Frequently Asked Questions
You may have some questions at this point. Of course, I’m always happy for you to make contact so we can communicate directly about your specific situation but you may find the answers to some of these Frequently Asked Questions useful in the meantime.
What is a virtual assistant?
A simple definition in this context, is someone who works remotely for you (by internet and phone), assisting with various aspects of your business – in this case, offering similar services to a personal or executive assistant. Some virtual assistants specialise in social media, search engine optimisation, event management and many other areas.
Why use a virtual assistant?
There’s a variety of reasons you might use a virtual assistant:
You want someone who is quick, thorough, reliable and available when you need them.
You need assistance with your business administration but getting a temp in often means there’s an end-point when they get a permanent role or better offer - and your investment in ‘training’ them is lost.
You don’t have an office or room for someone extra in your office – perfect, we work anywhere!
You only need or can afford to have someone a day or two a week but you actually need responses spread throughout the week, sometimes at random times. You can send tasks to your virtual assistant any time and they can get it underway at any point during their business hours rather than your waiting until the “Person Friday” comes in for their appointed time or day.
It’s a way of sharing an executive assistant and the cost of them with other executives (ie: our other clients) without your business having other executives.
You’re not sure if you really need an executive assistant and don’t want to commit to hiring an employee (it can be a big responsibility). This lets you test the waters.
Your required tasks are only two or so hours a week and you really don’t think you can attract an employee to do that.
Are virtual assistants qualified?
There isn’t a qualification per se to become a virtual assistant, however many assistants are experts with formal qualifications and/or many years experience in the industry and their profession or chosen business area. I have formal qualifications in communications, human resource management and graphic design pre-press and many years experience in all of my service offerings.
Wouldn’t it be cheaper to hire an employee?
If you can give yourself back a valuable hour, what is that worth to you? What would you do with it? Something more profitable perhaps?
Like most things in life and business, it depends.
The beauty of having a virtual assistant is an additional resource on a temporary or ongoing basis where you can change hours more easily in line with your requirements.
Of course hiring a temp can work really well for you but there is often the risk that they are really in the market for something more permanent and they leave for that opportunity before your work is done or just as you’re starting to discover more things to do because you now see the value in another set of administrative hands.
Virtual assistants are usually experienced experts in our chosen fields and so you may be pleasantly surprised about how much we can accomplish in just an hour or day for you; each hour investment can net far greater results – your precious time is saved and the standard of work is what you want.
Wisdom often states that it’s worth paying for quality because it saves you in the long run. I would even go further to say that when it comes to administration and executive support, particularly for projects with short timeframes, quality (and reliability) is everything – have you ever had to undo or redo shoddy administration work? It’s very frustrating and can turn out to be very costly. I am committed to, and rely on, open communication to ensure that what I am doing for you will achieve what you want. I aim for as high a standard as possible within your time constraints.
Is The Streamlined Desk a one-stop-shop?
Given I can provide a number of services, from general administration to graphic design to communication and beyond, I’d like to think it’s almost a one-stop-shop - and it’s another reason to consider The Streamlined Desk!
What services can you provide?
I offer a wide range of services from the simple to the complex. Please take a look at my Services page.
What about confidentiality?
I treat your business like it’s my business (because, when you think about it, it really kind of is!) As your executive assistant, I will be privy to a lot of private information and I take seriously the need to keep it that way. Your contract with me formally spells out my obligation to you.
I have worked in and with a number of organisations where confidentiality of personal and extremely sensitive information is absolutely paramount (aged care, general practice and mental health) so I completely understand and ensure this is so.
I’m used to doing everything myself. How am I going to get used to having someone else do these task for me?
I’m not a counsellor so I can’t promise to make that part easy for you! All I can suggest is to focus on what you will gain by outsourcing some of what you don’t like or can’t get done. Perhaps running a short term trial so if you find it’s not for you after all, you can always go back to how it was.
Where are you located?
I’m based in Perth, Western Australia but through the magic of the internet, can work with someone from pretty much anywhere. However, there are advantages in having a local virtual assistant like working in the same or similar timezone and being familiar with important aspects like the language and culture. This will be evident if I will be directly communicating with your customers and in any writing that I do on your behalf.
Will you do things exactly how I want them done?
In most cases, I will be focusing on completing your tasks to the standard you specify in the agreed timeframe, rather than by method. If you have a specific required process, I will endeavour to follow this but given I aim to also save you time, money and effort, I may also suggest ways to streamline. And don’t forget that you are handing over your tasks to someone else so that you don’t need to worry about them so much.
I’m not really sure about all of this…?
I get it, especially if this would be a new way for you to go. That’s why I offer a complimentary no-obligation initial phone consultation (usually about 30 minutes) so you can find out more, see if The Streamlined Desk would be a good fit, and even just pick my brain.
What shouldn’t I outsource to a virtual assistant?
I would recommending holding onto:
What you love
What you’re best at
What must be done exactly your way
….but be honest with yourself about these, otherwise you will continue to shoulder that load!
It doesn’t seem like administration is a specialist skill. Why would I get someone else to do what I can do myself?
Yes, they are sometimes simple tasks, or seemingly simple tasks. But they take time (which you probably don’t have) and, quite often skill (which you might not have).
A good example of this is a gym owner who was finding it frustrating that her floor staff still hadn’t gone through the enquiry hard file and entered the mobile contact numbers from the enquiry forms into the online SMS marketing database. Her staff had been de-prioritising this task in favour of others because it wasn’t as “important” or “urgent” …except it meant the business was missing out on marketing to a number of potential customers. She hadn’t completed it either as her time also was better spent selling memberships to walk-in enquiries and teaching. This was a job that had languished for months.
In just over an hour, I was able to enter and cross-check all numbers in the database and she was able to finally begin enticing new members with offers using this important marketing strategy. Did the business owner think this was worth the money spent on my services? Absolutely.