Business owners and entrepreneurs are known for a lot of things, from their innovative prowess to their ability to put in long hours bootstrapping their ventures. But having excess time on their hands? That’s certainly not one of them. Knowing this, experts have long pointed to outsourcing tasks as a way to better free up your time and energy in order to cultivate new ideas.
That’s where a virtual assistant comes in handy. Still, the reality of delegating tasks to a virtual assistant isn’t always feasible, particularly when you’re already stretched thin on covering living expenses and payroll. So instead of allocating more cash toward a virtual assistant, use free or inexpensive technology to complete some of your more menial tasks. Here are five areas of tech in which a virtual assistant can do wonders for your business.
1. The iPhone 6s Plus
Not all smartphones are created equal, especially when every moment counts in business. To better organize your day-to-day affairs, choose a smartphone that will help your work life run more smoothly and efficiently. In fact, the iPhone 6s Plus comes with a 12 MP camera, 4K video recording and a 4.7-inch retina HD display with 3D touch.
But perhaps most attractive to business owners and entrepreneurs is a workflow launcher app that will allow you to easily create quick, work-related shortcuts. For example, you can create so-called “rules” to:
- Find local coffee shops offering free Wi-Fi
- Work on your latest business presentation
- Upload files to Dropbox or create a quick PDF
Zapier has quickly built a solid reputation in the business world. In particular, this platform allows professionals to more easily eliminate repetitive tasks from their busy schedule and, instead, automate these processes. Best of all, Zapier can seamlessly integrate with hundreds of web apps in a few clicks and pass information between these apps to create more streamlined workflows.
Indeed, the options are endless. For example, upon receiving a new email that contains an attachment, business owners can set up a “Zap” that will automatically copy the message’s contents into Dropbox and alert employees via Slack or another similar project management tool to work on this new file.
Instead of juggling a complex and busy calendar on your own, simply use a scheduler to more easily carve out time with clients and prospects. This way, you won’t ever have to worry about whether a new meeting will butt up against another prior obligation. It works a little like this: set up Calendly to let it know your day-to-day schedule and availability and then share your schedule via email or embed it on your website.
Indeed, this will allow your customers or clients to pick a mutually-desired time to speak or meet. And if you own a consulting business, you can use an online calendar like Acuity Scheduling, where clients pay for the time they’re booking in advance without you ever having to follow up.
Business owners who need an assistant to help with everything from finding a conference room to booking a hotel in another city can use Hound via Soundhound. Because the app understands both context and details, simply pick up your smartphone and say a command like, “Find a hotel for under $200 in Chicago” and Hound will get straight to work. Ultimately, you’ll save time searching on your own so you can stay focused on more important work at hand.
It can be tough to generate a constant stream of social media content that will let your customers, clients or prospects think of you as an industry thought leader. Of course, you can stay relevant on social media by continuously posting valuable content and company updates.
But instead of merely posting this content once, use a tool like Edgar that will grab your posts on Facebook and then post to a separate channel, like Twitter or Instagram. Forget about scheduling content day after day. Soon, trusty ‘ol Edgar will create a wealth of inspiring content that will allow your marketing department to more easily funnel leads to newsletter signups and eventual sales opportunities.