Here are some of our most commonly asked questions and their answers as simply stated as we can.
If you still have questions after reading this, please feel free to peruse our website further, or contact us directly. We will be happy to help you in any way we can.
Just what is it that you do? What kind of work can you take on for me? What should I send to you? What do I delegate to you?
All these questions are asking basically the same thing, "what is a Virtual Assistant?" It's easier to explain what we can't do first and then explain what we can do.
We can't do anything that requires us to be physically onsite or that requires any type of specialized degree (such as law, accounting/CPA, etc.) Pretty much a VA can handle anything else. The better question is, what do you want to get off your plate? We can do data entry, process emails (and include TL;DR commentary where necessary), schedule appointments, manage calendars, track receipts, bill customers, pay bills and vendors, manage marketing programs, manage social media accounts, prepare and compile marketing/presentations/research/etc., manage fundraiser/Kickstarter/Indiegogo campaigns, manage budgets, project management, meal planning, shopping (online), manage customer interactions (appreciation programs, newsletter programs, etc.) and we can help you find someone to take care of the things we can't do - all while freeing up your time to do what's most important to you, whatever that might be.
A good rule of thumb is, if it can be done on the computer, we can do it. There are a few exceptions either direction, but it's a good starting point.
What is a "dedicated assistant"?
A dedicated assistant is an assistant who works directly with you time after time. You don't have to worry about constantly teaching a new person how you want information returned, what format to use in your calendar appointments, how often you want reports, or anything else. You teach one assistant, and that part of the effort is completed, "one and done". Your dedicated assistant will learn your desires and eventually be able to predict your needs without you having to repeat yourself, or even ask in some cases. Your dedicated assistant is the only person you need to communicate with on a daily/project basis, but your dedicated assistant also works with other clients (this is how we keep the overhead down and pass those all-important savings off to you.) This may, on rare occasions, mean your dedicated assistant needs to reach out to another person in our network because your specific task requires skills they may not have, or they have an urgent task that is going to collide with timely completion of your task. The beauty of a dedicated assistant is they manage all their clients' projects from start to finish, regardless of whose hands are doing the work, and they are the one who receives the results and presents them to you in your preferred manner. It is all seamless for you, and you don't have to pay a second (or third, or fourth, and so on) individual.
Your dedicated assistant is a college educated professional who is highly qualified and extremely proud of the work they do, and their goal is always to go the extra mile and exceed your expectations.
What is a "collaborative consumption model"?
The collaborative consumption model is a system that our founder learned about when she worked for Zirtual, and she has carried forward the same practice into her own business because it worked so well. What this means for you is that you are only paying for the time that you are using on your tasks (your assistant isn't charging against your bank of hours if they are not doing work specifically for you), but they work for several clients on their book, which keeps them busy for the regular work day. Therefore, if you only give 2 hours of work per day, you are only charged 2 hours of work per day, not 8. This gives you dramatic savings over hiring an in-house employee. It is your assistant's job to manage their day and make sure tasks are completed fully and in a timely manner. We are not able to give immediate turn arounds but aim (wherever possible) to meet the following deadlines:
Respond to a request (so you know it was received) within 1 hour of notification (or first thing the first business day after notification if it has been sent outside of regular business hours) with any questions or an estimate of when it will be done (if no deadline is given) or confirm ability to meet the deadline (if one is given)
Complete "typical" tasks (items that don't require extensive effort/research/etc.) within 24 hours or by the deadline given (whichever is earlier). This window is the most flexible, as without knowing what other tasks are potentially a high priority there may be some reasonable delay in the 24-hour window. This is also where the assistant calling on our network is very helpful.
Update as soon as possible if there is any new evidence that makes it clear a deadline is going to be impossible to meet that was not foreseen. An assistant will do everything in their power through the network and other tools to meet all deadlines, but sometimes things just can't be avoided - such as external websites going down, medical or physical emergency, etc.
Where is my dedicated assistant?
Currently, the network of individuals working through Interlocked Solutions are all in the United States and Canada. If this changes, we will make it an option to hire based on location, but at this time we don't have any outside North America. We do not work with the Asian/Indian market of individuals on other sites because we have found them to be of poor quality results.
What time can I send tasks? When are you working?
As a general rule, the assistants work from 9 am - 9 pm Eastern Time/6 am - 6 pm Pacific (2 pm - 2 am GMT) Monday through Friday. There are times assistants may work on the weekends or outside these hours at their own discretion, but we do not require them to do so.
However, you can send tasks at any time. We encourage you to email them anytime you need to and they will get back to you at the first opportunity with any questions or with confirmation about deadlines, etc. Sending last minute tasks at the end of the day will often cause these tasks to be pushed to the next business day. While you can send tasks at any time, it is safe to consider anything sent within the last hour to an hour and a half of the business day may well not get finished the same day (depending on the task request and the assistant's current workload.)
Will my assistant work holidays?
There are certain holidays Interlocked Solutions observes by default. Your assistant will not be required to be online during these holidays, and if the holiday falls on a weekend, then Interlocked Solutions will observe federal practices for observance as the need arises. The holidays observed are:
New Years Day (Jan 1)
Independence Day (July 4)
The day before Thanksgiving (3rd Wednesday of November) - at the assistant's discretion
Thanksgiving (3rd Thursday of November)
The day after Thanksgiving (3rd Friday of November) - at the assistant's discretion
Christmas Eve (Dec 24)
Christmas Day (Dec 25)
Boxing Day (Dec 26) - at the assistant's discretion
New Years Eve (Dec 31)
Please give your assistant ample time to complete tasks prior to these if you do not observe them yourself, setting deadlines that will allow them to get work finished before holidays or after they return.
Since we offer our services worldwide, there will be a blanket email sent out to remind you of the pending observed holiday so you can schedule and work with your assistant accordingly without any undue surprises.
Can my assistant edit audio/video/presentations/do design work/do my accounting/do sales calls/etc.?
Your assistant can do amazing things but there are some limitations. When a task requires very specific training, etc. we can't do that but we can help you find an excellent vendor who can do it. For other tasks, we can certainly help you and are very happy to. For outgoing calls, we can do these on occasion, but we are not set up for taking incoming calls (we are not a call center/don't have multiple lines/trunk lines. For more information check out our page "What We Do (and Don't)".
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