Posts tagged ‘virtual assistant’

Free and Cannot Live Without!

[tweetmeme]As  Virtual Assistant and SEO Specialist we need all the help we can get.  But in my case, i cannot always subscribe to paid services or buy software.  So i learned to explore many options and find free ones.  Overtime, i came to love some services and i can say that i really cannot live without – and guess what, those are FREE.  Yes, free…  There are still some things in life that are FREE!   🙂

Here are some:

1.  Gmail – Gone were the days when your email is just an… email.  Sending and receiving emails.  With gmail, you can integrate all your email addresses (i have more than 10 email accounts… yes, seriously!)  into one, sort it into categories, subjects and timelines.

2. Skype – This is my calling card.  I use Skype to make phone calls, instant message, video chat, send and receive large and small computer files.  I find their service, Screen Sharing simply fab – it makes things much easier for me.

3. Google Calendar – I need to be reminded of things, personal or business related.  I am a control freak and i want everything organize.  And what is the answer?  Google Calendar.  This is awesome, you can program your reminders and it can do pop up, email you the reminder – and it can even send it to your cellphone.  What else do you need?

4. Google Reader – I should (or i want) to read so many blogs.  And because of my hectic schedule, i cannot visit the blogs every so often.  Google Reader makes sure that i have all the posts and can be read during my free time.

5. Google Docs – I use this for anything and everything.  This is such a useful service.  I use this for personal, for clients’ reports and even timesheets.  How i love Google services!  They really answer all your needs.

6. Paypal – I need to be paid somehow.. 🙂  And Paypal is the easiest and most convenient way to get paid.  And i can use it to buy anything on the web – you do not need to fill out anything else anymore (as compared to paying with your credit card).  You just need your email address.

7.  Traffic Travis –  This is a free SEO Software!  Yes, this is free.  This software helps me  save so much time for finding keyword – and this is very user friendly.  Any internet marketer can use this – beginners or experts.

8. You Send It – Cannot email the attachment, send it via this service.  Fast and very easy.

9.  Log Me In – This is a free (or paid) service that allows you to access any computer anywhere – as in anywhere in the world.  If you need anything to be fixed or you need to train somebody, you can use this service.

10. WordPress – Oh yes, and finally, WordPress.  Anything i want in my blog (and even website), WP has it and much, much more.

These are the services that i value so much – and guess what, this did not cost me anything.  There are so much valuable services on the web that we can use that will help our life much easier.    I still have some more, but i think i will have a Part 2 of this post.

If  you have some more FREE stuff to share, kindly share it with us.

Be happy… and be successful,

Zarah

The author, ZSPimentel is a Working Mom and currently a co-owner of the company, Hire a VA which outsources VA and SEO Specialists at a very reasonable rates.

May 25, 2010 at 2:55 am 4 comments

Virtual Assistants are Gems for the Entrepreneurs

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Some people may raise their eyebrows and would comment, “What is that again? Duh!”

But you know, most entrepreneurs (if not all) need a Virtual Assistant or a few Virtual Assistants.. These VAs will be helping them to make their business grow, help them profit and of course give them time to do their ‘work’ and not just menial tasks as clicking follow on Twitter.

But there are also times that VAs know more than their employers. Yes, this happens a lot already. Those people starting their business and would like ‘instant’ knowledge, without getting into e-books, videos, etc… they hire experienced Virtual Assistants to guide them.

And you know what, clients trust their Virtual Assistants more. Why is that? It is because there are really PRECIOUS VAs out there that clients can depend on and cannot live without (a little exaggeration here…).

Again, why is that? Because VAs are also educated people – a large chunk of VAs are mothers who stopped working in the corporate world to be a stay-at-home mom. And being a VA will give them an opportunity to go back to working again. They are called the VA Moms.

So now we know that Virtual Assistants are really important on any business. Anybody needs an extra hand, especially if the hand can give you somebody valuable in return – TIME!

So the next time you need to Hire a VA – choose a company that is reliable and has proven track record already… and has an ability to give you a GEM Virtual Assistant.

Be happy… and be successful,

Zarah

The author, ZSPimentel is a Working Mom and currently a co-owner of the company, Hire a VA which outsources VA and SEO Specialists at a very reasonable rates.

