Sometimes running a business feels like drowning in endless work. People told you that you can achieve time freedom when you get started with your business, but that’s not what it feels like. The solution: get personal assistants.
- 1) Breathe the Free Air
- 2) What Is a Virtual Assistant?
- 3) The Biggest Reasons to Hire Personal Assistants
- 4) Getting the Most Out of Your Personal Assistant
- 5) Conclusion
Breathe the Free Air
Hiring personal assistants or virtual assistants is a simple yet effective and cost-efficient solution. With the added help, you free up huge chunks of your time so you can spend it on other more important matters.
Not only does this increase your productivity it also gives you a better work-life balance. You get more done and you also get to spend more time with the people who matter the most in your life.
What Is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant (VA) or personal assistant is a remote worker or employee that is hired usually on a freelance basis. They can be paid per hour or per project completed. They are experts in their respective fields and they work part-time for clients to earn some extra cash.
These personal assistants can be hired personally via freelancing websites or through a virtual assistant service provider. Hiring a VA can be the best decision that you will be making for your small business.
Since they are subject matter experts, they can offer top-notch services. They can also offer expert opinions on subjects that they know best. For instance, an expert in search engine optimization can be hired as a VA to help you rank your website. They can also be consulted regarding web SEO tools
The Biggest Reasons to Hire Personal Assistants
Apart from freeing up your time so you can perform tasks that drive business growth, a virtual assistant can potentially give you a host of other benefits as well. Here are the biggest reasons why an entrepreneur should hire a VA.
They Keep You from Going Crazy
Do you sometimes feel like you’re overwhelmed? You’re running a business with upward momentum. That’s great! But then you find your to-do list getting longer.
As you discover new facets of your enterprise, you realize that there are a lot more other things that you should have paid attention to. As the days go by you feel like you’ve done a lot but you end up achieving less than the day you started.
There are clients you need to meet and talk to. There are suppliers you need to haggle with. There are a hundred emails you need to sort out. There are current customers who have issues that you need to address. And then there are leads that you need to generate in order to keep your business running smoothly.
But that’s not all.
You still have to do your taxes, you need to get some equipment fixed, you need to pick up the kids from school, you need to attend this seminar, you need to schedule a meeting with potential investors, you need to make it up to your spouse, and you need to take the dog to the vet.
How do you deal with all of that?
The solution may be simpler than you might think—hiring a virtual assistant. They help you get the business side done so you can work on your personal life as well.
But you’re hiring another employee. Won’t that cost you more money?
Ah, that is a good question. A lot of entrepreneurs will have difficulty managing their expenses. Hiring your very own in-house staff will cost a good deal of money and it’s not just the salaries that we’re talking about.
You need to spend money for the office space—human beings occupy space and your employees need the workspace to do the things you ask them to do. And then there’s the office supplies and equipment that you have to provide.
You need to purchase desks, telephones, chairs, computer equipment, projectors, and a host of other things that you will use in the office. And then there’s the increasing cost for utilities. More people in the office means more people who need to use water, power, and heating.
That’s a lot of expenses to keep track of in the workplace.
Hiring your own virtual assistant will help to reduce that. How? First off, they work remotely. You don’t need to spend money on their workspace, equipment, and utilities because a remote worker has to cover all of that on their own. They have a home office and they do their tasks there.
Note that you can hire remote workers either on a part or full-time basis. Although, a lot of VAs today prefer to work part-time instead since they may already have a regular nine to five.
Since you’re hiring someone remotely, you can also opt to hire a VA from other countries where the labor rates are significantly lower. This is one way to save money. The only caveat is that you need to make sure of their language proficiency. They should know how to speak and write in business English (or whatever local language it is you’re using in your country).
You Can Scale Up and Down with Ease
Business growth requires more than just more capital. You will also need to get more manpower to keep up with the increasing demand for your products and services. Staffing needs will also require more capital.
Hiring personal assistants will help to reduce the capital needs of your business. You will be reducing the costs compared to hiring domestically. On top of that, you will also reduce costs on training and development later on. You’re ramping up your team’s numbers in the process without going over your budget.
Downscaling is also not a problem. Since you’re hiring freelancers, you have no long-term commitment to keep them in your employ. You only need them for a specified period of time. When that expires, you have the choice to renew the employment or just go on without them.
You don’t want to come home overworked. You don’t want your in-house employees overworked as well. Again, this goes back to that work-life balance that we talked about earlier.
