No matter whether you’re the founder of a new business, a busy employee, building a side hustle, or even running a large organization already - the chances are, you’re pressed for time.
If it doesn’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to get everything done, hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) can be a really smart move.
If you need business support but you’re not sure how best to use a VA, you’re in the right place. This guide walks through the top 100 tasks you can hand over to your Virtual Assistant to give you more time to focus on growing your business.
We’ll also touch on how you can save money on international transfers if you’re paying a VA based abroad. You’ll be able to send payments directly to your VA’s regular bank account with TransferWise for business, or have them open their own personal TransferWise account for simple, cheap currency conversion. That way you can pay in the currency of your choice - much like using a service like PayPal, but cheaper.
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Virtual assistants work remotely - often from home - and take on tasks on a one off or ongoing basis to support their employers.
It’s a perfect role for talented people looking to work flexibly, with many VA agencies and providers offering training opportunities and long term development programs.
For the employer, having a Virtual Assistant can be hugely beneficial, freeing up time, bringing in expert skills, and getting rid of the type of low risk, repetitive task which just drains time and energy.
The demand for VAs has increased steadily as more and more of daily life moves online, and as the number of entrepreneurs setting up their own businesses increases.
A great VA can give you the time to focus on growing your business, without the requirement to bring in and train a new full time employee, or even find office space and equipment.
You’ll quickly notice, when you start to look for your own VA, that there are a broad range of ways to go about hiring - and a wide variety in terms of the skills, experience, and costs of getting a Virtual Assistant.
Getting the right VA means finding someone you can rely on, who will move the company forward, and bring expert level skills. While you can certainly find Virtual Assistants who are willing to accept a very low pay, they may well work in poor conditions, and may not be as experienced as you would like.
Choosing your VA carefully, and being willing to pay a fair salary for a quality candidate you can trust is essential.
It’s common to hire Virtual Assistants who live overseas - often in countries like the Philippines where English is spoken to a high level, but where lower costs of living lead to lower expected salaries.
Hiring an overseas VA can bring a number of benefits - you’ll likely pay less for a highly experienced candidate, and being in a different timezone can mean your business gets 24 hour cover and continuity of service.
If you’re working with an international VA, you’ll be able to manage payroll simply and cheaply using a smart new account from TransferWise for business. Top up your account in USD and switch to the currency you need, using the mid-market exchange rate, in the app - there’s just a low, transparent fee per transaction. You can then send your payments securely for much less than using an alternative like your regular bank or PayPal.
When you first start a business or side hustle, it’s natural that you find yourself taking on most of the day to day tasks. However, as the company grows, this becomes more and more difficult.
Being bogged down in the detail of everything - from accounting to adverts, customer service to supplier management, social media marketing, data analysis and more - makes it impossible to focus on growing the business. Taking time out to see what you can delegate to a VA is a good way to get back on track.
To get started, try creating the following task lists:
- Activities someone else with more specialist experience or training could do better - tax and accounting or web development for example
- Low risk tasks which could easily be delegated - travel planning, data entry or basic administration might fall into this category
- Jobs which are a drain on your energy, and things you simply don’t enjoy - maybe you hate chasing late invoices, get bored by bookkeeping, or find competitor research boring. Time to delegate to your VA.
Hopefully the lists you create will give you a starting point when thinking about what your VA could do for you. You can also use the handy list below to get more inspiration, and make sure you’re making the very best use of your time and energy.
Here’s our off-the-shelf list of suggestions. Each business is different - and your personal strengths and preferences will also make a big difference to which activities you want to delegate or outsource. Use this as a base, add and remove items as you choose, to tailor make your very own Virtual Assistant task list.
Many business owners and entrepreneurs find that bookkeeping and accounts eat up more time than they should. There are ways you can save time and drive efficiency by using specialist bookkeeping software - making it easier to pay, and get paid on time. You could even cut the costs of international payments at the same time, if you choose a platform like Xero online accounting software which can integrate with your TransferWise for business account.
Great software is a start - but you could make your own life even easier by finding aspects of bookkeeping and accounts which can be delegated to a talented VA. Here are a few to think about:
- Maintaining and updating accounting records using your preferred bookkeeping software
- Paying suppliers
- Creating and sending invoices
- Chasing overdue payments
- Analysis and reporting
- Basic tax preparation
- Finding cost saving opportunities
Some Virtual assistant agencies specifically offer the services of dedicated VAs with bookkeeping and accounting experience. Check out My Tasker as an example, with qualified VAs based in India, with a broad range of specialist skills.
When you’re just starting out with a new business, you’ll naturally end up taking on all of the administration and management. However, as the company grows, so does the volume of admin and day to day tasks.
Admin and paperwork is a common area to find jobs which you can hand over to your Virtual Assistant. You might decide to delegate specific tasks on a long term basis, or hire someone to help complete a project, such as updating your company operating procedures. Try a task management tool like Asana to delegate, track, and communicate priorities with your new VA.
Here’s how a great VA can help you:
- Calendar management
- Travel booking and planning
- Receptionist and call forwarding
- Personal support - free up more time for business activities
- Data entry
- Taking meeting minutes
- Proofreading and editing
- Creating powerpoint presentations
- KPI tracking
- Appointment setting and scheduling
- Project management
- Supporting recruitment of new team members
- Managing other team members
- Business research
- Lead generation
- Following up on leads
- Writing thank you letters
- Supplier management
- Ordering office and business supplies
- Managing emails, creating filters and replying to common queries
- Making templates for emails and letters
- Product launch preparation
- Dropshipping support
- Inventory support
- Shipping label preparation
- Competitor research
- Writing press releases
- Infographic development
- Product photo editing
- Logo design
- Setting up general business systems
- Writing company handbooks and codifying processes
If you’re still looking for some inspiration as to what admin tasks you could hand over to your VA, take a look at Fiverr.
