Category Archives: Office Management

A Message to The Help Team

A Message to The Help Team

Happy New Year!

As we say goodbye to 2014 and welcome 2015, I would like to take this, opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments, on the path we took to arrive to this moment, and on the plans we have for an exciting, fruitful future.

Let me start by telling you how much I appreciate each member of the The Help team! I’m aware we wouldn’t be here today without the contribution and hard work from each and every one.  Thank you!

2014 was a year of growth, change, and transition. We have grown in numbers as a team. We’ve worked lots of hours- weekends, late nights, and for some – putting in double shifts. Flexibility and resilience were tested and we came out better, wiser and more united.

As technology evolves, we have progressed as well. Learning new applications, programs, software, etc. is part of our work, the excitement that feeds our desire to achieve. We transition from one system to another, finding better ways to handle a virtual office efficiently and effectively.  As a front liner in the Virtual Admin Assistance industry, we continuously change and adapt to the ever-changing world of the Internet.

Thank you for bringing in your talents, skills, and fresh ideas to The Help. I see how we transform (large and small) challenges, 24/7, to learning opportunities resulting in excellent deliverables. It is very refreshing to see how supportive we are to each other. Nothing is too big or too small when we work together. Because of our outstanding service, projects, clients, and referrals came in. It is truly a humbling experience to see our clients thrive in their industry, that we assisted in achieving their growth and eventual success. Their success is our success too!

Due to the efforts of our exceptional team, we not only survived the 2014 down economy, we thrived!  We want 2015 to be even more successful for the company and for you.  It’s an incredible feeling to know that when I go out to clients – both existing and potential – the team’s performance speaks for itself. Absolutely no overselling the competency and commitment of my team!

Having worked and built an outstanding reputation for reliability and outstanding performance, The Help is a trusted partner to all our clients.  We want our reputation for excellence to spread in all corners of the world, our goal for 2015!

My door is always open to you.

Thank you for all you do.

   – Astrid S.-

Resourcefulness and Research Skills: Navigating Tools in Virtual Assistance

Resourcefulness and Research Skills: Navigating Tools in Virtual Assistance

Resourcefulness is defined as the “ability to act effectively or imaginatively, especially in difficult situations.” It is associated with creativity, imagination, and self-sufficiency.  It is about figuring out how things work given what you have – your resources; because these are no good without you making things happen. However, it is in situations wherein you find yourself with scarce resources that you must be able to look within yourself to see what resources you have innately.

This very definition is in the essence of being a virtual assistant. A VA is the client’s partner in making things happen for them to be easier and to run smoothly. As such, the VA must be able to manage all resources within her reach to ensure these. The resources she uses are varied in nature and can range from concrete objects including calendars and gadgets; or virtual things like software applications. They can also be intangible concepts such as time and support. Resources can also very well include the VA herself and all of her skills, abilities and knowledge. It is then a challenge to be able to manage these resources or lack thereof to make the most of them and make them work the best possible way to achieve an output beyond expectations.

Resourcefulness can be manifested in different ways. A few are specified here:   

1)      Being prepared. Part of preparation is being aware of your resources, how they work and in what areas they can be used.  It also entails managing your resources to be always on standby; ready to take into action when the need arises. This is exactly the case for a resourceful VA who must always be prepared to take action, for whatever task she may be given. Hence, a VA would do well to make guides for previous tasks that can be used as reference for future tasks.

2)      Assessing the task. To  be able make use of resources to solve problems or meet goals, one must first take stock of the situation to be able to act accordingly. In the case of a VA, she must first understand the task and figure out the required output, what is required of her and what she needs to accomplish it. Once she figures these out, she must bring the necessary resources out or look for them when these are not on hand.

3)      Being persistent. Persistence is a means of making the most of a situation by simply not giving up which is neither an option to a committed virtual assistant.  She must persevere to get her tasks done; to solve problems even if it means trying a number of times because it is only through trying that a problem gets solved and a task done. Not being able to accomplish one’s goal on the first try is not failure but a learning experience. Resourcefulness is also moving consciously in the direction of the goals that must be achieved and seeing things through until the end.

