Categories
Virtual Assistants

How to Outsource Lead Generation to the Philippines

A man looking through websites on his laptop and phone, doing research.

Outsourcing lead generation can be one of the smartest decisions you ever make. Your business will always need new leads if you want to grow. The trouble is, the process of digging up these prospects is dull, monotonous, and takes a very long time.If you were to take that on as a business owner, you would be wasting a very valuable resource. If you hired locally for the task, you would be paying more than you need to. Outsourcing lead generation gives you the same or even better quality output for a much more reasonable cost.

What Is Outsourcing?

Outsourcing is the process of hiring an individual, team, or company “outside” your own to supply a good, complete a task, or manage a business process (as in BPO). This can be done remotely or by sending employees to work for the hiring company. You can outsource from within the country you operate in, or outsource internationally. 

Some of the most commonly outsourced business processes include customer relations and HR, manufacturing, accounting, research, as well as other front office, back office and non-core business functions.

Why Outsource to the Philippines?

Young Filipinos talking about work.

1. Top of the Charts

The Philippines is the first choice of many companies and is one of the top countries to outsource to alongside China and India. It has even earned the title of “Outsourcing Capital of the World”. One reason for this is the fact that they have been in BPO for about 30 years, and it has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry within the country. With this kind of tenure in the space, you can be sure that their experience spells proficiency. Filipinos can handle your outsourcing needs with excellence and professionalism. 

2. Good communicators 

Not only are the majority of the Filipino population English speakers, but their culture of hospitality means they are also some of the easiest to work with. Outsourcing lead generation requires not only research skills, but also a high level of language and people skills. With Filipinos, you get three birds with one stone.

3. Diverse talent pool

If you look at any list of the most outsourced services in the Philippines, you’ll find quite a wide spread of talents and abilities. This includes creative skills like web and graphic design, HR and VA services, and accounting services. We have found that research skills, in particular, are at the top of the list. This makes them ideal for outsourcing lead generation.

4. Flexible hours 

Want your outsourced team to work while you sleep? Want to make sure they are when you are so you can delegate effectively? No problem. The majority of Filipino freelancers, especially those with BPO experience, are ready and willing to adjust to your hours, so differing time zones are rarely an issue. 

5. Labor Cost Savings

Because the general cost of living in the Philippines is lower than in Western countries, outsourcing lead generation here could save you big in terms of labor costs. 

What lead generation tasks can you outsource?

You can outsource almost any lead generation task you can think of, as long as it does not have to be done in person. Below are some examples to get you excited about the possibilities.

Cold Selling

Also known as cold calling, this is the practice of contacting a potential customer who hasn’t expressed interest in your business. This method of lead generation can be quite daunting due to the risk of rejection being incredibly high. Because unsolicited calls do not often return positive responses, you need to do a lot of them to get results. This also means that outsourcing lead generation to patient people is vital. 

If you start the process with emails, you need people skilled in written communication. This means that their grammar and spelling need to be perfect, but they also need to be skilled at writing clear and concise messages. When the time comes to get on a call with a prospect, cold sellers need to be prepared to answer their questions and market the services effectively and enticingly.

Social Selling

As the name suggests, this type of lead generation takes place on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc. Due to the nature of these platforms, it is much easier to connect with prospects. However, a certain sociable personality type is required. Someone who is overly business-like will stick out like a sore thumb. 

Although these platforms have groups and pages where companies can easily scout for their target audiences, skills are still needed. Outsourcing lead generation involves hiring people well versed in social media and who apply social listening tactics well. This means that they can better understand what your target audience is discussing, their general questions, needs, and more. 

There’s a lot going on here, but it is a vital step to increase your potential for building rapport and relationships. When you have an idea of the problem they have, approaching these prospective customers with a viable solution will be more successful than throwing darts on a board blindfolded and seeing what sticks.

Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is all about the buyer’s journey and cultivating relationships at every stage. The buyer’s journey consists of three main stages: considering they have a problem, looking for potential solutions, and deciding on a solution. Outsourcing lead generation must take these tasks into consideration. This part of the process is all about prioritizing leads based on their stage. The more likely they are to become a customer, the more effort you should focus on helping them get there. Another important aspect is follow-ups and personalized content targeting to encourage conversion. 

Audience Management

Along with lead nurturing also comes the need to be able to classify leads into targetable groups. When you monitor multiple leads and their journey through the sales funnel, you can separate them into groups based on their stage. This way you can cater the content and the communication style to fit the stage. 

Networking 

This is all about two things: finding the right customers for you and retaining the customers you have. This is about making connections and inquiring within a network for referrals. Once you get a customer, you want to keep them happy and even market other services to them or upgrade the ones they have already availed. 

When is the right time to  start outsourcing lead generation?

A smiling woman at a desk with a laptop on it representing outsourcing lead generation to the Philippines.

Outsourcing lead generation is all about finding the right person for the job. This is a research task. However, as you can see from the above, it is not a simple research task. It involves critical thinking and marketing skills, and more. This means that making the right hire will take time.

That said, the right time to outsource your lead generation work is when you have the time to avoid making a rash hiring decision. Make sure that you are not knee-deep in research tasks before you start looking. You should know what the process entails so that you can choose the best fit. However, you should not be so busy that you cannot dedicate the level of attention that you need to find the right person.

Where can you find a lead generation freelancer?

There are tons of options and platforms that house freelancers with a variety of different skills. Here are some examples:

FreeUp

FreeUp is a freelance marketplace that strives to connect talented freelancers from around the world with businesses that need their skills. They only allow in the top 1% as applicants are all carefully vetted to ensure quality skill level and quality attitude as well. They have a “No Turnover Guarantee” where they will immediately replace any freelancer that decides to quit and will take care of the applicable expenses. Additionally, they have support services via an account manager who can guide and advise you, and a support team is ready and available for you to contact whenever you need.

OnlineJobs.ph

With over 250,000 profiles, Onlinejobs.ph is presently the largest online marketplace for finding skilled and talented Filipinos to work with. You can be as passive or active as you want when searching. You can let the talent come to you by posting a job and waiting for applicants or you can take matters into your own hands and actively search through resumes to find the exact skills you need.  

VAAPhilippines

VAA specializes in serving Amazon sellers. Their virtual assistants in the Phil;ippines are highly skilled, meticulously vetted, reliable, and never stop learning. VAA will also be supporting you every step of the way. You can be sure that the lead generation assistant they select for you is the best fit for your business because the founders are also Amazon sellers. If things don’t work out for whatever reason, they will even replace the VA for free. 

How much should you expect to pay?

A man and a woman working with money and calculators.

The main factors that affect the cost of hiring a Filipino freelancer are:

  • Skill level and skill type – The more specialized the skillset and the higher the level of education and training they have received, the higher the rates. 
  • Experience – Freelancers that have worked with many other companies have an edge that entry-level freelancers do not. That experience is valuable, and therefore, will likely cost you more. 
  • Platform – Depending on where you hire, you could be working with fixed per-project pricing or hourly rates. These rates also differ per platform. Additionally, some platforms require signup, subscription, or other specialized fees in order to use their service. For instance, you cannot contact workers on Onlinejobs.ph without first signing up for a paid account. 

That being said, you can expect that, on average, you can hire entry-level freelancers for as low as $5 per hour. This can go all the way up to around $30 per hour if you’re looking for highly skilled lead generation experts.

Conclusion

Outsourcing lead generation to the Philippines is a very smart business move. Filipinos have a ton of experience working with peoples of various cultures and socio-economic backgrounds.

You do, however, need to make the effort to get it right. A bad hire can cost you dearly. Make sure you know exactly what you need done, and take the time to find that perfect fit. Outsourcing lead generation is so much more than picking some random person from an online listing and telling them to start Googling stuff. 

 

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Virtual Assistants

7 Best Ecommerce Outsourcing Services for 2023

Even as a beginner, with eCommerce outsourcing, managing a store is possible. In fact, we think this is the best solution for new stores. In this post, we’ll talk about some of the eCommerce outsourcing services we like best.

1. FreeUp

A screenshot of the FreeUp website home page.

FreeUp’s goal is to bridge businesses and talented freelancers from all across the globe. They’ve got top-notch VAs, web designers, developers, digital advertising experts, and much more. They ensure business owners waste no time getting straight to work by connecting you with the best freelancers as fast as possible. Over 20,000 organizations put their trust in the services that FreeUp provides. With those numbers, you can’t go wrong.

One reason to choose FreeUp is their hiring practices. They go through thousands of applicants every week and vet every single individual’s skill level, ability to communicate, and personality. To ensure that clients are getting access to the most qualified of individuals, they only allow the top 1% to serve on their platform.  

FreeUp also has a “No Turnover Guarantee.” If the hired person decides to quit, FreeUp will replace them immediately while shouldering the applicable costs. 

Additionally, FreeUp offers support services in the form of an account manager. This person can guide decision-making processes regarding who to hire. They can also give advice on the best methods to start a project. A support team is also at the ready whenever needed. 

Pricing

FreeUp offers three levels of hourly rate pricing based on the skill level of the freelancer. 

  1. Entry Level – $5-$15 /hour 
  2. Mid Level – $15 to $30/hour (specialists)
  3. Expert Level $30-$75+/hour (consultants and strategists)

2. Upwork

A screenshot of the Upwork website home page.

Known as “the world’s work marketplace,” Upwork’s mission is to provide talented individuals with better work opportunities while also providing flexibility to businesses. Whether you are an enterprise looking to scale, a client in need of skilled workers, or a talented individual looking to advance in your career, you can go to Upwork for eCommerce outsourcing. This award-winning platform houses qualified individuals of different skill categories that you only pay for once you approve of the work they’ve completed.

Get access to highly rated talent easily.  

