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Improve Your Workflow By Hiring a Virtual Assistant

kokou adzo

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Most of the time, you pick a profession according to two factors:

  • Earning potential
  • Activity you like doing

The problem with the latter is that you enter a field for a challenge, to help people, or to display your own prowess and then get disappointed when you learn the truth. The truth is that you’ll spend 10% of the time actually doing these primary tasks and “waste” 90% of your time and energy answering emails, entering data into an Excel sheet, and leading menial conversations.

Well, if you hire an assistant, you can avoid most of this and jump straight to the point. Here’s how you can improve your workflow by hiring a virtual assistant. 

Email management

A good virtual assistant can tend to your emails. They can read them and respond to them. Then, every now and again, when they encounter something that actually requires your attention, either point it out or send it your way. 

The problem with emails is that you have to check them on a regular basis. Most of it is not substantive, potentially even completely unimportant. Sure, the spam filter can do a great job, but not everything irrelevant is spam. 

The key thing to remember is that, regardless of the fact that most of this is irrelevant, you still have to check it out. Software can do a relatively good job, but it’s not all-powerful. Every now and again, you need an actual human to tend to it.

Keep in mind that the speed at which you answer emails is incredibly important for your relationship-building efforts. Ideally, you would respond within an hour, while responding within four hours is still acceptable. Time is of the essence, and, as a professional, this is a resource that you’re always lacking.

Running your schedule

Running on a tight schedule is difficult, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. However, what about actually making a manageable schedule? 

Sure, a scheduling tool can help you out with that. Some of them are even reading your chats and, since they can understand the context, scheduling your meetings without your input. However, this technology is still crude and not as dependable.

Instead, you want an actuperson, a virtual assistant, to handle your calendars, arrange your schedule, and even remind you of important meetings.

Not to mention that having an assistant to reach out to other attendees makes you appear incredibly professional.

Other than that, an assistant can also help you prepare the materials for these meetings in advance. 

Remember that having to do this on your own is time-consuming. Not only that but we tend to “bend the rules” and overestimate ourselves quite severely. So, when it seems that the schedule is too tight, we add one or two more meetings believing that this is nothing we can’t handle.

Sometimes, an outsider is more objective, especially when given clear guidelines. 

Handling the research

When it comes to the business research, this is a difficult and time-consuming process but it’s not something that requires an incredibly high level of academic competence. 

After all, you’re not asking your assistant to research the latest anti-cancer drug on a molecular level or break things down to the smallest potential component. Instead, what you’re asking for is to do a rudimentary research on the topic and deliver results.

For instance, if you’re in real estate, you can ask them to compile you a list of suitable properties. This means that they’ll go through several local listings and note down every property that fulfills the criteria that you demanded. 

In the majority of fields, you can imagine asking your assistants to do this type of research. The difference in results between you doing the research and someone else doing it is really not that notable. It’s not a difficult task, it’s just time and effort consuming.

Instead of doing it yourself, you can just delegate it to someone else and focus on core tasks instead. 

Customer service

Now, in most fields, just outsourcing customer service is not as satisfactory. A person calling doesn’t want to be connected to someone who’s just mildly associated with a brand through a third party.

Talking to an assistant still means talking to someone within the company. Sure, they’re not the ones calling shots or someone directly providing the services they need, but they’re close enough.

First of all, after they’ve spent enough time in your company (this doesn’t mean years and decades), they’ll have a pretty decent understanding of the majority of the processes. Even if they can answer the same amount of questions as your FAQ page or a chatbot (or even if they’re drawing from these resources), a virtual assistant is still a real human. 

They’re a real employee, a real professional, who is put in charge of solving their problem. This makes your clients/customers feel special. It makes them feel heard, and it earns you a lot of extra points. 

Content creation and management

Now, when we say content creation, the majority of people immediately envision a 4,000+ word whitepaper filled with technical terms and unique case studies. Even if that were the case, with modern writing-assistance tools, this wouldn’t be out of the capabilities of an average virtual assistant.

However, when it comes to blog post content, YouTube channel content, and especially social media content, things are not nearly as complex or demanding. Just think about it: Most of the time, you need to cut a video clip to an appropriate duration, add a filter, and pick appropriate background music.

Even if you have a writer-contributor, you can still have a virtual assistant go through it and compare the content to the guest poster guidelines on your blog. This way, if there’s anything that’s off or outside of the norm, they can edit it or point toward it. 

Wrap up

The key thing to remember is that the responsibilities of an assistant greatly vary. It’s yours to decide and the assistant’s to agree to these terms. Still, the right person in the position of an assistant can make your life so much easier. It’s up to you to make an appropriate arrangement. 

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of Stri.us. He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at Stri.us.

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