Are you running your own business? Have you ever wondered how some of the most successful entrepreneurs make managing a business look so simple and effortless? Despite what you may think, maintaining a highly successful company is really not something that one man can pull off without any help.
The truth is there are just not enough hours in a day for a single person to cover every single aspect of running a thriving business, even if it’s a small one. Keep in mind that you still have a home life, a social life, and alone time to take care of.
I mean, what is the point of working hard, trying to push your business to success if you have no time left to enjoy the fruits of your labor? Ask any successful entrepreneur and they will tell you that the secret to managing a thriving successful business is finding the perfect balance. Balancing your personal life and your professional life, as well as balancing the trivial tasks and the more crucial aspects of your business.
Now, you can only achieve that perfect balance if you have someone to help you out. This is why hiring an administrative assistant is a staple for most business execs. Your time should be spent on the more important stuff rather than the small, inconsequential aspects of running a business, such as making appointments, keeping schedules, or managing emails.
Is hiring an administrative assistant really the most practical approach for a small business?
Well, not necessarily. Administrative assistants are more in-line with the big wigs, global conglomerates, or the Fortune 500 CEOs. The more popular option in the past decade or so is acquiring the services of a virtual assistant, especially for small business entrepreneurs. Now, you might ask . . .
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is someone who provides his or her services remotely. He or she has in-depth experience in providing a wide array of business support, depending on his or her particular skill set.
Not all virtual assistants are the same. Unlike the conventional role that an administrative assistant plays in the office setting, virtual assistants are much more capable of performing a wide variety of tasks, from the most basic office work to the more technical, skill-driven aspects of the business. Of course, the type of virtual assistant you hire will largely depend on the kind of tasks you will be assigning to them.
What does this mean?
You see, business-related tasks can vary from your typical bookkeeping work, accounting, and data entry all the way to the IT-related stuff like website and network management, SEO, content creation, and social media management, which are way beyond what conventional administrative assistants can offer. Again, you do have to consider their skill set and what they bring to the table if you decide to hire virtual assistant for your business.
Here’s the lowdown on virtual assistants or VAs as they’re often called:
Virtual assistants come in many forms and sizes, figuratively speaking. They come in many different forms in the sense that they have many different skill sets. Some VAs have skills in web development and design, others are adept in the process of search engine optimization or SEO, while there are those whose main focus is in content marketing, content creation, and social media.
So, depending on the type of skills you require, there is essentially a VA out there who is well-equipped and highly capable of serving your needs.
Now, virtual assistants also come in many different sizes in the sense that they have varying levels of experience when it comes to providing business assistance. There are VAs with extensive experience in administrative work like bookkeeping, data entry, and similar tasks, while there are those who have in-depth knowledge in all forms of marketing and other aspects of running a business.
So when it’s all said and done, hiring a virtual assistant is really about finding the right person who has the competence and the right skill set to meet your needs.
Some of the key differences between a conventional administrative assistant and a virtual assistant are the expertise that they can bring to the table and the things that we will discuss further down below.
The Benefits You Can Expect When You Hire Virtual Assistant
1. You will have unfettered access to a wide array of skill sets.
The value of skill sets can’t possibly be stressed enough in this instance. When it comes to the people you hire to provide assistance in running your business, you want them to have the right skills to effectively do what you ask of them.
For example, if you want someone to handle all of your social media marketing campaigns, you can hire a social media virtual assistant whose skills revolve around various aspects of social media. If you want someone to manage your business website and handle the SEO side of it, there are VAs out there who specialize in web design and SEO.
Hiring a virtual assistant will provide you with a kind of flexibility and efficiency you cannot get from hiring a conventional administrative assistant.
2. It is cheaper than hiring a full-time office employee.
Virtual assistants don’t require health benefits, dental, insurance, and all the expenses that come with hiring a full-time office staff. You can think of virtual assistants as freelance service providers. You give a project or task, they do it according to your specifications, and you pay them for their services. That’s it.
Oh, and giving out cash bonuses to your virtual assistant is your prerogative. You can choose to reward them for a job well done or choose not to. It would be nice, however, to show some gratitude where it’s due, especially when your VA is doing a splendid job. It can be in the form of a cash bonus, gift checks, or whatever. It’s all up to you, the employer.
3. You can save a lot of money on overhead expenses.
One of the downsides of hiring an actual office employee is dealing with the overhead expenses. Hiring an office assistant means you will need to set aside a fully-equipped office space, with the table, chair, computer, printer, phone, and the basic office supplies. All of these translate to expenses, which can be a serious concern if you’re just starting a small business.
Virtual assistants, on the other hand, have all the equipment and the tools of the trade covered. They have their own computer, their own office supplies when necessary, and they even cover their own coffee and lunch during breaks.
You see, virtual assistants are freelance professional who often work from home. So it goes without saying that they have all they need to do the tasks required of them. All they need is an assigned task and the accompanying instructions.
4. You will only pay for the time spent on tasks you assign.
Here’s something that you will never hear from your virtual assistant: “overtime fee.” Since virtual assistants are not your typical office employees, they don’t require overtime fees. They work at their own time, at a specific pace, and oftentimes at their own convenience.
All you have to do, as the person paying for their services, is give them a specific deadline to complete the task you assigned them. Reputable VAs are professionals, they will meet that deadline as long as it’s within reason.
Now, that you know what is a virtual assistant, what they can offer, and the benefits you can expect from hiring one, how do you know when it’s time to hire a VA to help out with your business?
Telltale Signs That You Need a Virtual Assistant Now
- You stretch your days doing business-related tasks and you still end up with a lot of unfinished work.
- You find it harder and harder to meet deadlines and keep up with your schedule.
- You’re stuck for hours doing social media stuff for your business when there’s still a lot of other business-related work to be done.
- Your weekends are no longer spent doing the things you love like spending time with your friends and family, doing outdoor activities, or even watching a nice movie with your significant other.
- You’re losing track of which day of the week it is. You know how most employees hate Mondays? For you, pretty much every day of the week is Monday.
- Your business growth is starting to stagnate. Instead of coming up with new ideas and opportunities to further develop your business, you’re stuck doing menial tasks most of the time.
If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms, it’s time you hire a virtual assistant to help manage some of the tasks you can barely accomplish on your own.