Many entrepreneurs go into business thinking that they can escape the daily 9 to 5 grind. But as your business starts to grow, you'll find that so does your workload. Soon enough, you'll realize that you're trying to wear all the hats and that your dreams of owning a successful business is a far cry from your current reality. Having plenty of work to do is a great sign, however, and it's not uncommon to want - or need - some help. It can be for something as mundane as checking emails, or for something more critical like filling in for you when you're away. If your tasks fall between that spectrum, you'll definitely appreciate the benefits of a virtual assistant.
What is a virtual assistant?
Virtual assistants, also known as VAs, are mostly self-employed experts who work for clients from a remote location. While many virtual assistants perform repetitive tasks, others have the skills, training, and experience to complete more complex work. Some of the most common virtual assistant services include:
- Office administration
- Secretarial work
- Transcription services
- Translation services
- Data entry
- Appointment setting
- Database management
- Proofreading and editing
- IT services
- Social media management
- Graphic design
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Sales and marketing
- Customer support
- Website administration
- HR admin
- Project management
You're probably thinking that these are tasks that an in-house employee can already do, so what makes a virtual assistant any different?
The 7 Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Many new and small businesses find that hiring a virtual assistant offers the best solution for a number of jobs. If you have a lot of work on your plate, but aren't ready to hire more in-house employees, consider the following benefits of a virtual assistant that may be of significance to you.
1. Lower Cost of Labor
The compensation package of a full-time employee includes not only a salary, but also other expenses such as taxes, leave credits, and a myriad of other benefits.
Since virtual assistants work as independent contractors, they handle their own expenses, including taxes and insurance. Sure, the cost of their virtual assistant services may already have those factored in, but it is still noticeably and considerably less as opposed to the cost of hiring a full-time employee.
To put things simply, you hire a virtual assistant to do work and pay them for their time.
2. No Extra Space or Equipment Necessary
Many new and small businesses operate in an office with limited space. Meanwhile, virtual assistants either work from home or in a shared office space instead of your company's physical location. They have their own laptop or computer, internet connection, and workspace. They may even have access to premium, paid software depending on the type of work they do. This means that hiring a virtual assistant comes with more or less a full package that can save your business money by not needing to buy new desks, chairs, phone lines, computers, or even more office space.
3. Flexible Work Arrangements
Many businesses have seasonal peaks. Accounting firms are busiest during tax season, lawn scapers experience slow periods during winter, pool services peak during the summer, and more. Regardless if there's little or a lot of work to do, you need to pay your employees full-time.
When you hire a virtual assistant, you only need to pay them for their work. Whether you agree on a number of hours or decide on a project timeline, you can just hire and pay a virtual assistant when they're needed.
4. Access to Talent
One of the reasons for you to need a personal assistant is for their specific skill set or, better yet, their long list of services. Even the most successful entrepreneurs can't claim to be the best at everything, after all. Finding someone with the right skills that match your specific needs may get really tiring, especially when they don't live in your location and are not willing to make the move. These are things you don't have to worry about with a virtual assistant.
Your virtual assistant can be in a completely different timezone, and you would still have access to the world-class talent that you need to get the job done.
5. Better Availability
You may sometimes feel like working 9-10 hours a day isn't enough, especially when you have clients from all around the world. However, you're just one person at the end of the day, and you know that you can't be available for them 24/7.
Having a virtual assistant that works opposite hours as you can help you widen your market reach. Some virtual assistants are even willing to work during weekends and holidays in your area. Essentially, they can handle your existing and potential clients while you take some much-needed rest.
6. More Work in Less Time
As a business owner, your most important work can often lay forgotten due to a heavy workload of mundane tasks. If you find yourself in this situation, you need a virtual assistant who can offer you a list of services so you can focus on crucial tasks.
While some virtual assistants are specialists, there are those who are generalists and can help you with multiple areas of your business. They make sure that these tasks get completed within the agreed timeframe so you can focus on bigger ticket items. Not only will your business run more smoothly, you will also have more time to explore growth opportunities or get some much-needed time off.
7. Reduced Risks in Growth and Scale
Every entrepreneur hopes for their business to grow and they understand that they need help to achieve it. But even when your numbers are pointing towards growth, it doesn't mean that you can scale up your business upward in a snap. This is another situation when hiring a virtual assistant can prove to be beneficial.
Instead of hiring in-house employees, a virtual assistant can help you manage your workload without breaking your budget. If business picks up, you can get another virtual assistant. If it doesn't, it's much easier to put a temporary stop to availing virtual assistant services than letting go of a full-time employee.
Final Thoughts: Hire a VA Today
If you're at a point in your business when you're doing too much work but not getting much done, hiring a virtual assistant is a fantastic solution. If you hire an experienced virtual assistant to help you manage your work, not only can you delegate every day tasks but also jobs that require a specific set of skills that you don't have. Rather than hire multiple in-house employees, a virtual assistant is a cost-effective alternative that can be more sustainable for a growing business.
The most important thing to keep in mind is establishing effective communications with your virtual assistant, either via email, phone calls, or messaging and conference apps. Once you give them a clear goal, you can expect to get great results. Not only can a virtual assistant help improve your process and productivity, you can also gain some peace of mind knowing that you have the help you need when you need it.