Resourcefulness can be a virtue that opens the door to greater accomplishments. However, because you do not necessarily know everything no matter how good you are, part of being resourceful is looking for resources that one does not have and this is where research comes in.

Simply put, research is getting information about a subject with the purpose of giving direction to a problem or task. Research for a VA can be a task in itself or a means to an end. One of the many tasks of a VA is to look for a variety of things as determined by the client like suppliers, products, applications, keywords and social media content. Or research can be a task the VA undertakes to accomplish some unfamiliar task or lacks information for. This is when the VA’s research skills are tested.

She must search for necessary information to be able to do her tasks. Research could mean scavenging the Internet for how-to’s; reviews, user guides and the like or asking subject matter experts like fellow VAs who have been in the field longer or have done similar tasks in the past.  However, the VA must take it upon herself to do everything in her capacity to learn and gather useful information and use whatever tools are on hand to do so as not everyone may be available to help her all the time. She might be working on a different time zone where everyone else is asleep or busy doing their own tasks. This is what resourcefulness is about.

The importance of resourcefulness in general and research in particular is further emphasized in the case of a new virtual assistant, as these are the very things that will make the newbie learn the foundations for a task; expand her knowledge of VA work; gain new ideas t; and learn tips for improvement. The fact that the Internet makes it so much easier and faster would no doubt make a resourceful VA with an open mind learn in no time.

To be resourceful is cleverly bringing all your resources forward or mining them in their absence, choosing the most appropriate or using all of them if applicable. It means being proactive because you do not just wait for things to happen but make them happen yourself and results can be dramatic.

They say people who get things done and succeed are resourceful people because they work hard for it. They do not simply accept what they are dealt with but strive to make the most of their resources. For this alone, resourcefulness is a skill to develop and an asset especially in the world of virtual assistance where resources abound just a click away if you know how to find them with proper research. The challenge though is to sift through these resources and make the information you gathered work for you.

 

 Written by Kathrine E.- The Help

Five reasons The Help stays with Elance

Five reasons The Help stays with Elance

In this entrepreneurial age where lifelong employment is part of ancient history, everyone thinks e-commerce in both personal and professional lives.

Shrinking incomes and company downsizing put freelancing on center stage for one very important reason.  Freelancing stems the onslaught of despair when someone in the family is unemployed.  It provides a temporary solution for those looking to augment income.   There are several online platforms for freelancers but most of them stay with Elance, The Help included; here are five reasons why:

  1. Elance visibility is key. Registered freelancers are subscribed according to expertise ensuring that employers have access to the A-players in the talent pool.
  2. Freelancers are assured payment via the escrow and milestones that are integral to the contract eliminating anxiety for both client and provider.
  3. Feedback from clients insures continued improvement of quality of service fostering trust and growth in business relationships.
  4. The Elance platform is user friendly, which means even older freelancers quickly learn usage of its tools.
  5. Elance recently made $800,000,000, which means its members are getting great money for excellent delivery.

The Help, associated with Elance since its inception, grew by leaps and bounds.  It’s now Number 2, nationwide, and Number 12 (as of Feb 2013,) worldwide in the Administrative Assistance category.

 

Written by Yoli P.- The Help

The Help’s Guarantee

The Help’s Guarantee

Think it doesn’t matter which service provider you choose? Think again!

Remember, it is your business.  It is your money.  It matters!

Read on and find out why more and more clients prefer The Help than other providers.

The Help’s Guarantees

Guarantee #1. Cloud-based virtual administrative assistant professionalism guarantee- We offer prompt, excellent and professional service to you and your clients. If you find that’s not the case and would like to terminate services, we can do so immediately—no questions asked.

Guarantee #2. Cost-effective- We will never charge a monthly retainer fee and will never bill you before the work is performed—only after. You only pay for the services you use. We use Elance tracker that takes screenshot of what we are doing during the shift. Payment is for actual work done at the rate agreed upon in advance. You don’t have to worry about payroll, sick leave, other employment compensation and benefits, providing work space or equipment.

