In The News

Thu 11 May 2017

Virtual Assistants in Australia – The What, How and Why


Entrepreneurs
woman holding up help sign

When I tell people about the work I do as a VA (Virtual Assistant) and training VAs in Australia, I quite often see their eyes glaze over as they try very hard to look as if they comprehend what it is I am actually talking about.  My very next question will always be, “Do you know what a VA is?”, and whilst some will have a reasonable understanding, a lot think I’m talking about a Filipino or Indian based call centre operator – which I can assure you, I am not!

What is a VA?

If the concept is new to you, then let me explain:  A virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative support to clients remotely from a home office.

In Australia, we have a growing industry with a myriad of niche operators who provide a whole range of services to  Australian and offshore businesses, including:  website development, phone answering, copywriting, Executive Assistant / Personal Assistant support, event management, bookkeeping, marketing, social media support – and the list goes on.

How do they Work?

As a general rule of thumb, VAs will provide their own equipment, and will charge you only for the time spent on your task, with no requirement for a set number of hours (minimum or maximum).  In other words, they provide their clients with a ‘scalable solution’ with the ability to increase their level of support during busy periods, and less when things are quiet (example, Christmas / New Year).

Sounds like a good idea?  Let me tell you – it is, and there are lots of businesses in Australia that are catching on and utilising the flexibility and cost effectiveness that working with VAs offer them.

Many business owners also see the benefit of working with an Australian VA who will understand our Aussie business climate, and be able to communicate effectively with others (clients and stakeholders) whilst operating in the same time zone as the business itself.

Finding a VA that’s Right for You

If you don’t know how to find a VA, it can be a little daunting.  However, you will be pleased to know that we have some simply amazing local VA Networks.  I can highly recommend Virtually Yours Virtual Assistants, VA Directory, and VA Placements as fabulous resources for businesses looking to secure a quality VA service.

You will also need to have a fairly clear idea of what it is that you want your VA to do.  Spend some time listing out the tasks you could hand over – think of things that are perhaps repetitive, or time sapping ‘administrivia’ which you loathe, and which take you away from your ability to spend time on growing your business.  For some business owners, they will hand over one task at a time until they gain confidence in the ability of their VA.

Much like securing the services of an employee, you will need to interview your potential VA, check out their references and, if appropriate, samples of their work (e.g. websites, social media, copywriting etc).

And, when you’ve found a VA who is perfect, you’ll need to allocate some time to either documenting the tasks that need to be done, or having an online meeting (or in some cases, a face to face meeting) so that your VA can hit the ground running as soon as possible.

Working with a VA can be one of the best decisions you ever made in your business, and it’s great to know that there are many locally based professional and excellent VAs who are ready and willing to partner with you!


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