benefits Archives - Virtual Latinos

Why Creating SOPs Is Key for Business Growth and How a Virtual Assistant Can Help You Out!

Tips & How To's

What Is an SOP?

A standard operating procedure, also referred to as SOP, is a document that provides clear, concise, and actionable directions and instructions for how employees within a business should perform specific tasks. Unlike a simple procedural document that overviews the process, an SOP offers an “on the ground” explanation of the steps that must be followed to guarantee the proper execution and successful results of a specific process. It allows small business owners to streamline their processes, ensures all team members are on the same page, maintains the effective operation of their company, and facilitates long-term growth.

Why Should a Small Business Owner Start Using SOPs?

Using a standard operating procedure in your small business has a number of benefits. They:

  • Maintain adherence to best practices
  • Make processes easier and more automatic
  • Improve efficiency by reducing the likelihood of error
  • Preserve organizational knowledge
  • Support accountability of team members
  • Reduce miscommunication and misunderstandings
  • Provide instructions for addressing safety concerns
  • Eliminate unnecessary steps that do not add value
  • Improve the quality and consistency of results
  • Make it simpler to monitor and measure organizational proficiency
  • Enable onboarding and training of new hires
  • Serve as a guide for expanding your processes in new settings

Neglecting to create SOPs leaves your team at risk for not understanding their expectations, how to fulfil their responsibilities, or what to do if they encounter an issue. This not only hinders the productivity of your company, but also compromises the safety and security of your workplace and can result in being deemed noncompliant with organizational or regulatory requirements.

How to Create Your First SOP

Step 1. Define the Process

SOP generally follows one of three formats:

  1. Step-by-step list- A step-by-step list is a numbered or bulleted list of steps your employees or virtual staff can follow when completing a process, such as logging in to an online platform or providing instructions for proper, safe use of equipment. This format is simple, straightforward, easy to follow, and difficult to misinterpret, but it does not offer much detail and is not helpful for making decisions.
  2. Hierarchical list- A hierarchical list is a more detailed version of a step-by-step list in which each step requires additional details to complete a specific task. It allows team members to understand both the entire process and the specifics of each step and is best suited for tasks such as onboarding new employees or reconfiguring a workstation.

Flow chart-A flow chart illustrates a standard operating procedure in a graphic that allows employees to determine the potential outcomes that may arise during different steps of the process. This format is ideal for decision-making, as it shows a logical flow to the process and helps employees know what to expect after completing each step.

Depending on the specific procedures you are documenting, you must determine which format will be most successful in sharing necessary information with your team members. Choose the simplest format you can to meet your needs. If the chances are low that your employees will encounter difficulties or contingencies that require additional explanations, a step-by-step list is likely the right choice. However, if stages of the process could result in multiple potential outcomes, a flowchart is best suited for your SOP.

Step 2. Determine Your Goals

After you decide on the right format for your SOP, the next step is to determine your goal for creating the document. Common reasons for an SOP are allowing teams to work more efficiently, helping them better serve clients, and giving them the tools to improve the company’s bottom line. Setting smart goals ensures you can develop the best practices, anticipate how implementing the SOP will impact your organization, and know factors to consider when assessing the effectiveness of the SOP.

Step 3. Clearly Outline the Procedures

Develop detailed instructions for your employees to follow, ensuring you use clear, specific language to fully communicate information and minimize any potential for misunderstanding. In some cases, these steps will be sequential, while in other cases they will involve more detailed sub-steps, recursive processes, or other variables that require further explanation. You can include diagrams, illustrations, photos, or other visual aids to support your SOP, or combine aspects of more than one format to create the best representation of the process.

Step 4. List Needed Tools

Your employees will likely need specific tools, equipment, technology, and other resources to complete the procedure outlined in the SOP. You need to define these resources in the document and provide information to help your employees know where to locate them in your facility, how to properly use and store them, and how to report issues if they arise.

Step 5. Implement the SOP

Before fully implementing the SOP, gradually put it into action in a simulated environment so your team can become familiar with the new processes. You can create different scenarios and have team members take on certain roles or simply review hypothetical situations that give them the chance to verbally walk through the steps. Make sure they approach these changes with a growth mindset, meaning they understand that the SOP will continually evolve based on changing needs, goals, and priorities and that they must be prepared to accommodate these changes in the future. After they become more knowledgeable about the SOP and confident in their abilities, you can implement the SOP in full.

Step 6. Develop a Process for Continuous Improvement

Ask your team members to make note of positive or negative experiences they have following the SOP so you can monitor the success of the project and make improvements. Hold regular meetings to provide an opportunity for them to revisit the SOP or discuss options for moving forward. You will notice significant improvements in efficiency and productivity, while also maintaining flexibility to update your processes as factors change in the future, such as consumer needs or advancements in technology.

How a Virtual Assistant Can Help You With Your SOPs

A virtual assistant can perform a wide variety of tasks to help your business, but they can be particularly valuable in the creation and implementation of SOPs. Writing SOPs tends to be a complicated, time-consuming, and repetitive task, so the best approach is to hire a virtual assistant to handle this process.

Experienced virtual assistants understand the challenges of entering a new position without proper SOPs in place and they can explain whether or not specific procedures make sense for new staff members joining the team. They can ensure your SOPs are clear, consistent, easy to understand, actionable, and measurable. Then, they can implement SOPs throughout your company for maximum effectiveness and test them to determine if they are meeting your goals. Finally, because SOPs often become outdated without regular maintenance, virtual assistants can monitor and update SOPs to ensure they reflect important changes in your company.

Having a virtual assistant assign SOPs online allows you to enjoy several benefits compared to creating paper SOP documents:

  • Increasing efficiency- Everyone keeps their phone on hand and can easily access cloud-based storage to check SOPs, ask questions, and complete tasks on schedule.
  • Improving quality control- Employees can perform operations correctly, consistently, and quickly, leading to more reliable results.
  • Enhancing employee skills- Keeping employees fully informed, updated, and trained on new procedures allows them to be more productive and efficient members of your team.
  • Aiding decision making for operations and management- Virtual dashboards offer vital information that makes decision-making easier, such as job performance, time spent on task, and other useful metrics.
  • Saving time- You don’t need to completely reinvent the wheel when a change needs to be made to an SOP, but simply make an easy edit from your phone or computer that is immediately accessible to everyone.
  • Assisting with audits and inspections- Having your SOPs stored digitally allows inspectors to easily determine whether you are adhering to best practices.

Why You Should Hire a Virtual Assistant From Virtual Latinos

When you hire a virtual assistant from Virtual Latinos, you gain a skilled, motivated, and hardworking professional that will manage the entire process of creating your SOPs, from development through implementing and testing. Our virtual assistants have extensive experience developing these types of documents for businesses of all sizes and industries, and offer affordable, flexible services to meet the unique needs of your company. We utilize a strict selection process and accept only 7.5% of applicants to ensure our clients receive the highest quality virtual assistant services. Unlike other companies with staff members in Asia or India, our team works in your time zone, meaning they are always available when you need them, and you never have to worry about a delay impacting the successful operation of your business.

Contact Virtual Latinos Today

If you are ready to improve the efficiency and productivity of your team, contact Virtual Latinos today to find a virtual assistant that can create SOPs for your small business. Our virtual assistants work remotely from locations throughout Latin America, including Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Peru, and Venezuela. Visit our website to join our community and learn more about how our virtual assistants can improve your business with SOPs.

Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Virtual Assistant in 2021

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What Is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant provides online support services to businesses and entrepreneurs while working from a remote location. While administrative duties are the most common to outsource to virtual assistants, virtual assistant services encompass a broad range of tasks. Business owners have employed at-home secretaries since the early 1980s, but the advent of the internet a decade later caused this form of employment to soar. These professionals became known as the first virtual assistants.

Virtual assistants continue to serve as one of the most valuable tools for small business owners and entrepreneurs around the world who want to streamline their operations, improve their bottom line, and improve their success rate with prospective customers. Some people mistakenly assume that virtual assistant services are only useful for large businesses, but a small business can also utilize virtual staff members, whether for general administrative duties or specific tasks like digital marketing or management of social media accounts. A virtual assistant can fulfill all of the same responsibilities as an in-person assistant while saving you time, money, and effort.

Types of Virtual Assistants

Here are some of the most common types of virtual assistants, along with their typical work tasks:

General Administrative Assistants

General virtual administrative assistants are responsible for managing emails and phone calls, scheduling appointments, organizing your to-do list, updating your calendar, organizing important business documents, entering data into your company system, preparing reports, and any other tasks an in-person executive assistant would perform.

Digital Marketers

Virtual digital marketers focus on increasing brand recognition and awareness, conducting research into your company to determine the most valuable keywords, optimizing your content to increase your SEO rankings, setting up automated processes to improve customer experience, and generating and overseeing campaigns via paid ads, content marketing, email marketing, social media management, and other types of marketing.