  1. Project Catalog™ – Browse multiple different project templates (ex. Logo design) and select the ones they need. 
  2. Talent Marketplace™ – Here you can post a job request and connect with qualified talent.  Review project proposals, examine their work history, and go through reviews of other businesses they’ve worked with. You also have access to Upwork collaboration tools, 24/7 support, and even Upwork Payment Protection for the best interest of both the client and the worker.
  3. Talent Scout™ – Meet with a recruiter to help you find the best talent possible for your needs. This is only available for projects lasting a month or more. 

Pricing

The Client Marketplace plan – On top of what they would pay the hired worker, clients pay an additional 5% on all payments made. (ex. $50 payment = $2.50 for Upwork)

3. Fiverr

A screenshot of the Fiverr website home page.

Fiverr began as a place where people could buy and sell digital services. Now, it is one of the largest  marketplaces with over 500 categories of freelance services. Fiver uses its platform to connect businesses with freelancers with the mission of changing the way the world works in regards to digital transactions. If you want to grow your business by finding the right talent and services, Fiverr is good place to get you started quick and easy.

Pricing

Fiverr is a great place for every budget with services starting at $5 dollars. Here, everything is fixed project-based pricing that depends on the seller. Any payments will be released only once the work has been approved. 

Fiverr Pro

With the base version of Fiverr, you don’t get a quality guarantee for which freelancers you hire. This is where Fiverr Pro comes in. Here you get access to pre-vetted and verified freelancers saving you time and possible future headaches. 

Fiverr business

Fiverr Business is another version of the site catered towards larger businesses. You still  gain access to vetted professionals for your eCommerce outsourcing needs. Plus, you also get Fiverr’s collaboration tools that make it so much easier to manage teams, projects, and budgeting. You also get to work with a Fiverr Business Success Manager who can assist you in finding the right people for the job.

4. OnlineJobs.ph

A screenshot of the OnlineJobs.ph website home page.

The Philippines is one of the most popular places to go for eCommerce outsourcing. Onlinejobs.ph is currently the biggest marketplace if you’re looking to outsource Filipino talent. Here, employers can pick from over 250,000 Filipino profiles, proving that the Philippines is not lacking when it comes to their talent pool. 

Finding workers is easy and you can do it in one of two ways. 

  1. Post a Job – This method is about letting the talent come to you. Once you’ve posted a job, all you need to do is wait for applicants. 
  2. Search Resumes – This method is about searching for specific skillsets you need to get a job done. You can save promising profiles to review later. 

Once you’ve found ideal candidates (and purchase a plan) you can contact them by email. You interview them and if they are a good match, you can start negotiating pay. Use Timeproof to manage their hours. Pay them via the built-in, free, and secure Easypay or use alternate payment methods like Paypal.

Pricing

OnlineJobs.ph allows you to browse with their free account, but if you want to hire, communicate with, or check worker reviews, you need a subscription plan. 

Pro 

  •  $69/mo 
  • 3 job posts/month
  • Max 200 applicants/job
  • Contact 75 workers /month
  • Read Worker Reviews

Premium

5. 20Four7VA

A screenshot of the 20Four7VA website home page.

20four7VA provides full-service virtual assistant staffing services. You can save up to 80% overhead costs by using their service. Your business can benefit from their arsenal of over 17,000 VAs and almost 100 offered skillsets. 

20four7VA scouts for skilled individuals across the world and vets them through their 8 Step Hiring and Vetting Process to make sure they also have the right work mindset. They even offer training for these VAs. Their agency is all about guiding and assisting in the building of working relationships between their VAs and their clients. They care for both the client and VA, providing highly qualified individuals to help businesses scale and equipping VAs with what they need to succeed with whichever client they work with. 

 

Aside from what we’ve mentioned, other benefits of working with 20four7VA include: 

  • A free consultation with a Business Growth specialist
  • 24/7 customer support
  • VA performance and progress monitoring 
  • An IT Help Desk for tech assistance
  • Flexible VA work hours for any time-zone for a true 24/7 VA experience
  • Data wiping upon cancellation of service ensuring client security
  • Quick turnaround
  • Access to VAs that offer specialized services

Pricing

VAs are paid on a weekly basis via Paypal based on an hourly rate. However, monthly payments are also possible. The hourly rate depends on the type of skill, experience, proficiency, and number of hours worked per week.

6. MarketerHire

 

A screenshot of the MarketerHire website home page.

MarketerHire is the top platform for eCommerce outsourcing if you are looking to hire a digital marketing expert. They guarantee the best and most efficient marketing talent, having worked with top global brands of all different genres. They’ve served over 4,000 satisfied customers and have successfully matched clients with their ideal marketers over 20,000 times. This matching takes about 48hrs and a high majority of brands keep hries on for more than 3 months. Whatever the platform or channel, MarketerHire has you covered on all fronts.  

You fill out a short multiple-choice form that includes describing the size of your company, the types of marketers you need, and the budget you need. Once MarketerHire understands the details of the project, a marketing manager will help match you with the most suitable marketer or marketing team for your business. These are professionals who have been pre-vetted and have proven experience. After the matching is done, the marketing manager will conduct regular check-ins to see how both sides are doing with the new partnership and if their marketers are delivering on par with their standards. If you aren’t happy, they will pair you with a new one. 

Pricing

MarketerHire doesn’t charge any subscription fees. The only thing you pay for is the hired marketers themselves, whose rates go from $80 to $160+ per hour. You can also hire part-time or full-time instead of hourly.

7. VAAPhilippines

A screenshot of the VAAPhilippines website home page.

VAA is special in that they are the only ones focusing on matching VAs specifically to Amazon sellers. The founders are driven by the need to find a better way of connecting Amazon sellers to talented and dependable VAs. VAA only tolerates the best, and all hires undergo a rigorous screening process. If accepted, they will continue to be subject to training in order to keep their knowledge and skills sharp and up-to-date in the ever-changing Amazon space.

Their VA matching process is as follows:

  1. You will have a one-on-one consultation with the CEO Gilad Freimann, who is an experienced Amazon seller and has worked with many others. He will guide you through and clarify your Amazon VA needs.
  2. VAA will carefully select the highly skilled candidate tailored to the needs of your Amazon business. You will continue receiving support and guidance throughout the hiring process from VA introductions and VA work briefings all the way until you feel comfortable taking control. 
  3. Get working together with your VA who will be continually receiving training by VAA throughout the project.
  4. If unsatisfied, VAA will replace the assistant at no additional cost. 

Pricing

  1. A one time starter fee – includes registration and matching fee
  2. Monthly fee – based on type of service and hours in a month. (Minimum VA rate is $5.50 /hr)

Conclusion

Each eCommerce outsourcing option has a unique flavor. You need to choose the service that suits you best to get the best results. Take time to go over the different perks they provide and see which package gives you the best deal.

 

Categories
Virtual Assistants

The Cons and Pros of Outsourcing: All You Need to Know

 

Have you ever wondered what the real cons and pros of outsourcing are? You might find it a bit challenging to decide if outsourcing is right for you.

Maybe you have never tried outsourcing before. Maybe you have had a bad experience or heard horror stories of terrible things that have gone wrong for other people who have outsourced different tasks. That’s why we are here!

In this post, we’ll go over the major pros of outsourcing. We’ll also give you the honest truth about the cons. You will need to consider both sides before choosing to outsource work for your business.

What Is Outsourcing?

Outsourcing is simply sourcing talent to do work for you from outside your company. Outsourcing is a business strategy that companies use to hire service providers from overseas as well. 

Business process outsourcing, or BPO, may be a more familiar term. Many larger companies have used BPO services over the decades. BPO refers to contracting out different areas of business operations to a third-party vendor. This began as a way to do manufacturing more cheaply. Today, and this is actually one of the pros of outsourcing, any business can outsource any task that can be done online.

Outsourcing is also the simple act of hiring talent from overseas to complete work that you have in your business. Common terms are virtual assistants, freelancers, and hiring platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and FreeUp.

What Are the Pros of Outsourcing?

A scale to represent weighing the pros of outsourcing against the cons.

Outsourcing can help you to get around the time-consuming hiring process. If you hire correctly, you can even avoid the larger part of the training process, too. You can hire new talent as needed and keep your businesses growing.

Pro #1: Cost Savings

One of the most impactful pros of outsourcing is the cost savings you can enjoy when hiring from overseas. Because many other countries likely have a lower cost of living than your country, the labor costs are also lower. This means that you can enjoy a big reduction in labor costs.

Sometimes you can save up to 50% of what you would pay when hiring locally.

Of course, this varies greatly depending on the skillsets and level of experience you need. You will also pay more for greater reliability and trustworthiness.

You can hire freelancers directly these days, or you can use an agency or marketplace. When you hire through some kind of outsourcing company, you will pay more because you get additional benefits like security and customer service.

When you hire freelancers, you are not obligated to provide them with insurance or benefits. You also do not need to rent office space, pay for monthly internet service, or provide them with equipment. This is huge cost savings right off the bat. 

Hiring freelancers and outsourcing agencies can be a lot cheaper than maintaining full-time employees. You can contract with them for fixed-price, one-off projects, sure.

The amazing part is hiring them for daily, hourly work that you can stop anytime without worrying about severance pay. If your needs include a lot of project-based or short-term work, the cost-effectiveness of overseas freelancers will definitely one of be the biggest pros of outsourcing for you. Short-term hires also allow you to focus on core competencies. 

One of the less well-known pros of outsourcing is its flexibility in terms of temporary company expansion to take advantage of seasonal peaks in demand.

You simply hire when demand is high, like for this upcoming eCommerce holiday season, and not worry about keeping them on after things quiet down. You can also hire expertise as needed. This leaves your regular teams free to focus on the core areas of the business to keep it running smoothly. There’s no risk of hurting your success, only the opportunity to make good on a period of high demand. This scalability is especially useful for bootstrapped startups.

