As business owners and entrepreneurs increasingly outsource tasks to virtual assistants, they do so for a number of reasons. An overwhelming majority though, outsource purely to save time that they would otherwise need to spend on low-value, but necessary tasks.
As you’ll know if you’ve been following our blog, we encourage you to create a list of tasks to outsource in advance of hiring a VA, in order to help you find the right assistant and to get your outsourcing partnership off to a smooth start.
As you may also know, when you’re already up against it, drafting such a list can be tougher than it sounds.
In case you’ve been struggling to prioritise which of your business tasks to delegate to a virtual assistant, we’ve come up with a list of 50 time-consuming activities that can realistically be outsourced.
Use this List to Kick-start Your Time-savings
If you’ve been finding it difficult to think of tasks for your new VA to get to grips with, start saving some time right away by using this post as your checklist.
Scan through it and when you see a task that’s part of your business activity, just copy and paste it into your own list.
Then you can visit your new list again and rank the tasks, with those you’d most like to outsource at the top. Et Voila! You have your virtual assistant task-list.
50 Tasks to Outsource for Time-savings
It can be tough to let go of communication with your business’ customers, especially if your business strategy involves creating a personalised experience for them. However, communication is one of the most time-consuming business activities, particularly when it’s carried out via email.
If you’re worried about delegating any of the first eight tasks on our list to a virtual assistant, consider this… As your business grows, it will become impossible for you to conduct all of your communication personally.
So why not free up some time right now and get used to letting someone else communicate on behalf of your business?
- Filtering your email inbox and deleting spam/junk mail.
- Providing customer support via email (responding to help requests and support tickets).
- Checking and responding to voicemail.
- Writing, editing, and sending follow-up emails to customers or clients.
- Proof-reading and editing your outbound email messages.
- Making outbound calls (via Skype or IP telephony).
- Providing live chat support for your online customers.
- Sending greeting cards, thank-you notes, and invitations.
Business Administration Tasks
When you’re running a small business or a startup, all those necessary administration tasks like creating forms and templates, searching for leads, and looking after the accounts suck time from every day.
If your business is successful, there will come a point at which you find you’re faced with a constant trade-off between activities that directly support continued growth and improvement, and those pesky admin tasks.
By taking on tasks such as numbers 9 to 20 below, your virtual assistant can spare you the frustration of being torn between strategic and administrative activities.
- Transcription of audio and/or video files.
- Preparing agendas for online meetings or telephone conference calls.
- Preparation and creation of reports.
- Creating forms for use in your business.
- Creating document templates.
- Lead generation.
- Data scraping/enhancement/management.
- Receptionist duties.
- Client invoicing.
- Preparation and creation of training materials for office-based/virtual staff.
- Payroll duties (such as time-tracking or logging expenses).
Social Media Tasks
Social media can be an immense benefit to your marketing and customer-engagement efforts, but if you don’t have the time to manage social media properly, it can soon start to work against you.
If you hire a virtual assistant with social media management experience though, he can handle the next ten tasks on our list and keep you in touch with the social media buzz your business is generating.
- Creating social media accounts.
- Posting status updates on Facebook.
- Creating groups or fan pages on Facebook.
- Managing and generating followers on Twitter.
- Scheduling and posting tweets, tracking hashtags and mentions.
- Managing activity on Pinterest (creating, identifying, and pinning images).
- Uploading videos to YouTube.
- Creating YouTube playlists.
- Moderating and responding to comments on social media sites.
- Answering messages and queries on your social media channels.
Digital Marketing Tasks
There’s no doubt that digital marketing expands the reach of your small business greatly, but it also takes up a lot of time.
Let go of the following ten tasks though, and you’ll be able to spend more time working on digital marketing strategy, while your virtual assistant takes care of the legwork.
- Managing your business blog.
- Moderating comments on your blog.
- Adding images and tags to your blog posts.
- Creation of email marketing contact lists.
- Keeping your email lists up to date (adding new subscribers and removing un-subscribers).
- Creation and scheduling of marketing emails.
- Producing and sending email-newsletters.
- Writing blog posts or articles for your business website (but be sure your VA has the requisite skills for content creation, and try to write some of your own posts and articles on occasion).
- Producing other content marketing material (e.g. infographics, white papers).
- Conducting keyword research.
Personal Assistance Tasks
Another great way to save time is to let a virtual assistant get your personal activities organised for you.
Tasks 41 to 45 are just some of the ways in which a VA can help you organise your life from afar—and at an affordable price.
- Managing your business calendar and diary.
- Scheduling and managing your appointments.
- Making plans and arrangements for your business travel.
- Acting as your personal online shopper (e.g. purchasing and sending gifts on your behalf, finding you the best prices in online stores).
- Editing and proofreading all documents you write for digital or printed publication.
Business Information Tasks
Business data management is something which often gets overlooked, even in larger organisations. It can be even more difficult to stay on top of your data when running a small business. At the same time, it’s a sin to let sloppy data handicap your performance.
A good virtual assistant will be more than capable of performing the last five tasks on this list, helping you stay on top of your data and the information systems that process it.
- Data entry and cleansing for your business information systems (e.g. CRM).
- Managing online storage media such as Dropbox, Google Drive or others.
- Spreadsheet and/or database management.
- Scheduling and management of data/system backups.
- Monitoring and reporting on competitor/industry activity.
How to Make the Most of This List
Once you’ve picked some tasks from here to create your own list of virtual assistant tasks, you can use the information in a number of ways. We suggest you use it first to put together a list of the skills and proficiencies you’ll require from a VA. That will make it much easier to find the right person to help you save time with outsourcing.
You can refer to your list to get ideas for training material, generate interview questions for prospective VAs, and of course, to initiate the delegation of tasks in a prioritised order.
However you make use of your time-saving-task-outsourcing list, we hope you’ve find our 50 task suggestions useful. We’d love to hear about any activities you’ve successfully outsourced to a VA that aren’t included in our list too. Please feel free to share your experiences in a comment to this post.