What Kind of Support Can Virtual Assistants Provide to Executives?

Companies that provide virtual assistant services advertise hundreds of jobs that they may complete for clients. But what tasks do they genuinely excel at? What VAs do, when it makes sense to utilize them, and when it doesn’t are all covered in this page.

What can a virtual assistant (VA) do for you may be one of the first questions you ask if you’re an executive or a business owner interested in hiring one. What kinds of jobs and initiatives can you outsource?

However, deciding what to delegate to a virtual assistant is also crucial.

There are hundreds of jobs that virtual assistant freelancers and service providers can perform for clients. However, that does not imply that they are a good fit or the best option for each of those various tasks.

In fact, there are numerous situations where using a VA is likely to produce subpar results and alternatives such specialist freelancers, agencies, or remote executive assistant services would be preferable. This depends on what company processes and tasks you need help with.

We’ll assist you in finding the answers to the following questions:

What services do VAs provide?

When should you use a VA?

When a VA isn’t a suitable fit for your needs, we’ll also talk about options to take into account.

If you’ve been wanting a virtual assistant and you’d like to work with someone who can take on more than just administrative tasks, click here to get started. You can try one of our remote executive assistants for a month or two and see how you like it. For testimonials from our clients, check out our homepage.

A virtual assistant can provide a wide range of services. But what tasks do they genuinely excel at?

A brief online search will show you a variety of tasks that may be delegated to VAs. Here are some of the most popular references seen in Google’s top results, for instance.

Service category Services
Communications ○ Email management

○ Phone calls

○ Press releases

Scheduling & Time Management ○ Calendar management

○ Travel arrangements

Business Operations ○ Bookkeeping
Digital Marketing ○ Social media management (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)

○ Graphic design on platforms like Canva & Figma

○ Search engine optimization (SEO)

○ WordPress management

○ Designing landing pages

○ Content creation

○ Content marketing

○ Copywriting

○ Email marketing

○ Web design

○ Content writing

○ Keyword research

○ Landing page design

Sales ○ Lead generation and follow up
People Operations ○ Recruitment (resume and cover letter review)
Client Services ○ Customer support management

○ Customer relationship management (CRM)

Special Projects ○ Designing PowerPoint presentations

○ Video editing

○ Podcast coordination and editing

○ Ecommerce management

Other Administrative Tasks ○ Research

○ Data Entry

○ Spreadsheet management

○ Transcription/minute-taking

Personal Assistant Tasks ○ Online orders (e.g. Amazon purchases)

○ Reservations

 

Now that we’ve been offering remote executive assistant services for 4 years, we’ve learnt a lot about the virtual assistant industry. During our conversations with hundreds of executives, we learned about their prior VA experiences. Additionally, we have researched the industry to learn how VAs are employed, what they are qualified for, and when it makes sense to employ them.

We’ve discovered that VAs work best for routine activities that don’t call for a lot of responsibility or expertise. For instance, it may be beneficial to outsource to a VA simple but time-consuming duties like ongoing data entry and spreadsheet administration.

A viable option for you would be to hire a part-time virtual assistant if this is the main form of assistance you require.

However, this is really the only category of tasks that we recommend hiring VAs for.

Factors That Make VAs a Poor Fit for Many of the Services They Offer.

You must first take into account some of the prevalent traits of VAs in order to comprehend why they frequently are a bad fit for many of the services they supply. Namely:

  1. VAs are part-time contractors
  2. VAs are generalists (i.e. they aren’t usually specialized in any specific area)
  3. VAs generally are not thoroughly vetted

Let’s examine each of these elements and how they affect the tasks that VAs are and aren’t suitable for.

1.      VAs are part-time contractors.

Employing a part-time helper is not necessarily wrong. However, some of the top services provided by VAs and VA firms are considerably more suitable for full-time assistants that collaborate with you closely every day.

For instance, among the first services listed as typical VA responsibilities are email and calendar administration. These are tempting things to hand off to an assistant, according to many executives. But entrusting someone else with something as private and significant as email and scheduling isn’t something that should be done carelessly—and it’s certainly not something that should be done with just any old part-time VA.

Even while email and calendar management frequently appear unimportant to us, they are fundamental to our most crucial business interactions because they control how we use our most precious, finite resource: time.

It takes trust (i.e., a fully vetted assistant) and a complete awareness of CEO preferences, goals, and relationships to manage these crucial business functions. As a result, it would be unwise to delegate such a large amount of responsibility to a part-time VA who is unlikely to possess the necessary degree of confidence, expertise, or organizational understanding.

2.      VAs are generalists.

VAs are generalists, just like administrative and executive assistants, which means they can (theoretically) be allocated to manage a variety of jobs but aren’t experts in any one field.

Understanding this is crucial because many of the services provided by VAs frequently call for technical or specialized skill sets (e.g. digital marketing services like SEO or content creation).

Generalist VAs by definition won’t have highly developed skill sets in more niche fields. There are instances where specialist freelancers or services would be a better fit for you depending on which VA services you’re most interested in. We’ll address this more below.

3.      VAs generally are not thoroughly vetted.

Neither of the two popular methods for employing virtual assistants—hiring through freelancing marketplaces or hiring through virtual assistant service companies—tends to have extensive vetting procedures that test and qualify VAs to assure a constant level of proficiency and capacity.

Although giving freelancing services on websites like Upwork is subject to a few minor restrictions, virtually anyone may set up a profile online and identify themselves as a VA. Additionally, according to our study and interactions with executives who have previously utilized virtual assistant services, VA companies don’t always have rigorous verification procedures.

This has the connotation that VA competence and capacities are highly variable, and it’s uncommon to find VAs with the talent level of someone who can successfully carry out the variety of activities they claim to offer.

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