According to a 2012 report by the Virtual Assistant Assistant, the use of virtual assistants is growing as more companies feel comfortable with having remote staff take care of projects. In fact, according to the survey, two-thirds noted that they did not care where their virtual assistant was located just as long as they were within reach of regular communication.

Here are some of the top invoicing tools for virtual assistants that will help you to be better at your job and bill your clients on time.

Expectations, Pay, and Primary Challenges

Virtual assistants often take care of both professional and personal business for executives, including projects like travel planning, scheduling, online research, and business correspondence. Other tasks can include database entry, bookkeeping, social tasks and prep work.

In return, virtual assistants receive an average wage of $45,000 per year, which, according to Simply Hired, is slightly higher than an office assistant, but provides the freedom to work from home and enjoy a more flexible work environment.

However, according to Virtual Assistant Assistant, many virtual assistants work varied hours in more of an on-demand role versus retainer format. Despite not being able to provide a consistent number of hours, the majority of these executives (3 out of 4 surveyed) wanted a dedicated point of contact for this virtual assistance.

A 2012 Freelance Industry Report found that the biggest challenges a virtual assistant faces is finding clients, dealing with the feast-or-famine cycle, creating a work/life balance and managing time. This leads many to keep a client base while looking for new clients. While this helps with maintaining a regular income flow, it is working in this on-demand way and serving as a virtual assistant to many different executives that can turn managing time into a major challenge.

Increasing Cash Flow

As part of this time management, it is important to track your time as you volley back and forth between clients to complete a project or assignment. Many virtual assistant arrangements are based on an hourly rate, but during those hours you might actually be doing many projects for different clients all at the same time.

Although the 2012 Freelance Industry Report noted that getting paid on time was not as big a challenge for virtual assistants as it was for other freelancers, it is still important to focus on ensuring positive cash flow.

Other issues might include accounting for payments in local currency for any foreign clients as well as tracking any different tax systems.

Finding an Online Invoicing Tool for Virtual Assistant Projects

Virtual assistants can use online invoicing tools that provide a way to manage their time effectively and track each and every minute they spend on projects plus address these other challenges:

  • Use a time tracker that keeps track of how much time you spend on each project and client so that you have this information available when it comes time to bill at the end of each pay period.
  • If your client has you working on projects in other online systems like Basecamp, which is often used for virtual environments, make sure you work with a time tracker and invoicing tool that provides a way to import those projects for easier time management and billing.
  • Create an invoice that represents your virtual assistant business, including a logo, if you have one. Having a template to use saves you time and hassle so you don’t have to spend extra time each month creating a new invoice. Make sure your template includes your contact information, an invoice number and date, and specific information about time, projects, and costs. Also, make your payment terms clear so your client knows when you expect to be paid.
  • Use an online invoice tool that provides a way to email the invoice in a PDF so the client has something delivered straight to their inbox.
  • Make sure you select an online invoicing tool that offers a payment gateway so your client can simply click on the invoice and go straight to a place to pay with a credit card, bank account transfer, or some other payment option. Providing this type of convenience often speeds payment.
  • Opt for an invoicing tool that can work with numerous types of currencies and tax systems so that it does all the math and conversions necessary to get you paid correctly. With fluctuating exchange rates, it is good to just have a real-time invoicing tool that calculates it for you.
  • Look for an invoicing tool that also allows you to use it from multiple devices. The beauty of being a virtual assistant is that you can get work done wherever you are at, so having an invoicing tool that works from your tablet or phone while you are on the go as well as from your desktop is ideal.

These are all invoicing tools that can speed the invoicing process and enhance your image as a professional virtual assistant. No one will ever know that you are sitting in your robe or relaxing by the pool as you hit the send button on that invoice.

 

Source: https://due.com/blog/online-invoicing-tools-for-virtual-assistants/

If you feel like it’s time to hire your first employee for your business, consider hiring a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant acts as a contractor so you don’t have to pay extensive payroll taxes, and you can have them work as much or as little as you want from week to week.

A virtual assistant can complete a range of tasks for you from answering emails to calling people to writing blog posts to just about anything you can dream up. I personally have had a virtual assistant for my business for the last two years, and she has been an amazing help when it comes to helping me manage the small day to day tasks in my business that seem to take up a lot of time. In fact, I view her as my secret weapon.