Pro #2: Ability to be 100% Remote

Aside from cost savings, remote work itself is one of the main pros of outsourcing. Particularly during the past couple of years, many businesses relied on remote work to survive. It simply would not have been possible for them to continue operating as profitably as before without the help of remote teams. 

Outsourcing offers more than just the willingness and ability to work from home, though. Freelancers and remote agency workforces are used to working remotely. This means that they have the complete set-up to operate efficiently, such as backup equipment, internet, and even work locations. They know all the possible issues involved with remote work. More importantly, they know how to deal with them so that no issue affects business operations.

When you are running an international eCommerce business, for example, a remote workforce is only logical. Particularly for multi-stores that run on different languages, you can use the help of native speakers for customer service. Customer support working in a different time zone can also be supremely beneficial.

For you as the owner, think also about a personal assistant who comes in a few hours before you start your day and gets your email inbox cleaned up for you and your calendar set up, and all that. I’m sure you can think of other ways that an overseas intermediary can provide you with essential services.

Pro #3: Access to More Talent

When you are open to hiring from anywhere in the world, the realm of opportunity immediately bursts wide open for you. You can choose from a wider pool of talent with top specialization and still pay less than you would when hiring locally. This is one of the juiciest pros of outsourcing because you can not only hire experts, but you won’t have to break the bank doing it.

Cons of Outsourcing

Obviously, we believe that there are more pros of outsourcing than cons. This is why we are in the business! But being in the business means that we have weighed both sides carefully. Below you will find the honest disadvantages of hiring outside your company. 

Con #1: Harder to Communicate All Online

If you are not used to communicating online, it can take some time to get used to it. Luckily, this con is not a deal-breaker. Just make sure that you set aside time to get your communication down before you need any remote hire to work independently. You want to avoid poor communication or a lack of communication with and among remote hires that will delay projects and cause errors.

If you need help with communication remotely, join Outsource School for all of our tips and guides that we’ve been using for years to manage teams across the world.

Con #2: Different Time Zones

You can take advantage of people working in different time zones, but it can be tricky when you need to meet with them. Again, however, you can work around this.

You simply need to know their time zones and get clear on what times they will be working. This way, you can also work out an overlap between your working hours and theirs so you can jump on a video call now and then to keep things running smoothly. 

You can also recruit specifically for virtual assistants and freelancers that can work on your time zone so that the communication isn’t as much of an issue. It will take some more recruiting, but it’s 100% possible.

Con #3: Require More Training Sometimes

Every business is different, so every new hire must go through onboarding. When you are hiring from a different country, through, it can mean a greater learning curve. Your culture may have regular business practices that another culture is not used to. Make sue that you lay everything out on the table before you make a hire. This will help you to avoid any surprises.

Again, if you need help with this aspect of outsourcing, check out Outsource School for all of our guides and templates.

Examples of Tasks to Outsource

How to Profitably Outsource Tasks to a Virtual Assistant1

The best tasks to outsource are technical tasks that require specialized knowledge and simpler tasks that you should not be paying high wages for. Below are some examples.

  • Graphic design and technical drawing
  • Product development
  • Quality control (from overseas manufacturing to webpage functionality)
  • Website optimization
  • Content creation
  • Information technology (software and app development, telecommunications, customer service)
  • Bookkeeping and accounting
  • Data entry and research
  • Administrative tasks
  • Marketing
  • Legal services 
  • Recruitment services and human resource development

How Do I Get Started Outsourcing?

Two people shaking hands to agree to outsourcing.

We want you to start your outsourcing journey with minimal risk. This is why we recommend a planning period before you go off and just start hiring people. Jumping the gun will almost always lead to overwhelm. 

First, make sure that you have enough time to outline exactly what you need in each area of your business.

Second, communicate that clearly to potential hires. If you’re using a marketplace, put together an organized brief that you can post to attract the most suitable candidates. The more work you put in at this stage, the better your chances are of attracting better talent. Just like you wouldn’t want to hire a sloppy worker, a top-tier freelancer is not going to be interested in a sloppy employer.

Third, prepare to interview intelligently with a system in place to rank candidates and choose the best one. Finally, make sure that you have enough time to properly onboard new hires. Don’t hire ten people at once if you don’t have the capacity to get them ready to work.

Want our proven recruitment, interviewing, and hiring processes? Join Outsource School and dive into our most popular course, Cracking the VA Code.

Conclusion

The pros of outsourcing definitely outweigh the cons. Whatever we have come up against in our own outsourcing journey, we have found a great solution to. This is why we built Outsource School! We absolutely love outsourcing and love to help other businesses to learn how to take advantage of this goldmine. 

If you want to master outsourcing and use it as a tool to grow your companies faster and more profitably, join Outsource School and get our years of experience within hours of watching our courses and reading our playbooks.

Categories
Virtual Assistants

What is a Virtual Assistant? Definition, Costs, and Where to Find Them

Virtual assistants have been around since the internet became a staple in people’s homes. Businesses saw the convenience of an assistant working from their respective homes and not needing to come into a physical office to do their job. As you may expect, this sentiment rings particularly true in 2022. In fact, recent world events have gotten both employees and employers to realize the benefits of remote work.

What Is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant can do almost anything that an in-house assistant can do short of grabbing you a cup of coffee. All kidding aside, VAs perform essentially the same supporting functions and tasks that an employer needs from an assistant. These tasks are typically administrative in nature, but VAs can be quite flexible with the range of tasks assigned to them. 

Businesses are turning to virtual assistants because of the attached benefits. Aside from the ones already mentioned, web-based businesses especially do not have to worry about the cost of renting out a room or office space to work in. Not only that, but other costs such as utilities and transport benefits are something companies don’t have to worry about. Smaller businesses can especially benefit from this, but larger businesses have also hired VAs and even VA teams to handle certain tasks. 

A virtual assistant can offer everything short of their physical presence and tasks that require that. Even with this caveat, virtual assistants offer a convenience that can’t be ignored. Plus, technology is growing at such a rate where the need for physical presence is less than it was even 5 years ago. Answering emails, taking messages, placing food orders – all can be done in the comfort of their own homes. 

What Tasks Can a Virtual Assistant Do?

A man writing notes in front of a laptop.

Assistance is such a broad term and can encompass a wide variety of services. In the same way, the duties that a virtual assistant can perform depend on the needs of the hiring party.

As mentioned, administrative work such as answering emails, compiling important documents, working a spreadsheet, setting appointments, and managing calendars, are some of the more common tasks associated with virtual assistants.

However, some virtual assistants can be well-versed in other services like social media management, marketing, content creation and other creative media. Some can be Amazon experts or have experience working in SEO. 

The possibilities are honestly endless. With such a diverse assortment, as an employer, you should be thorough during the hiring process. Because no two VAs are alike, gauge the capabilities of each VA you interview and see if their unique skillsets will be a valuable addition to your team.  

Here are some examples of common tasks you can outsource to a virtual assistant:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Invoicing
  • Taking and making calls
  • Data entry and database management
  • Calendar management
  • Email management
  • Lead generation
  • Paying bills
  • Report creation
  • Customer service
  • Newsletter creation
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Graphic design
  • Photo editing
  • Training and presentation material creation and preparation
  • Transcription
  • Form creation
  • Document proofreading and editing

Where Can You Find Good Virtual Assistants?

The best place to find a virtual assistant is through a recognized service. Most of these established companies have websites where you can check all their details. You can also verify their credentials online and get real-life advice on how good they really are from review sites.

The hiring process can be quite daunting, and sitting through hundreds of interviews isn’t the most appealing idea. It’s more than just skill, too. You want someone that you can work well with.

Thankfully, the best companies offering VA services can help you find the person that best matches the needs and demands of your business. These companies can help you find VAs who have the level of professional experience that you and your clients are looking for. These agencies can also provide flexible and fair pricing options.

Here’s a list of places to get started:

How Much Are VAs Paid?

How much it will cost you to hire a freelance virtual assistant largely depends on four main things:

1. how large of a task you are delegating

2. how long the task will take to accomplish

3. the individual rate of the VA

4. their level of experience and skill.

In general, freelance virtual assistants charge from $5-25/hour depending on several factors.

Let’s take a deeper dive into some of these main elements that affect the rate to hire a virtual assistant. 

Experience and Expertise

When you hire a VA who has worked with other companies before, you are hiring someone that has a level of professionalism. This hire is less of a gamble than someone new to the space. Great VAs are versatile, dependable, resourceful, get the job done in a timely manner, work well with others, and can communicate effectively. You can expect more from experienced virtual assistants, but naturally, that does come with an increased rate. 

Leveling Up

When you interview a VA, make sure to get a good idea of what their main skillset is. Then you can probe further for their more nuanced abilities or unique knowledge that could bring greater value to the company. Note that VAs may be flexible, but they are not miracle workers. If the scope of the work you need done is beyond their abilities, you will need to find someone else or hire another person to perform those specific tasks. 

Admin skills and knowledge of Microsoft Office or Google services are to be expected, but if the job requires technical expertise, finding VAs to fit the role will be more difficult. This will definitely cost more than someone who handles the more common tools like these. Just know that you get what you pay for. In that vein, a VA well-versed in the specifics of a platform or service you’re using, for example, is a worthwhile investment. 

If you are looking for specialized services, make sure to note that clearly in the job description. List down the non-negotiable skills they need to possess. If the VA meets those requirements but doesn’t possess certain secondary skills, determine whether it is worth investing in on-the-job training or if you should spend resources looking for someone else. 

