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Outsourcing Tips – What to Look for in a Virtual Assistant

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Outsourcing: What to Look For in a Virtual Assistant?

In today’s tough economy, most businesses are running lean. With the advent of downsizing, cutting hours, and managing a profitable company, there’s still lots of work to be done. So many companies are hiring Virtual Assistants. You’ll be handling all your assignments by email or phone, so be sure to interview your assistant to make sure you truly understand what it is you expect to be done for your and for what price. Here’s a synopsis of how VAs work and what you should look for in your business association.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant is a home-based business associate offering small businesses the opportunity to outsource some of the every day mundane work that takes them time and effort. In addition, this work costs companies money both in staffing costs and time expended.

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is generally located in a remote location – anywhere in the world – and works for her clients on a day-to-day basis taking care of any work they assign to her.

VAs are normally known for their cost-effective and good quality, affordable work which makes it all worthwhile to their clients. Not only are they cost-effective, they are known to be quite knowledgeable about much of the work they are asked to do.

A Virtual Assistant often knows a little about lots of various topics through previous research done for similar titles. In any case, Virtual Assistants are generally specialists in the art of online investigation, probing and in-depth searching for anything their clients wish to know about or have documented.

Virtual Assistants are not temps – they are self-employed entrepreneurs who can handle almost all of your marketing and secretarial needs. A perfect way to keep your office overhead under control.

An ongoing association with a Virtual Assistant provides you with someone who has a working knowledge and understanding of your company and its goals. It’s the most cost-effective way to maintain valuable assistance while watching your expenses stay at a minimum.

They are as concerned with your business success as you are – as their success depends on you. You can expect a high level of commitment as most follow strict work guidelines and ethics promising you the best in service and protecting your interests at all times. Confidentiality is assured.

Advantages of Using a Virtual Assistant

Whether you run a small business or Fortune 500 company, using a Virtual Assistant will save you time and money over and over again. You get the benefits of a full-time employee who understands your needs – without the overhead of health insurance, office space, equipment, payroll taxes and all the other expenses of taking on another employee.

One Virtual Assistant can often do the jobs of several different employees thus eliminating the need for additional full-time staffing. And you only pay when you use your Virtual Assistant. You can even pay your VA a small retainer to ensure she will be available whenever you want her.

Outsourcing not only frees up your time to concentrate on the income-generating part of your business, but you get your work done far quicker and perhaps with better quality, too.

You never have to worry about staff showing up on time each morning. No worries on coffee breaks, lunch breaks, vacation days, vacation pay, sick days, employee arguments, etc.

Have you ever suspected your employees are surfing the Internet while they should be working? You can be reasonably sure they are doing just that. This loses you time, money and confidence in your employees. And it is not necessary, either. Just hire a Virtual Assistant to do some of your work for you. You will find it far more convenient, cost-effective and time-saving.

Why not start to enjoy the freedom of running your own business without the administrative worries and hassles. It will cost you far less than you may think.

How Do Virtual Assistants Get Paid?

The payment method is usually PayPal which is probably the safest and certainly the fastest way of transferring money in today’s world.

Simply log in to your PayPal account, select Send Money and send the amount you wish to the VA’s PayPal account. It’s that easy!

A Virtual Assistant is a business entrepreneur who is paid as an independent contractor. They work remotely and use technology to deliver services globally.

No payroll taxes, no health insurance, no office overhead whatsoever for you to worry about. The fee depends on the job assignment and the VA’s level of expertise.

Virtual Assistants can charge anywhere from $5 to $75 per hour depending on the complexity of the assignment. However, there are certain countries where Virtual Assistants are the proverbial dime-a-dozen, and you have to beware of this as it might reflect in the quality of your work – bad English, bad grammar (or none at all), spelling errors, typos and so much more. Therefore it is worth taking a little more time and choosing your VA wisely, rather than go for the cheaper option. Most times this is false economy.

Web designers or computer technicians, for instance, obviously charge more than administrative assistants. You are not only paying them for their time and effort, you are also paying for their knowledge and skill.

If you wish to have a Virtual Assistant available to you on a regular basis, then you may reserve a certain amount of time with your VA each month depending on your needs. This time can be negotiated in advance.

Typical Tasks Assigned to Virtual Assistants

Here is a selection of some of the typical tasks that a Virtual Assistant may have to offer. What she offers, however, will obviously reflect on her skills and talents, but most good VAs will certainly offer the following:

Word Processing: Today’s word processing assignments are a far different kettle of fish to how they were up to the turn of the 90s. But once the advent of the PC was introduced to our day-to-day office activities, typists’ roles have taken on a whole new meaning. No longer are they expected to produce simple documentation, they are now required to produce a wider variety of work.

Proofreading: Why not have your outgoing material double-checked by a proofreading expert. This is probably the best investment you are likely to make. It will ensure that your copy offers excellent communication value commensurate with a successful company.

