Does running your small business take all of your time and energy to the point where you have nothing left to give? Does your endless list of tasks keep you from focusing on your true passion and growing your business?
Then it may be time to hire a Virtual Assistant.
What is a Virtual Assistant
Simply put a Virtual Assistant (or VA) is a remote professional who can assist in the running of your business. They can also be known as Virtual Professionals or Remote Freelancers. They come with a wide range of skills and can be available as much or as little as you need them with the ultimate purpose to help you grow your business.
Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Outsourcing mundane tasks or even just tasks that you’re not particularly good at is a great way in which Virtual Assistants can help your business. If you keep trying to do it all yourself, you’ll only be able to get so far.
Below are the most common advantages to Hiring a Virtual Assistant.
Hiring a VA is less expensive than hiring a full-time employee. You don’t have to pay a full-time salary, medical insurance or for an office. (For more information on how much Virtual Assistants cost see more below)
Did you know that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American works 8.8 hours every day, yet research suggests that an individual worker is only productive for around 2 hours and 53 minutes of that time?
Let’s do a little math based on those statistics. Let’s assume that you pay a Full-Time physical assistant a salary of $40,000/year. They would earn $833/week for being in the office (on average) 40 hours and being productive for roughly 15 of those hours. A VA on the other hand who charges the base standard of $30/hour would be paid $450/week for working exactly 15 hours.
With a VA you only pay for productive hours and are able to cut out all of the overhead. It’s a win/win for both small business owners and virtual assistants who are able to manage their own schedule.
Occasional, regular or dedicated support. Your VA will be there for you only when and where you need it.
It’s important to note that VAs will likely have some structures in place such as no work on weekends or 24 hour notice for a project. It’s important to discuss your needs and expectations up front to make sure the partnership will work for both of you.
Virtual Assistants are skilled at what they do. Many of them come from the corporate world and know how businesses are run and will offer services in their particular set of skills. General VAs can be hired if your tasks are varied but require low skill levels, however most VAs will specialize in 1-3 areas.
Most importantly, your VA can bring skills to the table that you don’t have or are lacking in. Don’t have time to learn social media marketing? Hire a VA who has experience to do it for you.
Virtual Assistants are in business to help others by doing what they love and are good at (just like you!). Their success depends on your success so they will invest themselves into your business just like if it were their own.
As Virtual Assistants, we understand that you’re relying on us to do our job well so that your business can continue to succeed. Not only does your business depend on the positive execution of tasks, but also our reputation and business.
Ultimately, we want our clients to succeed and therefore will strive to provide high quality service to each.
And if you are looking for even more reasons, check out this article from the Virtual Hub on the 10 Reasons Why Successful Companies are Hiring a Virtual Assistant.
Types of Services Virtual Assistants Provide
Before you can go looking for a VA to hire, you need to identify the biggest pressure points of your business and the main areas you want to outsource.
Start by asking yourself a few questions:
- Where/on what do I spend most of my time?
- Where/on what do I wish I could spend more time on and equally less time on?
- What is the a task that kills my soul and I wish I never had to do again?
Okay, maybe that last one is a little dramatic… or maybe not.
Once you have your list of tasks or projects that you could hand off to someone else than see if you can group them together to start getting an idea of what to look for in a skilled professional assistant.
I’ve provided some examples of groups of skills that VAs typically specialize in. This is not an exhaustive list, just an idea of some of the services VAs offer. As you can also see, it may be necessary to hire a team of VAs depending on your business needs.
- Administrative – client correspondence, email and calendar management, set up meetings, proofreading, note taking, presentation and handout creations, data entry, research
- Bookkeeping/Accounting – record keeping, budgeting, projecting cash flow, revenue expenditure management, payroll, quickbooks management
- Ecommerce – manage inventory, create listings, data entry, handle transaction issues, customer support, product management, product image editing, handle returns/exchanges
- Marketing/Design – email marketing, sales funnels, keyword research, product launches, sales or landing pages, logos, branding
- Real Estate – posting ads, sending introductory messages, following up with prospective sellers or buyers, doing property research, create listings, handle paperwork
- Social Media – set-up and maintain social platforms, create and schedule content, provide performance metrics & strategies, create and run ads
- Techie/Technical- hired to handle your many systems- Infusionsoft, Dubsado, Leadpages, Kajabi, Teachable, Samcart, etc., they also work with system workflows, new system integrations, webinar assistance
- Travel Arrangements – personal or corporate bookings, prepare itineraries, arrange accommodation, set up meetings, event planning
- Website Expert – creation and design, monthly maintenance, update or install plug-ins and themes, fix technical errors, create pages and post and schedule them, most will specialize in WordPress
- Writing – copywriting (website, emails), book editing, publishing, general word wizardry
How Much Does a Virtual Assistant Cost
Each Virtual Assistant will set their own prices and stipulations for payment. What a VA charges will vary based on their country of residence, expertise and services they are providing.
Having said that, most VAs will charge for their services in 1 of 3 ways. In all instances contracts should be put in place to protect both the VA and Client.
This is purely an exchange of time for money. You will only pay your VA for the hours they actually worked.
This is a great option if you don’t need a lot of assistance or don’t need it consistently. Your VA will simple invoice you after the project has been completed.
2. Monthly Retainer
Monthly retainer agreements are great for ongoing support from your VA. Whether it’s 20 hours, 40 hours or more a month, your VA is a valuable member of your business and team on this package.
3. Project Based
The price would be based on the scope of the project with an agreed upon deadline between both parties.
Final Note on the Importance of Communication
As with any team member, it’s important to have open communication with your Virtual Assistant and hold a discussion about expectations at the beginning. It’s best to discuss the forms of communication (email, slack, Voxer, FB Messenger, Whatsapp, etc) as well as the general working hours for each party.
For example, maybe you are only available to answer questions during normal working hours or maybe you travel a lot so your communication can be sporadic. Maybe you want your VA to be available when you are or maybe you would rather hand off a project for them to complete and you don’t care what time of day they work on it.
Regardless of the situation, it’s good to know how and when each of you can get a hold of the other when needed.
And as with any new partnership, it may take a little time to find the rhythm, but in the end it will be worth it! Your Virtual Assistant will be your biggest cheerleader celebrating with you in all the small and big wins in your business.