A general virtual assistant, also known as GVA basically does the same work as a Personal Assistant, Secretary and Office Administrator all in one, only difference is they deliver work online. The trend these days is to hire offshore GVAs in developing countries as the labour cost is lower yet you can still get access to quality staff and graduates.
When offshoring the role of GVA, you can either hire home-based virtual assistants or office-based virtual general assistants. Both options have their pros and cons and your eventual choice would really depend on the stage of your business and your end goal.
The role of virtual general assistants as the name implies is not a specialist role so ensure that you align your expectations accordingly. Don’t expect your GVA to suddenly transform into a content writer, SEO specialist, video and/or audio editor, web developer, designer, telemarketer, sales specialist, accountant and the like all in one. Unfortunately no such super human exists.
However, the good news is that there are a myriad of tasks that you can outsource to your virtual assistant staff to give you more freedom and save you lots of money in your business.
Below are 30 tasks that you can outsource to a general virtual assistant to save you time and money:
1. Online Chat Management (respond to enquiries from your online chat feature on your website)
2. Answer support tickets (via online software such as Zendesk)
3. Email Management/Filtering (so you can keep your sanity with an organized inbox)
4. Follow up with clients (send happy anniversary emails, thank you emails, happy birthday emails etc.)
5. Calendar Management
6. Manage and/or Filter Responses to Recruitment Advertisements (based on your criteria)
7. Set up Autoresponders (eg. on enewsletter platforms like Mailchimp, Aweber)
8. Set-up Social Media Accounts (Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube)
9. Manage and update Social Media Accounts
10. Book appointments with clients
11. Liaise between you and other internal/external contacts
12. Light Receptionist Duties (answer occasional calls)
13. Research (gather important content on certain topics for blog posts, newsletters or others)
14. Data Mine (gather potential leads from online sources such as yellow pages, association websites and so on based on criteria you provided and compile potential leads on an excel spreadsheet)
15. Database Management (eg. update email or contact lists on your CRM)
16. File Management (organize files using Livedrive, Dropbox)
17. Handle personal errands (hotel and/or flight bookings, purchase online gifts for loved ones / family members)
18. Record minutes of meetings
19. Create basic reports (reports on weekly tasks, sales etc.)
20. Prepare Slideshows (Powerpoint Presentations)
21. Share Slideshows on online platforms such as Slideshare
22. Transcribe (transcribe voicemail, video or audio, podcasts etc.)
23. Manage your Blog (Basic WordPress)
24. Publish posts on your Blog (content you provided)
25. Filter and reply to comments on your blog (according to criteria you provided)
26. Blog comments (to create more links to your website)
27. Participate in discussion forums or message (to increase your brand awareness and promote your site)
28. Upload products to your ecommerce website (basic level, no coding)
29. Organize product pricing (on excel spreadsheet with price markup formulas you provided)
30. Follow up outstanding invoices or unpaid bills
When outsourcing the above tasks to a GVA, you will need to train your virtual assistant staff according to your business policies, systems and processes including how to use certain tools and software that they might not have used before. Assumptions are the mother of all muck-ups so ensure you provide comprehensive training. You should have training manuals in place for effective training of your virtual assistant staff. It normally takes about 8-12 weeks for a virtual assistant to get familiarized with your business. Be patient and you’ll reap the benefits of having a VGA.
If you have outsourced to a GVA in a developing country, how was your experience? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below.