It sounds awfully specific, doesn’t it? Then again, the heroes and heroines of our topic today are nothing if not specific, er, specialised.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Virtual assistants are the gateway to a remote workforce. They’re typically the first remote position you’ll hire and in most cases, they’re far from the last. Done properly and with the right agency (*wink*wink*), hiring a virtual assistant can change your life in so many ways, and for the better.
But first, let’s talk about the basics. What does a virtual assistant do, and why are Filipino virtual assistants often preferred in the world of remote work? Most importantly, if I wanted to hire one, what do I need to know and do to make it work?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. Read on, mate.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is a remote worker that provides administrative assistant to a client. They generally operate outside a client’s office (sometimes even in a different country or continent altogether), and carry out tasks like managing schedules and calendars, booking plane tickets or hotel rooms, and any other organisational duties.
However, some virtual assistants also possess niche skills in addition to administrative ones. These include social media management, content creation, graphic design, and so on.
How Do I Know If I Need a Virtual Assistant?
Why would I need a virtual assistant? I can manage my tasks myself, can’t I?
Perhaps, but there are telltale signs for when you need to start delegating tasks if you want to be more efficient. Especially if you want to take your business into the next level without running yourself ragged.
Read this article to find out what they are.
What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?
Okay, now that we’ve established that you DO need a virtual assistant, let’s find out what one is capable of.
From handling your calendar to taking your phone calls (and other things in between), here’s what you can expect a virtual assistant to take on for you.
Oh, and if you happen to be a restaurant owner looking to keep your business afloat by outsourcing administrative tasks, check this out too.
What Good Will a Virtual Assistant Do?
Lots. Provided you hire a good one, a virtual assistant can make your life easier in so many ways, but these are the primary benefits that come to mind.
Furthermore, if you want your company to survive and even thrive well into the digital age, you’d best look into outsourcing certain functions now. Australia is facing a shortage of talented digital workers within the next four years. You shouldn’t wait until then to start thinking about digitizing your workforce or you might find yourself holding an empty bag.
Not convinced? Check out this article on the top outsourcing trends from the momentous year that was 2020. You’ll find all the facts and evidence you need to see just how the global pandemic has sped up the demand and developments in the remote working field. Better start seeking your VA rock stars now before your competitors snap them all up.
What Kind of Virtual Assistant Do I Need?
Yes, there is more than one kind of virtual assistant. But hey, don’t get all confused. There are some general ones too if your needs aren’t too specific.
Should you have specialised tasks in mind, however, there are VA’s for those as well.
Can Virtual Assistants Help Working Parents?
Absolutely! Most people think virtual assistants help primarily with professional functions, but they can help bring order to your personal life too.
For instance, a lot of virtual assistants are great at managing their client’s calendars. Got a Skype meeting with a client, an online consultation with your child’s teacher, and a Zoom party with friends coming up in the same week? Just about any virtual assistant can get you sorted. They can even take care of menial tasks like booking hotels, tickets, or carrying out your weekly online grocery shopping.
Basically, virtual assistants can function as an extra set of hands, which is something any parent would welcome. We even came up with a guide as to how they can help out working mums through every stage of pregnancy and childbirth and you can read that here.
Pro-tip: If you’re a husband looking for a perfect push gift for your expecting wife, the services of a VA might be a great choice, especially if your partner also intends to resume working after she gives birth.
What Should I Look For When Hiring Virtual Assistants?
So, you’ve now put out an ad for virtual assistants (or signed up with us and we’ve already sourced candidates for you *wink*wink*). Perhaps you’ve already received a few CV’s and are preparing to interview the lot. What traits should you be on the lookout for?
Read this before you start your first round of interviews so you’re better prepared.
Should I Allow My Virtual Assistants to Work From Anywhere?
Lots of virtual assistants, especially in the Philippines, work from home. It provides them with great flexibility and allows them to spend time with their families.
On the other hand, there’s an increasing number of virtual workers who prefer a work from anywhere set-up. Sometimes called digital nomads, they have no permanent addresses because they spend a great deal of time traveling. Yet they still get the job done. (Well, they would have to, given how their remote jobs pay for their lifestyles.)
For some clients, this is not an issue so long as the virtual assistants are still able to carry out their jobs effectively. Though there are some that have valid concerns about the set-up and would prefer that their VA’s work from home.
There’s really no right or wrong answer here since everyone’s needs are different. If you’re stuck on this question, you can read this to have a better grasp of the issue and make an informed decision that benefits both parties.
How Do I Come Up With An Employee-Friendly Remote Working Policy?
