“Yes, I get it – a Virtual Assistant is a cost effective, part time, low commitment option for administrative and marketing support. BUT – how does she accomplish some of the more basic administrative functions, being halfway around the world?”
We received this question last month in our inbox, and it’s an entirely reasonable, viable question to ask. In fact, it’s one of the challenges that we faced when initially building our company, 5 years ago. We needed to identify several cost-effective technology service providers to bridge the physical/virtual gap. You ask? We answer! Here’s the list:
Can your Virtual Assistant snail mail a physical letter for you? Amazingly enough, yes, via MailALetter.com. The company is based in New Jersey, and accepts both MS Word docs as well as PDF’s – we simply upload the appropriate document to be mailed, and MailALetter will print it out (either in black and white or color, your preference) and send it anywhere in the world with a New Jersey postmark. Not only will they send it out for $.99, they will print your logo (in color) on the letter, and if you want them using your letterhead, envelopes or stationary, just pop it into the mail to them (once) and they’ll use that too.
Can your Virtual Assistant clear off your desk and get through the never-ending piles of papers? Most professionals find that not only does their email inbox get clogged with messages they should read, need to get to, probably should attend to, but also their physical working space is cluttered with piles and stacks of the similar. This can include bills, memos, things that require attention but are low enough on the priority list that they just never get crossed off. How can your Virtual Assistant possibly deal with this on your behalf? We have two options for you:
One of our clients got so fed up with the piles on his desk that he simply took 15 minutes, sat down with his iPhone and took a picture of each piece of paper on his desk, emailed each one to his VA and then awaited instructions. His VA downloaded and dealt with each paper residing on his desk, followed up with the paper initiator, communicated what needed to be taken care of, created an electronic filing system for him via DropBox, and sent him an email for each piece of paper that said “Done and filed!” Then he very unceremoniously dropped each of the papers in the garbage and crossed them off his list. Permanently.
We have another client who is a bit allergic to email – it makes him nervous. He is married to his fax machine instead – ok, we can work with that! Each of our Virtual Assistants has both an American phone number and an American fax number. When he receives snail mail, he doesn’t even read it anymore – he just slides it into his fax machine and his Virtual Assistant receives it via email. She takes care of any follow-up required, and files it away for him. When possible she also transfers accounts to e-only billing, notifications etc. Each bill and notification is emailed directly to the client’s Virtual Assistant to handle, no paper reaches his desk! Not only does he not have papers in a mess (which, in fact, his wife actually called to thank us for) but he has mental space and time to breathe.
Can your Virtual Assistant send all of your clients personalized holiday cards? Not only can she send them, but it’s exceptionally fast and easy for her to send the right people the appropriate card at the correct time. Most likely, some of your clients prefer Christmas cards, while others would be more comfortable with Hanukkah cards, and still more would appreciate Happy New Year cards around holiday time. You know your client roster inside and out, and within about a month of establishing a relationship with her, your VA will know them too. All it takes is 10 minutes on the phone to specify which client should receive which greeting. She will document this information for next year, so you only have the have the conversation once. Your Virtual Assistant will then establish an account at SendOutCards.com. Yes, you need a referral code to get an account – don’t worry, we have one! They have thousands of greetings to choose from, you can say anything you want (and each note can be different) and any font can be selected, including cursive handwriting with your scanned-in signature.
The challenge of bridging the gap between being physically present and working virtually is OUR responsibility, not yours. Both potential and current clients reach out to us all the time and ask how to accomplish something virtually – if we don’t have an answer, we find one; ultimately saving our clients time and effort, allowing them to focus on the tasks needed to grow their business, while we handle the rest!
Submission by Alyssa