Type, Scope, and Schedule of Work 

This is the general rule: the more you expect one person to be able to do, the higher you should expect to pay. You cannot expect one person to perform the job of 5 and pay them the same rate. Additionally, you cannot add on more work than originally discussed and not expect them to ask for a higher rate. 

When it comes to hiring, there’s a few ways you can go about it:

  • Per-project 
  • Hourly
  • Discuss a set price based on the project
  • Per contract with a set number of hours 

 Assess the length of projects and which would make more sense and would be fair for both parties. Additionally, if a project is larger or you foresee it to last longer, you may want to consider hiring a team of VAs who can get the job done more efficiently than one person. 

Location

The rates that virtual assistants charge vary depending on where they live. This can be one of the biggest factors that determines how much they charge for their services. 

Although they may not be commuting to a workplace, there are other expenses that VAs do have to cover. They pay for their water, electricity, rent, and internet. Their cost of living in their respective countries will determine how much they charge. VAs can come from anywhere in the world, and it is certainly possible to find a VA that not only fits the job description but also fits your budget. 

You should also consider the working hours of your VA. Sometimes it can be hard to communicate through live calls when time zones are too dissimilar. Alternatively, you might want someone who works while you sleep, so that work is getting done regardless of the hour. You may even strike a balance where you’re both awake part of the day to provide an opportunity for questions, feedback, and progress updates.

Tips to Hiring Virtual Assistants For Your Online Business

A man smiling and giving a thumbs up.

We have a lot of technologies today that allow most people access to a virtual assistant. What you need to remember is that not every country has fast and stable internet, and you need to make sure that the person you hire has a quality connection.

Don’t expect a super high-speed hook-up, either, and with a backup to boot, if you want to pay something like US$5 per hour. That’s asking too much because it’s simply not feasible on the VA’s end.

Where Can I Learn More About Working with VAs?

A great place to start learning more about working with a virtual assistant is right here on our blog! We have a wide array of posts on looking for, preparing for, hiring, onboarding, and maintaining relationships with virtual hires.

You can also become an Outsource School member where you’ll gain access to our Cracking the VA Code course along with 15+ other courses and playbooks on outsourcing.

Conclusion

We are here to help you on your journey to making your work life easier by bringing a virtual assistant — or two or three! — into your business. Reach out to us for more information, and even guidance that speaks into your personal needs and unique business setup.

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Virtual Assistants

What Is Outsourcing? How To Do It, Examples, & Tips

Outsourcing can be advantageous to the growth of a business. Still, outsourcing is a concept that some might not be comfortable with because of an exaggerated concept of the risks involved. In this post, we’ll talk about outsourcing, how to do it, and the pros and cons for you and your business.

What Is Outsourcing?

Outsourcing is the process of obtaining or “sourcing” goods or services from a third-party provider. That means hiring someone who is not affiliated with or is “outside” the company. The person you delegate work to does not, therefore, “belong to” the company.

How Does It Work?

People having a meeting to talk about how outsourcing works.

If a company cannot accomplish a certain task within its walls, outsourcing is a method to hand over that task to another company and pay them for their service. 

Business process outsourcing (BPO) refers to outsourcing front and back-office business processes to a different company. This is a time-saving and cost-effective practice that also allows business to direct their attention to other aspects of business operations. Production and manufacturing are perhaps the most well-known outsourced areas of business. Outsourcing has expanded, however, to include many other services for business operations.

Where Can You Outsource From?

One of the best things and probably also one of the most intimidating things about outsourcing is that you can outsource from basically anywhere in the world. The availability of the specific service you require will vary depending on if you prefer to source from local companies or if you want to look internationally. 

Some of the most popular places with the biggest talent pools to outsource from include Brazil, India, China, and the Philippines. You may have to weigh your options and see which countries have the specific talents (and the stable internet) for the tasks you need accomplished.

At Outsource School, we prefer outsourcing to freelancers and virtual assistants in the Philippines.

Examples of Outsourcing

How to Outsource

Outsourcing comes in all shapes, sizes, and categories. Below are some of the most commonly outsourced services.

Virtual Assistants and Freelancers

Most online business owners use outsourcing to hire virtual assistants and freelancers to support the growth of their online business.

The roles vary from Exec Assistants to Marketing roles, Operations roles, Sales roles, and many Design roles.

You can find these types of individuals on sites like Upwork, Fiverr, FreeUp, OnlineJobs.ph, and many others.

Knowledge process outsourcing (KPO)

This is essentially the outsourcing of specialized professionals to help with core business activities. These services require a high technical skill level. This is a rather broad category of outsourcing and depends on the specialized needs of the business. These functions can involve data management, market research, accounting, and other financial services, design, engineering, content creation, or even healthcare. 

Information technology outsourcing (ITO)

Some businesses may not have in-house IT specialists or call center services, and so instead will hire outside help for their tech support and telecom needs. This may include hiring that company to build your software or application for you. 

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)

Companies that don’t have the time to scout for new talent may outsource to another company to take on the responsibility of recruitment. These recruiting services locate, vet, and interview individuals to determine if they are suitable for the positions you require filling. This reduces turnover because they have the expertise.

Human resource outsourcing (HRO)

HR roles can also be outsourced. You can hire an individual or a team to perform functions such as employee benefits and compensation administartion, payroll management, administering any changes to company policies, recruitment and hiring, and even training. 

Legal process outsourcing (LPO)

Need some legal advice or other legal services? Well, companies that don’t have an in-house lawyer or legal team can outsource this service. Now, it’s worth noting that the scope of work that these types of legal teams can do is limited.

Engineering process outsourcing (EPO)

Engineering process outsourcing is where a company enlists another company to take care of engineering services. It is a cost-effective way for companies to be able to market products faster without compromising the quality. Some of the most outsourced EPO categories include automotive, electronics, utilities, and construction.

Pros of Outsourcing

By outsourcing, time, money, and human resources can be saved or repurposed elsewhere. Below are some of the areas where outsourcing can be advantageous to your business. 

Reduced labor costs

Sometimes keeping on full-time employees to perform certain tasks is less cost-effective than outsourcing those tasks. Outsourcing typically comes with lower labor costs when you factor in the benefits one must pay to employees and the costs of renting office space for them to work in. Not only that, but you can also outsource to countries whose labor costs are far less than your own country or region. A company can also cut costs by hiring virtual assistants or freelancers because these individuals pay for their own utilities, typically work from home, and do not receive the same benefits as a full-time employee.  

Additionally, companies can be more flexible in their hiring practices. If the company is in indeed of more workers during times of the year when demand is high, they can simply outsource the necessary help for a limited time. This is helpful for businesses that may not be able to afford a high volume of employees year-round.

Specialization

Sometimes, a business will have employees performing a broad range of tasks requiring an arsenal of different skills. This is especially true for smaller businesses. However, some tasks may be too technical or require a professional in the field in order to accomplish the job. Outsourcing specialists can be more cost-effective than taking the time and money to train your employees to perform the task. Because you are taking employees away from their other duties, this would be less efficient and would not meet the same quality standards that a seasoned expert would bring to the table. 

Focus on core competencies

Some companies will outsource tasks that take their time or workforce away from business processes that require more attention. When these tasks are more valuable to the growth of the business, taking them away can harm the business. Outsourcing also allows companies to temporarily expand their capabilities to effectively deal with scenarios like fulfilling a large project or order in a short amount of time.

Cons of Outsourcing

How to Outsource

While there are quite a few advantages to outsourcing, there are also several risks to take into account. Below are a few reasons why you need to be very careful when choosing your outsourcing partner.

Data and security risk

Be careful with the information you share and make sure that if you need to share sensitive information, it should be with a company that you trust. There are also preemptive legal measures to take, such as contracts that provide you additional protections. 

Operational control

When you outsource, you have less control over how certain operations are done or the quality of the outcome. Throughout the chain of processes, you have less of an ability to check the finer details. This is why it’s important to partner with companies that have a good reputation and produce results that meet the standards of your business. 

You also need to establish communication channels and regular updates with your outsourced team. Otherwise, you will end up with misunderstandings and results far from what you originally expected. 

Unforeseen costs

Outsourcing may come with additional costs that you are not prepared for. This is especially true when you are new to the process. Hiring a freelancer or workers connected to an agency is different from hiring your own employees. For example, an existing contract with the previously agreed contract fee will not always cover changes in your project scope. The change is not as simple as shifting around workload or task types. Unless you are paying hourly and agreeable to increasing working hours or hourly rates, as the case may be, you may need to renegotiate the contract. 

The fine print of project contracts with agencies and individuals may also contain hidden fees. Be very careful to review the conditions before you sign any contracts. On that note, contractual agreements themselves take time and money to put together. You may need to hire legal counsel to review the documents. You will definitely need to allot time for negotiations and document processing.

How Do I Get Started Outsourcing?

To get started outsourcing, we suggest first understanding what tasks you want to outsource and take off your plate.

Spend 30 minutes writing down all of the most repetitive and mundane tasks that you and your team still handle.

These are the best tasks to start outsourcing as it will be easiest to find someone who can handle them for you without needing a ton of technical expertise about your business or niche.

Once you’re ready, go to the sites listed above like Upwork, Fiverr, FreeUp, and OnlineJobs.ph and post your job to start getting applicants. Interview, test them, and then hire the best one for the job.

Also, the best way to get started outsourcing is before you feel overwhelmed. This will give you more time to figure out what you really need to delegate. If you wait until you’re already stressed out, you will probably not have the patience or energy to get everything set up properly. If you get off on the wrong foot, you’ll probably not have a great experience.

By joining Outsource School, you’ll learn all of our tested and proven tactics for outsourcing and hiring virtual assistants and freelancers from all over the world.

Conclusion

Outsourcing can be a daunting and unfamiliar territory to venture into for those newer to the scene. You will encounter one or more of the risks involved with outsourcing. You will also need to make an investment into mitigating these risks. This involves researching the best companies and individual talent to partner with. It also means making contractual deals and maintaining clear channels of communication. 

