Hands up if you own a business.
Keep your hands up if your super-stressed.
And keep your hands up if you wish someone could do those tasks you hate and leave you to what you do best.
Well, I've got a surprise for you.
You can now hire a virtual assistant and make your life easier!
Not only that but you can hire them for a specific task.
Appalling at accounting?
Hire a VA to do the maths.
Struggling with your social media?
Get a VA to put the word out about your business.
Not keen on doing market research?
Your VA has already done it.
The world of business can sure be an isolating world - but you aren’t on your own anymore.
Not only am I here to lend a helping hand…
Your VA is here is to do the rest of it!
All you have to do is hire one, assign them tasks, and then pay for work they did!
Yes - it’s really that easy.
You must have loads of questions though…
Why not hire a general virtual assistant?
Why are there so many types of assistants?
And what is virtual assistant research?
I’m sure you’ve heard about Virtual Assistants!
Well, it is pretty much self-explanatory:
A VA - or a Virtual Assistant - is a freelancer that works remotely.
And because this assistant of yours works remotely, you communicate through emails, phone calls or even video calls.
Convenient, isn’t it?
But you can still hire one from your country.
Also, virtual assistants can work anywhere they want, it’s their choice.
They can also work whatever time they please!
Well, as long as they meet the assigned deadlines, of course.
Question is, what is the difference between a general virtual assistant and a Virtual Research Assistant?
You hire a (General) Virtual Assistant for general tasks. This could be admin, answering phone calls, booking appointments… You hire them to help you out with anything that only requires basic training and simply takes up your time.
You hire a Virtual Research Assistant specifically for research. In the world of business, you are a small fish in a big pond. But what if I told you that someone else could work out what you’re swimming with, and who’s ready to bite? A VA hired specifically for this job is one of the best investments for your business. Whether its for content, or its for staying up to date with your industry, research is key for any business.
My client was facing that exact scenario only a couple of months back:
The owner of a marketing start-up emailed me 7 weeks ago, claiming he was struggling for quite some time with competition.
He just wasn’t aware of his brand positioning in the market and who his competitors were...
He didn’t know where he was swimming, and he didn’t know who he was swimming with.
Having found a virtual assistant specifically for this type of research, he finally understood the message he was projecting to his customers.
After several improvements on his brand positioning and image,
Few tweaks, a couple of touch-ups…
Thanks to reworking his brand, profit increased by 27% in just five months!
But it’s not all about Virtual Assistant Research.
There are several other types of assistants that might be just as beneficial for your business.
|TYPES OF VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS|
Responsible for accounting, bookkeeping, paying bills, payroll processing etc.
The same marketing client went to on to ask for a VA accountant having realised how brilliant they were for business!
Responsible for marketing support, keyword search, competition analysis, company promotion on social media channels etc.
Responsible for content writing, blog posting, proofreading, title/topics brainstorming etc.
Responsible for managing diary, scheduling appointments, taking calls, booking flights & hotel etc
“So, I’ve hired a VA and I’ve got ‘em working hard on their tasks - but there’s a problem, Joanna...
How do I know that I’ve hired the right one?”
Don’t fret, I have the answer!
I’ve identified the skills you should be seeking in your next virtual assistant so you can be sure your virtual assistant research will be top-notch.
Firstly, the most basic skill a Virtual Research Assistant should have is analytical skills.
Research isn’t about finding information, plugging it into a word document, and hoping it’s relevant.
In the business industry, we don’t do ‘relevant’ information. We do accurate information.
And the best way to get accurate information is to filter the data and find exactly what you are looking for.
Being able to analyse what is appropriate for the report - and what is not - is essential for a VA.
A VA should also be a logical person.
And that’s because when a VA is researching, they go through endless amounts of information.
Typically, this means they have formed an opinion on the matter having analysed what’s accurate, and what’s not. As the business owner, you’ve informed your VA of what to look for; you gave them the reason behind wanting this data.
It follows that by forming an opinion on the issue, they can actually help you out.
The VA can provide a solution to your issue after all of their research - a solution that is based on long-term research and logic.
They should also be good communicators .
They’ve done the research - and they need to tell you what they’ve found!
They should always be on the same page as you.
It is crucial that you communicate effectively with your VA to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings.
They should be able to communicate effectively their findings to you.
Explain what is going wrong, what is going right, what competitors do better and succeed, who else poses as competition…
These must be skills within their arsenal. And if they’re not?
Don’t hire ‘em again.
In fact, information that is not clear - or perhaps even incorrect - can later cause problems to your business.
And you didn’t hire someone to cost you more money!
It’s not all about you, however:
A VA should be able to manage their time well, too.
Time management skills in a research job like this are not only required for deadlines, but for work as well.
Deadlines are deadlines and need to be met.
VAs know that and they make sure to be professional.
But it is different when you have to discipline yourself to actually work.
Sitting at home doesn’t inspire me to work.
What about you?
This is why a VA that works remotely needs self-discipline.
Read More: Virtual Assistant – 6 Must Have Skills
Remember what I said before?
You know, about not being eaten by the bigger fish in the pond?
Businesses conduct research for information on the market, on their competitors, and on products and services.
And a VA can do all that.
Businesses conduct research for information on the market and their competitors, on products and services.
Or, in more specific terms, a VA can do all that by gathering both primary and secondary data.
Hold on - what’s the difference?
|Primary Data||Secondary Data|
Data is collected specifically by the VA and used by the VA.
Data has been collected by someone else and now is used by the VA.
VAs conduct surveys, focus groups and interviews, and generally gather the data themselves.
Someone else has done the research themselves, and the data is now published and available to the public.
Why hire someone to do half the job?
If your VA relies on secondary data only, findings may not be current; but if they rely on primary data only, findings may not be valid!
