our everyday life

What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?

by Maureen Malone

Hiring a virtual assistant allows you to delegate routine jobs, tasks you can't do and even things you simply don't want to do. Virtual assistants work remotely via phone and a computer with Internet access to complete jobs for businesses, such as appointment-setting, creating marketing materials and managing email. They also can help people manage their personal life.

Financial Tasks

Virtual assistants can help you with bookkeeping and finances. They use bookkeeping software to manage accounts payable and receivable, create and mail invoices and send past-due notices to clients. In addition, you can provide account and login information to trusted virtual assistants so they can set up online payments or prepare checks for you to sign and mail.

Database

Assistants can manage client databases virtually. This includes adding new leads and prospective clients, updating client information and removing clients with invalid contact information. They also can use the database to sort clients for a specific marketing campaign. For example, your VA can help you target clients based on the types of products or services they purchased from you in the past or by demographics such as age or location.

Research

VAs conduct and compile research for a variety of purposes. For example, your assistant can research the latest news and get details on your target audience for an upcoming marketing campaign or presentation. He also can help you research new employees and business contacts. If you use a blog or newsletter, your VA can research trending topics and compile the information you need to compose your article. Your VA also can help you research hotels, flights, rental cars and locations for a business event or personal trip.

Document Creation

A virtual assistant may create and format email, newsletters, blog posts or articles. You can provide the content, or your assistant can help you create the content from an outline you provide. VAs also can create online presentations using a program such as PowerPoint and produce a variety of marketing materials, including business cards, flyers and brochures.

Events

VAs help you plan online or in-person events. For online events, they can work to set up the conference line or webinar, coordinate speakers, conduct a sound and video check with presenters and provide troubleshooting during the event. They may record, edit and format the audio or video so you can resell the presentation. For in-person events, your assistant can research and book locations, rent and arrange delivery of equipment and communicate with the venue staff to resolve problems throughout the event.

Internet Marketing

Your VA can help you with an Internet marketing campaign for your business, posting online classified ads, submitting articles to directories, sending out regular tweets and Facebook posts and monitoring and responding to questions and comments on Facebook and Twitter. Your VA also can monitor analytics and tracking on your accounts to determine what campaigns are most effective. Assistants can help you manage offline advertising such as researching publications for print ads, submitting print ads and graphics and sending news releases to the media.

Communications

Assistants may review your mail, respond to routine requests, fulfill orders and fax or forward urgent matters to you. You can give your VA access to your email accounts so she can respond customer service questions, requests and problems. In addition, your VA can create and monitor an autoresponder for website visitors. VAs also collect and respond to phone messages.

Other Tasks

Virtual assistants also perform project management, scheduling, ordering supplies and equipment, transcribing audios and helping with website development and design. VAs not only must be proficient in performing the tasks and duties their clients require, but they also are responsible for running their own business. This includes tracking their income, paying taxes, billing clients and marketing their business.

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