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All entrepreneurs by nature are risk-takers; they like to be in charge of where their business is headed.
But today’s entrepreneurs are wired differently from those who grew up with the typewriter.
Today’s entrepreneur believes technology allows him a greater measure of control. This is why he tends to be more confident in finding technology-based solutions than people-based solutions. So if you suggest hiring a virtual assistant when business starts to scale up, he may give you the “are you still living in the Dark Ages?” look.
For him, people’s emotions make them flawed and unpredictable. He would not have the same measure of control as he would with technology.
But as technology has evolved, so has the VA. Virtual assistants have embraced technology as much as the entrepreneur. (Perhaps even more because technology is the engine that runs their business.)
Can a software program identify a change in demand or market preference on the fly?
No. You need empathy and keen human observation for that.
Instead of looking at emotion as a handicap, view it as an asset that allows for adaptability and flexibility.
Here are 10 ways a virtual assistant can help your creative business:
1: Administrative support
The foundation of virtual assistance work is administrative support because it is responsible for creating efficiency; the cornerstone of which is the ability to organize.
- E-mail filtering
- Calendar management
- Limited communication preparation
- Business transcription
This is why, regardless of skill, any virtual assistant should provide above-board administrative support.
[Tweet “Too busy? Look to outsource administrative support first. #freelancing”]
Most start-ups and small businesses fail because of poor internal control systems such as effective money management.
All businesses regardless of size should be regularly appraised on their financial position via cash flow statements, cash disbursement schedules and income statements.
These are valuable references that guide you on how to fund projects or strategies without compromising operations.
The VA for accounting can also do the following:
- Cash receipts
- Inventory management
What exactly should you know about your financials? Read more here:
- How to master your cash flow in under 60 minutes per day
- 3 big finance myths successful creatives don’t fall for
- 8 Vital financial terms all freelance designers should know
Whether you’re expanding your services or working on a project in a new-to-you industry, get valuable information about your clients’ field and competition without having to do it yourself.
Virtual assistants adept in conducting comprehensive market research can provide the following (and more):
- Industry statistics
- Market trends
- Technology updates
- Consumer demand
- Competitor analysis
You’ll also have the advantage of an objective, third-party perspective on your market study.
[Tweet “No time for research? Hire a VA to provide a market study on your next client. #creativebusinesstips”]
4: Social media management
With more than 3 billion daily users of the Internet, nearly a million websites and a multitude of online social networking platforms, making social media really work for you can be ridiculously time-intensive.
Instead, hire a virtual assistant with experience and expertise to implement strategy, purpose and consistency in a social media campaign.
- Qualifying focus groups
- Qualifying contacts
- E-mail marketing
- Conceptualization of calls-to-action
5: Website management
Making time for your own business is one of the toughest tasks to follow through on. So while you may redesign or update your own site, you may never find the time to actually implement it (or find someone who can).
Also, if your website breaks down, every second that passes could potentially translate to foregone income through lost opportunities.
So stop putting it off! Hire a virtual assistant who can maintain your website.
A VA for website management can provide the following services:
- Website upgrades and maintenance
- Website integrity and data protection
- Moderation services for website and social media accounts
6: Design support
Hate looking for stock photography? Got a ton of images to resize/rename?
Or maybe you just need someone to organize your project file structure (and keep it that way) so your project files are always super-easy to use.
A VA for graphic design support can do the following:
- Update images
- Find suitable stock photography/videography
- Prepare and organize project assets
- Archive projects and back up file systems
[Tweet “Need an extra set of skilled hands? Hire a virtual assistant. #worksmarter”]
7: Phone / Skype handling
Every business needs to make and receive phone calls. Some people just prefer a more personal approach to addressing concerns and issues.
A VA tasked with phone handling can also conduct the following services:
- Appointment setting
- Inbound call handling
- Client follow-ups*
* Never heard back from a client? It’s probably not personal. Read this post about a $5/month tool that earns one company thousands every week.
8: CRM management
Keeping all of your clients’ information organized and updated requires work, and often good CRM (customer relations management) software. The same goes for updating project statuses and keeping clients apprised of project progress.
There are lots of great CRM for freelancers on the market and a VA who is entrusted with CRM management duties can do the following:
- Data entry
- Data updates
- Data management
- Client communications
Statistics have shown that businesses that blog generate 53% more traffic than businesses that don’t. But not all blogs are created equal.
In addition to blogging, a talented VA for writing can render the following services:
- Guest posts
- Product reviews
- Web copy
- Marketing copy
10: Project management
This is where you “put it all together,” especially if you have assembled a team of virtual assistants for specific tasks. A project manager makes sure everything is on schedule and that the left-hand knows what the right hand is doing.
And that leaves you with a ton of extra time to do the creative work you want and love to do!
For creative entrepreneurs, a virtual assistant is not only a viable but valuable option to give you more time and space to handle more clients and make more money.
And more than just managing the day-to-day activities of your business, having a virtual assistant will allow you to breathe and realize there is life outside work!
Have you ever hired a VA?
Do you have any questions or concerns about how to find the perfect one? Leave a note in the comments – I’d love to hear from you. 🙂
Check out these posts on the benefits of building a team:
- 34 Business tasks you should stop doing & hire virtual staff for
- Should you hire a virtual assistant? A freelancer’s cheat sheet
- Why every freelancer should hire at least one person
- Terrified to hire your first employee? 5 comforting words of advice
- How to find, hire, and work with a great accountant
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I might have to hire out some work in coming months so I can keep up with more important tasks.
This is a great list! There are so many posts out there about outsourcing that don’t give any specific details about exactly WHAT you should be outsourcing. Of course, it’s different for everyone, but this is very helpful.
I always outsource interview transcriptions, since that’s such a huge time suck. I’ve been thinking about outsourcing some research, too, since that’s one aspect of my work I don’t really enjoy.
Also wanted to point out – freelance bloggers like me often include blog/website management services (like comment moderation, updates, etc.) as well! It’s all part of the package.
Do you have any recommendations on where to start looking for a VA?
I’ve had good luck searching on LinkedIn. You could also ask around your network, groups you participate in, etc.
My sister currently handles ALOT of my social media inquiries. It’s great because it allows me to provide personalized customer service without having to worry about getting behind on my work.
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