Editing and Formatting: This is the process of making sure your work is as attractive and presentable as possible. Such work could be a business plan for your bank manager, an application for services from another company, or how about contract work when the wording has to be very clear and exact. Are you able to present documentation that is free of errors, typos, grammatical errors? Do your documents also look very presentable? This is the time to make sure that everything your company puts out looks as professional as possible.

Copy Writing: What is copywriting What is copywriting? Copywriting is the art of assembling words on paper in such a way that they tend to persuade or convince the reader to act in a certain way. It should be used for sales letters, marketing documentation, and other material where the reader is persuaded to respond in a certain way.

Technical Writing: What is technical writing: Technical writing is used when constructing manuals, technical specification sheets, and other forms of descriptive text pertaining to product detail, usage and reference data. Very often, products are required to be broken down into technical specifications so that manuals can be assembled and made reader friendly.

Internet Research: How to do Research: I am an Internet research specialist with many years experience working with small businesses to assist them when they require information that is not readily available or known about.

Web Page Content: If you want to get visitors to your site, and keep them there, then you have to have good, relevant content to all your pages and make sure they complement each other. You cannot just slap any old content on your web site and expect the search engines to find it. It just doesn’t happen like that anymore.

Small business web site: Basic Web Design – If your small business web site does not have the information the searcher is requesting, then you are simply not going to show up in the results of his search. In other words, if your web page does not contain relevant info, then you’re are pretty much overlooked by the search engines – regardless of how good you think your keyword placement is. Having the correct keywords on your page is simply not enough anymore.

Bookkeeping | Accounting | Bean Counter: Ah, the very heart of any business – the bean counter – who rarely gets credit for her bookkeeping skills. Are you tired of being stuck at the books instead of being out making money? I could be your next Virtual Assistant bean counter.

Data Entry: What is data entry? Data entry can take many hours of your time that could be better spent elsewhere. Why not consider a Virtual Assist to do your data entry for you? This would leave you free to concentrate of the business end of making money. Data entry can start in basic form like adding sales leads to a data base, updating your client list from recent sales, making spreadsheet entries for you, filling in online forms and many other mundane tasks. Hire a virtual assistant that you can trust to do this for you – quickly and affordably.

Admin support: Support is when you are so busy that you need a little help with your office work that is piling up with nobody to do it – and you finally decide to outsource it to a trustworthy virtually assistant. This means that you can assign any work you wish to your Virtual Assistant and she will complete this work for you – wherever she happens to operate from – and when done, she simply sends it back to you. Most communication takes place over the Internet and generally via email and attachments.

Real Estate Info: We are able to help some of our Southern California real estate colleagues who prefer not to take on the additional staff to take care of the extra work involved. Many realtors have plenty of business and such business attracts plenty of admin work and the endless paperwork of any type of real estate transaction. With knowledge of California real estate, including short sales and bank owned (REO) sales, VA’s can assist real estate colleagues who are rushed off their feet. This may be the perfect opportunity for you.

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Source by Shirley Miller

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Where to Find Those Efficient and Hardworking Affiliates?

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Everyone wants a hardworking affiliate, employee, associate, partner, or even spouse, and why not? It’s the next best thing to doing the work yourself. However with the massive outbreak of work and income opportunities available online, how can you beat everyone else and find that one (or more) ideal person who will make your online business explode with success? Here are some of the most ingenious and uncommon ways to snag the idea affiliates for your affiliate program

Direct Sales Agents

Direct sales people are really one of the most enterprising, hard-working individuals in business. They mostly work on commissions or rebates and are willing to literally go door-to-door offering their products to anyone and everyone they bump into. Imagine how much easier their job would be if they could be an affiliate and simply work via the Internet and a mobile device or desktop.

Also, most direct sales people tend to carry more than one brand in their product arsenal so signing up as an affiliate would be almost the same type of work but using a different approach.

Colleges and Universities

Many college kids would be interested in a part-time income opportunity if it would mean funds to help pay for their education, loan, or partying. All you have to do is make sure to offer them products they can endorse as a student.

Freelancers

Did you know that the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest annual report show that 75% of U.S. businesses used freelancers in 2011? Freelancers earned a whopping US$990 billion in 2011 which is a 4.1% increase from the previous year. The only industries where the number of freelancers decreased were in insurance, finance, and construction. Most probably your affiliate program isn’t a part of these 3 industries.

Furthermore, online business and finance experts are predicting the growth to increase incrementally every year even with an economy that is improving. People just want income security and more control over their earnings. With the spate of lay-offs, it’s understandable why many would prefer to work as an affiliate than as an employee.

Scout For Them At Affiliate Conventions

There are annual affiliate conventions held in different cities around the country. You should try to catch one when it is held somewhere near your location. The average turn-out for these types of conventions has increased regularly over the years. Last year, many of them were sold out weeks before the event.

