It's been a hell of a year, hasn't it?
You've flipped the sign on your business to open'.
You've opened the door to a couple of customers.
And, hey, you're officially doing well!
One problem: word's gotten around town.
And now, there's a line of customers going a few blocks back.
Okay, let's cut the analogy.
You're business is doing great, but when you do great, you have more to do.
Growing a business means growing demand.
It means a growing list of things of things to do, and a growing pile of post-its on your laptop.
Lucky for you, there are people that know the drill.
They've helped businesses like yours grow.
And they've helped business owners like you deal with the growth.
The only thing they can't do is recycle those post-its on your laptop
Cause they're Virtual Assistants.
Sorry, they're what?
Virtual assistants - or VA s- do all the work of personal assistants, but from home .
(It actually took me 17 hours of solid research to work out what VAs were and then find our perfect VA - never again.)
Let me start at the beginning.
2 years ago, one of our client's business was a familiar sight to yours right now.
They started their business in a small garage in East Austin.
Yep. Born in the proud state of Texas.
They've gone worldwide.
But back there, in that garage 2 years ago, it was where it was blossoming
Sounds great, right?
Except for the fact that... my client?
He was burnt out.
Sam was our Virtual Assistant.
He basically filled in the gaps of their 4 person team.
He did the administrative work, he talked to their customers.
He picked up the slack where they needed him to.
Finally, they could get on with what they do best!
Fancy seeing the same results with your business?
I've decided to make it super simple for you.
So, today's article is going to give you the lowdown on finding a virtual assistant in Austin. I'm gonna look at:
- What a virtual assistant is
- What you need to consider before getting a VA
- The benefits of hiring a VA
- And finally, my top-rated agencies for finding a VA in Austin
And if you still aren't convinced, I've even brought together the questions I get tweeted, emailed and asked everyday, in the form of some handy FAQs.
We get it - there's a new word invented in the business world every minute.
It's hard enough trying to keep up with all the confusing acronyms
But trust me: Virtual Assistant' is one you're going to want to be acquainted with.
Basically, a virtual assistant is a freelance personal assistant who works from home.
You send them a job, and they do it!
And it's not just limited to typical administrative work, either.
You can vet the VAs based on experience in different fields, and they can do everything from content creation, to brand research.
It's all possible thanks to the internet:
Swap out the office small talk for skype and emails, and always have a helping hand, well, on hand!
Read More: Wikipedia on Freelancing
Virtual Assistants are the alternatives to permanent hires, and are often contracted through agencies, or through their own marketing.
And their payment can be based on their own rates, or through the agency's set rates - this just depends on which route you choose to take!
Making any decision is hard.
But when it concerns your business, the stakes are that much higher.
It could be decisions concerning budget, workloads, time pressures -
Whatever it is, you need to make the right choices, and you need to make them fast.
We know that. I've been there.
I've helped people hire VAs. Some good, others not so good. It was a learning curve that I want to help you avoid in the interest of time.
If you're new to VAs, how are you supposed to know where to start?
Because I sure didn't.
That's why I've decided to bring together the 4 questions you need to ask yourself to work out if you could, realistically, benefit from a virtual assistant.
So first things first:
Do you own a small business?
When my client first started their small business in their even smaller garage, there were 3 of them.
That's 3 people, squeezed around one desk, trying to build a company from the ground up.
And that's why their VA, Sam, proved so useful.
They didn't have to squeeze an extra desk in next to their car.
They didn't have to find a second hand - a.k.a. broken - laptop on eBay.
They just had to send a message.
Hey presto, they had a new hire!
If you don't want to fork out for a new hire - nor scrape together enough pennies to pay for the other accompanying costs - VAs are your solution.
Are there any tasks you are looking to outsource?
I'll be honest: I'm not good at filing.
I don't know how to mail merge in Excel, or efficiently organise large quantities of office data, either!
There are lots of things that aren't really in my wheelhouse.
If there are certain tasks that you don't have the time nor knowledge to do, specifically hire someone that does!
Do you work remotely?
In this day and age, working remotely is the norm.
And this is why virtual assistants make such a good fit for remote workers:
If you're working from your bedroom or a home office, you won't need to pull up an extra chair.
