Should You Hire a Virtual Assistant? - Entrepreneur

Should You Hire a Virtual Assistant? - Entrepreneur


Should You Hire a Virtual Assistant? - Entrepreneur

Posted: 09 Oct 2020 06:00 AM PDT

If you're nervously thinking of handing your tasks (and inbox!) over to a complete stranger, don't worry - we did the research for you.

4 min read

This story appears in the October 2020 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It was 6 a.m., and Ari Meisel was half awake at an airport gate, about to board a flight to Toronto. Then his virtual assistant sent him a message: "Flight canceled!" it said. "We rebooked you on a different one, so head over to gate G7." 

Meisel runs a business coaching service and productivity method called Less Doing, and this is exactly why he loves having a virtual assistant (or VA). Someone fixed his problem before he was even aware it. "I believe VAs should be utilized for personal tasks as much as business tasks because they both take weight off the entrepreneur's mind," he says. "I have four small children, and I've had VAs do all their school forms, health forms, insurance, camp registrations, etc., literally saving me hours and hours."

Related: Is a Virtual Assistant the Secret to Keeping Your Small Business Afloat?

Many people agree. When entrepreneurs need help with tasks but don't have the cash to hire a full-time assistant, they're frequently getting a VA — a remote worker to handle a wide range of tasks. They can be hired through freelancer platforms like Upwork or Fiverr, but an increasing number of startups are now offering a suite of VA services. All you have to do is sign up, and the platform provides assistants and manages workflow.

COVID-19 created a new jolt for the VA industry. "The number of people working at home has revitalized these services," says technology analyst Rob Enderle. Workflow expert David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, says it's a response to entrepreneurs' more hectic work experiences — now juggling kids at home and the new challenges of remote work. "Many of the things that never used to demand your attention are demanding it now," he says. "You have to appropriately engage with the things that require your attention."

So how useful are they? I put a premium service called Delegated (formerly known as Red Butler) to the test. I last tried a service like this in 2015, and I was unimpressed then. Workers could only perform basic tasks, didn't understand my needs, and would disappear for days. 

But as I discovered, the VA experience of 2020 is vastly improved.

Related: 4 New Apps to Help You Manage Your Inbox

Delegated connected me with a VA named Jason, who was clearly trained in communications. He engaged daily on Slack, understood Trello, and took over my work email to make sure I communicated with people in a timely fashion. Once, during a particularly hectic period, he rescheduled a series of meetings and helped me conduct research.

Delegated, like some of its competitors, also offers productivity tools to make the most of my assistant. It helped me create task lists, use project templates, and manage my hourly costs. That last part is the biggest catch: All this productivity does have a price tag — and Delegated's starts at $420 a month. So the question for every entrepreneur is, What's your time really worth?


The Virtual Ladder: 3 services to match 3 different needs

BASIC: ChatterBoss

Website: chatterboss.com

Price: $25 per hour for administrative services

Handles simple duties like scheduling and email. Manages your existing process. Offers plans to become part of your team, use Slack, and develops a new process.


ADVANCED: Double

Website: withdouble.com

Price: $40 per hour for tasks and projects

Performs complex tasks and projects. Offers project templates for you and the assistant. Matches you with a VA who has a similar work style and personality.


POWERFUL: Delegated

Website: delegated.com

Price: $45 per hour for team integration

Works with your team on Slack and in Trello. Checks your email for you. Reschedules appointments and can make sales phone calls.

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Models and business opportunities for the present - Entrepreneur

Posted: 09 Oct 2020 08:26 AM PDT

5 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

By: Elías González Rogel / Professor of the Financial Management area at IPADE Business School in collaboration with Great Place to Work® México

  • Online education.
  • Health and wellness at home.
  • Entertainment and culture.
  • Logistics and supply chain.

What characteristics must business models have to meet the habit changes caused by COVID-19 ? What industries have been affected and what new business opportunities are emerging?

We have been confined for months and our habits have changed forever. In the way of working, consuming, buying, learning, relating and having fun. These changes are radical and, in most cases, they are not a direct consequence of the pandemic, but of the acceleration in the digital transformation that it has caused.

Accelerating digital transformation

Photo: Marvin Meyer via Unsplash

The spiral of economic deterioration caused by the coronavirus is accompanied by the acceleration curve of digital transformation. The connectivity enabled by computers and mobile devices has made the reinvention of business models inevitable.

According to a global study by Twilio, a cloud communications platform, the pandemic accelerated digital transformation in six years. In other words, the way in which we interact today is equivalent to what was expected for 2026. This is due to a cause over which we have no control.

How are business models changing?

With the support of digital technology, organizations must rethink their service model to move to the new schemes:

  • from individual contact with your clients to multi-channel personal relationships (ie website, mobile app, chat, social networks, call center , etc.),
  • from individual follow-up to requests for help to massive follow-up of the requirements of each person,
  • from learning one by one to learning from each other.
  • from managing market segments to communicating in real time with vibrant and growing communities,
  • from offering help on a case-by-case basis to offering it continuously and permanently.

These guidelines will transform business models as we know them.