Social Media Marketers

Virtual social media marketers create social media accounts, write content to share on social media platforms, schedule these posts to appear at specific times of the day that are most likely to engage customers, promote your brand, manage interactions with customers, monitor competitors, and analyze performance metrics and analytics to determine which content or website shows the most successful results in engaging and converting customers.

Other Types of Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants can also help small business owners by acting as sales and customer service representatives, executive assistants, business consultants, project and operations managers, advertising specialists, email managers, web designers, graphic designers, branding experts, writers, bloggers, translators, video editors, and much more.

Benefits of Hiring Virtual Staff

Save Time

Hiring a pre-vetted virtual assistant saves you the time it takes to post job advertisements, complete resume screening, organize and conduct interviews, and train staff members. Because virtual assistants are skilled professionals, you do not need to perform lengthy, expensive training to get them started or involve a middleman in the process. After they are hired, you can focus on the high-priority tasks of running your business rather than wasting your valuable time on mundane tasks like scheduling appointments or monitoring your website’s SEO.

Save Money

Outsourcing tasks to a virtual professional at an hourly rate or independent contractor saves you the operation costs, training costs, and many of the other expenses required to maintain a full-time employee. Because a VA works from home, you are not responsible for providing office equipment and other tools they need to perform their tasks. If you’re hiring someone who is already an expert in their field, you’ll be saving the cost of training them. Unlike a salaried employee, you only pay a VA for the time they actually perform work for you. Finally, you avoid additional expenses associated with hiring a full-time employee, such as health care, paid leave, disability, and payroll taxes.

Avoid Hassle

Hiring in-person employees is an incredibly time-consuming and complicated process, made even more challenging if you end up with the wrong employee and are forced to start the hiring process all over again. When you hire a virtual assistant, you know they have the experience, training, and skill to effectively perform the tasks you assign to them. If you have issues with your VA, there is no need to involve Human Resources – you simply report your problem to the virtual assistant services company, and they will either resolve it or provide a new assistant.

Grow Your Business

A virtual assistant can help you streamline business operations, maximize revenue, and facilitate growth. By allowing you to delegate tasks like answering emails or monitoring marketing campaigns to virtual assistants, you can focus your attention on the aspects of your business that only you can handle, such as overseeing financial matters and building relationships with new clients. This not only provides an immediate return on investment but also helps you prepare for the future by building a solid foundation to support the long-term, efficient operation of your business.

How Do I Hire a Virtual Assistant?

Step 1: Determine If You Need Help

If any of the following situations apply to you, you should consider hiring a virtual assistant:

  • You work longer hours than you would like but you still often feel as if you are not getting enough done.
  • You feel stressed out and overwhelmed with the size of your workload.
  • You find yourself dedicating a large portion of your time to administrative work or other monotonous tasks that could be delegated to someone else.
  • You believe you could use your time more productively and experience less stress by focusing on the most high-priority tasks.
  • You want to avoid the time commitment, cost, and hassle of recruiting, hiring, and training an in-person employee.
  • You know that you need help, but your budget constraints mean you cannot afford to add another full-time employee to your staff.

Step 2: Select Tasks for Your Virtual Assistant

Professional virtual assistants can perform a wide range of tasks, so it is important that you select specific tasks that allow them to provide the most value for your business. Deciding on which tasks you will delegate in advance is essential for ensuring you choose the right person to fill this role, especially if you work in a field requiring specialized knowledge. Virtual assistants most often help with:

  • Administrative tasks. Scheduling meetings, organizing files, communicating with clients
  • Marketing tasks. SEO strategies, email marketing, social media marketing
  • Budgeting tasks. Bookkeeping, writing invoices, creating financial reports
  • Personal tasks. Organizing to-do lists, booking travel arrangements, making purchases
  • Content creation. Conducting research, writing content, uploading it online

If you are unsure about which responsibilities to delegate, spend a minimum of three workdays keeping a detailed inventory of every task you complete as part of your regular business duties. Then make a list that includes the following sections:

  • Tasks you do not want to perform
  • Tasks you do not have time to perform
  • Tasks you do not have the skills or knowledge to perform
  • Tasks that could be performed better or more efficiently by someone else
  • Repetitive tasks that consume a large portion of your time

Ideally, you should hire a virtual assistant to handle the above work so you can focus on fulfilling the responsibilities that only you can do. Prioritize these tasks to decide which ones can be accomplished by a virtual administrative assistant and which ones may require a VA with specialized knowledge or training.

If you run a law firm, health care facility, real estate company, or property management office, Virtual Latinos has virtual assistants with extensive experience in providing general support, sales assistance, customer service and support, marketing, and other tasks specific to that particular industry.

Step 3: Establish Your Budget

The next step is to establish your budget. Calculating the value of the tasks you want to delegate to a virtual assistant allows you to estimate how much you can expect to spend to hire a virtual assistant, as well as how much you can save in the long term with this service.

Several factors can influence the cost of your VA, primarily the type of service you need, the number of years of experience you would like your VA to have, the country they are located in, and the number of hours you want to hire them for. More experienced virtual assistants with specialized knowledge will generally charge more than professionals who are newer to the industry or offer only general services. Typically, virtual assistant services cost $3-$75 per hour.

We suggest creating a benchmark value and hiring a virtual assistant for any recurring tasks that can be outsourced for less than this amount. Generally, most tasks that can be completed for less than $30 an hour are best suited for virtual assistants.

Step 4: Find Virtual Assistants

Now you are ready to find a virtual assistant. Virtual Latinos offers a comprehensive comparison chart that provides vital information on the differences between our virtual assistant services, and your other main options – a U.S.-based, in-person assistant, a U.S.-based virtual assistant, and a virtual assistant from the Philippines. This comparison chart reviews the following details:

  • The amount of time it takes to hire an assistant
  • Recruitment fees
  • Whether they offer pre-vetted talent
  • Average price per hour of services
  • Whether they offer a quality guarantee
  • The flexibility of their VAs’ schedules
  • Whether their VAs are certified professionals
  • Their availability in your time zone
  • The turnover rate of the company
  • The success rate of the virtual assistants

Step 5: Create a Job Posting

Create a job posting on a reputable virtual assistant services website that describes what you are looking for. You must clearly explain the role you want them to fill, define the tasks you need them to perform, and outline your expectations for them as an employee.

Step 6: Interview Virtual Assistants

The last step is to interview these candidates individually to determine who best fits your needs, has the qualities you are looking for, and can accommodate your budget.

How We Help You Hire a Virtual Assistant

Our Clients’ Recruitment Process

To find a virtual assistant from Virtual Latinos, you will complete the following recruitment process:

  1. Register your business in our website, and select a monthly hours package that covers your needs.
  2. Fill out a short questionnaire to provide information about yourself, your company, and the services or products you offer. Explain the job or tasks you need help with and share what virtual assistant skills you are looking for, such as location, hourly rate, experience, or specific skills.
  3. Our team reviews these requirements to find the perfect assistant for you. We select the most promising three or four virtual assistants for you so you can avoid a lengthy selection process, then introduce you to them so you can choose the right fit for your business.
  4. Interview the pre-selected candidates, select your virtual assistant, and sign our agreement.
  5. Your virtual assistant will begin working with you based on the hourly package you chose and receive payment on a bi-weekly basis after completing their tasks. You will manage your assistant, but our team will supervise their performance while providing ongoing support. We guarantee the quality of our virtual assistants, but if you decide you want to replace them with someone else, we offer replacements at no additional cost.

Behind the Scenes: Virtual Latinos Recruitment Process

Our Assistant Application process directs candidates along a funnel to narrow down the absolute best virtual assistants for our company. We attract top performers throughout Latin America, perform an initial qualification round to determine their suitability for our company, carefully review every application, interview each candidate, and invite those who qualify to perform a test task to ensure they can successfully complete what will be expected of them. At the end of this process, only 7.5% of the candidates from the original pool are accepted into our community.

Why Hire From Virtual Latinos?

At Virtual Latinos, every one of our staff members has extensive work experience, demonstrates written and verbal proficiency in English and Spanish, and was hand-picked from a large pool of applicants to ensure you always receive the highest quality services. 90% of our professional virtual assistants have earned college degrees in their field, and they all work in your time zone, meaning you never have to worry about a delay affecting your customers and damaging your business. We offer all-inclusive virtual assistant services without charging access fees, setup fees, or other additional expenses required by many other virtual assistant companies.

Tips for Managing Your Virtual Assistant

  • Make the training process as easy, simple, and transparent as possible.
  • Establish a written agreement outlining job responsibilities and expectations.
  • Use a project management system to assign specific tasks and track progress without needing to keep up with endless emails and messages.
  • Maintain communication to build trust and establish a positive working relationship.
  • Schedule regular meetings to ensure you are on the same page and provide an opportunity for your VA to ask questions or request additional clarification.
  • Utilize tools to track performance and productivity.
  • Promptly address issues with constructive criticism.
  • Familiarize yourself with cultural differences so you can most effectively communicate with your VA.