Advertise!

The US Census Bureau has said that as of 2012, 15% of Americans are poor, 43% of young adults depend on their parents to some extent for money. Even more surprising is that the median income of young adults in 1982 was $31,583 and last year it was $30,604 for the same age group! Income is dropping and people are looking for ways to earn additional income outside of their 9 to 5 jobs. That’s where you can come in playing the hero and helping others realize their dream income.

Finally, go online and talk about your product. Make the affiliate marketers come to you and have the luxury of picking the best candidates. You will need some help in marketing your affiliate program so target a marketer who’s experienced in affiliate program and SEO.

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Source by Lina Stakauskaite

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Recession Is Here… Six Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make During Recessions And How To Avoid Them

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The U.S. is officially in a recession. What is a recession? A recession is a business cycle contraction or general economic decline due to significant drop in spending and other commercial activities. Most pundits and politicians will blame Covid-19 crisis for the recession, but even pre-Covid-19 the proverbial writing was on the wall.

The U.S. had over 120 months of economic growth, which was the longest expansion in the modern history. Other indicators, such as negative yield spread on treasuries (long term bonds having lower interest rates than short term T-notes), were pointing to an imminent change of the economic cycle and an impending recession. The only real question was: when and how bad?

Then Covid-19 came… If the cycle was going to change anyway, Covid-19 acted as a huge and unexpected accelerant to make the recession much more immediate and severe.

Inevitably during recessions all classes of real estate, including residential homes and condominiums, will be negatively impacted as lower consumer spending and higher unemployment rates affect real estate prices and marketing times.

Here are the six costly mistakes home and other real property sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them:

Mistake #1: This will pass and real estate market will be hot again soon

First thing to remember is that real estate cycles are much longer than general economic cycles. Even if the general economy recovers, which eventually it always does, a typical real estate cycle takes as long as 10 to 15 years. The cycle has four key stages: Top, Decline, Bottom and Rise.

Let us consider the last real estate cycle, which lasted approximately 14 years:

  • 2006 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2006 to 2012 – Prices Decline
  • 2012 – Prices hit the Bottom (Trough)
  • 2012 to 2019 – Prices Rise*
  • 2020 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2020 to? – Prices Decline

*NOTE: In 2016 the national residential real estate price index reached its pre-recession 2006 peak levels. It took 10 years for the real estate market to recover.

The way to avoid this mistake is to recognize that real estate cycles take years to run and plan accordingly. Additionally, nobody knows for sure when the prices will hit the top or bottom until after the fact.

Mistake #2: Low interest rates will make the economy and real estate market rebound

Between 2006 and 2011 the interest rates (Fed Funds) were continuously cut by the Federal Reserve Board and went from low 5% to almost 0%. However, that did not stop the real estate recession and depreciation of property values.

Undoubtedly, low interest rates made the economic decline and real estate recession less severe and saved some properties from foreclosures, but it still took six painful years for the real estate market to hit the bottom and then four more years for the prices to go back to their pre-recession levels.

Some markets had never fully recovered. For example, residential home prices in some parts of California, Arizona and Nevada are still below their 2006 highs.

To avoid this mistake, one needs to realize that although low interest rates help stimulate the economy and the real estate market, they do not cure them.

Mistake #3: I don’t need to sell now, so I don’t care

If you do not need to sell until the cycle plays out, which typically is over ten years, then you will not be as affected, especially if you have a strong equity position, limited mortgage debt, and solid liquid assets.

However, it is good to keep in mind that “life happens” and either professional or personal circumstances can change and we may need to sell property before the downturn runs its course.

Furthermore, if a property has a mortgages and its value declines to the point being “upside down,” meaning the mortgage loan balance exceeds the value of the property, then the options of selling, refinancing or even obtaining an equity line of credit, will be significantly limited.

This does not mean that everybody should be rushing into selling their real estate if there is no need to do so, just keep in mind that circumstances may and often do change and property options will be affected, so plan in advance. As one wise proverb says: “Dig your well before your thirst.”

Mistake #4: I’m selling, but I won’t sell below my “bottom line” price

This is a common and potentially very costly mistake. Generally speaking, every seller wants to sell for the highest price and every buyer wants to pay the lowest price. That’s nothing new. When selling real estate, most sellers want to achieve a certain price point and/or have a “bottom line.”

However, it is important to understand that the market does not care what the Seller, or his/her Agent, think the property value should be at. The market value is a price a willing and able buyer will pay, when a property is offered on an open market for a reasonable amount of time.

Overpricing property based on Seller’s subjective value or what is sometimes called an “aspirational price,” especially in a declining market, is a sure first step to losing money. When a property lingers on the market for an extended period of time, carrying costs will continue to accumulate and property value will depreciate in line with the market conditions.

