Over the last few years, the virtual assistant industry has grown tremendously. That much has been observable and comes as no surprise, too, as the far corners of the internet would always feature a virtual assistant or a virtual assistant services provider.
But why should you even try to hire a virtual assistant? How exactly can a virtual assistant be of assistance to you and your business?
We present the 5 why’s of you hiring a virtual assistant in this article. Moreover, we will also answer the following questions:
- When should you hire a virtual assistant and what are the signs that your business needs one?
- How do you work and collaborate with your virtual assistant?
- Where can you find a virtual assistant and how can you avail of their services?
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is a person who remotely provides varying services to business owners and, in turn, their businesses depending on their specific needs. Even though they’re not office-based, they have the virtual tools and required information to get their tasks done digitally.
The virtual assistance industry has grown so much that the days of self-employed virtual assistants are slowly becoming a thing of the past as today, you have virtual assistant service providers who can help you with a myriad of tasks such as:
- Data entry
- Lead generation
- Email management
- Database management
- And a whole lot more!
Is it worth hiring a virtual assistant? What would be your advantages from hiring one?
1. Lowered Costs
“How would that be, especially as I’m hiring yet again another employee?”, you might be asking. Here are the ways a virtual assistant can help lower costs:
First off, you lessen salaries that are paid out, compared to how you do so with your full-time in-house employees. A virtual assistant is is an independent contractor, therefore, their services are paid only as they are needed. Most virtual assistants get paid on a per-project or per-task basis (which depends on your arrangement with your virtual assistant), and you only pay for whatever task gets completed within your agreed terms and expectations. Whatever trivial and clerical tasks your full-time in-house employees do, your virtual assistant can, too. In short, you get what you pay for - and you only pay for tangible output.
Moreover, virtual assistants work in a remote setting; you don’t need to pay for office-related expenses as a virtual assistant is an independent contractor who provides for his or her own tools that business owners would normally provide for a regular, in-house employee.
Lastly, cost of training is basically non-existent! The virtual assistant that you will hire will work on your desired or specified tasks, which they’re already good at. These virtual assistants are trained to be jacks of all trades, without compromising on quality. Compare that with whenever you onboard new employees and you spend company funds, time, and energy to train them and ensure that they are able to handle the many areas of their job description. Hiring a virtual assistant skips all that and eliminates the need for it all, in addition to the resources utilized for training. With all that said, your virtual assistant can even start immediately!
2. Delegated Non-Essential Tasks = Greater Business Efficiency
You can concentrate on your business core responsibilities for your business by delegating non-essential tasks to your virtual assistant. Some of these tasks include sending newsletter emails, schedule appointments and meetings, data entry, internet research, and more.
Sure, such tasks are also imperative for your business operation, but they’re not all that needs to be accomplished strictly by your in-office workers only. Instead, your virtual assistant can handle such tasks, especially the kind that can be completed remotely, and thus you can strategically divide your time and resources to the priority tasks of the business required to be personally completed by you or your in-house team.
3. A Global And No-Time Zone Customer Service Solution
Since your virtual assistant works remotely, location is not a hindrance. If your business has staff located in say, two areas, your virtual assistant can attend to the other areas - or even globally!
This is even more applicable if your business caters to customers around the world. Your virtual assistant will not be affected by being in one location only, as queries and customer support will be handled digitally. Anywhere in the world that a customer inquiry would originate from, your virtual assistant can absolutely attend to it. Additionally, opening and closing times wouldn’t be a concern for your clients as you can, by agreed arrangement, set how and when your virtual assistant can handle customer service. If done right, you can virtually ensure 24/7 customer support!
4. Business Growth Opportunities
As you now have even more time and resources saved from hiring a virtual assistant, you can spend these instead on further growing your business.
Your virtual assistant can be delegated to handle your business’ social media profiles, as scrolling through a seemingly endless page in social media apps oftentimes eats up your time without you even noticing! Social media management can help increase your business’ brand presence, which in turn would help in growing your follower base, and potentially, your business itself.
