Category Archives: Virtual Assistant

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

A Word About Teamwork

A Word About Teamwork

teamworkNowhere is teamwork more obvious than in the virtual assistance industry.

A team is immediately formed as soon as a Virtual Assistant is contracted for work. For example, a client needs help in data entry. She hires a Virtual Assistant. In the background, there would be an Information Specialist facilitating Internet usage, thus ensuring continued communication between client and VA. Perhaps, Elance could be the facilitator.

A two-member team is now in existence. On the other hand, the VA side will also have other team members who are making certain that the client-VA relationship, i.e. reports are written, phone calls made, run without glitches.

Sadly teamwork is not given the importance it deserves. Usually taken for granted, teamwork is the glue that makes virtual assistance work. Some benefits of teamwork:

  • Problems are quickly resolved. The adage “two heads are better than one” is the operating principle in a team.
  • Everyone learns. Each person is unique, bringing different talents and skills to the table. For example, a client may wish for an end-of-day tasks summary report. However, a VA can add comments on the same document specifying where issues came up and were resolved. As such, the client is alerted because of the comments initiated by her VA.
  • Teamwork increases productivity. Tasks are divided and more are accomplished in less time.

Like other relationships, teamwork is built over time. Dependability, initiative, and passion for the profession are important traits that make disparate individuals into members of a cohesive team.The Help’s continued rise in the virtual assistance industry can be attributed to the results produced by steady and consistent teamwork.

Written by Yoli P – The Help

The Successful Virtual Assistant

The Successful Virtual Assistant

Much have been said of successful Virtual Assistants; organized, competent, and creative are some qualities often mentioned to describe their work ethics. Underpinning these traits are three basics that can define success or failure.

  1. Persistence – the Miriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people.” Committing to a career in the Virtual Assistance industry will mean a continuous effort in networking, in reaching out to various professionals and businesses, and in learning cutting edge technology to offer prospective clients. Could be a tall order for an industry beginner but a quality that will be of extreme value in future. For example, long before a foreign language was considered an asset in an administrative career, I decided to learn French. I was 40 at the time; it took a couple of years and I was a full time student with very little money but I persisted. That decision landed me a job in an international think tank in Washington, DC.
  2. Resourceful – Someone who’s resourceful is a problem-solver; steps up to the plate when confronted with challenges. Virtual Assistants are relied upon to resolve/facilitate all types of difficulties; from sourcing 100, 0.5 automatic pencils for a conference set to happen in an hour to making flight reservations for a three-continent trip for five members of the board who live in four different states. Of course, the Internet is a great source of material required for such tasks. It takes a resourceful even creative thinker to pare down the large amount of information so that the pencils are delivered and the directors are sent on their way.
  3. Punctual – A Virtual Assistant’s middle name is Punctuality. Assignments are delivered on time if not earlier. The advantage of being an early bird on delivery means glitches are caught and ironed out long before these become problems. A conscientious VA is thorough and will ask questions on possible issues that may arise, while keeping in mind that most tasks have deadlines.

All enterprises pursue goals that will grow their businesses and The Help has consistently been a backbone for growth since it joined the Virtual Assistance industry in February 2008. Currently ranked third among 3,359 companies in the US by Elance, The Help is the epitome of persistence, resourcefulness, and punctuality.

All About Virtual Assistants

All About Virtual Assistants

All about VAs 2Virtual Assistants or VAs are self-employed managerial/organizational practitioners who, while working from home, support clients in their technical and social needs, in commercial and personal environments. They mostly assist busy executives and small businesses.

VAs are enthusiastic users of the Internet, e-mail; they are proficient at organizing phone-call conferences and online work spaces. The Help’s VAs are trained in the usage of technology such as Skype and Google Voice. They are in a niche evidenced by the specialized support they provide to authors, PR gurus, real estate agents, and busy career women and men who are making work-life balance a priority.

Thriving Virtual Assistants

The Help’s Virtual Assistants are excellent in tandem with innovators because they test new products and technology before its market release. With VOIP on the scene, they are involved in graphic design as well. They are in positions of trust – they are keepers of vast amounts of information critical to businesses.

VAs thrive as individual contractors or in a team that is managed by a company as in The Help. Offices and computers, when needed, are provided by The Help. Depending on assignments, VAs may have Internet connection and training from the company.

Clients

Because virtual assistants are independent businesses in their own right, clients do not concern themselves with employee taxes, insurance or benefits, unless specified in the VA’s fees. Also eliminated from the customers’ operational budget are office space and supplies along with computer use. Integral to professional VAs careers are contract-based work and long-term business relationships.

All of the above are in The Help’s work environment. With their commitment to and passion for excellence, The Help ensures satisfaction for businesses and individual  clients.

 

Written by Yoli P. – The Help