They have their own home office to work at.
If you're looking to expand your business - without expanding your office - VAs are the answer.
You won't have to change your business to accommodate a new hire; they adapt to you.
Are you overwhelmed by your workload?
Virtual assistants are popular for many reasons.
But one reason always seems to stick out: they do the pesky jobs that you just don't have the time for.
So, if you feel like you're losing your workday to tasks that aren't worth your time - like data entry, or scheduling your workweek - hiring a VA is an option.
Or, if you just fancy having some more time to yourself, VAs can lighten your load!
It's all well and good to turn your laptop on at 9am.
But if you're burnt out, you're already feeling tapped out by 1pm.
You wouldn't settle for that kind of commitment elsewhere in the business now, would you?
So, now you've asked yourself those all important questions, what's the verdict?
Is a virtual assistant the business solution for you?
Or would a permanent personal assistant be more appropriate?
In case you can't tell, I'm a big fan of virtual assistants.
Sam changed my client's business by streamlining their administrative tasks, and tying up all those messy loose odds and ends.
It meant their blog writer could get on with her writing, and the IT guys could stick to what they knew best.
No more fiddling with files. No more wasting time researching competitors.
And no more answering the phone.
Still not convinced?
I've compiled all the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant to push you to press hire':
Money makes the world go round.
Sure, you might have gone into business to solve a problem in the world around you.
You might even have done it to produce a high-quality product that the world deserves!
But whether you like it or not, you need to make money to keep your business afloat .
And one of the best ways to ensure that you make money, is to save it.
Thanks to VAs, they could control how much we wanted to spend:
Tasks could be scheduled down to the hour - and even up to a month in advance!
Want to stop hiring them? It's as easy as a click of a mouse.
We all have our strengths.
Take their content writer: she could whip up a high quality post in just a few hours, and send it out for the internet to fall in love with.
Could I do that? Heck, no.
She has her skill set, and so do virtual assistants.
We all know that when we have passion for/knowledge of something particular - our productivity is off the charts.
By cutting out those tasks that take up your time, and outsourcing them to the relevant expert who can do them in half the time, you can boost the WHOLE team's efficiency.
Now, that's how you get your money's worth.
High work quality
Similarly, when you're well versed in a field, your work quality is pretty high, right?
So, if you aren't an expert in Excel, you won't produce work of the best possible quality when working with it - that's obvious.
But that's okay - that's the nature of business. The smart move here is to hire someone that can give that quality - and as standard.
Thanks to VA agencies, you can vet VAs based on their respective fields and experience.
And you can guarantee that the person you hire is an expert in Excel.
Et voila - high quality work!
Office is open all hours
I don't know about you, but my client's business worked 9 to 5.
(With the occasional late night session to meet deadlines when necessary!)
Maybe a few panicked phone calls at 3am
Thanks to virtual assistants, though they could maintain workflow even after hours, and would often wake up to a finished task.
This means you won't have to forfeit normal working hours, or sacrifice a healthy work-life balance for your business.
Adaptable to your changing business
Like I said: they were a small business when they started.
They were a tiny group of employees cooped up in a garage.
So, when they decided we to capitalise on revenue growth, and start expanding their company, they could.
Because they had the support on hand to do so.
This is when Sam - their trusty VA - became really important.
They could hire him for more hours a week if and when it was needed.
Then , when it got to a particularly busy stage when and they needed 2 more VAs to meet growing demand...
They hire them for that period of time only.
If we had a difficult month, or an expensive few weeks
They simply said thank you', shook virtual hands, and that was that.
If they had a permanent hire, how would that have looked?
VAs can adapt to you. And that's why we love them.
Now, that's a lot of benefits.
Have we convinced you, then?
So, let's recap:
You've asked yourself the questions.
You've heard the benefits.
And now you want a virtual assistant.
Why wouldn't you?
They lower your costs and boost your work quality - it's completely win-win.
I'd probably be doubting your business acumen if you didn't!
Question is: how do you actually go about getting a virtual assistant?
There are 3 ways to go about hiring your very own virtual assistant:
- Posting a job advert
- Using social media to find a VA
- Using a VA agency
Personally, I recommend the last one, but for the sake of argument, let's have a little look at all 3...
