Technology has made running a business much easier than it was 30 years ago. Long gone are the days of telegrams and bespectacled secretaries in typing pools. Today, we have email and virtual assistants. Entrepreneurs and small businesses use virtual assistants to provide flexible support as and when they need it.
A virtual assistant is a 21st Century solution to an age-old problem. Instead of placing an ad in the local paper and hiring someone to come and work in your office, you can look for a virtual assistant instead. A virtual assistant is someone who works for the business but doesn’t reside in the office with you. They typically do all the mundane tasks that you can easily delegate. This gives you time and space to work on more pressing things, such as finding new clients or developing new products and services.
Virtual assistants can work part-time or full-time; it really depends on what your needs are. They work remotely, so they can be based anywhere, in any time zone. This is very useful for a global entrepreneur because it means there are no restrictions on who you hire.
📌 Why You Need a VA
No man or woman is an island. Running a business is tremendously hard work. Sooner or later, you will need other people on board to help you. Most entrepreneurs get bogged down in the minutiae of their day. Tackling mundane tasks like data entry and dealing with emails is a time sap. The more time you waste on such tasks, the less time you have available to grow the business.
The only way for any entrepreneur to have a life and a successful business is by learning to delegate. Handing over tasks to an assistant is not a sign of weakness. It’s sensible!
Plenty of entrepreneurs find it hard to hand over the reins to someone else. Instead, they work 18-hour days in the mistaken assumption that it is more cost-effective.
This is a huge mistake.
One person cannot do everything required when running a business. You can try, but you will soon burn out. Here’s why it’s time to hire a virtual assistant for your business or startup.
🆘 You Need Help
Recognizing that you need help is the first step on your journey to becoming a successful business owner. You may not think you are ready to hire support staff, but if you are struggling to cope with everyday tasks, you need a VA.
It is always better to hire a virtual assistant before the situation gets critical. Instead of waiting until you burn out and can’t manage a moment longer, hire a VA when the workload has increased, and you recognize that extra help might be useful.
Virtual assistants can be useful if you are a creative person. Creative types find it hard to focus on one task only. They are so overrun with ideas that their brain goes into hyperdrive and productivity falls. A VA is your more organized self. It’s their job to bring order to chaos and organize your life so you can be more productive.
📉 You Have a Skills Shortage in Your Organization
Use a virtual assistant to fill in a skills-gap. Do you need a blog but your writing skills suck? Hire a VA with experience in content marketing and they can take care of this for you.
Many virtual assistants are experienced business professionals taking some time out from a full-time career. Hiring a mom with 10 years of experience as an executive PA to handle your admin is a no-brainer. In return for some flexible part-time work they can do at home, you get someone who can bring a great deal of value to your business. Everyone’s a winner.
📊 You are Trying to Grow Your Business
When you are trying to grow a business, there are not enough hours in the day. You might think you can wear multiple hats. In reality, something has to give. An experienced virtual assistant can fulfill more than one role. They can act as a virtual receptionist and handle calls from clients. They can also book business travel and manage your diary.
Whatever you need, whether it’s high-level support or someone to tackle data input, a VA is there to help. For a budding entrepreneur trying to grow their business, having this level of extra support is invaluable. Instead of trying to do everything – and failing miserably – you can hire an extra pair of hands when you need them the most and take your business forward.
It’s should be abundantly clear by now that there are many excellent reasons why you should hire a virtual assistant. But if you are still not convinced, here are some of the benefits a VA can provide for your business.
💰 Cut Costs
Cost drives many business decisions. Hiring support staff is expensive. If you bring a new personal assistant into your business, you will have to pay them a wage commensurate with their experience and duties. You’ll also have to cover the costs of employment, including taxes and benefits, which can be as much as 1.4 times the person’s base salary.
Then there is the cost of having an extra person in the workplace. They need a desk and equipment. You are usually committed to employing them for a set time, so if work goes flat and you don’t need them, you either have to continue paying them to sit around and do nothing or pay them severance. Employees are surprisingly expensive, even while providing a benefit to the organization.
A virtual assistant is a more cost-effective way of hiring support staff. When you hire a VA, you can specify how many hours you need them to work. Most VAs work part-time, although this is not set in stone. The arrangement is usually very flexible and some VAs work for more than one person at a time.
Because you are only paying for support when you need it, the cost to you is minimal. And if you discover you no longer need that person, or the arrangement isn’t working as well as you had hoped it would, you can let that person go quickly and easily.
📋 Delegate More Tasks
Learning to delegate is part and parcel of being a successful businessman or woman. You can’t do it all, so at some point, you will need to delegate tasks.
Begin by figuring out what you need a virtual assistant to do. Monitor how much time you spend on each task you do and then decide what you can delegate. With the right training, a VA can handle any task you give them, so long as it fits their skill-set. Remember that very few people are proficient in multiple areas. So, if you want someone who can handle your social media accounts, write engaging content for your blog, and do the accounts, you could be waiting a long time for the right person to come along.
Prepare a detailed job description to ensure you end up with the right person. The more detail you can provide, the easier it will be to hire someone with the right skills.
🙋♀️ Fresh Talent
Don’t underestimate the value of introducing new talent to the business. New people bring new ideas to the table. They see things differently, which is useful when you are used to working as a one-man-band, as a lot of entrepreneurs are.
Think of your virtual assistant as your boss. It’s their job to manage you and make sure you get your pre-determined tasks completed. Use them as a sounding board. Run ideas past them and get a second opinion. Make use of their skills – after all, this is partly why you hired them.
Each virtual assistant you hire will come with their own unique skillset. The all have something to offer, so leverage their talents and use them to grow your business.
This post has not been revised since publication.