Last Updated on August 12, 2016 by Tim
Are you looking for a way to take your business to the next level but caught yourself thinking there just aren’t enough hours in the day? Well if that’s the case, there is now a solution for you, through the use of Virtual Assistants!
What is a Virtual Assistant?
Virtual assistants are experienced professionals who offer support services for businesses virtually over the Internet. This can consist of solo practitioners, or a team of VAs dedicated to a specific company working remotely and providing a combination of skill sets. Virtual assistants can provide many types of support services to their clients such as administrative support, solving technical issues, writing, helping with creative input, and acquiring leads.
Why a Virtual Assistant is Important
There are many benefits to hiring a virtual assistant for your small business, especially at a startup. Virtual assistants are independent, focus driven people who work in a specific niche, giving you vital input on what your business might be missing out on. By hiring a remote worker, you can:
- Acquire highly skilled Virtual Assistants, including administrative assistants, executive assistants, website administrators, and senior level executives who have a wide variety of experience.
- Save money on insurance, tax savings, training investments and interviews unlike a full/part time employee. While non US-based Virtual Assistants are paid as low as $10 an hour, paying more for a US-based VA can guarantee quality service.
- Save on office space. Contrary to a full/part time employee, your Virtual Assistant can work remotely from home and not take up any office space. This allows you save on expenses such as a new desk and purchasing a computer. The most beneficial aspect of having a remote worker is that it also allows you to work remotely and enjoy your free time while your VA completes your to-do list.
- Pay only for the time your VA has spent on your project(s). This allows you to budget your company expenses and keep costs low. For example, Surplus Hands (a company which provides VA services) offers monthly packages while offering savings as clients purchase more hours.
How Small Businesses Can Use Them
While Virtual Assistants aren’t typically present in your business office, they in reality don’t have to be, VAs can do the same tasks as a traditional assistants such as:
- Administrative Tasks – Taking calls for you business, respond to emails on your behalf, set up meetings, data entry, market research, and create records.
- Social Media Tasks – Manage all your social media accounts, add new content, engage with followers, and live chat support.
- Web and Graphic Design Tasks – Website updating using WordPress, manage advertising content, create email campaigns, design business cards, website testing, and website maintenance.
- Writing Tasks – Write content for pages, proof read documents, write articles/guides, create marketing emails, and edit content for your website.
- Accounting Tasks – Budget planning, bookkeeping, create spending reports, help with QuickBooks/ Microsoft Money/Quicken, and MS Excel management.
- Personal Tasks – Arrange appoints, dinner reservations, finding cheapest options, guest invitations, making calls on your behalf, and vacation planning.
….the possibilities are endless.
How to Hire a Virtual Assistant
As a Business owner, you should first determine if a virtual assistant will suit your business needs. You can figure out which tasks you would like to assign by doing an analysis of your business activities and which minor tasks you can delegate. Secondly, reaching out and interviewing potential candidates is a key factor in understanding who will most benefit your company. Lastly, once you select who will be working with you, it’s important to have an agreement of terms such what work needs to be completed, cancellation terms and payment agreements.
While there are many virtual assistant agencies such as Elance and Odesk to independently find the perfect VA for you, there are also organizations such as Surplus Hands that simplify the process by providing directories of virtual assistants and giving you direct access to a wide variety of skill sets.
While hiring a virtual assistant can free up your day, the responsibility is on you to allocate tasks effectively. As you manage your VA effectively, they will learn your work style and will then take on more responsibility to give you the free time you’ve always wanted. A simple Google search for “VA tools” will also give an abundance of results for ways to utilize your VA more effectively.
Unlike hiring a solo Virtual Assistant however, VA companies such as Surplus Hands will give you access to these tools through their portal, allowing you to work more effectively and keep an eye on your Virtual Assistant’s activities.
Virtual Assistants can be a vital addition to your business at any phase. In some cases, businesses contract VAs for short-term projects and other continue to keep them as long-term virtual workers. Whatever your needs might be, a Virtual Assistant can be great addition to your company.
By: Yassine Jouichate, CEO at Surplus Hands LLC, providing professional administrative, technical and creative assistance to small businesses, entrepreneurs and fortune 500 company employees.