Here’s why a virtual assistant could be your secret weapon too:

They Give You More Time to Do What You Love

There are many tasks to complete when you run a business. You don’t always get to do the one thing you love all the time. For example, the thing I love the most about my business is writing. However, my business would fail if I just wrote all day every day. There is accounting to do, social media channels to manage, and emails to go through each and every day. My virtual assistant helps with a lot of these things, so that I can spend more time doing what I love.

They Can Give Bad News Instead of You

Many people contact business owners to ask them to work with them or give a donation. If a partnership is not a good fit for your company or you don’t want to give a donation to a particular organization, you can ask your assistant to respond to them and let them down gently. Hey, don’t judge. You don’t want to be the bad guy either.

They Can Double Your Promotion Efforts

I often ask my virtual assistant to help me promote blog posts on social media. She schedules out posts that I write for clients, but I also organically promote blog posts, articles, and people I come across that I like. Because I don’t outsource this 100% to her and still do a little myself, it’s like I have double the promotion efforts. If you have a good relationship with your virtual assistant, they can also help you make connections and can refer you to people they work with as well. This not only helps you but it helps them too since the more your business grows, the more you can pay them and keep them on your payroll.

They Can Really Help Your Business Grow

Ultimately, a virtual assistant‘s overall goal is to help your business grow. By helping you complete smaller tasks that take up unnecessary time, their mere existence will help your business to grow. So many entrepreneurs are scared to give someone else a few tasks to do, but you have to outsource in order to make a higher income and reach more people. So, if you want your business to become more successful, consider hiring a virtual assistant today.

 

Source: https://due.com/blog/why-a-virtual-assistant-could-be-your-secret-weapon/

More professionals, especially young professionals, want to work remotely. The option to work remotely can help significantly with the illusive work-life balance.

A rise in the freelance economy has made it possible for this work preference to be successful. Of course, there are lots of different types of freelance businesses you can choose to start. But one way I’ve found great success with freelancing is by offering virtual assistant services.

As a virtual assistant, or VA, you basically serve an administrative or professional assistant role, but you do it long distance. You can pick and choose what services you offer as a VA, as well as how often you want to do it. Whether it’s a side hustle or your primary business, there is room to grow this type of business as demand for services is high.

Here are some services you could consider offering in your virtual assistant business.

Database Management

This can be anything from updating a current database, or making new ones. These services might require as little as inputting business cards into a database. Or it can be as large as managing a database with hundreds or thousands of client and customer entries.

Don’t settle with management of the database. You can also offer other services to go along with it. These might be a follow-up service, lead generation, and stewardship of the database. This can save your client time by you doing it for them, and you might be able to offer new ideas that they wouldn’t have thought of to help them grow their business too.

Social Media Management

Online engagement with audiences is becoming more mobile and app based. If you are socially savvy, you can offer a full social media management package.

This can be anything from creating, designing, and scheduling posts, or focusing on driving conversation on social media. You can comment on others’ posts and reply to comments on your clients’ pages to help them find new leads.

Demand for social media management is huge, especially among the older clientele who may be less familiar with using social media for business.

Research and Scheduling

If you love to research new places and people,  or take charge of booking travel and accommodations, you could choose to offer these services to busy business owners. You can save your clients time and money while giving them peace of mind that everything is taken care of. Granted you may have to work evenings or on weekends should their plans have unexpected hiccups, but it is a way to build your network and build business.

Email Management

Another service with high demand is email management. Many business owners become overrun with daily emails from new customers or clients, media requests, and even spam. Your job is to make their inbox manageable by weeding through all of the messages so they only have to view the ones that require their personal attention.

There are many unique services you can offer as VA that clients may find invaluable. If the services you offer don’t seem to be picking up, try adding something new that is within your skill set.

Remember, you don’t want to overstep your skill set. But, it is okay to learn new skills and talents along the way to grow your business. Just don’t get caught up offering services you don’t enjoy or aren’t skilled at just to make a few extra bucks.

 

This article is located at: https://due.com/blog/services-consider-offering-virtual-assistant-business/

Over the past few years, one of the most valuable investments I’ve made in my business is hiring a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant is a person who can help a business owner with a range of tasks including but not limited to answering e-mails, posting to social media, managing a calendar, and more.

Virtual assistants are great because you can outsource tasks that you don’t enjoy or don’t understand. I’ve had two different virtual assistants, and both are amazing. Below are some of the qualities they have that anyone should look for when hiring a virtual assistant for their own business.

