As small business owners, we struggle with the balancing act between life and work. We long for free time but feel our work is never done. That nagging feeling that there's something we could or should be doing? Yeah, it's always there.
Fortunately, there's help. It's called a "virtual assistant." A virtual assistant is a magical person who can take tasks off our plates, help us grow our businesses, and make striking the work/life balance a reality. Elance is one place to find a VA. Contracting with a large, offshore VA firm is another. Wherever you find your help, here are 10 “to-dos” a virtual assistant can do for you.
1. Create weekly reports
Ask your virtual assistant to create weekly reports for you with whatever numbers and stats you like to monitor. Things like Google Analytics, sales leads, new subscribers, payables and receivables, etc. Have your VA send the report to you on the same day each week (Monday works well for me) and then go over your numbers.
2. Review your week past and your week ahead
Have your virtual assistant look at both your past week and your week ahead—this'll keep you well prepared and help you tie up loose ends before everything unravels. Is there anything you missed or need to follow up on from last week? Are there preparations or appointments you need to make for this week?
3. Spiff up your social profiles
Your virtual assistant can check all of your social media profiles to see if there’s any outdated or missing information or if it's time for a fresh profile picture or a bio update.
4. Google you
Ask your virtual assistant to Google you. No, really.
Googling you and your business helps you stay on top of your placement on the Internet, what’s being said about you and your company, and the keywords that you're ranking for highest.
While you’re at it, have your VA set up Google Alerts for you, your business name, competitors and anything else you would like to monitor online.
5. Give thanks
Did you land a new client? Have an affiliate do an amazing job at helping you launch a new product? Were you honored at a luncheon?
Have your virtual assistant send out a simple hand-written thank you card that will let folks know how grateful you are for their business or friendship.
6. Make everything old new again
You know all of those fantastic blog posts you’ve written? Isn’t it about time you did something more with them? Well you can have your virtual assistant make everything old new again.
- Break a post up into an autoresponder series to send out to your list.
- Pull quotes from posts and schedule them on your social networks with a link to the post.
- Reformat posts into new articles that you can submit to article directories like EzineArticles.
7. Improve audience engagement
Sign up for a HootSuite account and have your virtual assistant schedule status updates for you to help keep your audience engaged, even when you're on vacation or taking a day off. Your VA can also monitor and flush out all of those annoying Auto DM’s and mark the ones that are important for you to follow up on.
8. Recruit new talent
If you're looking for some fresh content for your blog, give your virtual assistant a list of people that you’d like to have as guest bloggers or have her (or him) come up with a list for you to review. Then, ask your VA to invite them to do a guest blog and organize when they’ll be posting.
And, if you are looking to do some guest blogging yourself, have your VA send out your bio and suggested post topics to other bloggers.
9. Outsource your inbox
Tim Ferriss isn't the only one who can hand off his inbox to a virtual assistant. Nope, you can do it, too. Having a virtual assistant handle your e-mail will free up countless hours that you can spend on more productive activities.
10. Make bean counting effortless
As if accounting wasn't easy enough with Outright, it can get even easier by handing it off to your virtual assistant. Your VA can monitor your income and expenses, create profit and loss reports and even keep track of taxes with just a few clicks of the mouse.
With all those to-dos taken off your list, you’ll have more time to…add more things to do.
Heather Allard is a mother of three kids, Hope, Grace & Brendan — and one big dog, The Dude. She’s also the founder of TheMogulMom.com, a website for moms who run a business, raise a family and rock both. You can find her on Twitter at @heathALL.