Top Tools for Outsourcing and Managing Virtual Staff

Communication

Our clients primarily use Telegram for instant messaging and Zoom for video calls.

Document Sharing

The best document sharing tools are DropBox, Mega, and Google Drive.

Project Management

Our team uses Infinity, TeamWork, ActiveCollab, and Trello for project management.

SEO and Analytics

Our favorite SEO and analytics tools are Google Analytics, AccuRanker, SE Ranking, Capturly, Oviond, and BrandMentions.

For a complete list of our favorites, visit our webpage on recommended tools and software.

Improve Your Business Today by Hiring a Virtual Assistant

If you are ready to elevate your business to the next level, contact Virtual Latinos today to hire a virtual assistant. We are consistently regarded as one of the best virtual assistant companies in the nation and our expert staff has helped thousands of clients with businesses of all sizes and industries. Hiring a virtual assistant gives you the ultimate freedom and flexibility to most effectively manage your business by delegating responsibilities to skilled, experienced, and dedicated professionals in Latin America.

At Virtual Latinos, our professional virtual assistants work throughout Latin America, including Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Colombia, Ecuador, and Argentina. A virtual assistant can save you time, money, and hassle, allowing you to prioritize your efforts toward growing your business. To learn more about how you can hire a virtual assistant to transform your business, contact Virtual Latinos today.

5 Security Best Practices When Managing Remote Teams

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What Is Cybersecurity and Why Is It So Important for Remote Work?

There is so much use of technology in our lives right now from email to smartphones and tablets, entertainment, shopping, transportation, and even medicine in the form of electronic charting and medical records. All of this makes cybersecurity more important than ever before. Cybersecurity refers to the process of keeping information confidential while protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized use or criminal access.

With the overwhelming amount of daily technology used for those of us who own a small business or remote working, as well as those who just simply store personal information on their phones, computers, tablets, etc., the risks of having poor cybersecurity puts everyone in some level of danger. These risks include things such as having your entire system erased, files altered, identity stolen, and unlawful access to your financial accounts. The cost of a cybersecurity breach is huge and can cause stress beyond just general annoyance. This is especially true when your small business is at stake. Cybersecurity efforts should not be taken lightly and luckily, there are ways to prevent cyber-attacks from occurring.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to completely avoid having these things happen to you, however, being aware of the most common threats and how to protect yourself from the dangers associated with them is a good start towards risk prevention.

What Are the Most Common Network Security Threats?

The most common network security threats are those that are often overlooked. Take a look at these 3 most common security threats that are out there and be aware that there are always others emerging:

  1. Computer VirusesComputer viruses are the most common cybersecurity threats and can affect everyday internet users. This type of threat is called a virus because it is a piece of software that does damage by spreading from one computer to another. Be cautious of unknown e-mail senders and suspicious email attachments that often contain the virus. Computer viruses can send spam, steal data from your computer, negatively affect your security settings, and even delete everything from your hard drive.
  2. Adware and SpywareAdware tracks and collects data without your consent. Everything you search for, your browsing habits, and purchase transactions can be monitored and used to flood you with pop-up ads. Adware is often hidden deep within user agreement documents and can go unnoticed until it interferes with your internet connection speed. Spyware is similar to adware and is just as dangerous, if not more. Once installed on your computer, it is able to track and record your personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and email addresses. Thus, posing the potential for identity theft.
  3. PhishingPhishing is another way a hacker can obtain our personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and usernames to steal your identity. Phishing attacks often appear legitimate at first, as they come across via instant messages or emails. Once you are tricked into opening the attachment, the malware is installed on your device, and security is breached.

Four Best Practices for a Secure Remote Team Management

  1. Set Up VPN Access to Remote WorkersA VPN is a virtual private network that allows small business owners to empower their employees to work virtually in a secure manner. VPNs provide the remote worker with access to the company’s resources by connecting their computers to a secure network. It is important to encrypt your company’s data and prevent an outsider from intercepting it.
  2. Establish Good Password Management for Yourself and Your Virtual TeamIt is important to use a different password for every account you have. Make sure it is at least 10 characters and is a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters. Use a password manager and avoid using your personal information such as your birthdate or anniversary. These types of passwords are easily guessed. It is also not good practice to use common dictionary words. Change your password often and be careful not to write it down where it can be found by someone other than yourself. Make sure your whole remote workforce knows how to create safe passwords and encourage them to change them regularly.
  3. Update Your Security Software RegularlyUpdate your security software daily, if possible. Whenever a new update is available, it is often because new malware has been detected and the update will protect your devices against it. Encourage your team to also check regularly for updates on their own devices.One of the best and easiest ways to ensure your cybersecurity software stays up to date is to use the automatic updates for the operating system you use. Using reputable web browsers such as Firefox and Chrome means security updates will be performed regularly and will be ongoing.Updating software regularly can fix and repair computer bugs and more importantly, fix or identify security holes that could put you at risk. Lastly, it is important to keep your browser plug-ins up to date as well. Common browser plug-ins include Flash, Java, Acrobat, and QuickTime. Always make sure your operating system is running the latest version of the software for optimum protection.
  4. Avoid Using Public Wi-FiUsing public Wi-Fi is risky behavior. There are definitely some privacy and security risks when you jump on the free services found in airports, restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops. Most times, your online activities are not encrypted, even when a password is used to access their Wi-Fi.This leaves your information and data vulnerable to predators who are looking to hack your accounts. In some cases, you may even be logged into a “fake Wi-Fi” created by a scammer to steal your personal information. Look out for things such as “free wi-fi” hotspots that predators wait for you to join and then come between you and your computer’s broadband request.With virtual teams, it’s important to stress Wi-Fi security, as many remote workers may utilize Wi-Fi outside of the home. Your whole remote workforce should understand the risks and what to look for.

Conclusion CTA

As you can see, cybersecurity is dangerous, and the risks affect almost everyone in one way or another. Here at Virtual Latinos, we take cybersecurity very seriously and are committed to only the safest hiring processes when looking for a virtual assistant to represent our company and yours. If you are a small business owner and are looking to hire a virtual assistant, contact us today, and let’s discuss the process of finding a virtual assistant from Latin America that is trustworthy and professional.

How to Get a Virtual Assistant Job Without Experience Working Remotely

Tips & How To's

What Are Virtual Assistants and the Perks of Becoming One?

Have you ever wanted to work for a company based in the US, but didn’t want to leave your home to do it? With virtual assistant jobs, that’s exactly what you do. Virtual assistants are talented professionals who help North American companies manage their marketing and administrative needs without leaving their home country – or even their home.

There are many reasons why professionals from Latin American countries like Guatemala, Ecuador, or Colombia might be interested in online assistant jobs. First of all, a virtual assistant job provides a great opportunity to maximize and get the most out of your education and talents.

When you work as a virtual assistant with an American or Canadian business, one of the biggest benefits is the great wages, which are guaranteed to be higher than that of similar positions in your home country. Another reason many professionals choose to become a virtual assistant is that VAs can enjoy a higher salary along with greater flexibility and no more long commutes to the office. An added benefit of being a VA for a North American company is that your clients are in the same or a similar time zone as you, so there’s no need to stay up for any 3 am meetings.

Types of Virtual Assistants

Numerous American companies are in search of talented and competent assistants to help improve workflow. Every business owner is different, and so are their needs and expectations. Most companies hire a virtual assistant with a specific skill set, which means there are many types of virtual assistant jobs available, depending on your expertise. Some of the most common positions for VAs include:

Admin Assistants

Working as a virtual admin assistant is one of the most common positions for a virtual professional. Many company managers need someone to help with a variety of administrative tasks, including making calls to clients, managing and writing emails, scheduling appointments, and more. VAs can fulfill the job of an administrative assistant as well as an executive assistant.

Customer Service Virtual Assistant

Customer service VAs provide support to the client’s customers. This position is perfect for anyone who has ever worked in a call center, or who is familiar with the service industry. A Customer Service VA may be responsible for receiving and making calls to clients, as well as handling customer correspondence.

Sales Virtual Assistant

Many small business owners are looking for someone who can help them boost sales and grow their business. As a sales VA, it would be your job to help your client enhance their business efforts by getting more customers and boosting sales.

Social Media Virtual Assistant

Social media marketing is one of the most useful tools for generating business and getting new clients. Unfortunately, social media management effectively can be time-consuming and tedious, and most company managers simply do not feel they have the time. Social media VAs manage their clients’ social media accounts, generate content, schedule posts, and stay up to date on relevant trends.

Marketing Virtual Assistant

Marketing VAs are professionals who are knowledgeable about the marketing industry. As a marketing VA, you will handle your client’s advertising campaigns, utilize your knowledge of SEO to create more traffic, create and manage email marketing campaigns, and truly put your communication skills to the test.

VA positions are not limited to the examples on this list. Companies look for a variety of skills to enhance their business performance, including graphic designers, bloggers, project & operations managers, email and automation experts, and more.

