The virtues of a virtual assistant

I could have outsourced this blog post. As it happens, I didn’t, but having an extremely talented and reliable virtual assistant means that I had the option.

Instead, while I am writing this, my assistant Melissa is working from her own home taking care of many of the every tasks that arise in my business and well, frankly, get in the way of me doing what it is that I love to do, such as writing.

The investment has already saved me a huge amount of time and energy and allows me breathing space when I have deadlines looming.

What’s great about the service she offers is she makes it feel like she’s in the office with me.

The reality is she could be based in Timbuktu for all I know, but she places such a strong emphasis on providing a reliable and efficient service that sometimes I forget she’s not sitting right beside me.

READ: 8 tips for outsourcing your business tasks

Melissa’s got the basics covered, including word processing, research and data entry, but there are many other things she does that are helpful for my organisation too. Some of the things she helps me with include eNewsletters, website maintenance and social media, not to mention helping organise my myriad public events, speaking engagements and socially responsible team building for businesses.

While it would be easier for me to do some things myself, the benefit of handing them to a professional who knows me and my organisation is that when I hit a busy period there’s no stress; I have somebody standing by who knows how I like things done and is ready to step in and help at a moment’s notice.

It also means I have more time to spend focussing on the more important parts of running the organisation and making a difference to people and causes in need.

It’s great to know that I can be having meetings, be at national and international events or even having a holiday and know that things are still happening in my business.

READ: Outsourcing your HR needs

Do you use a virtual assistant? What could you do more of that you love if there was someone who could do more of what you don’t enjoy?


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  • It is my absolute pleasure to be Melina’s virtual assistant! I made a decision three years ago to take the leap into business ownership and become a virtual assistant – a field that is rapidly growing in popularity from both sides of the fence, both because of the flexibility and work/life balance it gives to the VA, but also from the flexibility and peace of mind given to the business owner choosing to use the service. Virtual assistants are skilled in a wide range of areas and industries and use many systems to ensure that even though they could be located anywhere, you get the feeling they are working in your office with you. I have been extremely lucky over the years to accumulate a fantastic group of clients and working with them really is a joy :-)

    • Thanks for joining us Melissa! I love that you are a ‘small business owner who specialises in the field of helping other small business owners make their life easier’!

      Many SME’s, while skilled in their field, struggle to complete the more admin-y tasks that unfortunately come with owning a business – and it can often eat into their personal time. We’d love to hear a little more about the services you provide – is it just standard bookkeeping, or do you also do some other functions for Melina? How does the arrangement work – do you meet up in person every once in awhile, or is it all done online?

  • I feel very lucky to be your select group of clients Melissa – paying you is my favourite bill each month!

  • There are so many services that I can provide – limited only by imagination in a lot of ways! The most common are things like diary management, booking travel, sourcing client gifts, managing enquiries@ email addresses, booking appointments, eNewsletters, social media support, WordPress website maintenance, maintaining CRM systems, online research, organising events & functions – as well as all the admin-y sort of tasks that you would usually associate with an executive assistant.

    A big part of what I do is also learning all the ‘ins and outs’ of my clients’ businesses so that they effectively have a second in command and somebody who can step in at a moment’s notice. One of the key things that a lot of SMEs miss out on is holidays – with a virtual assistant you always have somebody who knows your business and can step in and run it while you’re sunning yourself in Bali (yes Melina – I’m looking at you!!)

    One of the only key services that I don’t provide is book-keeping. Like a lot of SMEs this is one of my pet hates – and something that I outsource myself, lol!

    I have clients in almost every state of Australia, as well as a few scattered overseas, so location is definitely not a barrier. With my Melbourne based clients we do catch up in person from time to time, but the majority of our dealings are all conducted online and via phone.

  • Similar to Melissa, I am also a virtual assistant who loves what they do. I offer similar services with clients across Australia and overseas. Just this week I am flying to New Zealand to manage a series of ICT events as part of the RWC 2011 and earlier this month a conference in Cairns. All of these were organised virtually from my home office near Brisbane. The best part is I get to work full time plus I still get to help out at the kids school and be home when they get home.

    With a marketing and PR background I am loving helping my clients get their head how to connect and grow their business through an online community using social media, blogs and online advertising.

    I love working virtually and yes some days I do stay in my PJs until lunchtime (that was until I was caught out on Skype video recently!)

  • Jayne

    This post could not have come at a better time. I am absolutely snowed under and have thought about getting a VA to help ease the load – but Melina your post convinced me to take the plunge. Week 1 and things are going along fantastically! I’m feeling more on top of things and I’m finally catching up on my books/admin (which might mean I’ll be paid soon!).
    Thanks for the inspiration – you made me realise that outsourcing is not as hard as I thought it would be!

  • Mariane Lacaba

    Hey Melina. This is such a wonderful post. I am glad that you are very satisfied in having a virtual assistant who works for just about any task you assigned to her. I am a virtual assistant myself and there’s nothing more fulfilling than to see my client’s business being successful.

  • Herz Gumawa

    Yes melissa is one among hundreds of thousands VA’s that are thursworthy although there are some but not all VA that are not worth it. Basically your VA is a rockstar because she does a lot of things, I myself is a VA to many clients and I managed their daily work so they can atleast enjoy and relax a little bit while I takecare of their busniness.