May 4, 2010 at 11:31 am 2 comments

Hire a VA: Is This for Everyone

[tweetmeme]Virtual Assistant… we know that they are, well, virtual assistants. Meaning, they do work virtually for a client. Okay, that is already an established fact.

But who may hire a VA? Are those with online business alone, like internet marketers or network marketers? NO! Everybody may get the services of a virtual assistant.

Anybody that has things that needs to be done but cannot find time to do it is a candidate for hiring a virtual assistant. So this means almost everybody! The tasks can be as simple as researching where is the nearest car dealer that offers green Toyota Prius or as complicated as doing your 30-page company’s website.

Nowadays, brick and mortar businesses are already taking advantage of the services of a VA. This will mean less cost for them – no vacation or maternity leave benefits, no lunch breaks and even no extra furniture or space in their office. They can just give out instructions online, give a deadline and the task will be done.

Another example is a housewife. She may need somebody to tutor her kids and she cannot do it herself – for any reason at all. Yes, you can tutor somebody online – with the use of Skype or Yahoo Messenger and webcam. This have been happening already… believe me!

We can conclude that whatever tasks any person wants to be done (that he cannot do by himself), he can hire a VA. No matter how menial or how complicated the task is, there is always a virtual assistant that can do the job.

Finding the perfect VA for your task is another matter. But as there are many outsourcing services online, you can surely get the services you wanted.
So now, do you think you need to Hire a VA?

Be happy… and be successful,

Zarah

March 6, 2010 at 6:48 am Leave a comment

How to Monitor Your Virtual Assistant

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Most business owners think that it is hard to hire a VA due to the fact that they are…  virtual (obviously)!  They cannot see what they do during their shift and they will have a hard time tracking their outputs.

Here are some simple ways to monitor your Virtual Assistant:

1. You should screen your VA well. If there are rates given to the VA, it will surely help. You will know if he/she is dependable, on time and trustworthy. This will give make your screening 50% easier. Have in mind to rate your VA after your project so that other business owners like you will have an idea of the kind of experience you had with that particular staff.

2. Make sure that you hire a VA that is knowledgeable with the task. This will eliminate the ‘learning cycle’ and would immediately proceed to the task proper.

3. You should give out clear, as in crystal clear instructions. Do not think that your VA is knowledgeable enough to figure things out. This maybe the case, but do not left this to chance – this will just mean additional time and cost if the instructions are unclear to the VA. If possible, write everything – itemized and even step by step. This is perfect if the project is long term, just write it once and it can be used all throughout the project.

4. For the first days, you may want to ‘monitor’ them. You can use Log Me In service (www.logmein.com). You can sign up for free. You are like viewing your staff’s desktop real time. (You can also do this if you have something to teach your Virtual Assistant because you can even control the VA’s computer). If you will do this, make sure your VA’s computer has good specs so that it will not slow down the connection.

5. And finally, the reporting. You may opt for the old style reporting style, wherein your staff will itemize all the things that he did and email to you. Or you may just have a Report or Spreadsheet, preferably online, (I recommend Google docs), wherein you and your staff will fill out what he has done for the day and you in turn can view it. You may randomly check the items just to make sure it was properly done.

These are only some ideas on how to check your VA’s tasks. Remember, you hired a VA to do things for you, so you just have to learn to trust him that he is doing the job well (make sure he is worth the trust) and just monitor it randomly. This will give you time to do the ‘real business’ for your company.

But if you feel that you are checking and correcting the VA frequently even if you know that you have given all the instructions clear and concise, maybe it is time to find another one.

So does it mean that we need to hire a VA that is great and perfect and terrific and wonderful… Absolutely no! Why? Because there is nobody like that – well not 100% like that. But you can find a good one, you have to just try to find and it at the right places.

Hire a VA that is fitting for your requirements and this will make your life easier… trust me on this!

Be happy… be successful,

Zarah

March 5, 2010 at 2:35 am Leave a comment

Myths About Virtual Assistants

[tweetmeme] VAs are becoming an integral part of businesses nowadays –  whether you are in a flower shop business in Paris, a construction business in Los Angeles,  a consulting firm in Sydney or a fitness instructor in Singapore, they now have Virtual Assistants.  Because everybody goes online, internet is becoming the heart of almost all of the businesses worldwide.  Everything can now be done virtually. Sure enough, you have heard so many statements about Virtual Assistants – some of them are true and some are just myths.  I will now discuss the top myths about VAs.

