Utilising a virtual assistant can shear hours from your workweek, but determining which tasks to delegate can be complicated and tricky, whether you’re just a newbie or already pro in the business.

Most virtual assistants are freelance workers or contractual who do their work at home and concentrate on administrative jobs that are same to those of secretarial or executive assistant. Web pages that specialise in workers that are contractual, such as Upwork.com previously known as oDesk.com have thousand listings for virtual assistants. With increasing number of virtual assistants, their skill now runs the scale making it not too difficult to look for someone who qualifies your business, says Jaleh Bisharat, oDesk’s Vice President of Marketing. In 2012, oDesk had 25,000 virtual assistant job postings, compared to 2,500 in 2008. Business owners may use virtual assistants for almost everything from customer service calls to distribution of ‘thank-you’ postcards to prospect clients. It’s essential to build trust, just as you would with a non-contractual or permanent employee. According to Bisharat, “offshore teams are like team members who just happen to work remotely.”

Quite overwhelmed where to start? Check these guidelines for ways how you can utilise VA to enhance your business:

Keeping You in the Know for Industry Knowledge

With inadequate time to keep you updates with industry news, some business owners have relied to virtual assistants to keep tabs on the most substantial events and happenings. Executives utilise the industry information to be posted on their social media accounts, so it may bring up thought-provoking developments in conversing with existing clients, customers, and prospect business partners. This establishes a formal image, and this helps “executives appear to have knowledge in timely news,” Pearson says.

Appointment Setting

Virtual assistants can also do the managing of client’s calendars. Tasks such as scheduling of appointments, assistance in events planning, organising meetings and a whole lot more. It’s pretty much like having your own Jarvis to assist you whenever you got something that needs to be done – in a perfectly organise way.

Travel Consultation and Research

Your virtual assistant may further research in finding the best hotel for you, airfare booking, organising and planning itineraries applicable both for personal and business function. These VAs can make use of travel websites to look for an in depth review of places and food in a specific country or city. They can also learn about time zone navigations when considering international travel options. And since they want to provide you the best service, they would often go the extra mile and research other information for your destination so that you can experience exciting travelling – such as conducting extensive research in looking for interesting and intriguing restaurants, trivias about the place, tourist attractions and lots more.

Doing Minor Tasks

This may refer to some errands that are non-business related that can also be handled and accomplished by your virtual assistant since they work secretarial tasks for you. From sending out thank you letters and business cards/invitations, updating and being in-charge of your social media accounts to calling your loved ones for reminders and other messages, these time-consuming activities can be very well taken care of by your remote assistant.

Email Managing

Another daily time-consuming task is checking of mails. Your remote assistant can scan and filter your email inbox on your behalf so that you won’t waste time in reading unimportant emails and can respond immediately to those mails that need your utmost attention. You may also guide your outsourced assistant how to choose key emails and guarantee to copy you before replying so that errors and risks will be avoided.

Creating Presentations

A massive timesaver when preparing for meetings and presentation are turning raw information into a PowerPoint presentation and summarising studies and research in a Word document. You may send all the needed documents and information to your virtual assistant and he/she can study and summarise it for you and provide you a presentation for it. The data “comes back in a format I can share,” says Rich Pearson.

Bookkeeping

Several business owners opt to share their bookkeeping systems with their remote assistant who may do follow ups on errands such as unpaid bills or outstanding invoices. It’s actually one of the easiest errands to assign to your virtual assistant.

Data Entry

Your virtual assistant should be tasked for encoding updated information, keeping databases current, monitoring of contracts, collecting faxed/scanned business cards and the likes. Be detailed about your expectations and needs so that there’d be less room for errors.

Extensive Research

You can delegate internet research to your virtual assistant. Common tasks include selecting potential business contracts, looking for details on corporate webpages and exploring new products, or new prospect clients. You may also entrust your usernames and passwords to your assistant, so he/she can get an easy access to paid specialty research tools and research corporate business topics for you.