Get Hired as a VA Even if You Don’t Have Experience Working Remotely

Most virtual assistants are hired by companies for their unique skill sets, whether in marketing and advertising, customer support, sales, or another field. As a VA, you will work closely with your client to help maximize their business efforts.

While you might think remote jobs require less interpersonal skills than in-the-office positions, this is simply not the case. Remote work needs a lot more to maintain clear, honest, and effective communication at all times, both with your client and with the client’s customers. With such emphasis on communication skills, it stands to reason that a VA working for an American or Canadian company needs to be proficient both in spoken and written English.

If you are interested in a virtual assistant job from home, here are a few steps you can take to start your career:

1. Choose the Service You Want to Offer

The first step to securing an online job is deciding which service or niche your skills are best suited for. Consider your previous work experience, education, and certifications. Do you love working with social media, and know what it takes to create a community and engage with your audience? Great. Direct your attention towards social media virtual assistant jobs. If you have experience working in a call center and are skilled at communications, perhaps working as a customer service VA is the right position for you.

2. Set Up a Good Working Environment

You don’t need to have experience working remotely to become a virtual assistant, but it is necessary to set up an efficient and productive work environment before you start. Before applying for a remote job, it’s important that you have the means to work efficiently and comfortably from home. Make sure you have a working computer, a strong and dependable internet connection, and a headset.

3. Take Free or Paid Courses

Virtual assistant jobs from home are highly sought-after, making for a competitive job market. Investing your time and resources in free or paid courses can boost your skills and your resume. You can access a variety of special courses and training at:

  • LinkedIn Learning Center
  • HubSpot Academy
  • Coursera
  • Udemy

4. Work on Your Soft Skills

Developing excellent soft skills and great interpersonal skills is especially important for professionals seeking remote jobs. You can work on your soft skills by:

  • Adopting a learning mindset
  • Encouraging self-reflection
  • Taking a course in negotiation or project management
  • Focusing on problem-solving skills
  • Improving communication skills

5. Choose the Right Platform to Find Your Clients

The final step to beginning your online assistant career is choosing the right virtual assistant company to reach your clients. There are several virtual assistant businesses you can choose from, however, one of the best on the market is Virtual Latinos.

Why Choose Virtual Latinos to Start as a VA?

Virtual Latinos is a platform preferred by many professionals because of the high level of support it gives to new and veteran VAs alike. While trying to find freelance work as a VA independently can be overwhelming, joining the Virtual Latinos community streamlines the process by finding you a virtual job that perfectly matches your professional profile.

If you’re interested in finding remote jobs, consider applying to Virtual Latinos. To get the process started, fill out the online application and submit any relevant documentation such as your college diploma, professional CV, or a link to your website. After you’ve been accepted into the Virtual Latinos community, all that’s left is to create your professional profile – and get hired by your first client! If you are interested in pursuing virtual assistant jobs from home and starting your career as a VA, apply to Virtual Latinos today.

How to Manage Raises & Rewards for Your Virtual Assistant

Tips & How To's

Managing Your Virtual Assistant or Virtual Team

As technology continues to advance at an exponential rate, business owners must navigate an ever-evolving market to remain competitive and face new challenges. The internet has fundamentally changed the way people work and incorporating an innovative workforce such as virtual assistants can enhance the operation and ultimate success of businesses in all industries. Remote work allows businesses to streamline processes, improve efficiency, boost productivity and greatly expand their reach to target audiences, so many companies have been using remote workers for years and are reaping the benefits.

Challenges of Managing a Virtual Assistant or Virtual Team

Although remote work offers a wide variety of long-lasting benefits, it does feature certain challenges that business owners must overcome. Effective, efficient communication forms the foundation for any successful small business, and it becomes even more crucial for remote teams. According to a report from 2021, 45.8 % of remote managers state that communication problems are the leading challenge they face when managing remote teams.

Clear, frequent communication is necessary for managers to provide direction to their virtual team, explain strategy, and remain updated on the progress of specific tasks. It is also necessary when multiple team members are collaborating to ensure all tasks are completed properly and submitted on time. Poor communication causes nearly every other management issue that can arise in the operation of a business. When communication fails, workers cannot fully comprehend their expectations and responsibilities, leading to decreased productivity, feelings of isolation, and lowered morale.

Other challenges faced by remote managers are scheduling difficulties, difficulty tracking employee performance, and issues with building morale and developing a positive culture within the team. When a team includes members across several time zones, coordinating times where all members can communicate and work together becomes particularly difficult. If you decide to hire a virtual assistant, Virtual Latinos offers a large selection of virtual assistants throughout Mexico, Central America, and South America, all within the same time zones as the U.S. This means you never have to wait around for hours to receive a response from your virtual assistant, saving unnecessary downtime and wasted productivity.

Impact of COVID-19 on Managing a Virtual Assistant or Team

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, companies that have not already made the switch to remote work have been forced to quickly adapt their operations to the current climate. Thankfully, many valuable tools exist such as Zoom and Slack that can help business owners and managers effectively communicate with their remote team members without needing to hire an entire IT team. These tools can empower workers, enhance their productivity, and support the smooth, effective operation of your business. They also make it much easier to manage a virtual assistant, even if they are located in a different country.

Even with the increased challenges of remote work, business owners report that their employees have adjusted remarkably well to their new system. In fact, a survey conducted by the human resources consulting firm Mercer found that an amazing 94% of employers report that workers have either continued the same level of productivity as before the pandemic or even become more productive working remotely than they were while in the workplace. In a separate study from FlexJobs, workers themselves have noticed the benefits of remote work, as well. 51% of employees shared that they have become more productive working from home, primarily due to increased comfort and focus, less noise, and fewer interruptions.

Why Is Remote Workers’ Retention So Important?

Worker retention refers to the ability of a business to retain its employees. Ensuring the success of any business requires a high retention rate, meaning a team member chooses to stay employed on a long-term basis rather than leaving due to challenges in the workplace. When a worker decides to quit, the amount of time, resources, and funding spent on training them is lost. Low worker retention means you not only lose everything you contributed toward making this person a part of the team, but you must also completely undergo the screening, interviewing, hiring, and training process all over again. Low retention also impacts your entire team by causing other workers to become concerned about their jobs, which harms the company culture, lowers morale, reduces motivation, and undermines their loyalty to your business.

How to Manage Raises

One of the primary methods for attracting and retaining the highest quality employees in your business is to regularly review the compensation you are offering and awarding raises based on their performance and productivity. Below we have listed a few frequently asked questions about raises and how to manage them.

Should I Have a Raise Structure?

Yes, you should evaluate the budget and needs of your business to develop a comprehensive raise structure, then inform your employees of this structure and carefully document everything to prevent potential miscommunication.

How Often Should I Consider Giving a Raise?

Typically, you should consider giving a raise after your remote worker has been employed for a full six months, ten months, or twelve months.

What Is the Right Amount for a Raise?

You must consult your business budget to determine the right amount, but generally, a fair raise comprises an increase of $0.50 to $2.00 per hour.

What Factors Should I Consider Before Giving a Raise?

Before you decide to give your virtual assistant a raise, consider the following factors:

  • Their performance in relation to your expectations
  • The value they add to the company
  • The skills they have developed during the course of employment
  • Their willingness to complete further training
  • Their initiative and work ethic
  • Their leadership abilities
  • The interactions they have with management and colleagues
  • The results they deliver to clients
  • Their commitment to encouraging a positive company culture

How to Manage Bonuses

Rewarding your virtual staff for their performance and motivating them to continue improving usually involves creating a bonus calendar and discussing this upfront with all employees upon hiring. Remember to document everything to avoid future conflicts.

Should I Have a Bonus Structure?

Yes, you should create a comprehensive bonus structure with clearly defined criteria. You can establish sales bonuses, performance bonuses, end of the year bonuses, or any other bonus calendar you find most valuable for your business and employee engagement. You may also discuss bonus options with your virtual assistants to determine which they would prefer.

Which Roles Typically Include a Bonus or Commission?

Sales positions typically include a bonus or commission as part of their compensation package. A bonus consists of a fixed amount awarded for achieving a specific goal or meeting a predetermined mark, while a commission is calculated as a percentage of the sales they closed.

How Do I Choose the Proper Amount for a Bonus?

Deciding on the proper amount for a bonus involves considering your budget and how often you want to provide bonuses to your team. Generally, bonuses are calculated by measuring percentages of sales or end-of-the-year profits and allocating an appropriate amount based on each worker’s specific accomplishments or productivity level. You can implement an “all or nothing” strategy in which the worker must meet their quota to receive a bonus or create a system that provides a worker with a percentage of the bonus based on their performance.

What Factors Should I Consider Before Giving a Bonus?

When considering whether to give your remote worker a bonus, you should evaluate whether they met or exceeded the specific quota you set in your bonus structure.

What Is the 13th Month Bonus?

A 13th month bonus, also referred to as an end of the year bonus, is an extra payment awarded to employees at the end of December. It generally equals one month’s salary or 1/12 of their total annual earned income.

