There are hundreds of different tasks you can outsource to a virtual assistant. Some are more obvious than others, so we decided to put together a list of the most popular things that business owners are currently tasking to VAs.
Now, there’s a difference between bookkeeping and accounting. We still recommend you hire a good CPA to handle your taxes and make sense of all the bookkeeping ledgers. You can however outsource bookkeeping safely, effectively and affordably.
2. Social Media Management
There are dozens of tools out there that let you schedule posts but having a real person behind your brands is important. Be careful not to lose your brands voice, but you can absolutely train a virtual assistant to help manage your social media presences.
The skillset required includes.
- Detailed knowledge and expertise around all social platforms.
- Highly fluent in English (or your native language).
- Ability to work with 3rd party social media management tools (Buffer, Hootsuite, etc).
- Prior experience managing accounts for brands.
- Ensuring brands social media schedule is consistently updated and fresh content is shared regularly.
- Replying to comments on posts.
- Repurposing content for multiple platforms.
- Working with designers to create engaging graphics for sharing.
3. Customer Service
Customer service is critically important but it can also be easily outsourced without losing quality.
Tools like TextExpander make it easier to comfortably outsource customer service. TextExpander allows you to create canned support replies that can be used to answer the most common questions your team will get.
Here is a video I made showing how it works.
Customer service cannot (and should not) be completely templated, but you’ll be shocked at how templates can answer most customer concerns.
Be sure to hire someone who is able to go outside the lines of your basic templates to ensure that all of your support answers each unique question fully and accurately.
4. Data Entry
Data entry is one of the simplest but most time saving tasks anyone can outsource. The task requires low skill level relative to other tasks and focuses primarily on accuracy and speed. Accuracy is most important but you shouldn’t have any problem finding a good VA who is accurate and fast.
You shouldn’t spend your time doing monotonous things like typing hundreds of lines of customer addresses into spreadsheets or converting PDF text into spreadsheets (there are some cool tools that can do this automatically by the way).
Although this is a very low skilled task, accuracy is very important. Make sure whoever you hire has a good attention to detail and won’t mistype data.
5. Getting You Booked on Podcasts
If you have a business and need exposure with little to no costs, getting on podcasts is an amazing strategy.
Outsource School co-founder Nathan Hirsch credits the fact that he went on over 300 podcasts to grow FreeUp to 8 figures in revenue in 5 years while competing with big names like Fiverr and Upwork.
Outsource School has an entire course on this process (you can learn more about that here) but Nathan and I created a 15 minute mini training that will help get you headed in the right direction.
You can register and watch that on-demand below.
6. General Research
Research is a task that can fill any amount of time that you allow it to.
The type of research your VA can complete is limitless.
- Gather data about market demographics
- Research competitors in your space
- Find compelling statistics that support your content
- Compile lists of supplier pricing
The beauty of outsourcing research is that you can spend your time deciding how to use the data gathered vs. gathering it.
7. Backlink Outreach
If you have a website, you want traffic to it. If you want traffic, you want backlinks.
Backlinks are a necessary evil in SEO and building them can be a full time job.
You can have them provide a list of potential link building opportunities and the emails of the people who own the assets. and you can reach out to them to pitch the article you want linked to or you can outsource the outreach as well.
8. E-Commerce Management/Product Sourcing
If you sell on Amazon, Shopify, eBay or anywhere online, you could benefit tremendously from hiring a VA.
A good e-commerce VA can:
- Manage your inventory
- Optimize listings
- Process orders and returns
There is a deep talent pool of VAs who have experience with various types of e-commerce.
Another popular task to outsource is product sourcing . You will want to have a VA continually hunting for new product opportunities.
Since there are many nuances to finding products that will sell and be profitable, this task requires some level of experience or extended onboarding and ongoing training/feedback.
VAs will need to become proficient in the software most relevant to your sourcing method. Software like Helium 10 for private label and Tactical Arbitrage for online arbitrage make outsourcing product sourcing much easier.
9. Keyword Research
Keyword research is important for content creators (mainly bloggers and YouTubers) and anyone who is running PPC ads.
This task isn’t as simple as finding relevant keywords. A good keyword research VA should be able to prioritize keywords based on value and ranking potential.
This process may require some ongoing education by the VA as they familiarize themselves with your unique niche, but it is very possible to outsource this task effectively.