Happy employees are productive employees. Best of all, they’re more likely to stay loyal to you, even if another client comes around offering to match what you pay them if they jump ship.
So, it’s very much in your interest to set up a working policy that suits both you and your VA’s. Click here for a basic guide to help you get started.
Also, the past year resulted in a lot of changes in the remote working industry. This article talks about three remote working principles that’s set to change the workplace as we know it. Forever. You may want to read it prior to crafting your remote work policy as well.
Which Functions Should I Keep to Myself?
VA’s are amazingly versatile. So long as you’ve got a good system in place, you can get them to do pretty much anything.
That doesn’t mean you should leave everything to them, though. There are some business or company functions you’re better off keeping close to your chest. Here’s a handful of them.
Why Are Filipino Virtual Assistants So Special?
Now, we get to the crux of the matter. Even if you visit other forums or blogs on remote working, they all agree on one thing: Filipinos are the best virtual assistants.
Not only do they have good command of the English language, but Filipinos are renowned for their hospitality and loyalty. You can bet that those things carry over well into their VA duties.
I could say more on the matter, of course, but this article summarises it all better if you need further convincing.
How Do I Deal With Cultural Differences If I Hire Filipino Virtual Assistants?
Ah, this is always a chief concern and it’s perfectly valid. Western and Asian work cultures do have significant differences, and Australian/Filipino ones are no different.
While the Philippines is rather Westernised, its culture is a melting pot of many others, both Asian and Western. Thus, as with any intercultural working arrangement, you can expect some adjustments on both sides.
Here are just a handful of the most common ones to anticipate.
What Is the Average Salary of a Filipino Virtual Assistant?
It usually varies, depending on the candidate’s skill set and job experience. Click here to view our comprehensive pricing guide.
Should I Pay My Virtual Assistants Based On Their Skill or Their Location?
Okay, so this is an advanced topic. Please bear in mind that if you’re just starting to hire virtual assistants, this shouldn’t be a concern. There are standard pricing guides like the one mentioned above, and most virtual assistant freelancers abide by that. If you’re hiring virtual assistants via a remote working agency like ours *wink*wink,* you don’t even need to think about this.
If you’ve been working with a highly capable virtual assistant that you’ve come to depend on and trust, then you can consider this. Especially if they’re asking for a raise.
There has long been a debate over whether VA’s (or remote workers in general) should be paid based on their skill or location. Obviously, this isn’t a black and white issue and there are many points of contention.
Ultimately, that decision should be made after a comprehensive conversation with the staff in question. Ideally, you should talk about their needs, their future plans, and their career goals. Don’t forget to mention your company’s current trajectory and capacity to meet their proposed salaries as well because you do need to benefit from such an arrangement too.
For more on the topic, you can read this article.
How Can I Best Manage My Filipino Virtual Assistants?
Filipino VA’s are generally quite easy to work with. You will find that they are quite obliging by nature and capable and prompt by training, especially if they went through our programs.
However, the best working relationships entail considerable effort from both parties. If you’ve made it this far and would like to do your part, kudos to you.
For starters, making the effort to learn a bit of the Filipino language will go a long way. You don’t have to compose Tagalog poetry to get along with your VA, but these will certainly come in handy.
Furthermore, here are a few more general guidelines for cultivating and maintaining a harmonious working relationship with your Filipino VA’s.
How Can I Avoid Costly Mistakes If It’s My First Time to Hire a Virtual Assistant?
First of all, it’s normal to have a lot of questions at the beginning. While it’s a lot easier to get involved in remote work these days, you should still expect a bit of a learning curve, especially if you’ve never done it before.
However, there are some things you can watch out for to avoid really costly mistakes that might put you off a remote work set-up. You can read this article to find out more.
What Other Challenges Should I Look Out For and How Do I Deal With Them?
Remote work is wonderful, but it isn’t without its challenges. But forewarned is forearmed, so here’s an article that talks about the most common remote working challenges.
Most importantly, it also discusses some of the best practices for dealing with them. Each entrepreneur faces a unique set of challenges because they have different remote working needs, but the aforementioned article is a great source of general guidelines.
I Really Appreciate How Effectively and Efficiently My VA Works. What’s the Best Way to Show My Appreciation?
Good for you! Lots of virtual assistants, especially among the Filipino remote working community, have a great reputation for going the extra mile for their clients.
This article was originally written in honor of Employee Appreciation Day, but it’s chock-full of ideas for making your VA’s feel valued, even from far away.
Remember, people who feel that their efforts are appreciated will always be driven to constantly give their best at work.
Got further questions? Want to hire your own virtual assistant and would like some assistance? Sign up with Remote Staff today and let us help you get started!