How Does Virtual Latinos Manage Raises and Rewards?

At Virtual Latinos, we understand the importance of remote workers’ retention, so we do everything we can to ensure our virtual staff feels recognized for their value and appreciated for their hard work. We offer best-in-class compensation for our internal virtual team as they progress in their careers, including providing raises for workers who complete training milestones and supplementing their earned salary with rewards, bonuses, and additional perks.

Raises for Training Milestones

After one of our virtual assistants finishes a stage of their assigned training program and demonstrates proof of what they learned, they are entitled to receive a pay increase of $0.50 per hour. Completing all five training programs adds a $2.50 increase to the hourly rate, but further raises may be awarded at management’s discretion.

Bonuses for Productivity and Goal Accomplishment

Every December, the management team will evaluate each worker’s accomplishments throughout the year to determine if they qualify for a productivity bonus. When all eligible collaborators have been chosen, the amount of the total bonus is decided, then distributed among the group. Specific bonuses are allocated based on hourly rate, billable hours per week, and the amount of time they have worked for the company.

Rewards for Tenure Based Milestones

Rewards are based on tenure, meaning milestones are set for each full year a worker has remained with the company. These perks are incremental, so they’re also eligible to receive all perks for the previous years. For example, after being employed for a full three years, you receive the perks awarded for reaching the third-year milestone, but you are entitled to the year one and year two perks, as well.

Virtual Latinos Can Help You Find the Right Virtual Assistant

Although remote work does involve unique challenges, you can significantly enhance the operation and success of your business by adding valuable virtual assistant services. Virtual Latinos can help you hire virtual staff to match your business needs and offer expert advice on how to manage your virtual assistant with several useful strategies, including offering raises, bonuses, and other rewards.

By providing a positive work environment for your employees, you encourage confidence, instill loyalty, and enhance their productivity. Maintain clear, frequent communication, utilize different technological tools to aid in this communication, establish rules of engagement to set expectations, offer encouragement, and promptly resolve any concerns. Contact us today to find the right virtual assistant for your business in Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Argentina, and other countries throughout Latin America.

How to Effectively Lead a Virtual Team Meeting

Tips & How To's

How You Can Ensure the Productivity of Your Virtual Team Meeting

Ask any professional you know which aspect of their job they dread the most, and chances are the answer will involve meetings. Regardless of the specific nature of the business or the industry, common complaints include that meetings last too long, they do not accomplish anything productive, or they are unnecessary. However, with the right leadership, meetings can be incredibly productive and valuable to your business. When your team consistently participates in such meetings, they will benefit from improved communication, informed decision-making, more creative and collaborative problem-solving, stronger relationships, and positive work culture. Ultimately, meetings can significantly impact the bottom line of your business.

Poor Communication & Unproductive Meetings

Consider the following example. A sales associate at a local car dealership, always complains about the meetings he is forced to attend because they are often inefficient, unfocused, and time-consuming. Yet when the senior management team decided to change an upcoming promotional event, he was furious that he was not included in the meeting. If meetings at his company were handled with the appropriate level of care they deserve, the sales associate would have prioritized these meetings and made sure to attend them. Additionally, the owner’s assistant could have prepared an agenda and circulated it in advance, giving the associate the chance to learn about the meeting and request to join.

Popularity of Remote Work

The example above illustrates common challenges experienced by workers, how these challenges arise, and how they could be prevented with proactive leadership. Ensuring meetings are productive, efficient, and valuable for all participants has never been easy but is now especially difficult as many business teams have switched to remote work. Since 2005, the number of Americans working from home has skyrocketed by 140%. Today, over 4 million workers currently work remotely, at least half of the time. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to keep people at home, this trend shows no signs of slowing down.

Virtual Team Communication

Virtual team communication is vital for keeping all workers on the same page, managing their responsibilities, holding them accountable, and giving them a platform to ask questions or raise concerns. One of the most effective ways to improve communication in your business is to hire a virtual assistant. A qualified, experienced virtual assistant can help enhance the quality and productivity of your virtual team meetings by handling common communication challenges that impact company morale and hinder productivity. At Virtual Latinos, our virtual assistants operate in the same time zones as our US clients, meaning they are always available when you need them the most.

What to Do Before the Virtual Meeting

Step 1: Create an Agenda

If you are responsible for organizing or leading a virtual team meeting, spend a minimum of half an hour preparing for the meeting. This involves creating a precise, time-conscious agenda with a structure of key talking points and suggestions for when and how long you want to address each point. Create a list of all the remote workers who should be included in the virtual meeting and send the agenda to all participants to review it and prepare any questions or concerns.

Step 2: Research the Best Software

Numerous remote meeting tools have been developed over the past few years, so you must consider your needs to find the software with the highest chance of supporting the success of your virtual team meeting. You can utilize a combination of videoconferencing, file-sharing, and screen-sharing software to ensure your remote team can effectively communicate and collaborate.

You can find our recommended tools & software for leading virtual teams in the best possible way.

Step 3: Set a Date

Ask participants for their availability, so you can choose a timeframe that works for everyone. Remember to confirm their time zones to accommodate for any differences. After selecting the best date and time for the meeting, ask the participants to confirm that they will be attending.

Step 4: Define Expectations

Define the rules and expectations for how participants should behave during the virtual team meeting. For example, can they speak freely, or do they need to wait for their turn to contribute? Should they mute their phones when someone else is speaking to avoid distractions? Does everyone need to keep their camera on at all times or only the person talking? All participants should know exactly what to expect when they enter the meeting, be prepared for the discussion at hand, and have clear guidelines on how to communicate.

Step 5: Log on Early to Prepare

Give yourself at least 10 minutes to log on to the virtual team communication software to ensure everything is working correctly, and you are fully prepared to begin the meeting.

What to Do During the Meeting

Step 1: Start With a Greeting

Take time to share a greeting, introduce yourself, and request that all participants introduce themselves. This reduces the awkwardness of the setting, helps them become comfortable communicating with people they have never met in person, and gives them the chance to get to know each other and learn more about their areas of expertise, this is also a great opportunity for team building. A short introduction period also allows you to familiarize yourself with the team, so you can monitor how they contribute to the meeting. These few minutes of small talk where you check-in and catch up will boost engagement, establish rapport, and strengthen relationships among team members.

Step 2: Confirm Users Can Navigate the Software

Confirm all participants are in attendance and understand how to navigate their software. Answer their questions or direct them to resources if they require additional assistance.

Step 3: Outline the Key Talking Points

Explain what you will be discussing in the meeting and update the participants on the company’s most recent news, activities, or developments.

Step 4: Give Everyone a Task

Instruct each participant to contribute to the meeting in a specific way. Give them each a task that involves contributing to the discussion in real-time and interacting with other participants, such as writing down questions that arise, taking notes on key points, or managing the presentation of supporting material. Ideally, this task is straightforward enough to easily understand and requires their participation during the entire meeting, instead of a “one and done” task they can finish quickly. When everyone feels like they bring something valuable to the discussion, they are more likely to stay engaged and contribute rather than falling into passively listening.

Step 5: Encourage Participation

Encourage all participants to contribute to the meeting with their ideas and opinions. Some people are naturally more inclined to speak up in meetings than others, and sometimes they can overshadow their more introverted team members. Make sure you are maintaining a safe environment that empowers everyone to share their unique perspectives. You can structure the meeting, so it offers equal opportunities for all participants to contribute with their ideas, such as giving each person five minutes to share their experience or unique insight on the topic.

Step 6: Employ Visual Aids

Include graphics, charts, photos, and other visual aids in your meeting to present information clearly and enhance engagement.

Step 7: End With a Recap and an Action Plan

Provide a brief recap of the topics covered in the meeting and create an action plan that outlines the next steps for your team.

What to Do After the Meeting

Step 1: Review and Share Meeting Notes

Review the meeting notes, make any necessary edits, and send the final version to participants.

Step 2: Distribute an Action Plan

Send the action plan to all participants with a description of their duties and any deadlines they are expected to follow.

Step 3: Schedule the Next Meeting

If you can, set a date for the next meeting.

Hire Your Virtual Assistant Today

If you are struggling to adapt your business to remote work, contact Virtual Latinos today to learn how your business can benefit from virtual assistant services. As one of the nation’s best virtual assistant companies, we help businesses of all sizes and industries improve their virtual team communication, streamline their processes, and increase their revenue. When you hire a virtual assistant, you can delegate a wide variety of tasks in areas such as business administration, marketing, and customer service to qualified, motivated, and hardworking professionals throughout Latin America.

At Virtual Latinos, 90% of our virtual assistants hold college degrees, and all of them have demonstrated verbal and written proficiency in English and Spanish. They work throughout Latin America, including El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. In contrast with virtual assistants from Asia or India, our team operates in your time zone, meaning they are available whenever you require prompt completion of a task. Virtual Latinos can help you hire a virtual assistant that meets the needs of your business.

