You hire a virtual assistant because you need the time to focus on important things to run your business and make strategic decisions. But that leaves an obvious question: exactly what tasks should you actually have them do in your stead?
It’s a broad question with lots of potential answers. The exact solution may be completely different in real estate vs. eCommerce. Still, it’s worth thinking through exactly what types of tasks you should look to outsource to the new professional you just hired.
So let’s dig in. We’ll start with a broad overview of the types of tasks virtual assistants can accomplish, before getting specific on the most common, less common, and rare tasks that you might want to give to your virtual assistant for maximum productivity.
What are the Main Categories of Virtual Assistant Tasks?
Most virtual assistants should be proficient in a number of what we’ll call ‘task categories’ that you can count on them for. Those categories tend to include:
- Email and calendar management
- Project management
- Proofing and editing
- Expenses, invoices, and basic accounting
- Data entry
- Basic digital marketing
Each of the below tasks falls into one of those categories. While they tend to be a good resource for hiring the right virtual assistant, the day-to-day management of their duties will likely need to go down to a more granular task level. So that’s what we’ll be focusing on below.
The 15 Most Common Virtual Assistant Tasks
1) Email Inbox Management
A good virtual assistant can check for and delete spam. But they’ll also be able to take on some advanced inbox management tasks. That includes responding to simple questions (and researching those that might not be so simple), and organizing content into folders that are easier to reference and check back on.
2) Calendar Management
Most executive and entrepreneurs are full of meetings. So why take more time to organize them? Your assistant can schedule them for you, accept on your behalf, and even make sure that you have personal space reserved between all those meetings.
3) Phone Services
Your virtual assistant can answer your office phone during business hours. They’ll also be happy to check and pass on relevant voicemails. As a frontline employee, they’ll be well-trained to not just answer basic questions but also act as the face for your business.
4) Data Entry of Customer Information
Every good business runs on good customer information. It enables you to better target your messaging and gather vital insights into your customer base. Move the data entry of this information to your assistant, who can enter it with minimal errors and free up your time.
5) Database Management
Many virtual assistants are trained in database management beyond simple data entry. They can update information, pull reports, and even set up automated queries as needed. These tasks are time-consuming, so being able to move them to your assistant can be crucial.
6) Tracking Budget Accounts
Basic accounting is within the skill set of most (if not all) experienced assistants. Let yours help you track your expenses and incomes, making sure you keep a balanced budget in various cost centers without having to dig deep into spreadsheets. They’ll also be able to pull budget reports as needed.
7) Proofreading and Editing of Important Office Correspondence
Another set of eyes on your letters and emails never hurts. Editing is a crucial skill for any assistant, and it also helps you free your mind for other tasks after you’ve written the initial draft. You might not need it for every email, but it’s a good task to assign for the more important correspondence you send.
8) Industry Research
Let’s face it: you likely don’t have time every week to learn about new developments and trends within your industry. Your virtual assistant does, though. They can subscribe to relevant publications and attend webinars on your behalf.
9) Competitive Research
Similar to the above, you can assign your assistant to learn more and stay updated on your competitors. That might be as simple as a few Google Alerts, or more in-depth like a secret shopper approach on their website.
10) Researching New Leads
You might have sales personnel in place or take on some core sales functions yourself. Your assistant can help by taking the first step, especially in a B2B environment. Their initial research on potential buyers allows other professionals to streamline their approach.
11) Digital File Management
It’s not always easy to keep track of the complex web of files any company deals with. The task of file management allows you to get a firmer grasp, with your assistant creating and maintaining logical folder structures alongside an intuitive file naming system.
12) Meeting Preparation
When you go into a meeting, you want to be prepared. Ask your virtual assistant to give you a heads-up and reminder on who will be in the meeting and core items you need to know. You can even ask for them to prepare a meeting agenda, though yo might need to brief them first.
13) Meeting Minutes and Notes
Virtual assistants can participate in meetings and prepare minutes to send to you or all participants after the fact. Alternatively, you can ask them to take a look at your notes and clean them up before distributing further to everyone involved.
14) Basic Customer Support
Through their regular correspondence, virtual assistants can also help with basic customer service tasks. They’ll answer questions, dig into queries, and even work their way through potential complaints and questions on social media.
15) Weekly and Monthly Reporting
Through reports, you keep your business on track and consistently look for improvements. But they can be time-consuming to compile. Ask your assistant to help by pulling data, organizing that data, and visualizing it into a regular report that’s easy to analyze and take action on.
16 Less Common Virtual Assistant Tasks
16) Payroll Management
Larger companies tend to have dedicated payroll professionals or outsource this task. But at least the basic pieces of it can well be accomplished by your assistant. Ask them to keep track of payroll expenses, including benefits and other pieces that go beyond salaries and paychecks.
17) Social Media Management
Similar to the above, you might have a marketing professional or partner handling your social media. If you don’t many assistants are perfectly capable of managing those channels for you, from posting regularly to responding to comments and more.
18) Website Maintenance
Most virtual assistants won’t be web developers. But they can help to maintain your website, working within your content management system to keep information updated. They’ll also be able to add or delete pages to make sure that your online presence perfectly represents your business.
19) Travel Booking and Management
Potentially a task more for the future than the now, virtual assistants can be immensely helpful for your business travels. They’ll research good prices and best routes, book the tickets, and make sure that on your trip, you always have what you need to make it successful.
20) Online Review Management
Online reviews are becoming immensely important to the reputation of any business. Active management can mitigate issues, answering concerns and turning unhappy customers into brand advocates. Consider asking your assistant to keep track of Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, and other popular review sites.
21) Client Prospecting
Beyond the basic research into potential clients, some assistants will be able to help with more in-depth pieces as well. They can contact prospective clients, driving them down the funnel to maximize their chances of eventually becoming customers.
