Hire a Virtual Executive Assistant

An executive assistant tends to be one of the most visible people in the office. But these days, handling administrative duties, operating the phones, and making life easier for the people running the business can easily be handled virtually.

What You Can Do with a Virtual Executive Assistant

The more accurate question might be: what can’t they do? If you hire a virtual executive assistant, you’ll find that they can fulfill many of the same duties as an on-site executive assistant, including:

  • Administrative duties. Handling your calendar, managing your files, trimming down your email inbox, answering and directing phone calls—each of these duties no longer requires an on-site executive assistant to take handle them.
  • Scheduling. Need an event planned? An appointment scheduled on your behalf? A virtual executive assistant allows you to delegate all of these tasks.
  • Specialized tasks. A virtual executive assistant should be capable of handling the work that your specific company requires. For instance, there is virtual paralegal work that requires specialized certification. 
  • Project management. A virtual executive assistant can take on the work of a project manager, which requires experience with specific platforms and technical knowledge related to each project. They can help coordinate team members via email/messaging platforms and ensure notifications, reminders, follow-ups, are happening as necessary.
  • Travel arrangements. 
  • Writing and editing. Need a once-over on a rough draft, or an extra set of eyes on a presentation you’re going to give? A virtual executive assistant can work through these documents to provide editing.
  • Remote office management. A virtual executive assistant can carry out functions like bookkeeping, invoices, accounts payable/receivable, and payroll.
Virtual Executive Assistant with Headset

Common Scenarios for the Virtual Executive Assistant

Still having trouble imagining how it will play out in your daily life? Here are a few scenarios that might provide a clearer picture: 

  • Email & Calendar Management: You want to schedule a meeting with your team, but it also requires getting remote workers on the same page. Rather than play “inbox tag” all day with multiple parties, you can outsource this work to a virtual executive assistant whose role it is to get everyone on the same schedule. And with the assistant managing your inbox and calendar, you’ll never have to see an email.
  • Phone Support: You want to minimize distractions, but you don’t want to ignore client phone calls. A phone system that directs incoming phone calls to a remote virtual executive assistant means you won’t have to step away from work to make a client feel valued.
  • Data Entry & Finance Tasks: Year-end planning gets in the way of spending more time away for the holidays, and it includes some of your least-favorite tasks: data entry, expense reporting, and more. Outsourcing this work to a virtual assistant not only removes one of the major chores of running a business, but helps ensure that you have more available time when it matters most.

Signs You Need a Virtual Executive Assistant

It’s hard to argue that an executive assistant wouldn’t make your life running a business much more smooth. But how can you tell when you’re ready to create a role like this? What are the signs that you’re sorely in need of a virtual executive assistant yourself?

Virtual vs. Hiring: The Advantages

For many businesses, hiring a virtual assistant is an affordable alternative to hiring a full-time employee. Not only does it mean avoiding the expensive benefits that come with keeping a full-time employee on the payroll, but it also offers logistical advantages: you don’t have to rely on a virtual assistant living anywhere near your office.

Using a virtual assistant also means that you can decouple your work from your location. Rather than relying on an assistant who’s tethered to a desk, you can outsource work to a remote location. In some cases, that even means having a virtual assistant work on your projects while you sleep.

The Growing Trend of Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants are no longer a niche interest. They’re a vital part of getting business done for an ever-increasing amount of people. 80% of large corporations are planning on expanding their use of flexible workers, including contract workers like virtual assistants.

Saving Money

How much does it cost to keep an employee around? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average cost to employers was $36.61 per hour in June of 2019. That includes over $25 in average hourly wages and $11.48 in averaging the costs of benefits.

In other words, a full-time employee is expensive.

You can save money by purchasing time from a virtual assistant directly. According to BestOfBudgets.com, a virtual assistant can help save as much as 78% on operating costs per year. And with a virtual assistant provider, you won’t be expected to pay benefits. It comes down to a simple transaction: hours worked. 

Getting More Done

As your business grows, you’ll eventually run into a wall: you only have so many hours in the day. No matter how hard you work, you can’t get around this fact. Businesses only grow once they understand that they can expand their productive capacity by hiring help. Not only does hiring a virtual assistant add to the overall capacity of your business, but it makes the hours you spend in the office that much more efficient. 

But “more efficient” is vague. What are some specific ways you can use a virtual assistant to enhance the way you do business?

