by 2014 more big businesses were hiring home based workers. These companies included Xerox, Bank of America and United Health Group. They were integrating them into the work force. Many companies were outsourcing services to virtual assistants from remote locations such as the Philippines and India.

Big business finally saw the advantages virtual assistants gave small businesses:

Cost Savings – Virtual assistants lower costs of businesses for 2 reasons:

  • You only pay them per productive hour.
  • They are accountable for their own cost of business.

By contracting virtual assistants, you will not incur significant increases in business costs. In fact, these costs will easily be offset by productivity.

On a larger scale, these cost savings will increase accordingly. More so if they hire virtual assistants from remote locations.

Increased Productivity – Outsourcing services also increases productivity in 2 ways:

  • Shift more focus and resources from non- core to core functions.
  • Cost savings can be used to fund revenue generating projects.

Thus, by outsourcing services you address both variables in the profitability equation: cost and revenues.

Decreased Level of Attrition – Virtual assistants, freelancers and telecommuters have different terminologies but essentially mean the same thing. They are home- based workers.

They are more productive because they are generally happier workers. They do not have to deal with the inconvenience of the commute, office politics and they can save more money.

The companies that continued with the outsourcing program in the US, experienced lower attrition rates.

Improved Work Quality – It’s not only non- core functions that you should outsource. You should include highly-skilled or technical functions that do not fall under your competencies.

By outsourcing these tasks to a virtual assistant who has the requisite skills and experience, not only do you save up on costs but you also improve work quality.

It’s not surprising that Big Business has been outsourcing services. For some time now, Big Business has wanted to adopt the mindset of Small Business. Why? Because as business grows, it loses flexibility which is necessary during times of great uncertainty. Hiring virtual assistants brings back some of that flexibility to Big Business.