Your virtual assistant can also hire the necessary people depending on your business’ projects, and you don’t have to worry about pandemic adjustments in hiring, or your usual lengthy onboarding process, which you have done so for your in-house employees. Your virtual assistant can attend to the growing aspects of your business and you don’t have to be slowed down or stressed out having to think about such.
5. More Time for New Business Strategies, and for Yourself!
Continuing your trend of time and money saved with your virtual assistant, you can now allot both for other strategies that will help your business.
Alternatively, you could also spend them on yourself. As the entrepreneur and boss of your company, you need to ensure that you are in tip-top shape - both physically and mentally. During free times, make sure to exercise and get enough sleep. Make sure to do the things that you like to do, and not only those that you need to do. Most importantly, mind and invest on your health, just like how you would mind and invest on your business, especially during this time of a global pandemic.
When should you hire a virtual assistant, and what are the signs that you and your business need one?
There are a lot of signs that can tell that you already need a virtual assistant for your business, but we’ll make it quick and simple for you:
1. You’re behind deadlines.
Missed deadlines, bypassed goals, skipped appointments... they all could be caused by many things. You may be the most diligent entrepreneur there is out there, but when things are just too much on your plate that you’re overall behind deadlines, then you definitely need help - and a virtual assistant can help take some of that heavy load off your shoulders.
2. You’re behind on the important things.
According to UNC-TV, the average adult makes approximately 35,000 decisions per day. This can range from so many remotely conscious choices: from what to have for breakfast, when the best time would be for your son’s dentist appointment, what your marketing team’s next project could be, how to improve your customer retention rate, and so much more.
Each and every one of these decisions require a ‘micro-task’ or a ‘sub-task’ that can help you decide on whatever you’re dealing with. These small tasks can be quickly accomplished in your head, especially if you’re deciding on something rather small - let’s say a coffee variant.
But if a decision requires your sub-task to take longer to do, and you take much longer than necessary, then that’s not going to be well for you. Taking too long on mundane tasks will cause you to fall behind on more important decisions and these things have the tendency to pile up. Repetitive and non-essential tasks can be accomplished by the virtual assistant that you decided to hire.
3. You’re behind with your family.
Once it reaches a point that your family tells you that you barely talk to them anymore or that they don't see you that often these days, then it could only mean that you’re behind with your family. Whether or not the cause of this is your business and the management that it requires from you, or something else, a helping hand from your virtual assistant can surely help you assure that there will be quality time with your family.
4. You’re behind on yourself.
You would know that you are behind on yourself when you get sick too often, or when you feel sad and/or depressed that you can’t do the things you used to enjoy before. Make sure that you still have time for yourself and, most especially, your health. If anything is causing you to scrimp on some alone time, your virtual assistant can definitely help you allocate some time by getting some of your work done for you.
So how do you work with your virtual assistant?
Any work that needs to be accomplished begins with proper and effective communication. As the business owner, you need to ensure that the tasks you assign have clear, down-to-the-minute instructions for your virtual assistant. You will, of course, be using communication tools as your virtual assistant will be working remotely and would most likely be based in a different location. Tools that can help you accomplish this include video-conferencing tools such as Zoom, instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, Mattermost, Slack, or even simple everyday tools such as your personal email.
Aside from instructions, you also need to clearly communicate your expectations. If your tasks require a certain number, degree, frequency, or basically anything at all that your virtual assistant needs to accomplish, make sure that he or she knows that. This will help you and your virtual assistant avoid disputes as both of you would know whether or not the tasks needed were truly accomplished or not. Project management and tracking tools like Asana, Trello, Perfex, or Notion can help you and your virtual assistant see which tasks are getting done and whether or not your expectations are being met.
For anything else that you’d like to arrange with your virtual assistant, it would still all boil down to how you communicate. Do it often, and do it well! It's been used quite a lot already, but perhaps for a reason: communication truly is key.
Where can you find virtual assistants and how do you hire them?
Today’s trend and common practice in the virtual assistance industry is hiring a virtual assistant from a virtual assistant services provider. OkayRelax is a USA-born, virtual assistant services company that houses a sophisticated roster of highly-trained virtual assistants ready to be assigned to you and your specific needs. Get in touch here to learn more on how OkayRelax can help you breathe a little easier each day, because you deserve to relax.