Going Virtual: Sharing the Adventure- Part Four

I’ve spent the last three posts in this series explaining how I took a job that I used to do in the ‘traditional’ business world and made it work virtually. It was a lot easier than I originally thought it was going to be, thanks in large part to an open-minded, flexible client. If you haven’t read about it yet check out part one, two and three.  In today’s post I want to explore some of the ‘extra’ things I do for my client as a virtual assistant.

The fact that I’m not an employee of my client’s company opens up an entirely different aspect in the business relationship. One of the perks of not being an employee as well as having a level of expertise in the field is that I can spot problems in the flow of work. If I were an employee, I would never feel free to say, ” The way you’re doing such and such isn’t working well for you” but as a VA I do.  In fact, not only do I point out those things that aren’t working, I provide my client with alternatives.  For example, sending out an informative letter letting their customers know what needs to be included in a title order, since they were getting many orders missing crucial information.  I explained that missing that information was wasting a lot of time on the phone calling and asking for it to be sent over.  Time that was costing the client money.

I’ve also been able to design several spreadsheets specifically for them that allows me to keep track of how many orders come in from which customers, who the loan officers are and dates that the order comes in and closes.  This gives my client an overall view of not only how many files they have in the pipeline, but where the majority are coming from among other things.  This allows them to adjust their marketing accordingly.

Since I signed my contract with this client at the start up of their business, I also designed their letterhead and created templates for their fax cover sheet and other often used documents. This saved them the cost of going to a printer. Everything is in electronic format. When they want to print a letter on letterhead, they just start with the template and go from there. It has saved their new business money on printing.

The fact that I have knowledge of my clients industry and needs allows me to work independently.  Many situations in which a less experienced employee might need step by step instructions, I can assess and do on my own.  When a situation arises that requires my client’s assistance, they are an e-mail or phone call away.  If they need the document, it’s in .pdf format on my computer and I can send it to them for review, either via fax or e-mail.

The end result of my client using a virtual assistant is this; they are saving the expenses associated with having a traditional employee such as unemployment insurance and payroll taxes, they didn’t waste time and money training someone, and they didn’t have to pay for additional help like a printer or business consultant.  In this rough economy, using a virtual assistant has made it possible for my client to start a fledgling title business in a down real estate market without the financial risk and expense of going the traditional employee route.

This is far from the end of the Going Virtual Adventure. As new developments occur in my self-employed journey, I will continue to share here on occasion.  I hope that by detailing my experience, more employers will see the benefit of working with a Virtual Assistant and get over their fears and doubts about getting the job done outside of the office environment.  I also hope it will inspire other VA’s not to be afraid of taking on something that might seem difficult to do virtually.


Tina Marie Hilton provides online technology services to forward thinking businesses. She writes on her Tips from T.Marie business blog to share insight and information with other small businesses and entrepreneurs. It also makes her feel like that certificate in creative writing isn't going to waste completely.