Want to hire a virtual executive assistant?
Many professionals today spend most of their time managing finances, handling errands, and tracking customer leads.
But that’s not all.
They also need to research their industry consistently, keep a tab on their competitors, market their businesses, and more.
However, hiring a full-time employee to help with some of these administrative tasks is expensive, especially for a small business.
That’s why you should consider hiring a virtual executive assistant.
They have all the necessary skills to perform managerial tasks and are a cost-effective solution for all businesses.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about virtual executive assistants and how you can manage them effectively.
This article covers:
(click on links to jump to a specific section of the page)
- What Is A Virtual Executive Assistant?
- 3 Key Benefits Of Hiring A Virtual Executive Assistant
- What Tasks Can A Virtual Executive Assistant Perform?
- How To Hire A Virtual Executive Assistant?
- How To Manage Your Virtual Executive Assistant?
Let’s get started.
What is a virtual executive assistant?
A virtual executive assistant is a professional independent contractor who provides administrative support to clients while operating outside the client’s office.
They typically operate in their virtual office and can remotely access the necessary planning documents, such as shared calendars.
They offer a variety of administrative services, like:
- Calendar management
- Data entry and bookkeeping tasks
- Digital marketing, etc.
But why should you hire them?
Getting involved in mundane administrative tasks will leave you with little to no time to grow your business.
An executive virtual assistant can take care of these tedious tasks, freeing up time for you to focus on the more important tasks.
What’s the difference between virtual assistant Vs. virtual executive assistant?
While both virtual assistants and executive virtual assistants are administrative professionals, there’s a difference between the two.
A virtual assistant is an administrative professional who handles several administrative tasks for a business.
Many virtual assistants perform this job as a side-gig and on a part-time basis alongside their regular job.
On the other hand, a remote executive assistant is an administrative professional whose work is chiefly related to supporting the management team.
They especially support business executives using a variety of communication, project management, organizational, and computing skills.
3 key benefits of hiring a virtual executive assistant
Let’s understand the key reasons why you should hire a virtual executive assistant:
1. Optimize business processes
There are several non-core, labor-intensive, and time-consuming tasks that companies have to perform for the efficient functioning of a business.
However, doing these tasks yourself or involving your in-house team in it isn’t the best idea.
It takes away valuable resources and time that you could spend on core tasks that actually need your input, such as understanding client requirements or having to follow up on potential clients.
How can a virtual executive assistant help?
An administrative assistant can manage all these tasks for you remotely.
They’ve experience in such jobs, and therefore know the drill and can complete tasks efficiently in no time. This frees up your staff to focus on core business activities.
2. Save costs
Outsourcing tasks to a remote employee means that you save costs that go into on-site operations like:
- Travel arrangements for the employees and the office assistant.
- Overhead expenses like electricity, internet, and employee’s life insurance.
- Costs involved in getting office equipment.
- Real estate charges of having a physical office.
Additionally, paying a skilled virtual assistant is cheaper than paying an in-house employee.
When you hire an executive virtual assistant, you:
- Pay them usually on an hourly rate and only for the work they do.
- Assign them tasks based on their expertise and minimize the training time.
- Don’t have to provide your virtual assistant the technical tools required for the job.
- Get all the security and assurances of an in-house employee without offering your virtual assistant the benefits of a fixed salary, paid vacation days, etc.
A business owner from places like San Francisco or New York can also delegate non-client facing work to assistants in countries with low cost of living, like the Philippines, for additional cost savings.
3. Declutter your schedule
Routine and repetitive tasks such as answering phone calls, emails, incoming faxes, and other client queries can often take up your time.
A virtual administrative assistant can take care of these everyday tasks so that you can focus on:
- Improving your services and products.
- Taking inventory and preparing orders.
- Managing the human resource process.
- Scaling your business, etc.
You can also free up your time to attend to personal tasks and better fulfill your interpersonal commitments.
This will ensure that you have a healthy relationship with work, and consequently engage better and be more productive!
What tasks can a virtual executive assistant perform?
Let’s look at some common tasks a virtual executive assistant can perform:
1. Calendar management
Calendar management involves meeting and scheduling appointments for:
- Business presentations.
- Team meetings.
- Conducting seminars and workshops.
Outsourcing these tasks to a virtual assistant not only removes one of the major chores of running a business but also ensures that you have more time available when it matters the most.
A remote executive assistant can contact your customers, team members, other professionals, and with their organizational skills, help you:
- Iron out your schedule and manage your workload.
- Keep you posted and remind you of your commitments well in time.
- Help you with supportive tasks such as conducting research, preparing your presentation materials, etc.
- Mark every completed task and give you a summary of everything that was accomplished for the day.
2. Client relationship management
Customer service is always the heart of a good business.
Getting it right helps you maintain a positive reputation among future customers, encourages existing customers to purchase more from your business, and ultimately gives you an edge over your competition.
However, engaging with clients and customers requires a lot of extra resources, time, and money.
Using administrative support from a remote assistant, you can keep clients satisfied as they help you:
- Fulfill orders, track customer purchases, refunds, and billing.
- Look into client complaints and quickly address all escalations.
- Provide 24*7 customer services, get client feedback, solve queries, and respond to your customers’ phone calls, chats, and emails.