Fiverr is a freelance marketplace where freelancers with a broad range of skills connect with employers who need professional support for short projects or on an ongoing basis.
You’ll find a range of VA proposals, showing the type of tasks and projects individuals offer.
You can browse the packages that are published, or upload your own specific needs to have professional assistants get in touch directly to offer a quote for the work you need doing.
No matter whether you’re running a brick and mortar business, or an online or ecommerce company, you’ll need to have a great web presence to attract customers. Digital marketing has the advantage of being dynamic and having relatively low costs. However, you need the right skills and experience to be able to make the most of it, and to have a coherent digital marketing strategy which supports your brand.
Digital marketing is a great example of part of the business which may be more successful if it’s handed over to a skilled VA.
As a business owner you can’t be great at everything - and you certainly don’t have the time to learn new skills constantly. Hire a specialist VA so you don’t have to, and benefit from having someone thinking through the end to end digital marketing opportunities that are open to your company. Consider the following:
- Digital marketing strategy planning
- Researching the best marketing channels for your business
- Branding and creating brand guidelines
- Creating customer email lists
- Email and social media newsletter writing
- Email marketing
- Facebook ad campaigns
- Amazon Sponsored ads
- Content writing
- Keyword research
- Video and audio creation
- Script writing for podcasts
- Finding guests for podcasts and video content
- Finding guest post opportunities for your blog
- Researching and connecting with guests to post on your blog or website
- Finding opportunities to write for professional online magazines in your niche
If you’re looking for a VA with the most up to date skills and knowledge when it comes to digital marketing, check out Vasumo.
Best practise in digital marketing changes all the time, but the Virtual Assistants over at Vasumo get ongoing training and professional development, as well as having an intensive course of training before they begin the role. Packages start at USD498/month for 25 hours of assistance.
You’ll need a business presence on a range of social media channels - although the exact activities which make sense will vary depending on the sort of business you run.
You may find you need help connecting with Instagram influencers who can promote your products - or your audience may be found over on a more professional networking site like LinkedIn.
Either way, you’ll need to create and post content, connect with users and constantly respond to the community to keep the buzz about your business. Grab a social media scheduling tool like Buffer, so your VA can write and prepare posts, and have them update automatically according to your chosen schedule.
Think about outsourcing these tasks:
- Social media strategy planning
- Choosing and updating social media profiles
- Social media content creation
- Managing online communities
- Responding to customer feedback on social media
- Creating and moderating online events
- Connecting with influencers to promote your business
- Giveaways and competitions via social media
- Creating graphics and pins for social media
If you want a VA to take over your social media, you might consider a freelancer platform like Upwork.
On Upwork you’ll find many experienced Virtual Assistants who then list out the type of work they’re looking for. Because client reviews are published, you’ll be able to see which candidates have a strong track record of delivering for their customers. Connect with those who have the skills you need, to interview them - or post your specific needs as a project and ask for interested candidates to get in touch.
Keeping your customers happy is core to your business. But it’s also extremely time consuming. Have a Virtual Assistant help you with some or all of your customer support tasks, so your customers keep smiling, and you have time to dedicate to growing your business.
Here are a few of the things your new VA might take over for you:
- Shipping orders
- Live customer chat support
- Answering customer calls
- Replying to customer questions and complaints
- Creating and updating product descriptions for ecommerce stores
- Collecting client testimonials
- Managing returns and complaints
- Responding to online reviews of your products and services
- Customer and product research
- Competitor research
Business owners can often spot great ways to develop their products into digital formats, but may well not have the time to actually get the product online. Getting a Virtual Assistant to help can mean you connect with new customers and grow your profits significantly.
Consider outsourcing the following tasks:
- Event management for webinars and live online events
- Creating online course content
- Repurposing content, updating and adding in relevant CTAs
- Self-publishing assistant
- Formatting ebooks
- Adding subtitles to video content
- Creating and using affiliate programs
- Finding compatible digital products to sell alongside physical merchandise
- Customized and tailor made products
Get inspiration for the design of digital products like ebook covers, posters or videos over at Canva. There are templates and themes to make all types of posts, documents, presentations and even physical products, beautiful.
Small business owners still need technical support - but don’t typically have the budget to hire full time employees dedicated to managing the business website, troubleshooting issues or providing general IT expertise. This is where a specialist VA can really help.
Some agencies such as 20four7VA offer Virtual Assistants who have specific IT skills and qualifications. You can even choose the level of experience and expertise depending on your requirements - from entry-level to advanced. Here’s how they might help:
- Web design and development
- Database management
- Managing and supporting user experience
- Mobile app development
- Third party integrations
- Ecommerce store set up
- Video editor
- Photo and image editing using specialist software
- Web security
- Editing audio and podcasts
- Google analytics
- IT support and general troubleshooting
Hiring a Virtual Assistant could be the very best way to give yourself the time and space to focus on the growth and development of your business. By finding someone you trust and who has a complementary skill set, you can get expert support without the overheads of a full time employee. Choose your VA support carefully, to get a talented professional who will give as much to your business as you do.
And don’t forget - if your perfect VA is based overseas, you can save on international fees - and make managing payroll simple - using a business account from TransferWise.
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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