Hiring a personal assistant that does the job remotely will be a big help to reduce your workload and thus bring down work-related stress. Here are some of the tasks that you can assign to your assistant:
- Content writing
- Web development
- Search engine optimization
- Data entry
- Email management
- Social media page/account monitoring
- Managing support tickets
Reduce your workload and also that of your in-house staff and you end up with a less stressful workplace. You will have happier employees and a more cheerful work culture.
Allows You to Focus on Increasing ROI
If you want your business to be more efficient, you need to focus on the core of your operations. You need to apply your entrepreneurial prowess where it counts the most. In short, you should devote a huge chunk of your time to activities that contribute to gaining more return on investment.
As you go about your day to day operations, notice that there are two categories of tasks that you will encounter regularly:
- Things that you don’t really need to do yourself.
- Things that require a certain amount of expertise that you don’t currently have.
There are things that you don’t really need to do yourself. You can delegate these tasks to someone else, preferably not an in-house staff member who also has a crucial role to play in your enterprise. This is where a personal assistant comes in.
There are also tasks that you know you’re not fully qualified to accomplish. It could be big data management or technical research on your competitor’s products. You’re the entrepreneur not the jack of all trades. On top of that, you can’t be in all places at the same time.
The solution, again, is to delegate those tasks to more qualified experts in that field. And yes, a virtual assistant may also come in and be that person for your business. Routine tasks that are often repetitive and laborious need to be reassigned to other personnel. Again, a virtual assistant can help you with that as well.
Delegating non-core tasks like answering the phone, answering emails, and managing your appointment calendar will free up your time and the time of your core team so you can breathe easy and do what you do best.
Make Your Operations Available Round the Clock
The beauty of an increasingly connected world is that your business doesn’t have to operate only on the local market. As your business grows, you can expand your reach and get customers from across the globe.
However, this also means that you must make your customer service available 24/7. Of course, your in-house team will need to go home after office hours. They too have personal lives to attend to.
To ensure that you have company representatives who can answer customer queries and handle their complaints and concerns, if any, then you will need the help of remote personal assistants. Pick the ones that live in the time zone of your customers. If you have customers in Australia or Indonesia, then you should get VAs who live in those same time zones.
Hiring a virtual assistant from a different country also benefits your operations especially during the holidays. VAs from overseas don’t have the same holidays as you do, which means they can man the fort while you and your office-based team are on a holiday.
Speaking of holidays, since you have someone you can rely on to maintain your business operations, you have the opportunity to allow your regular employees to go have holiday breaks. You can assign some of their tasks to your VA.
Getting the Most Out of Your Personal Assistant
It can be a bit scary if you’re hiring personal assistants for the first time. For one thing, you don’t see each other face to face and for the most part, your VA may be halfway around the world.
You may be concerned whether they are actually working during work hours or maybe you’re not getting the most out of their services. This lack of direct supervision can make some people think twice about hiring remote workers and that is understandable.
The good news is that there are ways to ensure that you’re getting quality work out of your VAs. Some of these practices have now become industry standard to some degree. Here are a few tips that might help you in case you’re getting a virtual assistant for the first time.
Meet with your virtual assistants for about 20 minutes each day.
Hold 20-minute briefings with your VAs at the start of every working day. This should be an established routine and it has been shown to help improve business productivity. Set goals for the day during these regular meetings.
Assign one of your in-house staff members to do this briefing session. This practice will instill a sense of teamwork and encourage open communication.
Always document all your systems and procedures.
Documenting your systems and procedures will help your personal assistant get the hang of how things are done in the workplace. This documentation should be done even before you hire a VA.
It will help the VA as well as your regular office staff to become familiar with your office systems and workflow. If there are any questions as to how to do something—like requesting for office supplies, materials, and computer equipment, then everyone can use the documentation to find answers on their own.
Provide the tools from the start.
Be ready to provide tools to your virtual assistants like time tracking software, CRM, calendar, and others. If you can’t supply them with that then at least tell them which tools you want them to use and they will acquire them themselves.
A lot of businesses and even large corporations today hire personal assistants. This practice allows you to get more things done and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Hiring personal virtual assistants is a simple yet effective and cost-efficient solution. With the added help, you free up huge chunks of your time so you can spend it on other more important matters.
Not only does this increase your productivity, but you also give yourself a better work-life balance. You get more done and you also get to spend more time with the people who matter the most in your life.