However, when partnered with the right company, outsourcing carries with it a number of benefits. These advantages can certainly save businesses a lot of time and money in certain areas. Weigh the pros and cons of investing in outsourcing. This will help you to see if your business would be better off delegating some of the workload to an outside source.

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Virtual Assistants

What Is the Average Cost of a Virtual Assistant?

The cost of a virtual assistant from outside the US ranges from $5 to $30 on average. There are also expert hires, including those from the US, who charge up to $75 per hour for their expertise. The cost of a virtual assistant varies greatly based on their skills and level of experience. This factors in on top of their location and the roles you are hiring for.

In this post, we’ll give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for the help that you need. We’ve divided the cost of a virtual assistant based on three categories:  basic VAs, specialists, and experts. We’ll also give you the basic criteria that fall under the three categories. This will help you to see under which category you should look based on the scope of your project or role. The rates will also help you clarify the hours that you want to hire for. This way, you can strike a balance between your budget and your deadlines.

Three Types of VAs

Here’s a short description of each category of VA. It covers what they do and their general skill levels.

Basic VAs

Basic VAs can be entry-level freelancers. They have job experience but not a lot of experience working online. Basic VAs can also be VAs who offer basic skills. They are more of the doer and follower type. You give them instructions and they execute tasks. At this level, they are not going to be making a lot of suggestions. They will also probably be asking a lot of questions if you give them complex tasks.

You can find basic VAs who are fast learners, but you’ll need to do quite a bit of training with them. You will need to guide them to follow your systems and processes. In addition, you will need to show them exactly what you want them to do for each task. These assistants are best suited for accomplishing simple tasks. Ideally, these are roles where you have systems and processes already in place for them to follow.

Specialists

Specialists are mid-level freelancers who have honed their skills. They also have a good deal of experience. Many of them have niched down and maintain a specialization. Some have a wide range of previous experience and several skills in different areas. Usually, these skills are extensions of a general area of focus. For instance, an Amazon inventory specialist may have related skills like sales data analysis, logistics, supplier outreach and communication, and purchase order design. These additional skills make them better at projecting inventory and setting up an organized system. This way, they can make sure that you maintain excellent inventory levels no matter what happens.

You won’t have to do extensive training with specialized freelancers because they already have high-level skill sets. You will, however, need to give them general guidance in terms of how you like things done. In addition, you will need to get them up to speed on what your specific targets are for their role.

Experts 

Experts are freelancers with very high levels of skill and experience. They are usually consultants, strategists, and planners. These freelancers are very useful in certain cases where you need help executing the most difficult and skill-intensive tasks.

Expert-level freelancers are a good investment if you don’t have systems and processes in place. They are also great when you need help to formulate and execute a new strategy. Once they are done building everything out, you can hire specialists and basic VAs to take over and run things. 

Average Cost of a Virtual Assistant

Here’s a short description of each category of VA and the general hourly rates that you can expect to pay. Below each category, you’ll find a list of tasks and an estimate of their rate ranges.

Basic VAs

The cost of a virtual assistant for basic tasks runs from around $5 to $10 per hour. Here are some examples of tasks that you can hire basic VAs to take over, and what they cost:

Basic Tasks

  • General VA – responsible for handling a variety of administrative tasks like research, data entry, email, and calendar management – $5 to $8
  • Inbox Management VA – responsible for managing your email inbox and responding when necessary – $5 to $8
  • Calendar Management VA – responsible for managing your calendar – $5 to $8
  • Data Entry – responsible for encoding and consolidating your gathered data into one platform – $4 to $6
  • Web Researcher – responsible for conducting internet research on your behalf, making sure that the curated information will be easy for you to read and understand – $5 to $10
  • Customer Service VA – responsible for responding to repetitive customer queries, requests, issues, etc. through email and chat – $5 to $8
  • Blog Manager – responsible for managing company blogs, including formatting and publishing blog articles – $6 to $10
  • Podcast Outreach VA – knows the podcast industry well and knows how to find podcasts related to your business, reach out, and get you booked as a guest – $5 to $8
  • Influencer Outreach VA – responsible for researching influencers within your business niche, finding their contact information, and reaching out to talk about a feature or a possible collaboration – $6 to $10
  • Link Builder – skilled in off-page SEO and the latest link building strategies – $6 to $10
  • Dropshipping VA – responsible for managing the day to day operations of your dropshipping store, including placing orders, sourcing products, following up with suppliers, etc. – $6 to $10
  • Shopify VA responsible for managing the day to day operations of your Shopify store – $6 to $10
  • Product Researcher – knowledgeable in researching products to sell, including researching what is being talked about on social media, anticipating up and coming products, etc. – $6 to $10

Specialists

The cost of a virtual assistant for specialized tasks runs from around $10 to $30 per hour. Note that this range includes hires from countries like the US, UK, and Canada. For example, you can find a mid-level Executive Assistant from the Philippines for $8-15 per hour, but the same from the US would be around $15-25 per hour. For the purposes of this post, we’ll give you rates from outside the US.

Here are some examples of tasks that you can hire specialists to take over, and what they cost:

Specialist Tasks

  • Executive Assistant – responsible for organizing and making your life easier, including fixing and managing your schedule, booking your flights, responding to emails, taking notes during your meetings, taking phone calls, and even running virtual errands for you – $8 to $15
  • Translation VA – responsible for translating documents from one language to another, such as Amazon EU paperwork and listings – $7 to $20
  • Bookkeeping VA – responsible for helping you to keep track of your business’ financials and will be responsible for updating the books for your accountant – $7 to $15
  • Team Leader VA – responsible for managing your team of VAs, creating reports, creating SOPs, streamlining operations, etc. – $8 to $12
  • Project Manager – responsible for managing key client projects from beginning to end – $8 to $15
  • Real Estate VA – a specialist in the Real Estate industry who is knowledgeable in finding property details, cold calling, lead generation, data entry, and more – $8 to $12
  • Onboarding Assistant – responsible for handling the onboarding process of new clients from doing a walkthrough of your system thru a video call to sending and following up on documents needed – $8 to $12
  • Customer Service VA – responsible for responding to higher-level customer queries, requests, issues, etc. through email, chat, and call – $8 to $12
  • Digital Marketing VA – highly skilled in various aspects of online marketing including SEO, SMM, paid ads, content marketing, and more; responsible for planning, implementing, and overseeing all your company’s digital marketing efforts – $10 to $20
  • Content Manager responsible for editing and optimizing posts, and managing your company’s content calendar, and liaising with other marketing teams to ensure your website’s content aligns with the campaigns that are currently being launched – $8 to $12
  • PPC VA – a specialist in PPC ads who can help build and manage all your company’s paid ad campaigns – $10 to $20
  • Facebook Ads VA – a specialist in paid Facebook ads who has the skills to plan, implement, and manage Facebook ad campaigns – $10 to $20
  • SEO VA – very skilled in handling the SEO of your company’s website, responsible for optimizing your website, formulating a strategy to get your pages and blog posts to rank, and implement these plans – $8 to $20
  • Email Marketing VA – responsible for creating and sending out newsletters, email sequences, promotional emails, and monitoring metrics, and adjusting strategies based on results – $7 to $12
  • Web Designer – skilled in designing the layout and functionality of a website – $15 to $30
  • Web Developer – skilled in building websites from scratch or from a mock-up created by a website designer – $15 to $30
  • Amazon Seller Central VA – knows all the ins and out of running an Amazon shop, responsible for managing the daily operations of your Amazon store – $8 to $12
  • Inventory Manager – knowledgeable in monitoring the inventory of your online store and reordering stock when needed – $7 to $12
  • Product Listing VA – responsible for publishing product listings on your e-commerce platform, possibly required to write the product descriptions as well – $7 to $12
  • Podcast Editor – experienced in editing video recordings to turn them into engaging podcast episodes – $7 to $12
  • Video Editor – responsible for editing your video clips – $6 to $12
  • Copywriter, Content Writer – a specialist in creating written content like engaging website and email copy, blog posts, and various forms of content, including marketing content for landing pages and specialized long-form content, possibly responsible for all aspects of the content process including planning, proofing, fact-checking, and sometimes even publishing – $7 to $25
  • Audio Editor responsible for taking audio files to edit and polish before final mixing, very useful for podcasters, YouTube influencers, and businesses that use video and audio marketing materials – $8 to $15
  • Graphic Designer responsible for creating custom graphics for you and collateral needed for various purposes like landing pages, website builds, featured images, social media posts, etc. – $8 to $15

Experts 

The cost of an expert runs from around $30 to as much as $75 per hour or more. Note that this range includes hires from countries like the US, UK, and Canada. For example, you can find an Organic Facebook Marketing Expert from the Philippines for $30-40 per hour, but the same from the US might range from $45-55 per hour. For the purposes of this post, we’ll give you rates from outside the US.

Here are some examples of tasks that you can hire experts to set up for you, and what they cost:

Expert Tasks

  • eCommerce Consulting – online arbitrage, drop shipping, marketplace-specific planning, Amazon private label – $40 to $50
  • Marketing & Strategy – SEO, PPC, Facebook Ads campaign creation, social media, and email marketing campaign planning – $30 to $40
  • Conversion Rate Optimization – $30 to $40
  • Excel – Vlookup, Macros, custom reports – $30 to $40
  • Amazon Merch – product photography optimization, store design and optimization – $30 to $40
  • High-End Custom Programming & Development – $40 to $60
  • Management – independent control over website builds, blogs, complete eCommerce operations – $30 to $40

Final Thoughts

Now you have a better idea of what you’re looking at in terms of skill level and the cost of a virtual assistant to make it all happen. Of course, the rate ranges listed here are estimates based on what we’ve hired out for at Outsource School and what we’ve seen from profiles and other peoples’ experiences. You can always adjust based on your budget and what you need to hire for as opposed to doing the work in-house. These ranges are just to give you an overview.

