If I had to choose just 6 tasks that my VA could do for me, these would be it.
So many people hire a VA with the best intentions only to realise they have no idea what tasks will be the most effective to give to their VA and can provide them with the biggest return on investment.
If you’re currently thinking about hiring a VA or have just hired a VA, these would be the first 6 tasks I recommend you get them to do.
If you currently have a VA and are not using them to perform the tasks on this list, you are leaving money and more of your own time on the table.
1) Follow up on overdue invoices.
I have put this as number 1 as it’s the lowest hanging fruit by a mile!
Personally I hate chasing money. It drives me insane and always feels really awkward.
By giving my VA the ability to see what invoices are overdue she is able to follow up and ask for payment without me needing to spend time doing it.
This might sound like a really simple task but it will certainly help with improving cashflow in your business.
2) Monitor live chat & enquiries on your website or landing page.
We live in the generation of now. Everyone wants everything now and they don’t want to wait.
How quickly you call or interact with new enquiries will make a huge difference to your conversion rate.
Automated email responses no longer cut it in my books and a quick reply from a real person is a must have.
By having a VA monitor the live chat and email enquiries means that you can stay focused on the tasks that are going to actually put cash in your bank account. It also means that if you are away from your desk or in meetings you won’t have to worry about genuine enquiries being left for too long.
This is my number 2 because it has a direct reflection on your revenue, improving your response time will increase your conversion rate and help you make more sales. If you’re making 1 or 2 extra sales per month because of your super quick response times and improved customer experience this could very well pay for the cost of a VA and then some.
3) Answering the phone
There is a lot of controversy around having someone from overseas answering the phone.
Most people hate the idea of overseas call centres (I know I certainly do!), however there is a big difference between an overseas call centre that takes a heap of calls from many different businesses and your private VA who works full time for you in your business answering the phone.
Mass overseas call centres know nothing about your business and just follow default scripts. If you’re a small business, using a mass call centre is a terrible idea and could make it look like your business doesn’t care about customer support or enquiries.
With today’s technology and VOIP phone systems, having a VA answer your phone from overseas is almost no different than having a staff member in your office answer the phone.
The biggest difference I see is the cost in staffing someone to answer your calls. A VA will cost under $10 per hour while someone in the same country as me will be $30+ per hour.
My VA knows my business so well I would prefer her to answer the phone over other employees who live in the same country as me.
Another way to look at it is, if you can’t answer the phone, is it better to have no one answer it or a VA? OR change this sentence to: Ask yourself this question: Is it better to let my phone go unanswered or go to a message bank than it would be to have a high level personal VA answering my calls?
Hands down I want my VA answering my phone!
Allowing clients or new prospects the ability to have instant contact with a real person will improve the customer experience easily. It might take a little training at the beginning of your relationship with your VA but this is no difference to the time you would have to take training someone in your own office when they first start.
4) Setting appointments / Managing your Calendar
“Hey can you do Tuesday at 10?"
“no, can you do Tuesday at 4?"
“sorry how about Wednesday at 9?"
You get the idea and we have all been there….
Booking appointments can take 6 emails backwards and forwards and is a complete waste of time.
I have tried and used scheduling tools in the past but had challenges with some of them, especially if appointments need to be changed or they overlapped with existing calendar appointments.
By using a VA to set appointments it will save you a heap of time in the back and forth of booking people in and if something comes up (which happens to all of us) your VA can contact and rebook all the appointments.
For example if I have an emergency I only need to deal with my VA once and ask her to clear my appointments for the afternoon. I will then give her the instructions to contact everyone personally to reschedule.
This is a far better way of doing things over someone seeing a calendar invite you’ve had to cancel. It shows you care and doesn’t cost you any time!
5) Managing Your Email
A good buddy of mine recommended to me that I use a program called Rescue Time for a couple of weeks to see exactly how much time I’m spending on what task each week.
Rescue Time runs in the background of your computer and tracks how much time you are spending on your computer and on what tasks
I ran the software for a couple of weeks and was horrified…. and slightly impressed that I was able to keep my business profitable with how much time I was losing to email.
It was not uncommon for me to spend 2-4 hours a day on email. In my head I thought it was like an hour or 2 hours tops…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it is possible to completely outsource all of your email but cutting the time you spend on it will make a massive difference to your productivity each day.
Here are a couple of tips to get you started with having your email managed.
1) Train your VA to know how to respond to certain people and requests so you don’t have to see it.
eg: If someone is requesting to be sent a copy of their last invoice I don’t need to see that email. My VA can get the invoice and send it straight to them.
If someone is confirming a time for a meeting, my VA can put it straight into my calendar and send a thank you email once they confirm the meeting.
To manage this, I get her to keep a list of any emails she sent without me seeing them and simply read over it at the end of each day.
2) Dictate replies
Rather than spending time typing long emails I dictate replies via skype to my VA and have them type it out and send the reply for me. There are also some great phone apps that you can use on the go such as “Voxer” or Whatsapp, where you can send voice instructions directly to your VA while you are out and about.
For important emails I still reply myself but these 2 things alone cut down my time in email by 50%.
3) Finding and editing images.
In today’s online space we are constantly needing new images for social media and our website.
Sitting on stock photo sites looking for suitable images and then resizing them correctly for each social site is a massive time sucker, especially if you are like me and don’t have any photoshop or image editing skills.
If I was going to do 1 post on social media everyday plus 1 blog post per week it would mean I need 8 Images per week.
This is a really simple task that can save you 3-4 hours a week pretty much straight away.
If you have a VA who isn’t a photoshop whiz either, there are two online tools that I can recommend that are both free and really easy to use (or learn how to use). They are picmonkey.com and canva.com
Hopefully after reading the points above you can see that a VA can do so much more than just data entry, social media management and research.
When used well they can:
– Increase your cashflow
– Improve your response time with new leads
– Create a better user experience on your website through live chat
– Improve relationships with existing customers and clients
– Cut down your time on email and booking appointments