1. You need to pay more to have a good VA. This is definitely not true!  You may want to ask around and get references from those who have had good experiences from great VAs.   And you may conduct interviews via Skype or YM and with that; you will be able to gauge the capacity of the prospective VA.   The current going rate for VAs is about $10-15/hour – and you can get lower rates than that, without compromising the efficiency of the VAs.  You just have to be quite resourceful.

2. VAs from US are better than those from off-shore. This is a common misconception that i would like to clarify.  Off-shore VAs (especially Asian VAs), are not inferior.  They can speak English very well, hard-working, dependable and very knowledgeable – and they are now of the same level of competency as compared to US VAs.  The only main difference is their rates.  Asian VAs offers lower rates with the same quality of work.

3. Having a VA is difficult to handle. Wrong!  I do not see any difference in calling through Skype or even emailing a VA as against to calling a staff on the other end of the room.

4. I will be using a Freelance site to get a VA and i will find a good one there. This is a hit and miss process.  Freelance sites do not screen applicants that are bidding on your project or job vacancy.  You just rely on their profile.  Though many have good experiences, there are also others who experienced the opposite.  It is 100% sure to hire a VA from a legitimate outsourcing company where they train and guide them to be able to complete your every task efficiently. Before making an investment, time and money, make sure you know all the facts before you Hire a VA!

Be happy… and be successful,

Zarah

February 24, 2010 at 1:11 pm 2 comments

Tips on How To Hire a VA

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I have been to both sides of the fence so I guess, I can give you a good view on this topic.

Hiring a VA is just the same as hiring a secretary, accountant or any other staff in the “real world”.  The only thing that will differ, and obviously, is that hiring will be done virtually – through the internet. 

I am sure, you have heard of so many ‘horror stories’ on how their Virtual Assistants have messed up their project timelines.  But you will also find out that there are more success stories on their hires.  Often, even if the VA and employer have not seen in person, they have cultivated a good working relationships.

This is because most of the VAs are ex-executives or ex-employees that just chose to stay at home, for whatever their personal reasons are.  This means they are educated and experience, awaiting for their expertise to be tapped by employers.

Now, how can an employer find these types of VA?  They are everywhere…  There are many outsourcing companies that you can use like oDesk and Elance and you can even find them on Craiglist.

Here are a few tips that you may use:

1. If you post a job, be specific with your requirements.  Do not just post, VA needed or I need SEO expert.  You have to be specific like, “I need a VA who will do the following:  transcribing telephone conversation, replying business emails, sending out flyers by email, etc, who is available 4 hours a day (PST timezone) and can speak and write English well.”  This will filter out those applicants who are not qualified.

And another tip is to put what I call “magic word/phrase” that an applicant should write within his application letter to be able to filter those “spam applicants”, those who do not read the descriptions before applying.  You would not need those applicants.

2.When applicants apply, take time to study the application letters AND their CVs.  Narrow down the number of applicants by separating those with relevant experiences from your job opening.

3. Do not rely on their application letters, you have to interview them.  And if you are planning to get their services long-term,  do a voice-chat interview or even video interview.  You can gauge their ability by doing so.

4. Ask references.  Although many employers wanted to be anonymous, there are some who will be willing to be interviewed or asked about their VAs.

5. Go to forums.  Ask around for recommendations for VAs.  I am sure, many would be willing to give out information on how they got their good VAs.

6. Another surefire way is to tap small outsourcing companies.  It will give you a Virtual Assistant according to your requirements.  Normally, they would assign 2 staff, the Team Leader and the VA.  You just have to give the tasks and coordinate with the Team Leader.  This will mean less headache and less stress on your part.  You do not have to train or monitor the VA anymore – the Team Leader will do that for you.

I have gone through the process and I agree that sometimes, it is frustrating that menial tasks are not being done properly.  But when you got a gem VA, your life would be 10x easier – and well, of course, profitable.  So what are you waiting for, Hire a VA now!

Good luck on your VA hunt!

Be happy…  and be successful,

Zarah

February 22, 2010 at 3:35 am 1 comment


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