Running a business can leave entrepreneurs with so much on their plates. After all, as a business owner, you’re in charge and accountable for everyone and every aspect of your enterprise. So, you need to ensure that day-to-day operations and strategies are cost-effective to stay ahead of the competition.
Understandably, you may find yourself spread thin. On top of that, all the pressure and responsibility can make entrepreneur burnout inevitable. Apart from learning how to effectively delegate tasks to your employees, consider enlisting the help of a virtual assistant (VA). Hiring a virtual assistant can be the best option for you, especially if you don’t have the budget to hire a new full-time in-house employee.
Statistics show that with VAs onboard, businesses can hit their target productivity and efficiency levels by 13% more and reduce operating costs by a whopping 78%. But, of course, you can only reap the benefits of VA if you hire the right person with the right skill. In this infographic, we break down the soft skills and hard skills that characterize an ideal VA.
Anatomy of an Exceptional Virtual Assistant: 9 Skills to Look for
The benefits of hiring a VA are only as good as the skill sets they possess. During the recruitment process, business owners and managers can pose virtual assistant interview questions to help them land a well-rounded VA with the right mix of soft or interpersonal skills and hard or technical skills.
1. Excellent Time Management Skills
Time management is one of the best qualities of virtual assistants. Many of them work from a different time zone from their clients, which means their 9-to-5 may be different from you, too.
This fact requires VAs to plan their daily schedules and adjust their working hours, even if that means being awake and working in the wee hours of the night, attending to communications and tasks as they come from you and your customers who are on the opposite side of the world.
Working across different time zones also means VAs can have multiple clients. Although it’s not necessary for clients looking for VA services to know these details, a responsible VA will ensure that they stick to specific arrangements regarding working hours or project deadlines with each client.
2. Proactive Attitude
Being proactive or having initiative is the mark of an ideal VA. If you’re trying your hand in setting up a virtual marketplace, it would help if your ecommerce virtual assistants have sufficient background in running an online store, including processing orders, sending invoices, and tracking inventory.
A proactive VA will get these things done and so much more. You need only share your business goals, and they will take proactive steps to help you achieve them. For instance, if you aren’t leveraging social media enough to expand your brand’s market reach, a gem of a VA will not let these things slide but act swiftly to let you know of better alternatives or strategies.
3. Resourceful Spirit and Problem-Solving Abilities
Virtual assistants work remotely and independently from their clients’ in-house teams, requiring them to be self-reliant. As long as VAs have access to the systems or tools you’re using, they can work their way around any hiccups. You don’t have to check in regularly on how virtual assistant tasks are being handled. Instead, you can focus on critical business functions that need your urgent attention.
When faced with a challenging task, you can trust that your VA will find a way to deliver. An excellent VA will use their good judgment to accomplish a difficult task by any means necessary—provided, of course, that the VA does it within reasonable limits or authority.
This trait is significantly more impactful if the client-VA working relationship has been deeply established. The longer a VA has worked with you, the better grasp they will have on how you want the issue addressed. With that knowledge, your VA can take care of the more minor matters and let you focus on the bigger picture.
4. Virtue of Self-Discipline
The fact that VAs are not in the same office as you can work both ways. On the one hand, it means they are free to work as they please; on the other, it can be an excellent training ground for VAs to adopt positive work habits, including self-discipline.
A professional VA will find a way to deliver what’s expected of them, ignoring all non-work-related matters that can take them away from their job. You can count on them to tune out distractions that come with flexible remote work arrangements so that they can stay focused on accomplishing the tasks you delegated to them.
5. Tech Know-How
Remote VA jobs are on the rise, thanks to cloud technologies. Whether you are in another city, town, or country, collaborating with VAs is not a problem. Highly experienced VAs know their way around several digital tools and how to leverage them for your business.
Proficiency in Google Drive, Dropbox, and other cloud-based file-sharing platforms is an essential hard skill any VA can boast. This means that you can work smoothly with a VA regardless of your different locations. Additionally, an excellent VA will know how to use the proper file-sharing settings, so you can review, update, or edit their outputs directly.
6. Administrative Skills
A day in the life of a VA will involve plenty of administrative functions. They may start the day by checking emails, confirming meetings or appointments, updating calendars—the whole gamut of routine tasks that determines what needs to be done at any given time.
It’s very rare for VAs not to be knowledgeable in the full suite of Google apps, including email, calendar, or meet, as these tools help them keep track of many things in one place.
7. Proficiency in Online Communication Tools
Virtual communication typically takes place via email. However, you and your VA can use instant messaging platforms for faster means of exchanging messages. Besides having chat features, apps like Google Chat, Slack, Viber, and Zoom have audio-visual capabilities where clients and VAs can go on a meeting mode.
A true-blue VA will know how to use or have had plenty of experience using the slew of online communication tools available today. After all, with the remote working setup, it is only natural for these tools to be second nature to them.
8. Spreadsheet Skills
VA services cater to a wide variety of industries that may have highly specific requirements. However, whether you’re looking for a real estate virtual assistant, financial service virtual assistant, or a general administrative VA, spreadsheet proficiency is an essential hard skill any VA worth their salt will have.
With this know-how, you can assign data entry tasks to your VA or ask them to prepare business presentations with the appropriate data visualizations through Microsoft Excel or Google Sheet and even do your expense tracking on your behalf.
Skilled VAs Within Your Reach
Businesses of any size have a lot to benefit from hiring VAs who possess a good mix of soft skills and hard skills. Multi-skilled VAs can significantly contribute to your company’s overall growth.
Outsource Access has a full roster of top-tier talents, so you have highly skilled virtual assistants within your reach. These professionals have passed rigorous testing and vetting to ensure that they meet the standards needed to provide you with exceptional service to supercharge your productivity and growth.
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