The VA industry is incredibly lucky to have a range of skilled and talented business support professionals who offer a wide range of services to clients, from bookkeeping and transcription services to diary management and graphic design. Over the last few years, I have also seen a significant rise in the number of customers looking for assistance with ‘techie’ stuff, but what exactly is a techie VA, and what do they do? Here are a few examples of jobs that they can assist with:
Website design – though DIY websites (and even eCommerce sites) are becoming more and more common, if you need special functionality from your business website, or would prefer it to be set up quickly and efficiently by a skilled and experienced web developer, there are a number of VAs out there who can help. Many have a portfolio of websites that they’d be happy to share so you can see their skills in action.
Website maintenance – having a website means committing to take care of it, a bit like a plant. Sometimes, things can go wrong, and it’s important to have someone who can help you get the site up and running again with minimal downtime. ‘Techie’ VAs can often also help with changes to the site (minor and major), from adding a new call to action or blog to installing a payment system and creating a contact form.
Integrating digital tools (i.e. websites and payment systems, or websites and CRM systems, etc.) – in business, it’s often important for our tools to be able to talk to one another and share important customer data. Some tools do this relatively easily, whereas others may require some creative coding or a third-party app (like Zapier) to make this work. There are a number of VAs out there who have the skills and knowledge to assist with this.
Creating sales and marketing automations – if you want to work more efficiently in your small business, saving valuable man-hours by automating various repetitive and time-consuming processes, it’s now possible to do that with a tool like Infusionsoft or ActiveCampaign. Though these tools are often quite intuitive and user-friendly, it’s often helpful to bring in a remote team member to set things up and/or upskill the rest of the team. Once set up, these automations may be able to run for months or years without further review, but it’s the skill and experience of an automation-focused ‘techie’ VA that helps to ensure this can happen.
Search Engine Optimisation – Though it is possible to do many of these ‘technical’ tasks yourself, you are paying for the years of knowledge and experience of a techie VA, skills that often help them to carry out work far quicker and more effectively than an unskilled individual. A SEO specialist VA can help you to boost your website’s rankings in the search engine results pages (a process which can take from 3-12 months to take effect), which should help benefit your business for years to come.
Software specialists – Computer aided design specialists, etc. There are some VAs who have an incredibly high level of proficiency with software programmes, and can complete even the most technically challenging work on that particular software accurately and efficiently. This knowledge goes beyond the ‘occasional use’ level and into the ‘expert’ zone, making them the ideal person to call on if you’ve got a particular problem with that software that you’re struggling to overcome.
If you’d like to become a VA who specialises in some of these more technical skills, the more important thing is gaining practical experience. There are a number of YouTube video tutorials and ‘how to’ resources available on the vast majority of software programmes out there, and there are also training courses available that might prove beneficial if you are a complete beginner to the software (though it might be worth asking a fellow ‘Techie’ VA if they think that the course material will be of value to you). Another thing that I would highly recommend is subscribing to the tool yourself – some companies allow you to set up ‘sandbox’ accounts for testing, or allow you to trial the tool for 14 days to get some practical experience. For me, there’s nothing like actually getting involved in some live software to learn the platform and its functionality.
If you’d like advice about software or skills, feel free to get in touch or post a message on our helpful VA Hub.