This task requires some seriously niche knowledge.
Only recently was a client of mine - the owner of a consulting company on the verge of collapse - in desperate need of help.
Lucky for them, we managed to help him hire a Virtual Research Assistant:
We focused our search on VAs who were polished in acquiring primary data from clients and customers, and could conduct surveys to get the data the company needed for improvement.
A quick flip through the data later and the owner adjusted his company according to his clients’ requests and needs.
Because of this, his profit soared by 47% within 3 short months!
Goodbye threat of collapse, hello success...
Read More: What Does a Virtual Assistant Do
It doesn’t stop there:
Virtual Research Assistants can also conduct other types of research.
And no, it doesn’t always have to be that meticulous.
It could be a simple informational request that only requires an answer, or it could be a basic review of their findings.
Whatever you need, virtual assistant research can provide the knowledge.
These types of research include:
Hint: Yes you do.
I know, I know.
It’s hard to commit to a big decision.
You’re still not convinced that this is the best choice for your business, are you?
I’m afraid you’re just going to have to trust me…
Or you can take a look at this list of reasons, and be convinced!
They are cheaper to hire.
Hiring a VA will cost you wayyyy less than a full-time assistant. Why?
Because virtual assistants work the hours you assign them to work. Why?
Because virtual assistants work the hours you assign them to work.
8 hours a week? 1 or 2 when you need them for a project? You are in control.
Also, their working hours depend on the workload you assign to them.
Assign a complete SEO research overhaul?
It’s gonna cost you.
Want them to find images to inspire a new logo?
Not so much.
This is where VAs diverge from employees:
They don’t work 9 to 5. They don’t rock up to the office with a coffee in one hand and breakfast in the other.
They don’t rock up to the office at all!
That means you only cough up for the hours they’ve worked.
No sick days, no maternity leave, and no holiday pay. None. Nada.
2. Increased productivity.
Who doesn’t love hearing this word?
Being able to cross out as many things from your to-do list as possible, is an amazing feeling!
But you can’t do that by yourself if you’re knee-deep into work and deadlines.
Your to-do list will be pushed to the side because you have more important tasks to do.
Unless you get someone to help you!
*Insert virtual assistant*
But this time, you’ll hire a virtual assistant to do your research for you.
Not a general assistant for general admin tasks.
Well, you could hire one for those tasks too, but let’s face it;
Research takes more time and it is more important.
And seeing you don’t have time for that, your assistant can take charge of it.
And what happens next, you ask?
Research is out of your mind for now, and you start focusing on other tasks.
More important ones.
You start being productive and producing quality work.
Simply because you focus on one thing at a time.
You’re now a productive person.
3. Get a second pair of eyes on your work.
Finally, you can definitely get a second opinion on your work.
A virtual assistant can be the most eye-opening person in your business.
They can point you to issues you don’t see.
And that’s because they've already done the research for you, and garner the relevant knowledge your business deserves..
They do the research.
They show you what they’ve discovered.
You review the results, and you fix the problems.
But are those fixes good enough?
The VA that helped you with the research can now shed some light on your work!
They can speak from different perspectives and offer an honest and thoughtful opinion on your improvements.
They don’t just cough up a couple of sentences on your rival company… They are a member of the team.
Has anyone else completely forgotten about networking?
It is essential to build connections with other businesses - you never know when you might need a helping hand...
But how can you do that all-important networking when you barely have the time to meet your deadlines?
You guessed right:
By having a Virtual Assistant!
They are not only extremely competent in keeping tabs on your clients; they are also proficient in researching potential clients for you to extend your contact list and boost your profits.
Researching potential clients and reaching out to them is a great way of making new business connections!
It is especially beneficial to a small company trying to grow.
Consider one of my clients from last year: the owner of a small food business at a market;
She no longer had the time to interact with her clients herself as the company was growing rapidly;
That’s why she hired a virtual assistant!
The assistant was responsible for interacting both with their regular clients as well as potential ones.
By networking this way, they were able to collaborate with other companies,
And have a friendly connection with other food businesses.
Increased brand awareness? Tick.
Garnering more ideas for her business? Tick.
First things first, the cost of a VA depends on several factors:
1. On their experience
2. The type of work you need done from them
3. And their location.
Experience and expertise
AVA with 5+ years of experience will not accept the same rate as a newbie VA of course.
Sure, an experienced virtual assistant might cost a ‘lil extra…
But the quality of work will be excellent. Sounds like a major perk if you ask me!
Take my consulting client:
They wanted in-depth research and analysis regarding competitors, a niche field which required niche experience.
The high level of analysis expected thus equated to a high price-tag.
The type of work
It also depends on the type of work you need done from them.
Rates vary because assistants charge less for administrative tasks, and charge more for more complicated tasks such as social media management.
Location is another key factor to be considered, too.
Rates vary depending on whether your VA is in your city or in a different country. For example, VAs tend to be cheaper in countries like the Philippines due to the sheer volume of remote freelancers operating there.
All of my clients have found their VAs work there, but thanks to the high english literacy rate, the low-cost solutions were not lacking in communication nor quality.
On average, a general VA costs ||$||18||$|| to ||$||35||$|| per hour.
And as it was mentioned before, they are assistants that can do many tasks.
However, many business owners hire VAs for specific tasks.
That’s why there are various types of VAs, all charging different rates depending on their work.
A research one though costs around ||$||12||$|| to ||$||20||$|| and above per hour.
Though cheaper than general VAs, this is a reasonable price to pay for a professional service.
Imagine what it could be like to have all your research nightmares are over for an average of ||$||15||$|| per hour!
You’re impressed, aren’t you?
In fact, you are officially intrigued by virtual assistant research!
Now it’s time to hear from you:
What research tasks are you raring to ditch?
And how long do you need to hire a VA for a week?