Running a business is hard, right?
We know that you already have enough decisions to make.
And we know that you already have too much to do.
So, how can you make all of that just a little easier?
Why not employ a Virtual Assistant?
Sorry, a what?
Last year, one of my client's business expanded faster than we expected.
And sure, it was great!
They smashed their aims.
They beat their targets.
(And they even nudged some competitors out of the way).
But when you expand, you end up with more to do.
And when you have more to do, you need someone to help with your growing to-do list.
But guess what?
There are people that are actually employed exactly for this purpose.
So, I spent no less than 27 hours - of course I counted - researching Virtual Assistants to help my client find their new colleague.
And because we could review their skills, experience, and vet their profile, they knew what we were getting.
Ever since adding a VA to their team, my client's rate of growth hasn’t slowed.
In fact, its speeding up!
Having her help lighten their workload left them with more time to focus on the important things.
And when you are in business, every minute matters.
Having gone through such a time consuming ordeal, I refuse to let you waste precious time on finding such a useful asset like I did.
Instead, I’ve compiled the ultimate resource to help you employ a virtual assistant.
Today’s article will cover:
1. What virtual assistants are
2. Why you should hire a VA
3. The work you can expect from a VA
4. The benefits of using a VA
5. Which provider should you use to find your VA
And if you still aren’t fully convinced, check out my FAQs to soothe any of your qualms.
Simply put: a virtual assistant - or VA - is a self-employed assistant who provides professional, technical and creative support remotely.
A dedicated virtual assistant on the other hand is someone that works in the office rather than remotely.
And the demand for VAs is currently booming.
It’s even set to rise in the future.
Let's face it:
The world we live in is increasingly connected.
From mobile phones to superfast internet, we are nearly always online.
And working remotely? It’s the new norm.
That’s why virtual assistants are the current go-to for getting ahead in business.
In fact, just as much as you use the internet to connect with colleagues and customers, the same goes for Virtual Assistants.
Do you use the internet?
Can you not stay away from your phone for more than 15 minutes at a time?
Then why wouldn’t you hire a VA?
Read More: Wikipedia on Virtual Assistants
Making any decision is tough.
We know that.
And when it comes to your business, you know that you have to take extra care.
You worked hard to get it where it is today, and why wouldn’t you be protective of it?
That’s why you need to work out if any step you take is for you.
And all you have to do is think about your business.
So - to save you time - here are the 7 questions you need to ask yourself to find out if you need a virtual assistant:
1. Are you a small business?
Virtual assistants are suited best to smaller companies.
Let’s say you own a small business.
You probably have a smaller budget, and it’s likely you also have a smaller office.
Virtual assistants work remotely, so you won’t even have to think about squeezing a new desk in.
And you definitely won’t have to find a laptop in your budget.
Basically, you get double the resources for half of the expenditure.
2. Do you have specific tasks that you simply don’t have the time to do?
Running a business means you have to be on high alert all the time.
That means ad hoc duties and tasks pop up all over the place.
And when you already have a lot on your plate...
Why waste your time on administrative tasks?
Especially when you could just hand them straight over to a capable VA.
Put your expertise and experience to better use somewhere else!
3.Do you even know how to do these tasks yourself?
We all have our strengths.
And if admin isn’t yours, there’s really no need to spend time trying to figure these processes out?
In fact, why even risk producing something that simply isn’t up to the standards of your business?
You certainly wouldn’t tolerate that kind of lax anywhere else in the biz.
Find a virtual assistant who can produce the high quality results you deserve.
4. Are you struggling to find the time to focus on big business decisions?
If you own a small business, you will only have a few employees.
This means someone has to do the administrative tasks to allow your business to run.
But when you’re busy doing these tasks, you’re losing time you could dedicate to your business.
If you hire a VA, you can reclaim that time and instead do more of what you do best.
Someone has to steer the ship!
5. Are you looking to save on the cost of hiring a new employee?
Let’s say your business is growing.
And sure, that’s great.
But then you have to hire new colleagues. And this costs.
Yet, thanks to VAs, you can get all the necessary work done for significantly less.
6. Do you like to stay connected?
In today’s world, we are all connected.
