You’ve started a business? Wow.
Let me guess:
You’ve shaken hands with a couple of clients, you’ve pocketed some cash, and now you’re ready to flip to the next month on the calendar.
You’re ready for the future!
But hold off on popping the champagne corks just yet -
You’ve got way too much to do.
In fact, you don’t even have the time to celebrate!
You need someone who can fill the gaps in your business.
You need someone who can answer the phone, and file away what needs to be filed away.
You might even need someone to do odds-and-ends around the house...
You need a personal assistant, or a PA.
But, this business solution isn’t one size fits all; luckily, there is a variant of PAs that can provide solutions to different needs.
Virtual assistants - PAs who work from home - are a recent addition to the world of work, providing solutions from the other side of the world.
But just as there are many types of PA, there are many things that you need to know.
Take it from me:
Last year, one of my clients was in a pickle.
Their small graphic design business was just starting to get off the ground.
Goodbye shakey revenue, hello profit!
Their teeny tiny office and teeny tiny team were doing good. But it wasn’t long before the work started piling up.
There was too much to do, and too few hours in the day!
It was when they started burning out that they decided they needed a change.
It was that same afternoon that I received an email from them:
“There’s too much to do, and I don’t know if we can get through it…
...It’s like we are going backwards!
If only there was someone that could take some of the weight off our shoulders…”
There is someone.
I soothed my clients queries, and found them an instant - and effective - solution.
His name was Sam, and he was a virtual assistant.
He was their whizz-kid for everything admin, filling in their gaps in their hard-working team.
“How’s that business doing now?”
With a 46% increase in profit on top of last year, I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Fancy seeing the same results?
This article will take you through:
- What personal assistants are and the different types
- Whether you need a personal assistant
- Whether you should get a virtual or personal assistant
- The benefits of hiring a personal assistant
- Our top-rated agencies for hiring a personal assistant
It’s self-explanatory, isn't it?
A personal assistant is someone who assists a professional in their home or work life.
Typically, their duties can include, well, just about anything you need doing:
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Managing Data And Filing
They won’t just help out with your workload; they can help sort out your homelife, freeing up more time that can be put to use whichever way you decide.
Read More: Personal Assistant Job Description
Despite this arsenal of possible tasks, there are personal assistants that stick to a niche, such as administrative assistants.
Virtual assistants on the other hand can do most of these jobs, but from home.
Administrative assistants - the most popular kind of assistant - tend to be over 40.
And you know you can only ever trust the experience gained over the years.
Let’s say you want something to take the reins of your customer service, or to help polish up some marketing tasks - VAs can do just that.
The main divide between VAs and PAs isn’t just the distance, however, VAs obviously can’t pick up your dry cleaning, or drop your kids off at school.
They can only do the tasks you can send over the web.
(But this doesn’t stop them from being an effective solution to your business needs.)
In fact, because VAs tend to be contracted for shorter periods - often on an hourly basis - they can be cheaper, more efficient hires.
And to save you the confusion:
‘Freelance personal assistants’ is often used as an alternative term to describe virtual assistants, and specifically means a personal assistant that freelances to multiple clients simultaneously.
Making any decision is hard, I get it.
I’ve been there, and I’ve done that.
Read More: Wikipedia on Personal Assistants
Remember Sam? He transformed our clients’ business.
And I want to pass on our little secret.
So, I’ve compiled the 4 questions you need to ask yourself to work out if you need a PA :
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Do you have too much to do?
If you have an ever-growing to-do list, outsourcing these tasks to an assistant is the first tip on offer.
Like I said - when our client started burning out, we began the hunt for a VA.
One of the worst tasks they complained to me about wash trying to take on Excel - they didn’t understand tech, or data, let alone know how to handle it!
But, I could easily find them an expert, and fix that problem.
So, if you’re running out of time, it’s time to hire a personal assistant.
Do you struggle to keep on schedule?
Sticking to deadlines…
Keeping on track…
Not a chance!
Last year, another client who ran a gourmet food business was in serious trouble.
They started falling days behind schedule, then weeks. Then they threw out the schedule all together!
As you can imagine, their revenue was rocked, and their stress levels peaked.
Enter one of their VAs, Natasha.
With a wave of a re-scheduling wand, their calendar was re-calculated.
They could finally get organised, and start being successful.
Sounds familiar? It’s time to consider a new hire.
Do you have a small office or work remotely?
I understand - the different types of personal assistant can get really confusing.
But the easiest way to work out if you should be going virtual with your assistance needs is this: do you have room for a personal assistant?
Take my client’s business.
They worked in a small office that could fit - no, not fit, squeeze - 6 people in.
There was no room for an extra chair, let alone a whole other person!
And as for another laptop or another long-term salary…
The budget just couldn’t budge.
If this is your business right now, it’s time to get a virtual assistant.
You can hire them on an hourly basis, leaving you with an eye on the cost.
And as for effective? Send out a task, and receive the result.
They really are a quick fix.
Do you need assistance outside of work, too?
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, the office does not close at 5pm.
The office never closes.
In fact, the office doesn’t even exist! It’s right there, in your phone.
This means that achieving a work-life balance is no easy feat.
If you struggle to switch off, and struggle even more with tasks and errands at home, a personal assistant is the option to tick.
A virtual assistant can’t pick your kids up from school, can they?
A personal assistant is just that - personal.
If you have a problem, they have a solution.
Many universities now offer degrees and courses in becoming a Personal Assistant.
This means you can receive the trained and trusted support you and your business deserves.
So, you’ve heard how the different kinds of personal assistant can work for you.
You’ll have even worked out which one will be a match for your business!
Not sure just yet?