How To Find a Virtual Assistant For Your Small Business and Not Die Trying.

Tips & How To's

Getting Started: Why Hire a Virtual Assistant for Your Small Business?

Running a small business is no small endeavor. Especially in the first few years, there is a lot to be done and little budget to support you. Many small business owners end up doing most everything themselves and can easily encounter professional burnout, exhaustion, and increased stress as a result. One simple and affordable way to alleviate the pressure is to hire a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants can assist with many tasks that take up your precious time, freeing you up to run your business with a focused mind and a clearer schedule. In many cases, virtual assistants may hold skills necessary for tasks you would need to hire multiple full-time employees to complete, like social media management, data entry, administrative tasks and digital marketing. This means that you save money and have more valuable resources at your disposal.

Virtual assistant services can also help to keep you organized, ensure that you stay on task and guarantee nothing falls through the cracks or gets forgotten. The superior organization provided by your VA increases productivity, putting money back in your pocket. Best of all, you can tailor your executive assistant to your unique needs, giving you the maximum help with the least investment. However, many people don’t know how to find a virtual assistant, which is why we’ve outlined the steps necessary to make the process easier for a small business owner.

Step 1: Determine What Type of VA You Need

Not all virtual assistants are the same. When looking for small business assistance, it’s essential to be specific about what kind of help you are looking for and begin your search from there. Here are just a few examples of the types of virtual assistants we can provide:

  • Admin. This category of assistants can help with many general administrative tasks essential to the operation of an office, such as bookkeeping, scheduling, research, CRM management, data entry and more.
  • Marketing. A marketing VA is trained in basic marketing skills and can help with standard marketing tasks such as lead generation, social media management, and graphic design.
  • Customer Service/Sales. These professionals can assist with cold calling, lead check-ins, generating leads, and upselling.
  • Writing. You can delegate essential writing tasks to your VA, including blog management, copywriting, social media posting, and more.
  • Web Design. A web design virtual assistant can create a new website, refresh your current page, add features, improve its layout, and perform other essential tasks.
  • Project/Operations Management. Virtual assistants trained in project management can help you coordinate your current staff, manage your existing resources, design contracts, communicate with stakeholders, and much more.

Step 2: Determine Which Tasks You Need Help With

Next, it’s important to decide which of the above tasks you’ll benefit from delegating to your virtual assistant. Fortunately, there are virtual assistants trained in industry-specific applications of the above categories, including healthcare, law, property management, real estate, and more. No matter what area you need help in, there is a virtual assistant that can meet your needs. Highly trained assistants can provide essential services to your small business, freeing you to focus on your areas of expertise.

How a Virtual Assistant Company Can Help With Choosing VA Tasks

For some small businesses, a virtual assistant could be hired for several of the listed tasks. In these cases, working with a virtual assistant agency is a good idea. Pros of working with an agency include:

  • Pre-vetted, professional assistants who are ready for the workforce
  • Replacements or substitutes if you find your assistant doesn’t match your needs
  • Verified training and schooling
  • Long-term work relationship with your assistant
  • No Ghosting guaranteed, VAs will show up on their work scheduled hours

Working with independent assistants means spending more time and resources trying to find the right person. With an agency like Virtual Latinos, you’ll find we have already recruited the best assistants in all fields and can provide you with several options that may fit your needs.

Step 3: Determine Your Budget

As a VA can comprise a portion of your overall entrepreneur budget, it is important to establish your budget goals before beginning your search. Fortunately, hiring a virtual assistant is likely more affordable than you realize. When working with Virtual Latinos, pricing is straightforward. If you’d like to work with our agency, we will handpick an assistant for you. We will handle the entire process and find the best options for the right match. Our fully-vetted professionals cost only $8/hour to hire. Alternatively, if you’d like to search our directory on your own and work directly with your chosen individuals rather than our agency, you will pay about $5 per hour. Take a look at your business’s finances and assess your options. Once you’ve set a budget, even if it’s a tight one, you will begin to feel more confident moving forward in the hiring process.

Step 4: Begin The Search

Once you’ve determined your needs and budget, it’s time to begin looking for your assistant. Working directly with virtual assistants is your first option. In this category, you are entirely responsible for searching job boards to find, interview, and hire your assistant. This option often costs a little bit less but requires much more work from you. About 7% of our customers utilize this option. The second option is to work with the Virtual Latinos agency throughout the process. In these circumstances, our professional agents assemble assistants that may fit your needs. We discuss your needs at length with you and present you with all the information available, including the pros and cons of each applicant, cost, training, and more. Approximately 93% of Virtual Latinos customers prefer this option.

Prepare For The Interview Process

Before you begin the search for a personal assistant who truly meets your needs, it’s important to know how to interview them. Asking the right questions and having the right conversations means that you will find someone on the first try. Here are some ways to ensure that you’re prepared to conduct interviews with potential assistants:

  • Be specific about your needs. Spelling out your assistant’s future tasks in detail allows your interviewees to assess if they have the ability to work for you. If you are clear and detailed about your expectations from the beginning, there is no confusion later, and you will weed out assistants who would be a bad fit.
  • Filter out resumes. At Virtual Latinos, we complete this step for you. However, if you are working alone, be sure to scan all applicants for red flags such as frequent job changes, non-specific experience, and resume typos.
  • Prioritize communication. While you can certainly find an assistant who has the skills to work well with your company, keep in mind that every business is different. Know that you will still have to train your assistant to meet your specific needs.

Being comfortable interviewing is the first step to finding the right virtual assistant for your company. Once you master the process, it’s time to move forward.

Step 5: Begin The Interview Process

When you have a collection of potential assistants, it’s time to begin the interview process. It’s important to recall your interview preparation and make sure you stick to your needs. If you choose to use the Virtual Latinos agency for this process, we can help walk you through the interview process, so you feel more at ease and confident in your choice.

Depending on what you’re looking for, it may take a few interviews to find the right match. Be patient; it’s better to spend extra time upfront to find the right person than have to restart the interview process after hiring someone who ends up being a bad fit. If you are choosing between a few applicants, consider how you communicated with each of them. The ability to communicate can easily fill any gaps in knowledge through training and mentorship.

Why Virtual Latinos?

When it comes to the virtual assistant industry, no one has more qualified, professional options than Virtual Latinos. We pride ourselves on taking the time to thoroughly vet each and every one of our assistants, so you can rest assured your chosen VA will be a professional and knowledgeable addition to your business. While other agencies employ workers from the other side of the world, presenting numerous collaboration and communication issues, we hire our skilled virtual assistants from Mexico, Central American countries like Costa Rica and South American countries like Colombia and Argentina. For example, this means that Guatemalan virtual assistants will be in a time zone very close to your own. Similarly, virtual assistants from Peru can achieve seamless collaboration on day-to-day tasks.

Virtual Latinos’ prices are competitive compared to the cost of finding a virtual assistant on your own, and our service is unmatched. To begin the process of finding your perfect virtual assistant, reach out to the Virtual Latinos team. Fill out our online form today, and a representative will be in contact with you shortly.

How Virtual Admin Assistants Are Essential for Small Businesses

Tips & How To's

Why Every Small Business Should Consider Virtual Admin Assistants

As a small business owner, you have a lot to think about. From the moment you wake up, you are already thinking about what needs to be done for the day. You check your email, respond to requests, and look at your mile-long to-do list, and that’s before you’ve even had your morning coffee. As the day goes on, you correct others’ mistakes, communicate with clients, work on payroll, create a staff schedule, assign projects, order supplies, and manage your social media accounts.

The end of the day rolls around, and you undoubtedly realize that there’s something you’ve forgotten, and before you know it, you’ve worked late into the night. Being your own boss is great, but many people don’t realize just how much it takes to be a small business owner. The tasks literally never end. The unfortunate reality is that many small business owners don’t have the ability to hire a full-time assistant to make their life a little easier. Fortunately, there is a solution.

What is A Virtual Admin Assistant?

Virtual admin assistants are a fantastic resource for small business owners, though it’s relatively common not to realize their potential. A virtual administrative assistant is someone who works for you but who does so from a distance. They can handle any administrative task, large or small, that can be performed remotely. A virtual assistant will communicate with you regularly, just as an in-person one would, but you can tailor your virtual assistant’s tasks to only cover what you really need help with. There’s no wasted time or money.

Benefits of a Virtual Assistant

Having a virtual assistant on your team has incredible benefits for your business. Here are just a few of those advantages:

  • You save money. Hiring an in-person administrative assistant requires that you have room in your budget for a full salary. With a virtual assistant, you do not have the obligation of hiring someone full-time, nor do you have to pay any additional overhead for them to be on your team.
  • You save time. So many of the tasks that take up your day can and should be delegated. With your expertise in your particular business and all that it takes to run things, allowing someone to take on scheduling, emails, or other customer service tasks is low-risk and can save you a significant amount of time.
  • Higher productivity. With someone else handling small chores and tasks, you are better able to focus on bigger items. With more energy to spare, you’ll likely find that you work faster and produce higher quality results.
  • A cost-effective solution. It’s quite possible to be in a place where you only need a little bit of help. Hiring a virtual assistant allows you to get the help you need without paying for what you don’t.