Whether you are at the office, or on vacation in another country, you are always ready for business.
And that’s why a virtual assistant can be perfect for you.
A lot of business is online now, right?
That’s the point of a VA!
If you are always connected, having a VA wouldn’t be much of a change from a normal day at the office.
Let’s say you’re still getting to grips with your new business.
We know that running a business is never straightforward.
Chances are you have a rather long to-do list, and a rather diverse to do list at that.
This is why virtual assistants are so great!
You know what you do best.
You know what you are good at, and you also know the tasks you normally hand over to a nearby colleague.
And guess what?
So do they.
- You can choose the work you want done
- You can select the expertise
- And you can let them get on with the tasks that always end up taking too much time.
Still need convincing?
How will they work for your business?
Here’s a list of actual tasks virtual assistants can do for you:
Money makes the world go round, right?
And keeping tabs on the money coming in and going out can be a time-hungry task.
So why not hire some help to do that?
Whether its sorting invoices or paying the bills, you can stay on track with your finances with a virtual assistant.
If you’re looking for online research, then look no further:
This is one of the most popular activities for virtual assistants.
They could be looking up corporate webpages, looking at products, or assessing business contacts.
How’s that for saving time?
Data presentationsStaying on top of data is important. No one is denying that.
Well thanks to virtual assistants, you essentially let this stage of business take care of itself.
If they’re updating information for existing contacts or sorting the numbers, it’ll save you actually doing it.
Need to know what’s going on with your business, like, right now?
It’s already sorted - if you have a VA, that is.
VAs often analyse and produce presentations on the data you need.
So, if you need to see the whole picture, that’s all in a day’s work.
Sorting out your email
Emails eat up the hours in the day.
We’re all guilty of checking them.
Not to mention sifting through hours of spam and other unnecessary messages.
Desperate for an easy inbox?
VAs can give you just that.
They can filter out the emails you don’t want and show you, strictly, the information you need.
Keeping you up-to-date on industry news
You’ve got enough balls in the air as it is.
Now you’re supposed to worry about what the competition is up to?
Your virtual assistant can keep tabs on what’s happening in the industry, and provide you with the information you need.
And any other tasks
Have to book a hotel for your next business trip?
Need to plan your calendar for the next month?
Virtual assistants can be digital PAs, and are often well versed in both social and business chores.
It’s pretty simple.
We all know that if you have someone helping you with your work, you’ll get it done faster.
But there’s a lot more to it than that.
In fact, there’s a lot more to virtual assistants than sending out ‘thank you’ notes.
If you still aren’t convinced to hire a virtual assistant, check out these benefits:
They are experienced in administrative tasks
Often providers tend to vet their applicants based on experience.
This way you can get highly skilled assistants who can leave you to do what you do best.
And given their assistant experience, they can easily adapt to your company.
We know how important it is to find something that will adapt to your needs right now, and those in the future.
VAs have a range of niches and expertise levels
What sets VAs apart from PAs is not just that they are online.
Many VAs actually stick to a niche to set them apart from the crowd.
So, you can discover the perfect match to your business’ needs.
It can even allow you to bring in fresh expertise.
It’s a flexible service
The world of work is changing.
Just as some of your colleagues will work remotely, the same goes for the VA.
And this means that they are ready for work nearly any time of the day.
They are adaptable to your business
Finding a new employee is hard, right?
Will they fit in with the team?
Will they bring the skills they need to adapt to your business?
Lucky for you, VAs showcase their skills and niche expertise clearly on social media and provider pages. That means you can find the perfect fit with ease.
In the new world of work, change is key.
Adapting to the changing environment of the corporate world, and bringing in fresh knowledge and skills is central to this.
And guess what?
Virtual assistants do just that.
Thanks to Virtual Assistant companies, you can now find the perfect virtual assistant to suit your industry and workload.
So, now you're interested in finding a Virtual Assistant?
The question is: how do you go about finding one?
There are 3 ways to find the ideal Virtual Assistant for you:
1. Go through an agency which guarantees a vetted and trustworthy assistant to your business’ needs
2. Search for one based on the networking and self-marketing of the VAs themselves
3. Put a job posting online seeking a VA
Use A Virtual Assistant Agency
Using an agency to find a VA means you can be easily matched to the ideal assistant.