Guarantee #3. Increased Efficiency – Our job as a VA is to minimize trouble and maximize productivity to the business owner. We can take care most of your daily transactions, therefore you will have more time to focus in important projects. Works in your absence- Since the office is there, irrespective of your presence, just like any other office, the calls, mails, post, fax …all are received on behalf of the clients with their consent. We can respond to customer phone calls, reply emails with your generic business greetings and many more.

Guarantee #4 Reduces hassles- You can have the option of transferring all your calls to us and receive only the ones you wish to. This saves you from the unwanted marketing calls.

Guarantee #5. Flexibility with time- We can work with your schedule. We can start working as early as five in the morning or as late as 12 midnight.

Guarantee #6. Flexibility with nature of work- Our range of knowledge is endless. We‘re experts in our field, because we’ve performed these task as employees previously and have Degrees, Certificates and training to accomplish the task. We use globally-competitive platforms and applications to do our job.

Guarantee #7. No Black Boxes Promise- Employees and contractors often create “black boxes” or job security by not sharing procedures, logins, etc. they use to do their job, making it impossible for someone else to do their job if they quit or leave, making them “indispensable” and impossible to fire. The Help will be able to help you set up your virtual office systems by writing down and documenting processes and tasks. We always keep track of the projects development, making it easy for anyone to take over the position at any given time.

Guarantee #8. Minimal Training- We do not need comprehensive training. We normally just need to know what the business is, the mission and we take it by heart. That way, we can handle the tasks, customers’ enquiry etc. the way you will be handling them. We are highly trainable and fast learners.

Guarantee #9. World-class service- Our ranking and feedbacks in Elance would show how good we are with what we do and how satisfied our clients are with our contribution in the success of their business or project. We are not offering just one skill but rather set of skills. We are not just customer service. We build relationships with our clients. We take care of their needs and their questions.

Guarantee #10. Data Integrity and Security- We are very big when it comes to data integrity and security. Any information related to our clients, our potential clients, or any type of business partner cannot be accessed by unauthorized person. This may include but not limited to financial documentation, contract language, patented/copyrighted materials, client documents, software code, business correspondence, business methodologies, business strategies, governance structure, client procedure, business capture techniques etc. Usernames and passwords are being kept on a safe place, soft copies are all encrypted. We can commit to a 100% accuracy of any data that we enter to your database. We use company-provided computer/access/software which is strictly for official business use only. Your data and your system are safe with us. We are happy to sign NDA if required.

Guarantee #11. We value entrepreneurship- We treat our client’s business as if it is our own. We do not want any time, money or effort put into waste. We collaborate with our client and are being proactive in determining issues that arise before it becomes a problem, brainstorm and recommend solutions.

Quest for the Best: Do you have the courage to be part of us?

Quest for the Best: Do you have the courage to be part of us?

 

Welcome Summer! Not only are we excited for the warm weather and lots of sunshine you bring, we are ecstatic for the growing opportunities you’ve been blowing our way.

We’ve been very busy these past few weeks. The demand is soaring for virtual administrative assistance services. More companies and individuals (particularly those who run small to medium sized businesses) are convinced that setting up a virtual office through us help them save money on  office space, hiring, training, payrolls, pensions, and other employee benefits. Yet,   at the same time these companies  reap all the benefits of having a brick and mortar office with competent, reliable, and hard working workers.

The sentiment of The Help is brightening, as clients’ confidence improve and the company’s performance continues to rise. As higher demand for clients continues, we exert double effort in selecting new employees who are going to be an asset to us and our clients as well.

“Hiring someone simply because you need an “extra body” is foolish and inevitably results in poor performance, decreased productivity and decreased morale. So be sure to hire only someone who actually fits the job description you’ve created. In fact, shooting for the stars by knowingly increasing your standards to hire the best possible candidate–even it takes some time to find the right person–is well worth it.”

– DR. DAVIDG.JAVITCH

As a growing company, we consider workforce management as one of company’s most important tasks.  With that, we want to ensure that we have the right people — and the right number of people– to keep both our own and our client’s company running smoothly.

We are currently looking for our next superstar administrative assistant. Is it you? Let us know. E-mail us your resume and cover letter at admin@thehelpbyastrids.com. For more information, check our career page.