The specialist area in Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) of the consulting firm PwC assures that, to make it really worth leaving home and visiting a store, an automotive agency, a mechanical workshop, the cinema or a clinic, we will look for something that justify it . And he adds that, to generate and maintain a lasting relationship with their clients, organizations that attended exclusively in person must generate an individual or collective experience that cannot be achieved at home.

New business opportunities

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Sources specialized in innovation and business model analysis, such as the International Institute on Innovation and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, agree on the existence of the following business opportunities:

1. Online education : Universities, schools and organizations around the world have had to decide whether to move their training to online systems or cancel classes.

There are opportunities related to the creation of multimedia content, workshops and specialized sessions. The creation and maintenance of technology platforms and businesses with a faculty capable of serving students remotely.

2. Health and well-being at home: Organizations related to the exercise and well-being of people offer classes online via streaming for their users. In this sector there is space for initiatives related to food and personalized diets, training and monitoring of athletes and online sale of food supplements. Most will need someone to help them implement their online strategy.

3. Entertainment and culture: museums, cinemas, theaters, libraries, academies and theme parks have had to abide by the prohibition of concentrating crowds of people. Therefore, there will be opportunities for those who help them digitize content and facilitate total immersion in remote events.

4. Logistics and supply chain: dependence on centralizing production in China has highlighted the risk that this entails. There is a new need for better distributed and coordinated sourcing across multiple geographies and suppliers that ensures the benefits of economies of scale. There are opportunities for those who can provide global platforms that reliably link buyers and suppliers.

5. 3D Printing: This industry will also find opportunities in the wake of the challenges created by this pandemic. By printing tools, sanitary objects, articles of personal use, such as oxygen masks or adaptations to press buttons.

The pandemic has had tragic consequences for millions of individuals around the world. However, the crisis has also caused a tremendous acceleration in the digital transformation of the global economy and, with it, the creation of business opportunities for those who decide to take them.

Asian American Federation unveils new mural in Flushing to celebrate Asian small business owners - QNS.com

Posted: 09 Oct 2020 06:00 AM PDT

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The Asian American Federation (AAF) unveiled a new colorful mural in downtown Flushing on Wednesday, Oct. 7, that will serve as a reminder and celebration of the Asian American community's important contributions to New York City. 

The mural, Harmonious Differences, was created by visual Korean artist Seongmin Ahn, who used acrylic exterior paint and spray paint on the brick wall of a building located at 39-02 Union St. The mural is the second in a series of public art projects by AAF's small business program created to beautify Union Street and enhance the shopping experience for customers.

The project is supported in part by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).

Small business owners on Union Street have seen a dramatic decrease in foot traffic and customers since early January when misconceptions about the pandemic field anti-Asian sentiment, according to Ahyoung Kim, associate director of Small Business Programs, AAF. 

"Their pleas for help have not been answered; small businesses in this area had the lowest approval rate for the Paycheck Protection Program," Kim said. "AAF will continue to advocate for the needs of our small business owners' and ensure that they are met with culturally relevant assistance and language access."  

Union Street is home to diverse immigrant communities and businesses and the mural is a tribute to their rich contributions that have influenced the vibrant culture of the area. The array of flowers represent the people from different ethnic backgrounds and traditions who arrived in Flushing from different parts of Asia and then blended together into a bouquet to grow as a highly productive community, Ahn said in a statement. 

"The visual represents the invigorating force of the community that comes together as one to nurture our great city to prosperity and a bright future," said Ahn, who is an immigrant and received her B.F.A and M.F.A in Asian traditional painting from Seoul National University in Korea. 

When Jentai Tsai, the owner of the building on Union Street, moved to Flushing 50 years ago, she described it as a "ghost town" filled with vacant stores. 

Tsai was the first Asian-American to open an oriental supermarket called Daido on Main Street. 

"Thanks to Asian immigrant efforts, Flushing has become a booming community," Tsai said. "Even though this wall could be rented for commercial advertising, I wanted to help beautify the community with some artwork, like this mural. My wish is to continue to make Flushing a cleaner and safer place for the people to live and to do business."

Local elected officials including Councilman Peter Koo and Senator Toby Stavisky expressed gratitude to AAF and the EDC for installing another mural on Union Street. 

Stavisky said she hopes the mural serves as a "reinvigorating symbol of hope and a bright future ahead," as the neighborhoods and small businesses work to rebuild in the wake of COVID-19. 

"Seongmin Ahn did a magnificent job capturing the beautiful, rich cultural diversity that makes our community one of a kind. The mural depicts individual flowers, and when they become part of a beautiful bouquet, the flowers blend together to become one, similar to our community," Stavisky said. 

According to Koo, public art is a great way to enhance and beautify communities, such as Flushing. 

"Union Street is known for its vibrant diversity of mom-and-pop stores and restaurants, and it's only natural that the facades of this strip begin to reflect the unique character, color, and beauty of what you can see once you venture inside," Koo said. "It is something that infers to passers-by that they are in a community of new and exciting ideas." 

Ikhwan Rim, president of the Union Street Small Business Association, said although this is a difficult time for everyone, in body and mind, he hopes the new mural "gives hope and courage to small business owners and those who visit Union Street." 

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