22) Customer Survey Creation and Management
Do you know how happy (or unhappy) your customers are? Ask your virtual assistant to set up basic customer satisfaction surveys and keep track of anything from responses to response rates. They can even pull you a report that you can use to drive your business forward.
23) Preparing and Refining PowerPoint Presentations
Most virtual assistants have at least some proficiency in PowerPoint or Google Slides. They can both prepare important presentations from scratch and refine your existing versions, making sure it perfectly represents both your company and topic of choice.
24) Video and Audio Transcriptions
Transcriptions can be immensely helpful as reference materials. Consider asking your assistant to transcribe videos you’re watching, podcasts you haven’t been able to listen to. Even basic correspondence like voicemails can be easier understood and categorized through these transcriptions.
25) Personal Errands
In most cases, this should not be your assistant’s primary responsibility. But it can still be an important time-saver. They can help you shop for that anniversary gift, send out greeting cards, and more.
26) Task Organization and Distribution
Simple project management tasks are perfect for your virtual assistant. They’ll be able to coordinate the distribution and management of individual phases and assignments within the project, keeping everyone on track and working well together.
27) Filing Annual Taxes
Again, larger businesses may have an accounting firm taking care of their taxes. But even then, your virtual assistant can be immensely helpful in gathering the documents needed and keeping track throughout the year. The organization will make that filing much more straightforward.
28) Taking Product Photos and Videos
If you’re selling packaged goods, especially if you’re selling them online, you will need to represent them well. Photos and videos can give your customers an idea of what to expect. Hire the right virtual assistant, and they’ll be able to create those visual assets for your online store.
29) Employee Onboarding and Training
Virtual assistants tend to know more about your business than most others in other departments. That, in turn, can become incredibly useful. Leverage them to help train new hires and existing employees on software and other tasks that they’ll need to know about.
30) Reference Calls for New Hires
Speaking of new hires: you don’t want to rely on their own words before you hire them, but might not have the time to call the references for each of your finalists for an open position. Your virtual assistant can make those call, off a set of pre-determined questions, to verify their credentials and expertise.
31) Handling Live Chat Responses
Live chat features on your website are becoming increasingly essential to run a successful business that makes customers happy. Unfortunately, they’re also labor-intensive. It’s not uncommon to ask your virtual assistant to handle the live chat for you, answering customers and keeping the conversation going.
14 Rare and Niche Virtual Assistant Tasks
32) Tech Support
You’ll need a highly qualified professional for this task. But if you find one, it can be immensely helpful. In that case, the virtual assistant can help with tech support, even managing your ticketing software to answer queries and find solutions your customers need.
33) Email Campaign Management
An assistant with marketing skills will be able to manage not just your individual email, but larger marketing campaigns for the entire company. Depending on the software, that might include writing content, setting up drip campaigns, and pulling performance reports as needed.
34) Blog Post Writing and Management
The benefits of content marketing have seen an increasing number of businesses emphasize dynamic content on their website. If you take that same approach, look for a virtual assistant who can write content. Even better, they’ll be able to manage your blog, including categorizing appropriately and responding to comments as needed.
35) eCommerce Product Management
Selling your products online can be complex. If your assistant has experience in the process, ask them to help manage your products and front-end inventory. They might need to switch products to out of stock, optimize product descriptions, add coupon codes on the backend, and other related tasks.
36) Real Estate Listing Creation and Management
It’s a niche task that only applies to real estate. But here, it’s immensely valuable. The professional you hire can help you create listings for individual properties, writing compelling descriptions and adding all functional information. They can also manage listings on an ongoing basis as properties get sold and new ones pop up.
37) Graphic Design Production
A virtual assistant with graphic design skills is a treasure in many ways. It shouldn’t be the first skill you look for in a VA but if you find one, they can help you produce designs that range from fliers to postcards and even complex brochures.
38) Content Translations
Looking to sell or currently selling your product in multiple countries? In that case, you probably need to be bilingual. But that’s difficult to achieve. Hire a bilingual VA and you can count on them to translate not just website and marketing content but also individual correspondence and documents.
39) SEO Keyword Research
Search engine optimization can be a vital business booster, especially for growing startups. A skilled and experienced virtual assistant can help to research relevant keywords that your audience might search for, setting the baseline for producing compelling and relevant content.
40) Backlink Generation
Backlinks, another piece of the search engine optimization puzzle, are links from other websites to yours. They take time to develop, as well as careful relationship nurturing with those other websites. You might want to ask your VA to begin building those relationships, sharing relevant content, and generating backlinks as a result.
41) Employee Recruiting
Are you looking to grow your workforce? Your assistant can help. Through their personal network and tools like LinkedIn, they can find relevant candidates and encourage them to consider your company as their next place of employment.
42) Payment Chasing
You can’t afford to lose out on unpaid invoices, but do you have the resources to chase after them? A VA might be the right solution here. They’ll handle friendly but persistent follow-ups with your clients and buyers to make sure your income flows steadily.
43) File Conversions
VAs who are proficient with technology can help you create, merge, and split PDF documents to more effective use. They’ll also be able to convert PDFs to word documents for easier editing, along with a number of other potential file conversions.
44) Process Documentation
As businesses grow, they begin to emphasize process over people. That requires a clear understanding of a process, easy to teach clients and new employees. Task your assistant to document the current process in order to take human variation out of it.
45) Building Case Studies
Finally, assistants who are prolific writers and researchers are able to add to your promotional arsenal. They can work with your clients to build in-depth case studies, which you can share on your website and directly with prospects.
There’ll be plenty to do. A virtual assistant who can take these tasks off your hands will not only help you become more efficient but also become a valuable resource for your company as a whole. All you need is to find the right professional for the specific tasks that apply to your needs.