2011 is the year of big goals and bigger execution, but remember, you are not an island! Teamwork is a must when building a meaningful business in the upcoming year, but what to do if you don’t have gobs of cash to throw around? That was the exact predicament I was in when I started my first business online. I needed someone to help me upload my WordPress blog, to help me with research and to act as an all around internet jack of all trades. I found this in my very first virtual assistant and I’ve never looked back. So in the wake of my business Zirtual launching (all we do is find entrepreneurs awesome, kick butt virtual personal assistants – for cheap!) I decided to list 100 things Virtual Assistants can do that will make your business and life better. And if by the end of this post I haven’t fully convinced you that you must run out and hire a virtual assistant today – well then send me a tweet and tell me I ought to be ashamed of myself!

Virtual Assistants can…

  1. help you set up your website/blog.
  2. set up your email list.
  3. transcribe voice memos you record on your phone, and then email them to you.
  4. fix problems with your iTunes account using a screen sharing application.
  5. spend hours comparing and contrasting all the hotels in the San Francisco Bay Area and present you with a categorized list of the top ten, their features and then book the one you want for you.
  6. unsubscribe you from pesky mailing lists that just won’t stop.
  7. send out emails that say “Hi, this is {insert your name here}’s assistant” which always impresses friends and family.
  8. do myriads of brain-numbing online research for you.
  9. help you balance your business budget using a free tool like Outright.
  10. find great keywords for you to use in specific blog posts.
  11. do simple SEO on your website/blog.
  12. do research to help you, help your kid with the math homework that you don’t understand.
  13. go through your business or personal voicemail using a service like Grasshopper, handle basic matters and forward any pressing issues on to you.
  14. upload photos to Flickr.
  15. tag photos in Flickr and add those pesky, time-consuming descriptions to each.
  16. delete Facebook friends that aren’t, really your friends.
  17. act as a recruiter or head hunter when you are looking to fill a position.
  18. find you an apartment or house when you move cities.
  19. set up meetings for you with the spots you like the most and double check your budget on something like Mint.com to make sure you can afford it.
  20. research the best school for children.
  21. research links to printable worksheets for students (i.e. worksheets for addition, worksheet for adjectives).
  22. research a specific topic and write a draft blog post in my blog on said topic.
  23. find the lowest air fare for an up coming trip.
  24. organize your email & delete the 30,000 “archived” messages you have that are keeping your gmail down, man…
  25. respond to email/ticket support requests for your business.
  26. create several templates for sending out sales letters.
  27. do letter preparation & mailing through a service Snailmailr.com.
  28. transcribe podcasts, or anything audio/video for that matter.
  29. proof read your documents.
  30. edit your website, documents or important emails for proper grammar.
  31. create newsletters.
  32. create flyers.
  33. do data entry (thank goodness… because you know you don’t want to be doing that!)
  34. can create charts and graphs out of your spreadsheets.
  35. look for contractors/plumbers/pest control in your area.
  36. update your website.
  37. fulfill product orders (electronics products that is).
  38. prepare stunning powerpoint presentations.
  39. organize your ideas and thoughts into actionable lists using Evernote & then BasecampHQ.
  40. update address/contact lists
  41. do market research for a new product or business.
  42. manage your facebook fan page and interact with your fanbase.
  43. respond and retweet interesting things on your Twitter account when you’re too busy.
  44. do live chat support for your web business.
  45. follow up on business leads.
  46. send flowers to your wife using Proflowers.com.
  47. organize your day and week using something like Google Calendars and then sending you an email/text a half an hour before each meeting/engagement.
  48. give you fashion advice as you model outfits in front of your web cam for your VA to act as a real-time hotornot.com.
  49. tell you that it’ll get better when you’re having a terrible day (p.s. lots of VPA’s call you “Ma’am” or “Sir” which always makes me feel special!)
  50. create a financial projections sheet for your business.

What can’t virtual personal assistants do? They can’t grab you a cup of coffee (over-rated) or pick up your dry cleaning (do it yourself, lazy!). Another great thing is that ANYTHING you can virtually imagine a VA can do or learn to do in time.

I work with virtual assistants and keep them on for the long run since they get to know me and my business and soon are anticipating my needs before it even comes to that point. Do yourself a favor this 2011, start treating your life and your business like a priority and hire a Virtual Personal Assistant to handle all the stuff you don’t want to or can’t do. It’ll save you gobs of time and free you up to become a much more creative and relaxed entrepreneur!

Did I miss something? Leave a comment w/ your ideas on what a Virtual Assistant can do for you and enter to WIN a free Zirtual package ($250 value!!)

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  • http://twitter.com/Lucas3677 Lucas Lemanowicz

    For the OCD out there, VAs can also tag and organize your iTunes collection. :)

  • http://www.amperspectives.com Andy McClung

    VAs could research local business in your area that do not currently have websites. I've considered using a VA to outline or even write new blog posts for my freelance blog.