When you list out the different tasks that you want to pass off, think about the levels of skill and experience that you need to get the jobs done right. You always want to avoid going for the lower end if you have high expectations for the outcome. Consider as well the time and effort you are willing to invest in the person to reach your goals. 

 

Would you like to know how to be certain who your next hire should be? Or maybe you are having a hard time deciding what parts of your business can be outsourced with virtual assistants, right now. We can help you answer these questions, and help you to discover what new systems you should add to scale your business faster. Set up a free hiring consultation with us at Outsource School today – simply book here!

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Virtual Assistants

10 Tasks an Admin Virtual Assistant Can Handle

Are you a small business owner who’s struggling to get small and repetitive tasks done day in and day out? Why not outsource some of the more typical daily business operations tasks to an admin virtual assistant?

An admin virtual assistant can take over most if not all of the tasks that a typical administrative assistant does. Here are 10 tasks an admin virtual assistant can handle for your business. 

Schedule Management

Managing your schedule is the first thing to outsource to an admin virtual assistant. The small tasks involved in schedule management are scattered throughout the day and can get really tedious. For example:

1.  Calendar Management

Having an admin virtual assistant to keep you on schedule is super useful. This means making sure that you complete the most important tasks for each day. It also means making sure that you don’t burn yourself out. An admin virtual assistant can be that key voice that warns you of tasks that you’ve bumped off one too many times, or reminds you that you are overbooked and need to carve out some time for yourself.

You might have alerts set up for calendar events or like to look at your calendar yourself. Still, an admin virtual assistant can help you prepare for each shift of focus. They can send you the links to the materials you need, and give you important notes.

2.  Appointment Scheduling

Get an admin virtual assistant to take over blocking off time slots that have been booked. This is especially useful when you don’t always use a scheduling tool to automatically set up bookings for you. You might use something like Calendly, but others might not. Calendly will automatically add bookings to your calendar and mark that slot as taken so you don’t overbook, but without a tool like this, you’ll need to do manual calendar management. 

Opening up slots is another task that can take up time. There are certain people that you will want to make exceptions for in terms of what time slots you have available. This can sometimes mean rescheduling with people so you can move appointments around to make room. Sometimes, it means figuring out what tasks you can postpone to make time to meet with them. Have an  admin virtual assistant make all the necessary adjustments for you so you don’t have to use your time for such a simple task.

3.  Travel Arrangements

Planning for a trip, whether it’s business or pleasure, can eat up hours and hours of time spanning several days. Pass off the task of researching destinations and bookings and travel times and modes of transport. All you need to do is have a basic idea of what you want, and you’ll get the top options laid out for you to choose from. You can even have an admin virtual assistant create a travel to do list for you that covers everything from what you need to pack to where you need to be and what you need to have with you when you get there. An agenda is also no problem for a skilled assistant, and super useful for you. This way, you can get all the timings right to never be late or unprepared.

4.  Receptionist Duties

More than a reminder service, the right assistant can actually take over incoming calls on your business phone. This way, you don’t get interrupted for every little thing, and have focused time to provide top-notch service to your valued clients. An assistant can also check voicemails that have come in during off hours so you don’t miss a beat.  

It’s all about balance to battle overwhelm, and having this type of buffer is super helpful. Since they are managing your schedule already, they can very easily add in pre-approved items and send you new ones right alongside your remaining available hours.

Of course, when you’re hiring from overseas, you’re going to need a service that can connect your number to theirs so they can take calls no matter where they live. That’s not too hard to do, and doing the research for it can be their first task as a receptionist.

Email Management

Sorting through email can be one of the most time-consuming tasks for any business owner. Email can very easily become a rabbit hole that sucks you away from the important tasks that you need to get done for your business. Many times, you run away from email because it takes so much time. But then you miss important messages and other messages just keep piling up. Eventually, you see that it will take several hours or even days just to get it cleaned up. 

5.  Sorting Emails and Managing Spam

Remove yourself from working in your business by hiring an admin virtual assistant to pre-sort emails for you. They can tackle the big task of getting everything organized to start. Most email clients come with systems that you can use to label and file different senders and messages. An experienced admin virtual assistant can even show you a few tricks for organization and easy access.

One of the best things about having someone else sort your emails is that you don’t have to deal with spam of any kind. You sit down in front of your email and see only the items that actually need your attention. This is an essential step for you to become a more productive entrepreneur.

6.  Answering Inquiries and Customer Service Requests 

Not everything that crowds your inbox is spam. Very likely, you have a lot of important messages in there. The thing is, you can’t take them all on yourself, and you can’t ignore them, either. An admin virtual assistant is a vital role in the area of taking some of the simpler messages off your plate. They can answer common inquiries that come in, and even solve simple customer service issues. When issues arise that they’re not familiar with, they can ask you one time, create an entry in your SOPs, and handle it from then on out. If you also have a customer service chat feature on your website, or any other channel that you use to connect with customers, they can manage that, too. 

7.  Email Marketing

If you take special care when hiring an admin virtual assistant, you can target one who has email marketing experience. Email marketing is so important, and you’ll need help to grow your email marketing list and engage with that list on a regular basis. This is so that you can develop relationships with the people on that list and even make money through it — at least $1 a month for every name on the list.

You can have an admin virtual assistant create new lists in whatever email marketing tool you’re using, have them add and remove subscribers to keep lists fresh, and tweak follow-up emails and autoresponders under your guidance. They can even create and schedule newsletters and broadcast emails to promote newly published content and edit or proofread existing content you have that might need some freshening up.

Research and Data

Having a lot of different tasks to keep track of can keep any business owner distracted from what’s really important. An admin virtual assistant helps you to become and stay organized so that you can remain productive every day. Have an assistant systematize things for you and put new processes in place. For instance:

8.  File Storage 

You can get all your important files uploaded to a service like Dropbox or Google Drive for easy access, and also as a backup solution. This way, you also have a much easier time sharing files with whoever else needs them. Plus, these files stay updated so you know that you’re always looking at the newest version of every file. And, of course, all the files get and stay organized in folders so everyone can find what they need.

An assistant can also do all of your data entry work for you as well as creating, updating, and managing documents and spreadsheets, writing up meeting notes and action items, and other information that you will want to keep organized.

9.  Online Research

Research takes up loads of time, like what was mentioned above in terms of creating travel plans. You can simply set parameters then pass off all research tasks to an assistant. This includes data gathering, data mining and development, lead generation, and so much more.

10. Bookkeeping

You can ask an admin virtual assistant to help you keep your finances in order. This is more than just filing bills and invoices. With a bit of experience or training, they can take over client invoicing and keep finances tallied up on whatever tool you use, like XERO or Quickbooks. They won’t do the actual accounting, but having everything neatly added into the software makes it a lot easier for your accountant when it’s time to do your taxes.

Ready to Hire an Admin Virtual Assistant?

Here’s a sample job post that you can use for recruiting an admin virtual assistant. 

Job Description:

I am currently looking to hire an admin virtual assistant to manage my email inbox and calendar as well as do some bookkeeping tasks. The ideal candidate must have excellent communication skills, is dependable, highly organized, and can take on other admin tasks when needed. Please do not apply if you don’t have prior experience.

The right candidate will be responsible for responding to my business emails, coordinating with other members of the team when you need information, and setting appointments on my calendar. It is important that you’re highly organized so my schedule is organized as well. You will be meeting with me at the beginning of every day to give me a run through of my schedule.

You should also be reliable, trustworthy, and have a keen eye for detail. You will be responsible for keeping track of company finances, monitoring project expenses, keeping track of client invoices, and payroll. You should be able to file all documents in an organized manner. You will be expected to create detailed financial reports and explain them to me during meetings.

Desired Hourly Rate:  $5 to $7 per hour

Location Preference:  Non-US

Hours Per week:  20 hours

Specific Hours:  Client’s business hours – flexible between 10am and 5pm Eastern Standard Time

Weekends Needed?:  No

Programs or Tools You Need to Know:

  • Calendly and Google Calendar
  • G Suite
  • Slack
  • Experience working on project management platforms like Trello and Asana

More Tasks for an Admin Virtual Assistant

An admin virtual assistant can actually do a lot more than just these 10 tasks, but these are a good place to start. You may also want to look into how they can help you to optimize content and manage publishing and comments on your blog, track projects that other team members are working on so they get done on time and within the set parameters, and take care of your social media posting, and maybe even some audience engagement. Miscellaneous tasks that you can pass off include sending ecards and event invitations, document format conversion, audio and video transcription, creating reports and forms and document templates, and putting slides together for presentations.

 

Would you like to know how to be certain who your next hire should be? Or maybe you are having a hard time deciding what parts of your business can be outsourced with virtual assistants, right now. We can help you answer these questions, and help you to discover what new systems you should add to scale your business faster. Set up a free hiring consultation with us at Outsource School today – simply book here!

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Virtual Assistants

Leading Remote Teams? 5 Things You Should Immediately Automate

When you’re leading remote teams, it’s important to know how effective hiring remote really is. Countless pieces of evidence showcase that remote working significantly boosts your business growth and productivity. With the emergence of increased remote working during the pandemic, managers and leaders contribute their immense efforts and crucial time managing and leading remote teams.

According to a study, 77% of part-time and full-time remote workers stated that they were more productive when working remotely.

With the evolution of remote development, more and more businesses are embracing their remote teams. The new normal trend has paved the way for companies to come into leading remote teams more effectively.

Although managing and leading remote teams can be challenging and tricky, it is far from impossible. You should establish clear and transparent remote working policies and remote team training in advance in this changing business environment.