This will help you minimize distractions and, at the same time, give clients robust support on your behalf without you having to step away from work to make a customer feel valued.
3. Financial management
Expense reporting is also vital to manage the cash flow of your business and for tax compliance.
So, how can a remote executive assistant help?
With the services of a virtual administrative assistant, you can:
- Manage your expense record, and stay on top of your finances.
- Compute, classify, and record numerical data.
- Prepare invoices and ledgers.
- Ensure that your bills are paid on time.
- Reconcile credit card, client-vendor billing, bank account, and other such statements.
- Prepare financial reports such as net profit, return on investment, etc.
How to hire a virtual executive assistant?
Now that you know the principal tasks that virtual assistants can perform, you should know how to find one, right?
Well, there are two ways you can get virtual assistance:
1. Through virtual assistant agencies
A virtual assistant company is a perfect solution for businesses that have never worked with virtual assistants before.
Hiring virtual assistants through agencies give you several benefits like:
- Tested and experienced virtual assistants to hire.
- Billing based on your requirements, i.e., by the hour or on a project-by-project basis.
- Customer support in case of any issues.
- Changing a specific virtual assistant job service if it isn’t the right fit for you, etc.
Some virtual assistant business you can consider to hire an executive professional include:
Zirtual provides virtual personal assistant services to startups, helps their clients complete tasks, stays organized, and creates time for other pursuits.
Personal assistants provided by Zirtual can:
- Schedule appointments.
- Make travel arrangements.
- Be your project manager.
- Perform internet research on any topic, etc.
Zirtual also recruits college students pursuing a bachelor’s degree and individuals who have excellent communication skills to provide good customer service for a client’s business.
The company offers clients assurance of privacy and confidentiality with their personal information and dedicated and intelligent concierge-level service.
Boldly offers remote assistants based in the United States who put their 10-15 years of experience to help your business build momentum.
It has been providing successful businesses with premium virtual support in:
- Executive assistance
- Project management
- Bookkeeping, and more.
Every client has a dedicated account manager that helps them get started. The manager accompanies them as the client’s requirements evolve.
They make personalized service their highest priority, and the account manager is always just a phone call or email away.
Virtual Employees offer remote assistance for Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across North America and Europe.
They provide a dedicated remote executive assistant who works exclusively for you, just like your in-house hires at lower costs.
These assistants are Indian professionals who match their western counterparts in their skills, qualifications, and proven experience in their respective fields.
Some areas of their specialization include:
- IT outsourcing
- Mobile apps development
- Email management
- Digital marketing
- Content writing
- Multimedia and animation, etc.
2. Hire an individual virtual assistant
Individual virtual assistants are better for an entrepreneur who has experience with executive assistance in the past.
You need to know what you’re looking for in a virtual assistant before hiring an independent contractor.
You need to spend time in the interview process of hiring an ideal candidate. These freelancing sites also don’t usually provide replacement guarantees if things don’t work out with your virtual assistant.
Some sites from where you can direct hire virtual executive assistants are:
Upwork is one of the best freelance marketplaces to get a virtual assistant service. You can find a remote assistant here for almost anything you want.
Apart from a dedicated virtual assistant, you can find plenty of other specialists for social media management and digital marketing to help you build your online brand.
Fiverr is a task-based freelance network that works best for short-term projects.
They offer assistance job service, including project management and a personal executive secretary for completing administrative tasks.
How to manage your virtual executive assistant?
Virtual executive assistants work remotely.
While this significantly reduces costs, it also makes it harder for you to monitor their work and communicate efficiently.
So how do you manage a virtual assistant?
Some of the tools that can help you out here include:
1. Communication tools
Communication tools are tools essential for you to communicate with your virtual assistant.
There are chiefly the following two types of tools imperative for effective communication:
A. Instant messaging tools
- Conversations in real-time
- Searchable message history.
- Categorized group conversations.
- Easy document upload and sharing, etc.
B. Video conferencing tools
Moreover, these tools can help you:
- Have HD audio and video calls.
- Conduct webinars for your virtual team assistants.
- Share your screen with your virtual assistant and instruct them on how to do a task.
- Record communication and save videos for future use, etc.
2. Employee monitoring tools
Employee monitoring tools help you track the work progress and productivity of your remote assistant with ease.
You can use these tools to ensure that your virtual assistant stays engaged during work hours and logs only their active time as billable hours.
One of the best such tools is Time Doctor.
Used by major companies as well as small and medium enterprises like Thrive Market and Firehouse Subs, Time Doctor can help you:
- Create and assign projects to your virtual executive.
- Track the idle time of your virtual assistants and ensure accountability.
- Accurately track the work time of your virtual assistant.
- Get detailed productivity reports of your executive.
- Create payroll, export it in a CSV format, and upload it on tools like Paypal to instantly pay your remote VA.
To stay ahead of the competition, you need to focus on delivering the best possible service and keep clients satisfied.
However, if mundane and repetitive tasks of your business take up most of your time, you might not be able to focus on these goals.
That’s why hiring a virtual executive assistant is critical for your business success.
While hiring a remote assistant may seem complicated, it’s far from the truth!
Just follow all the tips and tools we have suggested in the article to hire your virtual executive assistant – and you’ll be able to amp up your business productivity in no time!
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.