  • http://www.creativision.ca Shawn MacDonell

    At the moment I am writing a book called Career Chaos and I could really use a virtual assistant to help do some website planning and some transcription. It would make my ability to focus on the overall project and interviewing that much easier. Thanks Maren for posting this. I absolutely believe in the powers of VA's and would love to have one for this project.

  • http://twitter.com/gennamcwhinnie Genna McWhinnie

    I'm currently in the creative stage of my first big product & although I have a rockstar copywriter & promo expert already on board, I could really use a VA to give my blog some tender loving care, things like some teeny design tweaks, SEO and installing some zingy new plugins. Any help I could get with this would be FAB so I can get on with creating a kick ass product! Thanks Maren, your generosity is marvelous

  • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

    Hi Maren!

    Hiring a VA is definitely on my list of things to do early in 2011. :) I'd love to have someone to help handle email, schedule social media stuff, manage things like my shopping cart, email lists, and a lot of other “little” stuff that doesn't really need to be done by me. ;) I'm soooo looking forward to being able to move forward with finding a VA! :)

  • http://About.me/TylerBerry Tyler

    To many things to list, bottom line:

    I'd use a Virtual Assistant to virtually replace myself. (^_^)

    That way I can focus my time and energy working ON my business instead of IN my business.

  • http://twitter.com/AndrewPettit Andrew Pettit

    Being in the midst of launching my own web business, writing a graphic novel and producing a documentary film, a virtual assistant would never be bored with the regular emails, staffing needs and fun (and at times odd) story research that must get done. I've long thought about getting a VA, and maybe now's the time to finally go for it.

  • http://twitter.com/lynntotherescue Lynn Dye

    I'm a VA and here are some things I didn't see mentioned: create or spiff up a killer LinkedIn profile and integrate with other social media my clients use; I save my clients scads of time by taking care of scheduling meetings with people in multiple timezones using both audio and web tools. I think my clients most appreciate my ability to strategically think and brainstorm with them on taking their business forward and

  • http://www.smallbizfolder.com Shelley

    I think 2011 is going to be a big year for virtual assistants, especially in the social media realm. More and more entrepreneurs are starting to realize the benefits of partnering with us to build their business.

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Oh wow those are GREAT Lynn – thank you!

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Awesome Andrew – thanks for the contribution :) I love this as I am learning so many new ways to use VA's that I didn't even think of!

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Exactly – and that is what it's all about!

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Let us know (just ping me) if you need any help while finding one! They are so great :) can't live without mine!

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Blog TLC – i love it :) good one Genna.

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Thanks Shawn :) yeah they make the world an easier place both personally and business wise!

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    I know a few people who have their VA's do all the research for a post and then just put it together themselves with their “voice”. I also know some whose VA's do all the work for them :) so it can really go either way.

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Oh my gosh – that's such a great one – I am that OCD person who would LOVE to have that done.

  • http://www.amperspectives.com Andy McClung

    Yeah, I would like to try both options out actually. Like Jess commented above, trying out a VA is on my list for 2011. I see where it can be a great option. Thanks for creating a resource for hiring VA's.

  • Vik

    Maren – great job on the “list” posts lately! Definitely seem to be getting a lot of traction.

    In my experience, VAs can certainly do all of these things, but its really important to find the right one for each task. You can certainly find different people to do all 50, but one person is rarely qualified to do all of these things well…

  • http://twitter.com/BrendonZahrndt Brendon Zahrndt

    A virtual assistant can earn you thousands of dollars a month. Let's say you pay your VA $7.50 an hour to perform tasks you need completed and don't have the time to do yourself. Let's also say that you use that VA on a full time basis, 40 hours a week.

    $7.50×160=$1200.

    The tasks you outsourced to your VA include writing and blogging. In that time, you received a 60 page eBook, a sales letter, an autoresponder series of 3 emails to your list of 1000 that pre-sells the eBook, and the website the eBook is sold at. The product sells at $47 and back end sales of that product average another $65.

    Your product coverts at 4% and the back end converts at 3%.

    $1880+$1950= $3830.

    $3830-$1200=$2630.

    Umm….therein lies the potential of a good Virtual Assistant. An essential tool in the entrepreneurial belt.

    All this while you ate bon-bons and watched Sopranos reruns;)

  • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

    I will, Maren! You're definitely on my radar for that! ;)

  • http://www.megabizflakes.com samuel

    Awesome list Maren! that's why an entrepreneur must learn to work with virtual assistance because they will help take your business to greater heights! Thanks for sharing. Have fun :)

  • Pingback: Small Business Roundtable – January 22, 2011 | Solo Biz Coach

  • http://www.propagandaforthesoul.com Kristin Low

    Hire a pair and have them fight to the death for your amusement in a Bond-villain style power trip.

    Or, more practically, have them comment for you on a range of blogs related to your niche. Intelligent comments add influence crazy quick!