With these benefits, the potential for business growth and personal work/life balance is endless.

What Problems Do Virtual Assistants Solve?

The effect your virtual assistant will have on your business is entirely up to you. Depending on the tasks you assign, your remote assistant will be more or less impactful on your day-to-day life. However, there are some overarching issues that all virtual assistants help to solve.

  • Profit loss. Many businesses see profits dwindle when the employees are too busy for new clients or specialty services. As the business owner, freeing up your own time with a virtual assistant capitalizes on potential profits.
  • Lack of specific business knowledge. Nobody expects you to know everything about the business world; the details are constantly changing. Hiring a virtual assistant gives you someone who is an expert in certain business tasks and may be able to bridge the knowledge gap for you and your customers.
  • Time wasters. Many business owners don’t realize just how much time “small tasks” can require. Simple assignments such as email correspondence and filing can easily become a burden on your schedule and take up your valuable time.

You will be truly amazed by how much your small business can flourish without these issues, all from hiring a qualified virtual assistant.

What Specific Tasks Can My Virtual Assistant Handle?

At Virtual Latinos, we offer a large menu of tasks that our trained assistants can take on. The specifics are entirely up to you. Here are some of the most commonly assigned tasks for our virtual assistants:

  • Answering calls and emails
  • Follow up with vendors
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Data entry
  • Research

There are many more tasks that a general virtual assistant is more than capable of handling. You can fully customize their tasks based on your needs and budget.

Why Hire Virtual Latinos?

When it comes to finding the right virtual assistant company, there are lots of other options available, but each of these has some downsides. The specialists in the United States often have a high cost of living, and therefore charge a higher hourly rate for their services. Specialists in Asia or Australia tend to charge less, but the extreme time differences make correspondence difficult – it often takes a full day to complete one conversation with them.

Virtual Latinos has solved both of those issues by providing quality virtual assistant services at affordable prices in a compatible time zone. With most Latin American countries, there will be no time difference at all between you and your virtual executive assistant. This means that you can easily correspond with them and expect a response soon after you send a message. This is also advantageous for your clients, who will be able to reach your virtual assistant during normal business hours.

Call Virtual Latinos Today

Stop wasting time being less productive and less successful than you could be.

Hire a virtual assistant from Virtual Latinos today and allow your small business to reach its full potential!

Tax Season 2021: Why You Need a Bookkeeping Virtual Assistant More Than Ever

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Tax Season 2021: How a Virtual Assistant Can Help You Prepare

The 2021 tax season is in full swing, meaning that we’re all gathering documents, meeting with tax advisors, reviewing the best tax software, and trying not to panic. Though tax season can be stressful for anyone, it can be especially daunting for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Many people open businesses with a great idea and a plan, but without so much background knowledge on business tax law or accounting. Even if you do know how your business’s taxes run, it can be a scramble to assemble the right documents, find all of your receipts, and get everything entered by April 15th.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still a present threat, it can be hard to find the help you need with your documents, and it’s likely that your business had a rare situation or two that will need to be reflected on this year’s taxes. Now, more than ever, it is time to consider looking for help with tax prep. Though many normal sources of assistance are booked up or unavailable, bookkeeping virtual assistants are ready to help with your 2020 taxes.

Common Tax Preparation Roadblocks

For businesses, there are strict rules about what needs to be done during tax season. All deductions and expenses need to be accounted for, and the tax documents themselves can be confusing. Whether it’s your first tax season as a small business owner or your 30th, try to avoid these common tax season roadblocks:

  • Forgetting to budget time to assemble documents. Personal taxes may only take a few hours to complete, but business taxes are much more intricate. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is waiting until the last minute to begin your taxes. Assemble all of your paperwork as early as you have it, as this process often takes longer than you think.
  • Waiting to call a CPA. A Certified Public Attorney, or CPA, is one of the main sources of help during tax season. Because CPAs help with taxes, their schedules are often busy from the beginning of February until Tax Day. If you wait to call one, their services may be more expensive or unavailable altogether, and you will have to tackle your taxes alone.
  • Assuming your CPA will do everything. Many people think that hiring a CPA is all they have to do for tax season, but this is absolutely not the case. A CPA cannot search through your files to find appropriate documents. If you do not have the necessary documents and receipts ready for your appointment, your CPA will be unable to help you. Remember, assembling these documents takes longer than you think, so give yourself sufficient time before your appointment to collect them.

Avoiding these simple mistakes is only part of the battle of tax season. Now is the time to look for help with your taxes.

How Can a Bookkeeping Virtual Assistant Help?

Virtual assistance services can help you with a wide range of tasks and issues. Our trained bookkeeping personal assistants have experience and knowledge in taxes and online bookkeeping. They can be a great help during tax season. Here are some of the tasks that a bookkeeping virtual assistant can help you with during tax season:

  • Organizing accounts. Your bookkeeping virtual assistant can make sure all of your financial accounts are in order and ready for your accountant.
  • Pulling and organizing documents. Your virtual assistant can go through your online files to pull the pertinent tax documents and make sure they are ready for your CPA. If you have an online system for receipt records, your VA can assemble those as well.
  • Working with a CPA directly. If you’d like, you can have your virtual assistant be the main point of contact with your accountant. Our bookkeeping virtual assistants have extensive experience with tax season and can easily work with a certified accountant to finish your taxes. In these situations, you would only be contacted if there is an issue or missing information, making your tax season stress-free.

Bookkeeping virtual assistants can only be as efficient as allowed. If you have not retained the correct documents or do not have an efficient filing system for information and monthly expenses, they are limited in how they can help. If you are intimidated by finances or don’t have accounting software for bookkeeping, consider hiring a bookkeeping virtual assistant for year-round services. Some of the services a year-round bookkeeper can provide are:

  • Send and receive client invoices and organize them appropriately
  • Follow up with accounts that are not balanced and get appropriate payment
  • Create and send client receipts
  • Maintain receipts, including copies of client receipts for your records
  • Categorize expenses for easy access during tax season

If you don’t have a bookkeeper on hand, it’s in your best interest to hire a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant may or may not have previous experience in bookkeeping. At Virtual Latinos, some virtual assistants are experienced at bookkeeping, which includes the use of accounting software like Quickbooks Online. Although some of our virtual assistants don’t have specific bookkeeping experience, they are usually able to quickly learn the skill of bookkeeping. The process typically involves our clients either: a) Teach it to the virtual assistants themselves, or b) Clients give them access to online resources so the Virtual assistants learn on their own.

A virtual bookkeeping assistant can create invaluable financial filing and storage systems for your company that will benefit you year-round. Virtual assistants are significantly more cost-effective than an in-house bookkeeper and can provide other administrative assistant services as well.

Why Hire Virtual Latinos?

Virtual Latinos is one of the best virtual assistant companies in the world. Our assistants are all highly trained and vetted, and many are college-educated and ready to work. Most virtual assistant companies operate out of Asia or Australia. Though these companies provide low prices, it is nearly impossible to work efficiently with someone who is on the other side of the world. The time difference makes things incredibly frustrating. With Virtual Latinos, you get the best of both worlds. We provide quality assistants who can meet your needs at affordable prices, all in a time zone that operates with your schedule. When it comes to virtual assistant companies, no one can better serve the businesses of North America than Virtual Latinos.

Contact Virtual Latinos

Whether you are looking for a year-round bookkeeper or a virtual bookkeeping assistant to help you this tax season, Virtual Latinos has a match for you. Contact us today to get started.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Virtual Assistant in 2021?

Tips & How To's

In today’s business world, working remotely is not just a popular option. It is the way that many businesses keep moving forward. COVID-19 made it necessary for business leaders to think outside of the box to remain competitive. Remote workers were already a significant part of many tech business models, but the pandemic broadened its application to other industries as well. As remote work has become more normalized, it is often a first-choice option for filling many newly open positions. If you are currently considering hiring a virtual assistant, you likely have several questions about the process. One of the main questions may be, “how much does a virtual assistant cost?” When considering the cost of hiring a virtual assistant, a business must take into account several factors that make up the real costs and the potential savings for the company.

Unlike many positions, there is no standard hourly rate for virtual assistants. The hourly rate can range from $1 an hour to over $100, depending on the job and the applicant. The key factors that determine the cost of a virtual assistant include:

  • The type of work the virtual assistant is capable of doing
  • The amount of experience the virtual assistant has
  • The parameters of your project
  • Where the virtual assistant is based

Hiring the right virtual assistant can save your business significant amounts of time and money. The key is to hire the right virtual assistant to match the needs of your company without sacrificing the quality of work you would expect from an in-house hire. One of the considerations when hiring a virtual personal assistant is whether to limit your candidate search to the US or to explore options in other countries. Hiring a virtual assistant from outside of the United States can offer significant cost savings for your business. It is important to compare the costs as well as the pros and cons of hiring from various countries before making that decision. The following questions can help you decide which option is best for the needs of your company.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Virtual Assistant in the US?