  • Improving performance. Let’s say that you have too many potential clients to follow up with—at least when it comes to offering that personal touch in which your company places so much pride. A virtual assistant can bring the human element back to your business without requiring you to sacrifice more of your time. 
  • Improving communication. Having a virtual assistant serve as a point of contact for multiple people can not only make it easier to wrangle disparate remote employees together, but can improve communication even at large companies with plenty of on-site workers.
  • Improving follow-ups. When your business is growing, one of the hardest things to do is to follow up with potential clients and leads. Not only is there too much to keep track of, but your email inbox can become a veritable maze of unfinished conversations. Outsourcing this work to a virtual executive assistant will be a major boost to your productivity and ability to stay in touch.

How to Get Started with Your Virtual Executive Assistant

Let’s say you’re convinced. You know that a virtual assistant is a great way to improve your efficiency and help your business grow—not to mention improving your day-to-day experience. The only question is, what’s next?

If the process seems intimidating at first, keep in mind that it’s only the initial steps that you need to break down into their smaller components. Once you have your virtual assistant working with you, you’ll immediately notice an improvement in productivity and available time. The issue is how to get there as smoothly as possible. Here are our ideas:

  • Sign up. Simply get started with an account! 
  • Connect with a customer success manager. This will help ensure that the remainder of the steps go smoothly.
  • Get paired with a VA. Before you think about training any executive VA for your team, you’ll want to pair with one that has the skills and experience to handle everything you’ll throw at them.
  • Plug the VA in to your business. Let the VA know what kinds of processes they’ll be expected to participate in, and make sure that you have a document outlining some of the essential steps for adapting to your company. See the FAQ below for more information.

Get Started with Your Virtual Executive Assistant

Ready to save money while your company grows and you free up more of your time?
There’s no time like the present to try out your first virtual executive assistant.

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FAQ on Virtual Executive Assistants

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about virtual executive assistants:

What separates a virtual executive assistant from any other virtual assistant?

A virtual executive assistant will need to possess the communication skills necessary to handle all of the responsibilities of an executive assistant remotely. Typically, an executive assistant.

What does a virtual assistant offer?

It depends! Virtual assistants come with a wide range of experience and skill sets. A virtual executive assistant, in this case, should be able to handle the rigors of managing office life. They should also be proficient in bookkeeping, data entry, email, and more. Most of all, they should have excellent communication skills and be adaptable enough to the way you do business that they can fit in seamlessly.

What does a virtual assistant need to get started?

They’ll need to know how to perform their most frequent tasks in an efficient way. You can help out by giving them a version of your employee handbook or, failing that, even put together a brief document that explains some of the essential functions you’ll expect them to carry out. You’ll also need to make sure that a virtual assistant has all of the appropriate log-ins and permissions to access everything you need them to access.

What traits should I look for in a virtual executive assistant?

This will vary from person to person, but one of the most important aspects of virtual assisting is the ability to communicate without undercommunicating or overcommunicating. Overcommunicators can simply add levels of bureaucracy, and undercommunicators can make it more difficult to get things done.

What kinds of tasks should I assign my virtual executive assistant?

The most common tasks tend to include communications, email management, data entry, bookkeeping, expense reports, and more. But the simplest answer to this question is that you should look for the tasks that are taking up a lot of your time without generating a lot of value for you personally. For example, if you have a lot of data entry to do throughout the day, then training a VA to take over that aspect of your daily routine will be an important way to free up your time.

What won’t a virtual executive assistant do?

The simple rule of thumb is to treat your virtual executive assistant with the respect required by any other employee. After all, they’ll essentially be taking on the tasks an employee would otherwise take on. While they might not be marketers or salespeople with those specific skills (and they’re best suited for office administration tasks), it’s important that you don’t make them out to be cheaper versions of the experts you would otherwise hire. For example, a virtual assistant can be great at sending out invoices and following up on bills--but you might not want to put them in charge of your marketing department because you don’t want to pay the salary of a VP of Marketing.

What if the virtual assistant gets something wrong?

Early on, be sure to follow up on your virtual assistant to make sure that they’re completing everything to your satisfaction. The more experienced they are in how your company works, the more efficient they’ll be.  Keep in mind that virtual assistants will continue to learn and adapt as long as you communicate openly and provide feedback. They’ll perform better over time as you give them the necessary feedback to improve.

What is the background of my virtual executive assistant?

It will vary! Many virtual assistants tend to be generalists, however, with backgrounds in being office assistants or personal assistants, which makes them ideally suited to handling administrative duties.

Who benefits most from leveraging virtual executive assistants?

Anyone who needs to free up more time! That tends to include C-level management, small business owners, freelancers, entrepreneurs, executives, and any busy professional who can use more time in their day to focus on key, high-level tasks rather than the day-to-day administration of the office.