Canoe teamI’m not sure why it hasn’t occurred to me before when scrambling for working on post ideas for this VA blog, but wouldn’t it be cool to get an inside look at what some of us biz peeps have our trusty Virtual Assistants actually do for us each day? Like a straight-up list of the tasks my VAs do for me that they didn’t necessarily sign on for but fit rather nicely into their skill sets.

This isn’t the stuff you’ll see on a lot of VA websites–though it might be something to consider if you’re a VA. It’s just the nitty gritty of what really happens when you work for me.

Wanna look behind the curtain then?

Here are my VAs–with appropriate aliases of course–and what they do for me when no one’s looking:

1) The Details Diva

This gal works for me on retainer, usually in 5- or 10-hour blocks by the month, though of late she’s been kind enough to just let me purchase blocks of time as I need them. Some months we only use 5 hours and other months we plow through more time blocks. I call this VA my Details Diva because she looooves working the details and I, well, HATE it. Details she’s handled of late include:

  • Helped me draft and send out an email to select people I wanted to interview in regards to a bonus report I’m creating alongside a book I’m about to release this fall. Details Diva also collected and organized all the responses into a Word document.
  • Updated my article directory profile pic on various sites because I hated my old one. She also submits my articles to those directories on a regular basis.
  • Got in touch with an exclusive (invite only) article directory I was interested publishing articles to. I stumbled upon the site a few days ago and thought it looked like a perfect fit for some of my articles. So I just sent Details Diva the URL and asked her to look into it.
  • Organized, submitted and formatted 2 speaker proposals on my behalf. The RFP was very long and I did not have time to sift through all the requirements. Details Diva was my filter. I just wrote up the creative stuff and she did the rest, including helping me troubleshoot weak spots in my proposals. (I got a great speaking gig in the end.)
  • Details Diva is also my private investigator. She’s got her ears and eyes open all the time for marketing and PR opportunities that might raise my profile, bring me clients, or otherwise help me attract more business.
  • Keeps my Smartsheet pages up to date, including updating my “Marketing Leads” sheet which is essentially a database of contacts and client leads. New leads and contacts are added as new rows at the top of the sheet along with who is where in the lead generation-client conversion cycle. At a glance, I can see who needs follow up from me or a thank you card dropped in the mail.

The Creative Whiz

Creative Whiz is a graphic designer, ebook editor, layout guru and copy editor all rolled into one. She’s also helped me with various web copywriting and editing projects. She just makes me look really really good all the way around. Things I’ve taken her to task on of late include:

  • Assistance with editing and organizing the content of my up and coming book. She’s also helped me brainstorm tag lines and other wordy tidbits and catchphrases I’ll be using in my marketing.
  • Cover design and interior design for the book. This is precisely the type of task that epitomizes WHY you need to have VAs like this on side. While I’m the type who could probably have tackled this one on my own, huffing and puffing all the way up the learning curve, the task would have not only made me incredibly grumpy but would have stalled the book project for weeks if not months. That would be very wasteful indeed.
  • Creative Whiz is also an all around “bounce-it-off-me-and-see-what-comes-back” chick that will give me her honest opinion about a marketing or otherwise creative tactic I am considering for my book.

The Techies (Yes, I have two)

No one but NO ONE working online today should be without at least one techie that can be called upon during times of crisis. Not that I only use these peeps in crisis 😉 But when you’ve just blown up your website, or you have a prospective client with a wacky technical issue happening that you don’t dare quote without understanding the back end issues first, techies are are the friends you need. They’re the superheroes of the web when all is said and done as far as I’m concerned. These are just a very few of the ways my techies have helped me out over the years:

  • Add new “Connect” social media buttons to the sidebar on my website. Again, I probably could have figured this out on my own, but after sifting through istock and other sites for buttons that looked the way I wanted, I got fed up and decided to part with the $40 and get one of my techies to do it for me. (Never underestimate the power of a nicely styled and well placed feed button for your blog!)
  • Created a couple of snazzy graphical concepts for the website that will launch my new book. (Did I tell you I have a new book coming out? Just checking …). There’s a tip right there for you–if you can find a techie with an artistic bent, all the better.
  • Assists me in writing website critiques. This is by my techie who has a very firm grip on the interplay between site architecture, content, usability, SEO and conversion rates. I save so much time because she can literally create the bones of the review and I go in after and edit, tweak and fill in the blanks where she’s less knowledgeable.
  • Answer bizarre, out-of-the-blue questions I send in the middle of the night via email. Sometimes you just need to know something so you can get something else done. And sometimes you want to get that something else done more quickly than it would take you to figure out the first something first. Get what I’m saying here? Aaah. There is nothing is more satisfying than getting a techie answer when you need it by simply hitting the Send button.

Other Cool But Not Really Advertised Things ALL of My Virtual Assistants Do For Me

  • Let me bounce crazy, disorganized ideas off them whenever the inspiration hits me and then give me feedback without asking, “What idiot told you to do that?!?”
  • Force me to be specific when it’s needed and allow me to be big picture when I know they can handle the rest. This one thing is so valuable! The best VAs know when to run with something and know when to press for more information. Makes teamwork a breeze.
  • Indirectly force me to follow through with implementation on my big ideas. This one is hard to explain, but essentially it comes down to this: if I hire someone to do something for me, and then when they need my feedback along the way, I’m going to look like a total flake if I don’t respond in a timely, intelligent manner. It’s amazing how much more stuff you get done if you have the right kind of people backing you up … and watching your every move.

So while my VAs may not always do exactly what’s listed in their service portfolios, they DO get a lot of important things done for me. My business keeps moving forward because my team generates a kind of momentum that makes me want to do what I do faster AND better. And working on my business is altogether more enjoyable.

Hard to put a price on that.

What are some of things your Virtual Assistant or subcontractor or even your team does for you that keeps your business moving forward like a well-oiled machine?

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