All 3 will lead you to a virtual assistant.
( But we found Sam using an agency. )
First up: how about posting a job advert?
Once you've penned the job advert, you've then got to wait for responses.
Then you have to interview candidates.
Then you have to set a trial task.
And after all that?
You have to pick one!
How long is that going to take?
Or what about social networking your way to a VA?
It's just like posting a job advert, but you don't have to write and post it.
Instead, you have to research the candidates themselves.
(And then you have to interview them...)
Sure, both of these methods will help you find a virtual assistant, but they will probably also take more time out of your day.
If only there was a way you could just have all the virtual assistant options there in front of you.
If only you could be sure they had a guaranteed high quality.
If only you could just pick one, and pay.
Oh, but there is.
And it's those wonderful agencies that I just can't stop talking about!
To help make things even easier, I've brought together and compared the top-rated agencies in Austin to make sure you find only the best virtual assistant for the very best price:
Reviewers claimed it was the high risk of scams and the time it took to find a virtual assistant that lowered their scores.
This low score is down to the poor customer service and lack of support reviewers of this agency experienced.
Despite the high rating, reviewers did point our problems with the free trials.
As they are freelance VAs, they set their own prices.
Average price per hour of ||$||18||$|| - ||$||35||$||.
Their pricing starts at ||$||29.99||$|| a month, and this equates to 5 requests a month (a request is 20 minutes of work).
Prices start at ||$||249||$|| a month.
You can create customised packages, however.
Their clear, and easy to use website allows you an easy and streamlined search to find your ideal VA.
This is a freelance marketplace.
You can not only choose to delegate to the same VA to ensure consistency, but they also specialise in administrative tasks such as proofreading and customer service.
This is an easy to use and effective agency which allows you to mass message every candidate , saving you time on the pesky parts of the search.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Hiring a VA?
Clearly, we like virtual assistants.
We've written a whole article on them!
But if there is a disadvantage, it's this: you don't ever get to see your new hire face-to-face.
However, if you think about it, this could actually be an advantage.
You can save on the costs of getting a bigger office, and save on the spend of a new laptop...
If I ever wanted to deal with my VAs face-to-face', we'd just jump on a Zoom call.
And considering how remote work is a new part of the business world, is it really that different to how we do things today?
How Do I Choose a Good VA?
Firstly: you can't go wrong when you use an agency.
You can be sure they have a minimum amount of experience, have verified references and are flexible/available when you need them to be.
Secondly: make time to interview and test your candidates beforehand.
This way you can be sure that they have the suitable skills, and a compatible working style to make it a successful partnership.
You'll also get some insight into the quality of work that they submit when they're trying to impress - so you'll know for future if they're work is getting sloppy.
Ask them to engage with a spreadsheet, or write a cheeky blogpost - whatever is a good representation of the skills they're going to need moving forward.
And if you still aren't sure if they're a worthy choice, no sweat - letting them go is pretty easy too.
Make way for your new - better - virtual assistant!
How Do Agencies Ensure Quality Control?
Most agencies only allow people with certain levels of experience on board.
This is typically based on the number of years of experience they have in their field.
You can even see how many jobs they've done and their respective ratings, etc.
However, there are freelance marketplaces' - just like Upwork. .
As anyone can sign up for these, it isn't as easy to vet for quality, and will require a greater level of research.
How Can I Protect My Company Information?
In this day and age, privacy is important.
And when it comes to your business, the significance of staying secure is arguably more important than ever.
So, to utilise virtual assistants without sacrificing your security, here are a few tips I've found along the way:
- Only ever share the documents they need to see
- Ensure everything is password protected to limit access
- Change passwords periodically- or better, on a project-to-project to basis. This prevents VA's from getting access to things you are working on once their time with you has come to an end
- Make use of agency contracts
- Make use of agency mediation. If something goes wrong, you can easily contact them or report the problem directly.
So, have we convinced you?
They certainly worked for our clients, and we know that they can work for you.
Now, it's over to you:
Do you think virtual assistants could make a difference to your business?
And what task are you ready to outsource?