You can ensure that they have valid qualifications, experience and the skills to support your business.
Also, it saves you wasting time researching possible candidates.
To save you even more time, we’ve compiled our top rated agencies to help you ensure you will find the perfect VA for you:
Customers raved about the ease of suitability. Their VAs can just jump in to their new work!
Reviewers loved the adaptability of Prialto to their changing business needs.
Customers always mentioned the reliability and access to support.
And you deserve the support.
Reviewers raved about the simplicity of the service and the client control.
Minimum package is ||$||477||$|| for 10 hours
Minimum package is ||$||1200||$|| a month and includes 50 hours of support
Estimated minimum monthly fee of ||$||12.99||$||
For a marketing expert, you can pay between ||$||35||$|| - ||$||75||$|| per hour
Only selects VAs with expertise and experience in business-critical support services.
Provides VAs who support real estate professionals, service professionals, sales professionals and start ups.
It’s a call answering and live chat service which lets small businesses outsource to a call centre.
Specialises in eCommerce and marketing.
Clearly there are loads of different providers that are ready and willing to match your business needs to capable and experienced VAs just like that.
How cool is that?
Finding a new hire has never been easier!
Find Your Virtual Assistant via Networking
We are obsessed with social media.
For everything you do in a day, there will be a website where you can send, share and discuss it. And the world of business is no different.
That’s why VAs dominate LinkedIn.
Virtual Assistants tend to focus on their self-marketing to ensure they receive work. They are actively seeking you, so finding one shouldn’t necessarily be too much of a task.
Even Twitter is now considered one of their key sites to engage with their potential employers.
However, this requires a personal search, and a detailed process that involves interviewing and testing them with tasks to ensure they are up to the job.
Agencies are the solution to this time-heavy and costly procedure.
Putting out a job page yourself.
If you thought skimming through social networks to find a solution to your VA-needs was time-consuming enough, try putting a job posting online.
Having written the job page, you then have to:
- Review applications
- Interview candidates
- Test tasks to ensure they are a good fit
- Choose your VA
Why not skip this step, and find a great VA to match your needs with an agency?
Finding a Virtual Assistant can be easy if you go through an agency.
But then you have to learn how to manage them!
As Virtual Assistants are a relatively new concept, we've compiled the questions we get asked everyday to help soothe your qualms:
How do I manage a virtual assistant?
VAs are, essentially, just remote staff. You should treat them the same as your other employees by:
Training them where necessary (assigning a test project may be useful to see if they’re a good fit.)
Assigning tasks based on their abilities and job spec.
And finally checking in regularly to ensure they are on track.
(This manages everybody's expectations by keeping an eye on your new recruit’s productivity whilst also giving them the chance to ask questions as they progress).
If they aren’t fulfilling their role, fire quickly.
Sounds ruthless, but you want the best for your business, right?
If you have hired from a VA provider, asking for a different one is no difficult feat.
The last key piece of advice is this: communication is really important.
Whether its frequent emails, or a phone call to touch-base every so often, engaging with your VA matters.
How do I choose the right one?
So you’ve gone through a provider, or maybe you’ve even found a good candidate on LinkedIn.
The question is: how do you know if they are the right VA for you? You’ve not hired this way before.
Sounds like it’s time for an interview!
This phase of recruitment can be done online, too.
Thanks to both providers and the digital experience required of VAs, this whole process can easily be digitised with as little as a video call!
What is ‘hour rollover’?
If you have unused hours with your virtual assistant, they will rollover to the next period.
Not all providers do this, though, and these hours will be billed as normal regardless.
Best to check beforehand!
How does the pricing work?
Freelance virtual assistants set their own rates per hour.
Providers , on the other hand, offer packages - often per month.
Some virtual assistants even prefer a monthly retainer , which guarantees them a certain amount of work.
By now you should know whether virtual assistants will suit your business.
You should even know how to manage your new hire, and where you can find them.
Now it's over to you:
What tasks do you want them to do?
And what are you planning to do with all of that time you’ve freed up?