According to the latest trends, the future of remote working seems promising. Product companies worldwide quickly adopted new ways of establishing and leading remote teams, using remote communication, and building remote collaboration to perform exceptionally well while working outside of the physical business office. 

Before going further, let’s first check out how remote working is working effectively all around. Here listed some quick statistics you can check:

  1. According to a report, 59% of software teams have increased their productivity while working remotely.
  2. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 3.6% of the US workforce worked from home in 2018. Now, “Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.” 
  3. According to FlexJobs’ survey, 95% of employees say their productivity has been higher or the same working from home, and 51% report being more productive when working remotely. 
  4. 2.9% of the total U.S. workforce works remotely at least half of the time.

Fortunately, we have come up with some quick steps that can help managers who are leading remote teams to improve the engagement and productivity of remote workers.

Automating Task Management

Task management is an important consideration to be taken care of when working remotely. To maximize productivity and effectively run remote teams, you must have a robust and effective team management plan for your remote workers.

Project management or task management tools help team members to get their tasks organized in a timely manner.

Look out for a tool that facilitates the management and tracking of each project’s and team member’s work status. You will get all task management activities to align teams with remote work using task management tools like Trello, Asana, Basecamp, and so on. Automated project management keeps your team on the right track and lets you focus on other core management tasks.

When it’s about automation, remote teams can choose Butler (Trello’s built-in automation tool) among the pool of other available automations. Butler is a one-stop destination for all automation lovers. It enables you to automate almost everything while making leading remote teams quicker and easier. It can help you create buttons on your cards that trigger actions when clicked. Also, it can help you schedule commands for tasks that you need to do regularly. There are many more automations you can set up with this tool. It will provide you immense opportunities for managing your teams remotely.

Set Common Availability for Leading Remote Teams

Remote working is a trend now as larger companies choose remote environments to make flexible work arrangements. It facilitates a balance between their work and personal life. Flexible working hours for differing time zones helps businesses increase productivity, and develop a healthy remote environment and a healthier lifestyle.

Make sure your remote teams that work across distributed locations have working hours in common for real-time collaboration. Predefine their common availability within a specific range and make sure that all team members worldwide are online and accessible during the set timeframe.

Comfortable working hours relieve team members from daily office stress, help them manage their personal lives better, and allow them to work at peak productivity. These remote members can still manage the rest of the workdays according to their chosen schedules.

Making work-life balance easier helps them understand that you care for them and value the work they do for you. It ultimately leads to increased morale and the work and dedication they deliver much better.

Make Use of Effective Communication Tools

Poor communication often takes businesses down through low productivity. Whether it’s about remote environments or in-house work, seamless communication is crucial for remote teams to work collaboratively to achieve a common goal.

Communication tools are the best way to keep every remote worker engaged. Efficient communication is essential for effectively leading remote teams. Businesses must implement messaging platforms like Slack and Skype to make communication and workflow flawless and smooth.

For this, you need to prepare a communication plan to manage a virtual team effectively. It helps the communication process between team members to be faster and more accessible. The purpose here is to document everything about how you will achieve communication needs.  Also, you can use it for multiple ongoing projects and adapt them as needed.

Slack and Microsoft Teams are two tools that are suitable for collaboration and communication. 

Slack is one of the widely used messaging platforms that remote workers rely on pretty often. It provides teams a healthy work environment where they can have clear and open communication.

You can share images, documents, and comments in threads to keep conversations organized. You can also integrate tools, messages, and voice call team members individually. 

Essential Daily Meetings for Leading Remote Teams

Smooth and real-time communication between the remote members helps resolve multiple communication issues and make personal relationships better. 

It’s beneficial to conduct daily meetings via video conferencing and voice calls while managing remote teams. This encourages smoother communication as both the members can analyze each other’s body language and facial expressions. Moreover, it prevents any confusion or misunderstanding between them regarding work, personal issues, etc.

Regular calls between remote team members ensure flawless communication and better collaboration between them. With video conferencing, remote members help ensure that project expectations are crystal clear. To get your remote members engaged, make it a point to seek their input when it’s time to give feedback.

It‘s pretty beneficial to schedule monthly or regular team meetings with a tool like Skype. Video conferencing helps create the space for remote workers to stay engaged and connected. Here, every team member can discuss the projects they are currently working on, and they can always keep coworkers in the loop.

Scheduling video conferencing is an excellent way to build empathy and bridge the gap between in-house and remote team members. Try making use of popular video conferencing tools like Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and so on.

Conducting daily meetings is the key that assures everyone can see the bigger picture and achieve a common goal.

Integrate the Latest Tools 

Working with trending and top-notch technology can take your business to the zenith of success. 

Make sure to integrate these robust tools into your tech stack. The team should be able to access them via any channel. The tool stack should also be kept consistently accurate with each tool kept up-to-date. 

Keeping that in mind, it’s worth noting that not every piece of software will perfectly fit your organization. Similarly, even the best tool may not be the right tool for your team’s current situation. Part of leading remote teams means understanding your team’s technological needs and capabilities and how your tech stack’s current tools meet these needs.

You need to adopt new tools and upgrade current tools to address your team’s evolving needs. Also, if needed, you can migrate to a different tool that better aligns with your team’s processes. As time passes, be sure to revise your tech stack regularly and make changes whenever needed.

Forget Micromanaging and Start Automating

Managers often fear accountability and productivity while leading remote teams. They usually go into micromanagement by default.

Micromanaging everything is challenging and distressing to the manager and affects remote teams’ productivity. You need to empathize with your remote team members and try to step into their shoes. Prioritize their thoughts, mindset, and values, and give them the independence to work freely. If you have hired intelligently, you should have no problems trusting them to align with your business culture and values.

Try to build trust and show your team how much you value them. It validates the team’s work and motivates them to do much better in the future.

Automation helps you keep track of your remote team’s activities without micromanaging. These tools help you assign tasks, check each task’s status, project progress, and maintain regular communication. With the right tools, you can monitor everything without micromanaging. This ultimately helps you balance trust and accountability with remote workers.

Leading Remote Teams

It is no secret that the pandemic has changed the way many people do business. The evolution of remote work as the norm brought on some significant changes in the current business world. Remote work has become more than a trend. It has become a necessity for companies to work efficiently by leading remote teams successfully.

Leading remote teams might be daunting, but remote work can take your business to new heights if done correctly. You need to invest your efforts into smart strategic planning and the right technology to boost performance.

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Virtual Assistants

Should You Hire a Virtual Assistant in the Philippines?

A wide variety of businesses all over the world have hired at least one virtual assistant in the Philippines. This is because Filipinos have proven to be A-players in the freelance world. 

Hiring a virtual assistant in the Philippines is Connor and Nathan’s go-to when they need tasks done for Outsource School. In fact, it has been this way for all of their businesses going back to when they got started back in college. They discovered that hiring a virtual assistant in the Philippines was the best course of action because Filipinos are great for a remote team. 

Here are the reasons why they choose Filipinos, and why we think you should, too!

(1) English Skills 

A virtual assistant in the Philippines has a high probability of understanding English and using the language well. The accent is also quite clean in comparison to other countries because most if not all Filipinos speak more than one language, so they’re used to new languages and can adapt very easily. English is also a native language to many Filipinos. Most Filipinos grow up around people who use English, consuming English media, and using English in school with English language textbooks and other materials. They move on to using English at work in a country that uses English as the language of the courts and government. 

English is everywhere in the Philippines, and actually, English is used more in an official capacity than any other language or dialect. To illustrate, if you walk around in the Philippines, you’ll see notices and signs written in English, read property listings written in English, and hear radio personalities speaking in English. The country also has robust local literature in English, possibly more than literature written in all other languages combined.

(2) Understanding of US Culture 

Aside from direct language difficulty, misunderstandings occur primarily out of cultural differences. The Philippines has experienced long exposure to outside cultures, particularly American. Because of this, Filipinos have a good understanding of US culture in particular. This makes it very easy to communicate with and build rapport with a virtual assistant in the Philippines. As a result, you have less of a chance of running into communication barriers that arise out of cultural differences.

(3) BPO Industry 

BPOs, or Business Process Outsourcing companies choose the Philippines as one of the top countries in the world to put up call centers. This is mainly because of the overall English language proficiency in the country. They also love the Philippines because the people are so easy to get along with and work with.

The IT-BPO industry is one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing in the country. The Philippines hosts knowledge process outsourcing and back offices, animation centers, call centers, software development centers, game development centers, engineering design centers, and medical transcription centers. Many Filipinos have experienced working in the IT-BPO sector, and this adds to their skill level in terms of working for foreign companies and working and communicating with other nationalities, and all that this entails.

(4) People-Focused Culture 

Filipinos have a strong focus on personal relationships. This is an integral part of their culture. Building and maintaining good relationships with others is very important. This means that a virtual assistant in the Philippines will take care of relationships with clients and coworkers. You don’t have to try and teach them how to be understanding and kind and respectful to others, or how to avoid conflict and focus on resolution instead.

This also means that Filipinos are very accommodating to outside cultures. They will actually make added effort to understand and blend in, which is not a common trait of most other cultures. If you have people from other cultures on the team, the Filipinos will be the first ones to want to learn about them and make future hires feel welcome.

Out of that, you also get an adaptability that applies directly to the work environment. Filipinos know how to adapt, and do it willingly, too. Plus, because of the growth of the IT-BPO industry and freelancing in the country, most are used to working strange hours. Different time zones are not an issue for most Filipinos. It’s even safe to say that half the country works night shifts, if not more as a result of the boom in overseas freelance work opportunities.