10. Basic Photo Editing
The huge supply of VAs who are fluent in tools like Photoshop has kept the cost of hiring a photo editor extremely low. This is a task that typically requires part time work only and may be a skill that you add on to the plate of another VA in addition to their other tasks.
Advanced photo editing (extreme manipulation of images) may require one-off gigs at higher rates.
This task is simple but it’s critical that you have a VA who is careful enough to never overcharge or undercharge a client.
12. Excel Spreadsheet Tasks
Excel is one of those skills that few people fail to really master. There are a lot of VAs out there who have become extremely proficient in the finer details of Excel and can help you with a number of tasks with varying ranges of difficulty.
Simple tasks can include formatting or “beautifying” a spreadsheet or workbook, creating formulas, filters or conditional formatting.
More advanced Excel tasks border on the software development side.
These may include building pivot tables, complex macros or integrating with 3rd party softwares.
13. Responding to Online Reviews + Comments
One of the difficulties that comes with business growth is engaging with people talking about you online.
Reviews about your comment, questions in threads, tags on posts…replying to these things shows that your brand cares.
Hiring someone to monitor and reply to these will have a positive impact on how people view your company,
"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."
14. Personal Errands
This is something that many people overlook. They feel guilty about delegating non-business tasks and spending business money to do it.
This requires a slight mindset shift.
When you’re passing off a task like scheduling your flights and hotel stays, don’t think of it as being lazy and making someone else handle your dirty work.
Think of it as buying yourself back the time that that would take to do yourself.
If you can focus 30 minutes more per day on high level tasks vs. simple personal errands, you should see a massive return on investment.
Personal tasks you can outsource include:
- Making dinner reservations
- Scheduling doctor appointments
- Ordering clients gifts or sending them holiday cards
This isn’t hard to outsource but you need someone who is competent and reliable. You don’t want your flight to Chicago scheduled at 5Am and landing you in Detroit on accident 🙂
15. Calendar Management
There is a direct correlation between the size of your business and the things on your schedule.
Having an assistant who will keep your calendar organized and who can remind you of important events is a life saver.
This VA can be the same person who does personal errands for you as mentioned in task 14 above.
16. Audio Transcription
This is one of my personal favorite things to outsource. As a blogger, I start a lot of my content with audio recordings I make when inspiration strikes. I whip out my iPhone and start speaking out what I’m thinking.
Then, I hand off the audio file to a VA or service like Rev.com and get a text version that I can easily edit and turn into a blog post.
You can also use this for a number of things like meeting notes, recorded phone interviews etc.
17. Basic Video Editing
Video editing isn’t something you can just pick up and do with little prior experience.
I’ve been editing videos for over a decade and my skills are still subpar.
Fortunately, there are tons of quality VAs that can turn your videos into much more attractive and shareable assets.
18. YouTube Channel Management
There is much more to creating a quality YouTube channel than just making good videos.
A VA can help you:
- Add tags and descriptions to videos
- Create playlists
- Respond to comments (or delete trolling comments)
- Split test thumbnails
- Add cards and endscreens
If YouTube is a focus for your business, a VA can be extremely useful.
19. Split Test Management
I believe that most businesses sell themselves short on their marketing and copywriting efforts.
They create one headline, pop-up, or page variation and just hope it works.
Split testing helps you continually improve your conversion rates. Having someone who does it daily (or just weekly) can have a dramatic impact on your overall conversion rates over time.
This task is slightly more difficult to outsource because it requires a VA who is very proficient in English, can understand your unique market, is proficient with the software you use (WordPress, Clickfunnels, etc) and has above average copywriting skills.
Outsourcing split testing is well worth the investment though.
20. Personal Inbox Management
According to Campaign Monitor, the average person receives over 126 emails per day as of 2018. Having a quality VA who can access your inbox throughout the day can take a huge burden off of your shoulders.
You can have them:
- Message you directly if something is urgent.
- Delete emails that you don’t need to see.
- Send templated replies to common messages you receive.
- Give you run downs daily of everything you received.
I just shared 20 things you can outsource to a VA but almost anything that you do regularly (or want to do) can be outsourced if you can create clear SOPs (standard operating procedures), hire the right person and train them effectively. You can learn all of this in Outsource School’s flagship program Cracking the VA Code.