1. Responsiveness

When you are trying to hire a virtual assistant and you interview several candidates, play close attention to how responsive they are. The best virtual assistants are quick to respond to e-mails and requests. This is really helpful if you have a last minute change or a short deadline.

Of course, it’s important to be reasonable and you can’t expect your virtual assistant to respond to you on holidays or other days off, but overall responsiveness is one of the most important qualities to look for in a virtual assistant.

2. Discretion

Even if you don’t think your business requires a lot of discretion, you’d be surprised at how important this is. You don’t have to run a medical practice to want to keep information private. Remember that even if you run a small one person business, it’s important that you don’t share your payments, expenses, or clients with the world.

Having a virtual assistant who is trustworthy and discreet is very important. I’ve had two virtual assistants and I had them both sign a non-disclosure agreement. I don’t mind telling my friends and fellow colleagues about my business or who I’m working with from time to time, but I want it to be my choice who knows about my business. Ultimately, I want to have someone on my team who I can trust.

3. Attention to Detail

There’s nothing worse than having a virtual assistant who is sloppy. I’ve heard of many business owners who hired virtual assistants to complete certain tasks only to have to re-do those tasks themselves because of sloppy work.

Before you hire someone, be sure to call their references and also look at past work. If they have good attention to detail, you can rest assured they will have good attention to detail in all aspects of their lives. One great way to tell if they have good attention to detail is to look at their e-mails. If they are riddled with typos or careless mistakes, is that someone you want to represent you and your business in an e-mail?

Ultimately, there are many important qualities a virtual assistant must have but attention to detail, discretion, and responsiveness are three of the most important ones. If you can find a virtual assistant with these qualities and more, you will be well on your way to having the help you need in your business so that you can focus more on the work you love.

 

Source: https://due.com/blog/qualities-to-look-for-in-a-virtual-assistant/

There may come a time in your freelancing career when you wake up one morning, check your overflowing inbox, and think, “Oh gosh, I really need some help!”

This is usually good news. It means there’s probably a lot going on in your business and it’s time to level up. The downside is you’re probably feeling pretty overwhelmed.

This is just one of the signs that it may be time to hire a virtual assistant, and it’s the number one reason I knew I needed to hire help. However, you don’t need to be knee deep in the overwhelm of success in order to feel like you need to hire a virtual assistant. The reality is there are multiple instances in which you may need some help.

You’re wasting your time on things that don’t make money.

One surefire sign that it’s time to hire a virtual assistant is when you notice you’re spending a lot of time on tasks that don’t necessarily make any money. For example, you’re spending a lot of time in your inbox responding to emails, you’re trying your hand at scheduling clients, writing your own invoices, messing around on social media and tinkering with your website. In fact, you’re spending more time on these small tasks than actually prospecting clients or working on projects.

I’m being frank here when I say I’ve called out many coaching clients for doing just this. Instead of hiring out the things that don’t make them money, and then spending their newfound time finding ways to bring in more revenue, they insist on doing it all themselves. The problem is you end up wasting a lot of your own time – time you could be dedicating to revenue generating activities. The end result is you’re actually leaving money on the table.

It may take a little convincing on my part to explain this to them, but once they start crunching the numbers and realizing how much money they’re losing by not hiring a virtual assistant, the decision becomes a no-brainer.

You’re wasting your time on tasks you hate doing.

I love numbers, but I hate writing my own invoices. I don’t even like logging into my accounting software because I’d rather spend time writing or creating a new offering. When I noticed that I was spending a lot of time on this one task I really couldn’t stand, I realized it was time for me to hire a virtual assistant so at the very least they could handle invoicing for me.

Take a look at your business and take inventory of what you’re spending your time on. How many of those tasks can you personally live without doing yourself? I bet there are quite a few. If you see yourself spending a lot of time on these particular tasks, it may be time to start looking for a virtual assistant.

You don’t want to be tied to your business 24/7.

If you’re at a stage in your business where you feel like you’re working 24/7 it may be time to hire a virtual assistant. In the beginning of this post I mentioned how I knew I needed to hire a virtual assistant when I began to feel overwhelmed. Part of the overwhelm was because I literally felt like I couldn’t take any time off for myself.

While I love what I do for a living, we could all use a break. In fact, taking breaks is essential when you’re creative for a living. In order for me to take those breaks, I needed to start layering in support in the form of a virtual assistant.

 

This article is located at: https://due.com/blog/5-signs-time-hire-virtual-assistant/