14 Ways to Use a Virtual Assistant in Your Business

James Carbary
September 17, 2015
14 Ways to Use a Virtual Assistant in Your Business

Hiring a virtual assistant can be the best thing you ever do for your business. By creating easy-to-follow standard operating procedures, you can build a team of people that handle the tasks that you (as the entrepreneur) shouldn't be doing. It's your job to focus on the high-level activities that grow the business...not be stuck in the weeds of the day-to-day operations. There are certain things in your business that only you can do, and it’s understandable to want complete control over those things. However, there are so many tasks that can be accomplished by someone else.

Here are 14 specific tasks that can be outsourced to a virtual assistant:

1) Email Communication

Secretaries have been around for centuries because they fulfill an important function. Once your business reaches a certain level of productivity, you’ll need someone else to at least check through your emails so you aren’t wasting time wading through fluff. A virtual assistant can go through emails the way a traditional secretary would sort through your mail, and the end result is the same. It saves you time.

2) Calendar Management and Scheduling

Even the most organized person with the best time management skills can get bogged down by the intricacies of a demanding schedule. It helps to have an outside perspective to manage your calendar and to schedule appointments. There are technologies available that could also serve this function. However, if you already have a reliable person taking care of other clerical tasks, this can take a weight off your mind. If you'd rather not hand your calendar over to an assistant, use Calendly. It's been a life-saver for me.

3) Travel Arrangements

Booking a flight isn’t complicated. But you might not have the time to find a great price and hotel because the amount of searching required takes too much time away from other more important things. Additionally, if you need to visit multiple locations in a small time-frame, that eats away at even more time. A virtual assistant can do this for you more economically so you can get to where you need to be with time and money intact.

4) Blog Administration

Having a well-maintained blog is an essential part of running a business in today’s market. But if you lack the experience or desire to maintain it yourself, it could become a detriment. Having an assistant to post content, moderate comments, and respond to emails pertaining to the blog can help with this. With the right person, your business can maintain an inviting blog that draws in more clients. This once again saves you time, and it earns you more money. Are you seeing a theme here?

5) Research

Sometimes, you want to know about your competitors. Sometimes, you need to know where to find the best price for printing business cards or buying ad space. These are just a couple of examples where doing thorough research could take a huge chunk out of your day. Search engines are making this increasingly easier, but it still takes a while to wade through the fluff sites to find genuinely useful information. A virtual assistant can do this for you and present you with the information you need in a usable format.

6) Bookkeeping or Data Entry

This also falls under the general clerical umbrella. Bills and employees need to be paid. Invoices need to be filed. All the minutiae of running a successful business can pile up quickly. Someone with knowledge of QuickBooks, XERO, or whatever your program of choice can be an invaluable resource for taking care of these issues. At Sweet Fish, we use Bench to handle all of our bookkeeping. For $135/mo, you'll never have to worry about your bookkeeping again.

7) Website/Blog Chat and Email Support

Often on your website or blog you will want to include a way for customers or potential customers to ask questions. This could be in the form of an instant messaging add-on or through e-mail. Either way, there’s a good chance that many of the questions will be easily answered and repeated often. You could organize an FAQ page, but that likely won’t stop the repeat questions, and it won’t catch everything.

8) Social Media Management

Not having your business linked to social media is a huge mistake in today’s market. It’s as important as maintaining a company blog. As with the blog, the maintenance of social media accounts can be delegated to an assistant.

9) Email Marketing

In you own a business in today's online world, you should have an active email marketing strategy. If you're not sure what your strategy should look like, here are 8 great strategies from Buffer. Executing an email marketing strategy takes a painful amount of time. So why not outsource it to someone that knows what they're doing?

10) Proofreading/Editing

This could be editing of online content as mentioned earlier, editing of e-mails, or really anything involving written language that needs to be reviewed in order to promote the most professional image. Even if you and everyone who works with you speaks perfect English, it helps to have another person read over content to avoid embarrassing mistakes.

11) Content Writing

Depending on your company, this could be something that you actually prefer to do yourself. However, if you are more comfortable with explaining your ideas orally or are at least not certain of your writing abilities, outsourcing this can be a good idea. There are many people out there on the web with the skills to write anything you need as long as you explain the guidelines and the anticipated results. If you don't have any luck with finding a VA to write your content, reach out to us. We have an entire team of really great writers that can help.

12) Audio/Video Editing

The last few points all require specific skill sets which you may not possess as a business owner. Videos are effective tools for marketing and training, but if you aren’t familiar with editing software, it’s usually better to hire someone else to do it than to try to muddle through on your own. Likewise, editing the audio portion of videos or podcasts can often be outsourced. (Note: Podcast Motor is a great service for those of you that hate editing your podcast episodes)

13) Graphic Design

If you're skilled in Photoshop, InDesign, or any of the other graphic design software out there, you might want to design your own marketing materials and images. But design can take tons of time...even if you know how to do it! Hiring a VA to handle your design can be a fantastic solution. At Sweet Fish, we use Kapa99 to handle all of our graphic design. For just $299/mo, we never have to touch photoshop again.

14) Web Development

This type of virtual assistant requires a more specialized skill than the others on the list, but there are still plenty of workers available with the necessary programming abilities to get the website look you want. Whether or not you have the knowledge of computer programming to build a customized website, hiring someone else to actually build and maintain it can be a better idea because it is an extremely time consuming project. Letting someone else bring your design idea to life can free you to focus on other aspects of your business that no one else can handle. Once your website is built, use WP Curve to handle all of your Wordpress headaches. We featured WP Curve on the Tick Tock podcast, and we talked about why every business owner should be using their service. You can listen to the episode here.


Most of the things in this post are tasks that you can do yourself. However, hiring a reliable virtual assistant or a productized service to do them instead can save you time, money, and lots of headaches. For more ideas of tasks that can be passed to a VA, check out Chris Ducker’s “101 Tasks You Can Outsource to Virtual Staff” or the International Virtual Assistant Association’s “101 Ways to use a VA.”

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