Hiring a virtual assistant (VA) in the United States will have an average cost of between $10-$40 an hour. The virtual assistant cost will depend on the type of work you expect the VA to be able to perform. Hiring a VA to handle low-level administrative tasks or miscellaneous services such as research, marketing, and SEO work will average $10-20 per hour or more. Executive-level VA services can average $30-40 an hour and higher.

The benefits of hiring a virtual assistant in the US, as opposed to a permanent employee, include the cost savings from only paying an employee when you need them and not having related auxiliary costs such as insurance and benefits. Virtual assistants are a great option for startup companies that need help to succeed but cannot handle the cost of a full-time employee. Hiring virtual assistants from inside the US can provide a part-time solution with a high rate of success, and they can be in your home time zone.

Hiring a virtual assistant from the US takes only 3-4 weeks, as opposed to a full-time employee who can take anywhere from 1-4 months. Recruiting full-time employees can also involve significant recruitment fees.

Virtual assistants provide the same level of flexibility as hiring a freelancer. Unlike freelancers, VAs tend to provide the same level of accountability, loyalty, and top-level professionalism that you can expect from an in-house staff member.

Virtual assistants from within the United States provide the benefit of being easily understood by customers. This allows customers to have their service-related needs met easier and faster. Choosing a VA from within the US also provides you with an assistant that understands the cultural norms unique to the country.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Virtual Assistant in Europe?

Hiring a European virtual assistant will be much more expensive than choosing a VA from other countries outside the United States. The exception is virtual assistants from Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. Additionally, many companies also levy an additional tax of over 20% on the cost of virtual assistants. While the cost of virtual assistants from Eastern Europe can average $7 an hour, the cost of VAs from the UK or Western Europe will be three times as much or higher.

Choosing a European VA offers some benefits that a virtual assistant from other non-U.S. companies cannot. The cultures of both Europeans and Americans are fairly similar, so you can avoid misunderstandings that can occur due to cultural differences. Most Europeans are fairly fluent in the English language, which can make communication easier for both virtual employee to employer relationships as well as customer relationships.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Virtual Assistant in Asia?

Hiring a virtual assistant from Asia can offer greater cost savings than choosing a VA from the United States or Europe. VAs in countries such as India or the Philippines can cost as little as $3-5 an hour. However, the hourly rate may not be enough to make them the best option. Some of the drawbacks to using a virtual assistant from Asia include:

  • Language barriers. Many VAs from Asia use English as their second language, but there may still be frequent communication barriers that result in instructions being misunderstood or questions not being answered properly. This can lead to loss of efficiency and no real-time savings that you need from your virtual assistant.
  • Technology issues. Internet and phone connections are often not as reliable in some Asian countries as they are in many other places. This can make it difficult to complete tasks on time. It also can make it challenging to communicate with your virtual assistant when you need them.
  • Security Issues. Working with a virtual assistant in Asia can subject you to exposure to data breaches and privacy issues. You may also need to be cautious about avoiding scam operations. Laws surrounding intellectual property and other privacy issues will vary between countries, and litigation overseas can be extremely challenging.
  • Time zone differences. Working with a virtual assistant in a different time zone can present several challenges. If you need a project completed by noon, and the VA is in a different time zone that is 12 hours ahead, it can cause confusion as to project timing.
  • Cultural differences. There are many distinct cultural differences between countries in Asia and those in the western hemisphere. These differences can result in confusion and misunderstanding between an employer and the VA.

In the instance of hiring a virtual assistant from Asia, the lower hourly rate may not be a true saving.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Virtual Assistant in Latin America?

Hiring a virtual assistant based out of Latin American countries such as Mexico, Argentina, Peru, and others can be cost-effective and provide the best answer to your staffing needs. The cost of a virtual assistant from Latin America starts at $5 an hour. The rates will vary depending on the level of expertise you require for your project.
Choosing to hire a virtual assistant from Latin America offers several benefits:

  • Virtual Assistants from Latin America are in the same time zones as companies based in the US. Being in the same time zone makes it easier to communicate with your VA since they are typically working the same hours as you. There is also less miscommunication around project timelines.
  • VAs based in Latin America are fully bilingual. Hiring a virtual assistant who is fluent in English and Spanish can provide enormous benefits for your company. This is especially true in areas that have a large population in which Spanish is the primary language.
  • Latin America has a vibrant and growing higher education community. A virtual assistant from Latin America is likely to have acquired more secondary-level education experience than VAs from other countries outside the US. Latin American countries such as Argentina are becoming well known for their IT expertise, and Latin America is developing a reputation as a prominent destination for outsourcing.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Virtual Assistant on Your Own vs. From a Virtual Assistant Agency?

Once you have decided that a virtual assistant is the right option for your business, you will need to decide how to go about finding the VA that will be the ideal fit for your project’s needs. There are several options for searching for a virtual administrative assistant, but on a basic level, it comes down to researching potential hires on your own or hiring an agency to do it for you. Both choices come with benefits and costs. Consider the following when deciding which path is the best for you:

Pros of Freelance Virtual Assistants:

  • Hiring a freelance virtual assistant provides you with greater control over the hiring process. You are getting the virtual assistant that you deem is the best fit for your project, rather than the one the agency has available or that they feel is best for your needs.
  • Using a freelance virtual assistant can often be less expensive than dealing with the fees that agencies or freelance platforms may add.

Cons of Freelance Virtual Assistants:

  • Hiring a freelance virtual assistant for each individual project will require a great deal of research and time. You will need to use platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer.com, and others to post a job description, search through tons of applications, interview the best of the lot, and make an offer. This can be time-consuming and counterproductive considering you are hiring a VA to free up your time.
  • Another downside of hiring a freelance VA is that you have no recourse if the work is not what you expected.

Pros of Virtual Assistant Agencies:

  • Using a virtual assistant agency gives you access to a wide variety of professionals with specialized skillsets ready to help with all of your project needs. There is usually a monthly fee that gives you access to a pool of professionals that match your needs.
  • Agencies usually provide better recourse and oversight in the case of employees who do not meet your expectations. They can also provide substitutes and backups, which are not an option if you choose the freelance route.

Cons of Agency Virtual Assistants:

  • The cost of hiring a virtual assistant through an agency can be much higher than a freelance virtual assistant.
  • For some agencies, you pay a monthly fee for access to company VAs, even when you don’t need them.

The decision between searching for a freelance virtual assistant through various platforms or working with an agency will depend on your desired level of control over the process, your budget constraints, and the importance of having a convenient source of vetted professionals at your disposal.

Why Is Virtual Latinos the Best Cost-Effective Option to Hire Virtual Assistants?

Virtual Latinos offers the best solution for hiring virtual assistants. Hiring a virtual assistant through Virtual Latinos will cost you 40-75% less than hiring a VA within the United States. Choosing Virtual Latinos Agency will also provide you with experienced virtual assistants, the recruitment team will handpick the perfect match for your project needs. Both options will provide you with a Spanish-and-English bilingual virtual assistant that can provide the reliable and professional level of virtual assistance you need for your company.

When you hire a virtual executive assistant through Virtual Latinos, you have access to affordable, top-quality candidates from all over Latin America. You can be confident that the VAs you employ are committed to a long-term relationship with your company and will provide the same loyalty as an in-house team member. Over 90% of Virtual Latinos VAs have earned a 4-year college degree, and top VA applicants normally have training and certification in areas such as digital marketing.

Your VA will be working from the same time zone as you, providing ease of real-time communication. Virtual assistants that you hire through Virtual Latinos will have the technology and reliable high-speed internet service to ensure that they can complete task assignments on time and without technology-related issues. They are also more familiar with the cultural norms of America and can help to expand your business to relatively underserved markets.

Reach out to Virtual Latinos to find out more about our virtual assistant hiring process and how we can help you achieve your hiring goals.

Why Hire a Virtual Assistant From Virtual Latinos?

The true cost of hiring a virtual assistant is much more than just a dollar amount. Although the hourly rate of VAs from Asia may be lower than many other options, they do not provide the same level of reliability, professionalism, and ease of interaction and communication that you can receive from someone within your own time zone. A virtual assistant from Asia may also not have the reliable technology to make project completion efficient. Other concerns such as cultural understanding and language barriers can negate the benefit of a lower hourly rate.

Choosing a virtual assistant through Virtual Latinos offers business owners like you, the possibility of saving costs and time by allowing the experts to match you with the person best suited for your project. Both options will provide you with an affordable, high-quality VA. The cost savings of choosing Virtual Latinos for your virtual assistant extends to knowing that the company has already done the hiring legwork for you and the applicants are already vetted. Hiring a virtual assistant with the help of the Virtual Latinos agency will save you both time and money. Contact Virtual Latinos for quality talent at an affordable price. We can provide the best option for your virtual assistant needs.

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