    You can tell a VA didn't write this comment. They're better at it than me;-)

  • http://au.finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=MYA.AX My ATM Holdings

    Wow this such a great article and the tips are very comprehensive. For sure many entrepreneurs with small and big businesses are going to benefit from this. Keep it up!

  • http://ruzanneromo.com ruzanne carmen di romo

    Hi, Maren! There are some things VAs usually do but ain't here in your list. But that's not to say you've had it well laid out here. For those who've had a great working experience with a reliable, creative and effective VA, they'd say the same, I bet.

    OK, let's go to the other stuff VAs do. ~ data mining ~ finding contacts ~ send you a daily/weekly report that starts with a motivational quote ~ prepare and send emails that actually say it's them doing the task, but says it in ways that put you in a good light ~ put extra friendliness and courtesy to clients where you normally have no patience ~ … can i get back to this later? i need to remind my boss to bring two ties for his Vienna trip. see you around! and yea, thanks for this post!

  • http://ruzanneromo.com ruzanne carmen di romo

    Funny! You!

  • http://ruzanneromo.com ruzanne carmen di romo

    Well-put, excellently calculated! Not to mention VAs do all the dirty job while you get more time with your pet dog. LOL!

  • http://ruzanneromo.com ruzanne carmen di romo

    About time, Andrew! Good luck in your search!

  • Chad

    I would use caution about paying a VA $7.50. I think you will find that you get what you pay for….

  • http://www.longerdays.com Chad

    Regarding the cup of coffee… Soon a VA might be able to make that for you too, check this out: http://www.yankodesign.com/201…/

  • http://amelia-c.com Amelia

    Chad, what do you mean Erika can't get me a cup of coffee? LAME! that's it!

    :)

    I'm going to print out these idea's. You guys are in so much trouble, it's gonna be a busy year!

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Thanks Ruzanne – those were good suggestions :) have fun w/ the tie!

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Whoa – that is crazy.

  • http://www.demboinc.com Stephanie Coradin

    I love this post – A Virtual Assistant is the backbone to any small business owner. Here are a few more things:
    write/update your business and/or marketing plan
    Language translation
    special event coordination
    Thanks Maren for your work!

  • http://twitter.com/ApologeticsGuy Mikel Del Rosario

    To drive more traffic to your site, a virtual assistant can set up profiles for you on 10+ video sharing Web sites, upload your videos and write good keywords for your submissions. He or she could also transcribe your videos and post the text on articles sites or create an eBook you could give away as an opt-in incentive for your e-mail list. Thanks for your good work and ideas, Maren! :-)

  • Anonymous

    Hi Maren, a VA Could manage your ADwords Campaign, Keyword research using software like Market Samurai or Google Keyword Research Tool. Article marketing or repurposing. Writing Articles or adding to PLR articles with additional research or resources. Find products on Clickbank to sell..
    The list goes on and on. In fact I love to win one of your VA’s to all of this and a lot more besides! :-)

  • Anonymous

    Great ideas Brendon. The reality is that one VA probably couldn’t do everything. So you may need a few to spread the load. I know some people pay $2 an hour for some basic tasks. Like Chad says below, there is an element of getting what you pay for, but equally there are great VA’s (as Maren will atest to) that won’t cost you the earth.

  • http://www.salmanahsan.com Salman Ahsan

    I missed your blog :( .Great changes and glad to see you got your thing started. Good list! :)

  • http://www.oldfashionedoffice.com Jeanette

    Very interesting article and comments. I’ve been a Virtual Assistant for 7 years and haven’t looked back. Over the years, what started out as just me doing transcription has evolved into a team of skilled VAs providing a variety of services.

    I do want to mention that, in my opinion, a Virtual Personal Assistant and a Virtual Assistant seem to be 2 different things. The VPA is someone who can take care of your personal things; the VA is someone who handles the business side of things and is highly skilled in things like web design, product launches, project management, virtual event management, etc. Many VAs nowadays are specializing and actually don’t use the term “Virtual Assistant” – I’ve taken to calling myself a Virtual Support Specialist.

    I agree with one of the comments below – beware of hiring a VA just because you love their inexpensive rates. Most of us have spent many hours and dollars learning and honing our skills so we can provide the best services possible.

    Just my nickel’s worth. :)

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Lol – go get ‘em tiger!

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Lol – go get ‘em tiger!

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Those are great – especially event coordination – didn’t think of that one!

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Yeah I have actually done that before! It works great

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Yeah I have actually done that before! It works great

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Good point – I actually have a few IM friends that do that with clickbank and make a killing.

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Yay! Glad you are back :) Where’d ya go?

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Yay! Glad you are back :) Where’d ya go?

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Hmm that’s a good point – I’ll have to re-evaluate the VPA/VA difference :) thank you jeanette!

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    Hmm that’s a good point – I’ll have to re-evaluate the VPA/VA difference :) thank you jeanette!