(5) Adaptable and Flexible

You could say that flexibility is in the Filipino’s DNA. You will often hear a virtual assistant in the Philippines say “Yes” to almost any work demand and do their best to execute their assignments efficiently. Of course, you need to sometimes look beyond this enthusiasm and be careful to make sure that they are actually prepared to do the work. This eagerness to please can lead to early burnout if you don’t provide support in terms of giving them the important details that they need to do what you ask. One great thing about this attitude is that a virtual assistant in the Philippines will usually have no problem studying and learning new skills to do tasks better.

When a virtual assistant in the Philippines loses power or internet connection, they won’t just give up. Most people might simply sit around and wait for it to come back, or say that they don’t have a choice and that the people who rely on them will just have to be more understanding. The Filipino takes commitment seriously, and you will find many in nearby internet cafes, coffee shops, business centers, coworking spaces, or wherever they can get internet service so they can keep working. 

(6) Hard Workers 

Filipinos have a reputation worldwide for being hard workers, and this truth has been proven in Nathan and Connor’s experience. Sources like OFW Update reflect the same thoughts on the hardworking nature of the Filipino. Filipinos are also industrious, so they are easily motivated to go above and beyond the call of duty when treated well. A paycheck is not the main focus of a Filipino, so they don’t just do tasks for the sake of getting them done. Quality output is important to them, and this is a rare trait that that is key to growing any business and that you can’t train any hire to acquire.

Filipinos are also resilient, as Gallup International points out. They will always find ways to adjust to be able to deliver on expectations to satisfy clients. Just make sure that you reward this with appreciation and bonuses so you don’t wear them out! This resilience also means that a virtual assistant in the Philippines does not run away from difficult situations. You will often find virtual assistant in the Philippines continuing to work by whatever means are available despite natural calamities raging outside.

(7) Value Family 

If family is one of your core business values, then a virtual assistant in the Philippines is a great choice for your business. Family is valued above all in the Filipino culture. The majority of Filipinos are family-oriented, so they will fit into a family-oriented business model very quickly and snugly. Moreover, family values like relationship and cooperation and collaboration come naturally to the Filipino. They are always helping each other to learn and grow, always calling each other brother and sister and auntie and uncle even when they aren’t related. This stems out of their deep respect for elders and those who have more experience to share.

(8) Optimistic and Enthusiastic

The Philippines has a long history of invasion and colonization and natural disasters like earthquakes and typhoons and floods. This could have caused them to become a morose people, but instead, the Filipino has chosen to build a more positive outlook to deal with difficult circumstances. When you hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines, you will quickly notice how they have developed a knack for staying optimistic and enthusiastic when faced with challenges. You definitely want a team of people who are looking on the brighter side of things instead of grumbling all the time.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for someone who has good English skills, the ability to pivot and adapt, a great work ethic, outsourcing experience, family values, a great attitude, and a general love of people, then you should hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines.

Would you like to know how to be certain who your next hire should be? Or maybe you are having a hard time deciding what parts of your business can be outsourced with virtual assistants, right now. We can help you answer these questions, and help you to discover what new systems you should add to scale your business faster. Set up a free hiring consultation with us at Outsource School today – simply book here!

Categories
Virtual Assistants

How to Track Virtual Assistants Daily Progress

You need to track virtual assistants to increase their efficiency and maximize their results. The best option is to use a special program to help you to track daily progress and improve their productive flow. This also improves their time management and increases business profitability for you. 

Here, in this article, we will take a gander at different types of software that will help you track virtual assistants as they work.

Virtual Assistants and the IT Solution

Many companies practice hiring virtual assistants. Compared to hiring in-house employees, the labor cost often turns out to be lower. This is of great benefit when they also come with high professional competencies and experience in their fields. A company that leverages these remote talents saves even more because it no longer needs to spend money on additional training. 

Such businesses often use special software to monitor work and track virtual assistants to keep an eye on their progress. Some kind of content management system is a must-have tool to run any business smoothly and successfully. As a rule, most use-cases prove that programs to track virtual assistants increase the overall team’s productivity and efficiency. This helps businesses get higher ROI.

Deep down, choosing a service for tracking the progress of remote hires depends on the specific purpose and type of industry. These services range from those that record screens to simple organizers allowing companies to check on how a project is running. While some of them are available for free, others charge you a certain amount of money. The majority are adaptable and easy to use. To make the right choice and get the most out of these tools, you first need to understand why and how you aim to track progress of your virtual team. So, let’s dive into different solutions offered by IT technologies. 

Software to Track Progress: Types and Cases of Use

File-sharing Software 

Here, the market gives us a variety of tools among which are Dropbox, Google, and Huddle, to name a few. Team members can upload their finished work and that’s the main virtue of these tools. Of course, there are more features that help you to collaborate and manage content. This type of software comes in handy for companies that have multiple virtual assistants engaging in different aspects of the same project. Tools that offer features like task management and team communication rolled into one are even better than pure file sharing apps.

Task Management Software

One of the most effective of these tools is Todoist. Its robust system can handle tasks varying from grocery lists to large-scale projects. This to-do-list software allows for listing down tasks, setting deadlines, and assigning people to perform them. Besides, it makes it easy to visualize how an entire project is going. A big benefit is the ability to track virtual assistants progress with a simple click of a button.

Performance Platform

To know your remote team’s achievements and the pain points they might struggle with, you can opt for a performance platform. For instance, 15Five allows you to view the issues that your virtual assistants are facing. Actually, it can be used for both in-office and remote work. Anybody under the jurisdiction of a team leader will be able to inform them of any pressing concerns. This platform integrates performance reviews, feedback, and periodical objectives.

Project Tracking Software

An overall project can be broken down into tasks, and these tasks can then be titled and given a description, as well as a checklist. Here comes Trello, the most popular and highly-used project tracking software. It helps greatly with tracking task completion and meeting project deadlines. If a task is assigned to a particular person, when it’s finished, it’s possible to even attach the file associated with the task. This can then be moved forward to the next phase, or labelled complete by the overall project head.

Hybrid Services

Combining the features of a project management tool and a time-keeping software, it becomes easy to track virtual assistants. Wrike is especially efficient when a company is working on various projects with different clients and a different team of virtual assistants for each project. With Wrike, you can track project progress on a daily basis, and see the amount of time and money spent on each project. Also, it allows you to break down the project into tasks, and assign these tasks to particular individuals.

To provide proper communication between the members of the team and allocate the right person for each task, go for Hey.Space. This tool is a well-organized program that allows you to check everything on one screen. This software also shows a to-do-list, the assigned person for each task, and a unified board with an open chat stream going.

Supplemental tools

When you track virtual assistants who are located in different time zones and different countries, it can get tricky. You and the team might get confused when discussing dates and times and face misunderstandings. The app called World Time Buddy is an excellent tool to handle the problem of scheduling when it comes to different time zones. It helps to keep everyone on the same page when setting deadlines and scheduling meetings and calls.

Project Management Software

An example of this type of software is Asana, which helps managers and team members stay focused on projects and keep track of progress throughout the entire process. The best feature of this tool is its simplicity. Yet, you can integrate multiple things into this program. Users can tie in emails, files and other items. Once a task is done, it can easily be ticked off the list and a team leader can create customized fields to monitor pertinent information. 

All in all, among all the software discussed above, time trackers prove to be a one-stop and win-win tool fitting all types of businesses and purposes of use. Now we’ll discuss why these tools deserve attention and how they can benefit you and your company in the long run.

Time Trackers: What, Why and How 

What is a Time Tracker?

Time tracking software is a little plugin to track virtual assistants as they work. Each person activates the plugin on their computer, and it times them. Needless to say, there are plenty of time tracking systems on the market now: Hubstaff, AtTrack, Timely, Desktime, to name a few. They offer different functionality, depending on objectives and industries. Whereas some of them deliver screenshots to strictly monitor activity, others just help to make sure that projects are running along at the required pace. 

To show you the ultimate functionality of time trackers, let’s have a look at one, which is noted for complexity, multifunctionality and flexibility. 

AtTrack is a reliable, easy-to-use and affordable time tracker. AtTrack keeps a per-second record of work time, evaluates projects precisely based on time spent, simplifies the task reporting process, analyzes activity and efficiency levels, tracks the applications used and websites visited during workflow, and creates detailed reports of work-related activities. Its biggest selling point is a modular structure, so you can even build your own customized time tracking system and use only the features necessary for you.

Why and How? 

The best time trackers are of vital importance in managing virtual teams because they don’t just track work time. Some trackers help to prevent professional burnout by providing valuable statistics on users’ work days, so that you can manage their workloads if things get too intense. You will see when it’s time to give them a break by looking at how their activity levels change. 

When using a time tracker, you get the ultimate picture of an individual’s work routine, and can better control what is happening with the team. It becomes easier to streamline work since you see who works more than others, who’s overloaded, who struggles, and with what. 

Also, time trackers help you to make sure that everyone is accountable for the money you’re paying them and don’t charge you more than they actually work. They give a clear overview of what people have worked on, what they’ve accomplished, and what their day looked like. This will help you to improve work processes.

One important point to note about using time tracking software is the trust factor. Before you decide to track virtual assistants by logging their time input, make sure that you are not doing more harm than good by implying that you don’t trust them to work and not play. Outsource School does not recommend using time tracking software for this reason. Instead, the key to high productivity and all-around efficiency and satisfaction in the workplace is hiring A-players to begin with.

Conclusion

When leveraging virtual assistants, the distance between both sides can make it impossible to have face-to-face meetings. So, physical monitoring of work becomes problematic as well, and you can face the possibility of wondering what they’re doing. If you want to get higher ROI from hires by regularly keeping them productive and effective, you need to manage teams properly. The key is to track virtual assistants daily to stay on top of their progress. This way, you are always aware of how projects are going. Then you will know how to streamline if something is not going according to plan.