Additionally, properties with prolonged marketing times tend to get “stale” and attract fewer buyers. The solution is to honestly assess your selling objectives, including the desired time-frame, evaluate your property’s attributes and physical condition, analyze comparable sales and market conditions, and then decide on market-based pricing and marketing strategies.

Mistake #5: I will list my property for sale only with Agent who promises the highest price

Real estate is a competitive business and real estate agents compete to list properties for sale which generate their sales commission incomes. It is not unusual that Seller will interview several agents before signing an exclusive listing agreement and go with the agent who agrees to list the property at the highest price, often regardless if such price is market-based.

Similarly to Mistake #4, this mistake can be very damaging to Sellers, as overpriced properties stay on the market for extended periods of time costing Sellers carrying expenses such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance.

Furthermore, there is the “opportunity cost” since the equity is “frozen,” and it cannot be deployed elsewhere till the property is sold. However, the most expensive cost is the loss of property value while the real estate market deteriorates.

During the last recession, we have seen multiple cases where overpriced properties stayed on the market for years and ended up selling for 25% to 40% below their initial fair market values.

The solution is to make sure that your pricing strategy is based on the market, not empty promises or wishful thinking.

Mistake #6: I will list my property only with Agent who charges the lowest commission

Real estate commission rates are negotiable and not set by law. A commission usually represents the highest transactional expense in selling real properties and is typically split between Brokers and Agents who work on the transaction

Some real estate agents offer discounted commissions, in order to induce Sellers to list their properties with them. But does paying a discounted commission ensure savings for the Seller? Not necessarily.

For example, if the final sales price is 5% to 10% below property’s highest market value, which is not that unusual, due to inadequate marketing, bad pricing strategy, and/or poor negotiation skills, it will easily wipe out any commission savings and actually cost the Seller tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenues.

The solution is to engage an agent who is a “Trusted Advisor,” not just a “Salesperson.” A Trusted Advisor will take his/her time and effort to do the following: 1) Perform Needs Analysis: listen and understand your property needs and concerns; 2) Prepare Property Analysis: thoroughly evaluate your property and market conditions; 3) Execute Sales and Marketing Plan: prepare and implement custom sales and marketing plan for your property; and 4) Obtain Optimal Results: be your trusted advocate throughout the process and achieve the best possible outcome.

Finding such a real estate professional may not be always easy, but it certainly is worth the effort and will pay off at the end.

In conclusion, this article has outlined six costly mistakes real estate Sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them. The first mistake is not understanding that real estate cycles are long and take years. The second mistake is a misconception that low interest rates alone will create a recovery. Another mistake is not realizing that circumstances may change and not planning in advance. Mistakes number four, five and six pertain to understanding the market value, proper pricing and selecting the right real estate professional.

By understanding and avoiding these mistakes, real estate Sellers have significantly better chances of minimizing the negative impact of a recession while selling their properties.

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Source by Robert W. Dudek

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Useful Tips To Build The Best Gaming Computer

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Every gamer will want their computer to be the best gaming computer among their peers. Sometimes, with a little knowledge and tips and tricks, it is possible to build the best gaming computer and show it off to your peers. This article will show you how:

1) You can’t get the best gaming computer from computer retailers

If you want to get the best gaming computer, you have to build your own. Different gamers have different requirement for their gaming machine. Unless you are willing to pay a high price, you will not be able to buy a commercial computer that fulfills all your gaming needs. The only option you have is to build your own gaming computer.

2) You don’t have to be rich to build the best gaming computer

It is not necessary to burn a hole in your pocket to build the best gaming computer. With some due diligence, do some market research and compare prices around the marketplace. Merchant such as TigerDirect and NewEgg give regular discount to their products and you could save a lot of money if you catch them during their promotional period.

3) Most expensive parts do not have to be the best part

Sometime, the latest model or the most expensive model does not have to be the best part for your computer. It requires various components to work together to form the best computer system. When choosing a computer part, what matters is how well it can integrate with the rest of the components. Compatibility is more important than individual performance. What use is there if you spend lot of money on the latest quad-core processor and find that your motherboard doesn’t support it?

4) You don’t need to change the whole PC to own the best gaming computer

It is a misconception that you have to change the whole gaming machine to build the best gaming computer. If you already have a good barebone system, what you need to do is to upgrade the necessary parts and your gaming computer can roar back to life instantly.

5) Brand is important

Unless you want to see your computer system malfunction every few days, it is important that you purchase the parts from branded manufacturers with strict quality control. Motherboard brand such as Gigabyte, ABIT, ASUS are some quality brands that you can consider

If you follow diligently to the tips stated above. You will be on your way to build the best gaming computer. While price can be an issue, it is better not to scrimp on important computer parts such as motherboard, CPU, RAM and graphics card as it will cost you more to upgrade in the future.

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Source by Damien Oh

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