Maybe these benefits will seal the deal and convince you to hire a personal assistant:
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They can do any task
Personal assistants are typically trained in the relevant tasks and have experience in a range of activities.
As long as you make it clear what needs to be done, they can do it.
From home-based activities, to answering the phone in the office, you can always have support in whatever sector needs it.
If you have a problem, they have a fix for it.
So, if any obstacle comes your way, you can be sure to know that there’s a helping hand - on hand!
They can be specialists
Let’s say you work in a busy marketing department. And when things get busy, you need support right?
You can get that support!
Virtual assistants are typically specialists, and can be selected based on their expertise and experience
So, whether you need niche support, or struggle with a specific task, you can reap the rewards of a low-cost alternative to a full-time hire.
Finally, you can have the expertise you need to support your business.
They are always on hand
(This is probably the most popular reason to hire a PA.)
PAs often have a long-term commitment to their employer, and if there’s a problem, they can solve it - wherever, whenever.
But it doesn’t stop with your personal assistant solving your problem at 9.30am on a sunday…
You can hire a virtual assistant who can do your tasks overnight and slip them into your inbox by the next day.
This is what makes VAs quite so useful.
My client’s VA, Sam, worked in Australia, a long trip from their UK home.
If there was a problem at 5pm, it could be sent to him, and by the time they had tucked their kids into bed he was on it.
They become well-versed in your business
When you’ve had your personal assistant for a while, chances are they’ll know your business inside-out.
They’ll know your values, they’ll know your aims, and they’ll know your colleagues.
And most importantly: they’ll learn the solutions to your common problems overtime.
This means they become a trusted backboard for your issues and ideas.
So, when they do provide a solution and support, it’ll be in line with your business.
They already know the ropes
Personal assistants know the drill.
They’ll have worked for a whole host of businesses and executives - including ones just like yours.
So, when you begin the painful process of handing over some control of your business, you’ll realise it isn't actually painful at all...
They have the experience and expertise to jump on board and get on with it.
Sam signed on at 9am on a monday an odd 7 months ago, and immediately knew what he was doing.
No training, no tellings-off, no long editing processes.
Just high-quality results.
So - you’re interested.
You’re ready for someone to pick up your dry-cleaning and tick off those other time-consuming tasks.
Or maybe you’re looking for someone to save your social media? Or maybe even deal with your data?
But there’s just so many tasks to do, and so many different people that can do them?!
I get it. I know it can be confusing.
Why do you think I’ve had so many clients asking me about how to solve their time-related problems?
Celebrity personal assistants are a seriously tough career to break into.
Why not treat yourself to the VIP treatment, and hire some help?
So, to save you the search, I’ve brought together our top-rated agencies for finding the different types of personal assistants :
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Kind of Personal Assistant
This is a leading secretarial agency. These are personal assistants and executive assistants who provide professional support to businesses.
They support a wide range of industries, from creative start-ups to banks.
This is an agency/jobsite for freelancers or virtual assistants.
Specifically, this focuses on small businesses on a global scale, and any skill that can be sent via the internet can be found.
This agency provides personal assistants who offer more personal support to professionals .
This can include support during house moves, cleaning, organising your schedule, and travel arrangements to name just a few.
Reviewers loved the service, and the wide range of professional support that was on offer.
Also, the high-quality level of service was also a popular mention.
Users loved the quick search function, and found it easy to use. But the high charges were considered a problem.
And thanks to the potential for scammers, reviews were polarised.
Reviewers raved about the range of services provided, and the organisational support on offer.
If you need something done - anything done - they can do it.
Typically, employers put out job listings, so it depends on the role.
However, this doesn't tend to include long-term hires at higher prices due to the professional service expected.
The fees vary:
The first ||$||639.48||$|| earned with one client is 20%.
This can fall as low as 3.5% if over ||$||6394.78||$|is earned.
They feature a ‘pay as you go’ pricing method.
This means you can keep control of your spending on the support you need.
A problem fixed means payment is required.
We get emailed, tweeted, and asked questions everyday from our clients about personal and virtual assistants. So, we thought we’d beat you to it, and answer them now!
What’s The Difference Between A PA And A Secretary?
A personal assistant will work with an individual, whereas a secretary will support the whole office in administrative tasks.
But the real difference? It’s you.
You can have your PA do secretary-like tasks, such as admin, note-taking, and answering calls - it’s your choice.
What’s The Difference Between An Executive Assistant And A PA?
Executive assistants are typically the better-paid, more-intensive positions.
This is because they report to higher-level professionals such as managers and CEOs.
They do often have similar duties, but EAs strive to make their bosses’ lives easier, whereas PAs tend to provide a simpler level of support.
What Exactly Does A VA Do?
Whatever you want to outsource to them!
But the most common tasks often include:
- Organising your work week
- Sorting your social media
- Customer service
- Filtering your email inbox
- Administrative tasks
You can outsource a wide array of tasks and ask for an even wider array of results.
Do PAs Cost More Than VAs?
VAs tend to be the cheaper option as they can be contracted by the hour, whereas PAs are a long-term, salaried role.
But the hourly rates do depend on the tasks you outsource. For example, administrative tasks from our Sam were the cheapest tasks we outsourced to our VAs.
It’s the niche tasks, like controlling social media, that cost more.
By now you should know the different kinds of support on offer to you and your business.
Fact is, none of us know how to do everything.
And none of us have the time to do everything!
So, now it's over to you:
What tasks do you need to outsource?
And which kind of personal assistant will suit your business best?
Contributor & Virtual Assistant Expert
I’m the Virtual Assistant Expert here at QuoteGrab, covering everything you need to know about remote assistants from all over the world.
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