18. Research transportation options. This includes rental cars, rideshare and sometimes even public transportation.
19. Book transportation. Beyond researching these options, your virtual assistant can also book the rest of your transportation — as they do your flights.
20. Arrange for events. Whether it is a special restaurant or meeting space or even a concert, the virtual assistant researches and makes arrangements for you.
21. Suspend newspaper or mail. Your virtual assistant can cut off these regular services when you are traveling.
Whether researching leads on LinkedIn or finding email addresses, there is a lot of leg work in business development. A virtual assistant can do these activities, letting you focus on the personal interactions involved in making sales.
22. Research leads on LinkedIn. B2B businesses (and some B2C businesses) must keep a list of ideal clients. A virtual assistant, following guidance from you, can research LinkedIn and creates a list of prospective clients.
23. Find email addresses. Using databases along with Google, a VA can find email addresses of prospective clients you need to contact.
24. Design presentations. A VA can enhance proposals by finding and inserting a prospect’s logo and changing the text color to match. They can also animate slides as appropriate.
As you scale your business, there will be plenty of management functions that need to get done. You may need to assemble reports for clients. This may simply mean putting together a lot of data you may already have. There are other management functions — like recruiting more people to your team. You can easily delegate some of this to your virtual assistant.
25. Assemble reports. A VA can create KPI reports at pre-determined intervals to track progress.
26. Help to recruit employees. The competition for good people is tougher than the competition for employees. VAs screen LinkedIn for prospective employees based on criteria that you provide.
Does doing the books or sending invoices fill you with dread? Why not have your VA do this stuff instead.
27. Maintain the books. With a little training, virtual assistants can review and match transactions and handle monthly reconciliations.
28. Create and send invoices. With the help of templates, a VA can create invoices and send them to clients.
29. Chase down payments. All companies should have an accounts receivable process. virtual assistants can follow that process and collect A/R. The process can include escalation to the business owner or someone else when appropriate.
You’ve got a personal life too. Making restaurant reservations and sending gifts takes time. But they’re extremely important for maintaining your personal relationships. And you’re supposed to be running a business at the same time? Get your virtual assistant to help.
30. Make personal restaurant reservations. Armed with personal preferences and log in details for booking sites like Open Table, VAs can book restaurant reservations and then invite the guests.
31. Make purchases. Sometimes even Amazon doesn’t have what you need and the purchase process is too time-consuming. A virtual assistant can shop online and get you what you need.
32. Research and send gifts. When a gift card won’t do, your assistant can look for something unique and make it happen.
33. Manage the logistics for your hobby. Whether finding and arranging a studio for your garage band or arranging the details of your book club, a VA can take the tedious details off your plate enabling you to rock (or read) on.
34. Track down problem orders. When an order doesn’t arrive on time, a virtual assistant can do the waiting-on-hold and get to the bottom of it while keeping you updated.
35. Manage the family calendar. This is another simple personal task your virtual assistant can take off your plate.
36. Schedule medical appointments. With birthdates and insurance details, a VA can schedule doctor visits and even start to fill-out those annoying forms.
37. Pay personal bills. For those vendors you don’t buy from regularly or who don’t have online payment options, a virtual assistant can pay the bills.
38. Call stores to get information. Whether you are looking for a hard-to-find bottle of scotch or a gift, a VA will make the calls to find the store that has what you are looking for.
Your job as a small business owner is planning for your company’s future. As a result, you want to focus on creating new products and services — and other projects that will take your business to the next level. So maybe you should leave jobs like filling out online forms and handling file management to someone else.
39. Fill out online forms. A virtual assistant equipped with company information can fill out forms including subscribing to SaaS products.
40. Take notes from webinars. Sometimes you would like the information from a webinar but don’t want to invest the time to watch — even for on-demand! A VA “attends” and provides the notes.
41. Convert files. Have a PDF but need a jpeg? A VA can convert it for you.
42. Conduct research. A virtual assistant can conduct first-level research for decisions that need to be made, such as which SaaS product to choose.
43. Set up projects in your project management system. A VA can set up the project and then invite the appropriate participants.
44. Handle file management. Whether you use Dropbox or a local server for file management, a virtual assistant ensures that files are put in the right place with the right filename. He or she also ensures that the right people have access.
45. Schedule social media. A VA takes your social media posts and schedules them per your process.
46. Proofread and edit letters, blogs and presentations. One of the great risks you run when you get overloaded is that mistakes may creep into your work. So your virtual assistant can help you with that.
47. Maintain a virtual assistant manual. Most business owners love processes but hate making or sticking to them. A VA keeps a manual of how to do their tasks. This comes in quite handy when a virtual assistant is out sick.
Things a Virtual Assistant Does Not Do
Of course, there are a few things your virtual assistant won’t do. You needn’t worry about a virtual assistant’s attitude if you ask them to do something. A VA does not:
- Roll his or her eyes at you. At least you won’t see it if it happens! And you won’t “hear” it in any communication.
- Require a bigger office or another desk. These folks won’t be sharing your office space, so there’s no need to make extra room.
- Interject drama. With virtual assistants you won’t have big egos to coddle. You won’t need to walk on eggshells or worry about gossip overriding professionalism. The nature of the relationship being long distance means office drama is nonexistent.
Next Steps to Get a Virtual Assistant
- Identify the tasks in your business that would be best to outsource. Hint: Focus on tasks that do not require your expertise. Ask yourself if the task is the best use of your time or would be better done by someone else?
- Use services like Work Better Now to identify virtual assistants that fit your needs.
Whether you want to scale your business, stop doing tasks that annoy you or just want more free time, a VA is a game changer. I think you can see hiring a virtual assistant could be key to your success. Hope this helps you decide whether a VA is right for your business.
For more information about virtual assistants, read:
- How to Succeed in Your Small Business While Doing Less with Virtual Assistants?
- 22 Secrets to Hiring the Right Virtual Assistant
All answers to reader questions come from the Small Business Trends Editorial Board, with more than 50 years of combined business experience. If you would like to submit a question, please submit it here.