Running a business is far from a walk in the park, especially in the initial stages without a virtual assistant. When you start a business, you may encounter challenges like a lack of budget to hire staff and pay for marketing and ads. As your business grows, you will eventually need help with daily support and operations to keep your venture running smoothly.
Fortunately, you can have an easier time with the right strategies. It would help if you started by setting goals and then creating a plan on how to achieve them. Here, a great way to stay focused is by creating an environment that will help you achieve your goals.
For starters, you need a dedicated workspace to enable you to organize your daily tasks or brainstorm with your staff or clients. You should also incorporate the healthy habits of successful entrepreneurs such as eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. These are all important to be more effective in running your business.
If you find it challenging to manage everything all at the same time, finding an extra helping hand for your daily operations is best. Here, hiring a VA can come in handy.
Virtual assistants, or VAs, are becoming more popular among business owners and entrepreneurs needing various services for their business operations.
This post is a guide about VAs—how they can help your business and why you need to determine the most important qualities to look for in a VA before hiring one.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
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VAs provide administrative and professional services to a business owner or organization. Many are skilled in answering phone calls, scheduling appointments, sending emails, and making travel arrangements. Others work on entire projects from start to finish.
Nowadays, some of the most in-demand VA services are project management, social media management, and email marketing. Specifically, they might research information for a report, plan an event, or create engaging content for a client.
VAs have different specializations and skills that can be helpful to any business, as mentioned above. Some companies hire virtual assistants that handle multiple tasks. Their role may change depending on the business needs.
VAs are also interchangeably referred to as online assistants or secretaries whose skills can help improve your business. They are becoming integral to business operations across industries, from healthcare to law firms.
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Virtual assistants can be freelancers or employed by a company offering relevant services. As such, they may work remotely in a home office set-up or in corporate headquarters.
The impact of COVID-19 has paved the way for the rise of the VA market globally. VAs became prevalent at the pandemic’s peak, helping businesses perform routine tasks that might be holding back companies while their in-house teams focused on critical areas of operations for moving the business forward during such unprecedented times.
Indeed, VA services can help elevate your company’s performance and grow your business.
Why Should You Hire a Virtual Assistant?
More and more companies discover the benefits of hiring VAs, and it’s time you do, too. Why are virtual assistants suitable for most companies? Some of the most notable benefits of hiring a virtual assistant include the following:
1. Relevant professional experience
Most virtual assistants are professionals. They have passed board exams or taken courses to receive relevant certifications. They utilize the knowledge, skills, and experience they have gained from years of specializing in a specific niche or industry to offer top-notch services to their clients. With the value they provide, VAs can be an asset to your business.
Virtual assistants can also perform multiple tasks simultaneously and adapt to different work environments. As such, it’s typical for freelance or employee VAs to handle multiple client accounts without compromising work quality and efficiency.
2. No need for office space
VAs can work at any given schedule and location, depending on the client’s requirements. In a flexible client-VA work arrangement, the latter may choose to set up an office at home or become “digital nomads” who work while traveling.
Suppose you’re a business owner trying to maximize your available resources. In that case, you don’t need to set up a physical office or expand your existing one by employing VAs who can work remotely.
3. Savings in money and time
Hiring a VA is one of the best investments for your business. They can save you money on overhead costs. Since VAs work remotely, you don’t need to provide office supplies, workstations, or pantry food.
VAs are also independent contractors, meaning you’re not responsible for paying for their health insurance. Although, you can offer to include such a benefit if you want to be competitive with remuneration.
Plus, VAs only need basic orientation about your business or company, so you don’t have to train them for long periods before seeing their direct contribution or before recouping ROI.
Altogether, these savings can empower you to give more attention to the essential aspects of your business and ensure its smooth operations.
4. Increased productivity
Virtual assistants help increase productivity. For instance, they can deliver prompt customer service. You may be too busy with high-level tasks, and VAs can help you unload less critical tasks off your hands. Hiring a VA can also promote work-life balance to help you become a well-rounded business leader.
5. Access to talent
Remote work is so much in demand these days. It has given job opportunities to thousands of individuals worldwide, regardless of their professional or social backgrounds.
Even students, stay-at-home moms, and people with disabilities are given a chance to earn income in the comfort of their homes by becoming virtual assistants. That allows you to tap into talented individuals while being an equal-opportunity employer.
What to Consider Before Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Companies have to find software technology for business to ensure smooth and efficient operations. The same applies when looking for a VA. You want to make the most of hiring one for your business.
Having said that, here are things to consider before hiring a VA:
Before hiring a VA, consider these questions: What is the scope of tasks and responsibilities the VA will do? How will you monitor the VA’s work performance? Will you pay a fixed or hourly rate?
These questions can help you and VA applicants to be on the same page regarding the collaboration. It might be necessary to document the terms and conditions regarding the VA services so both of you will have something to refer to if questions arise during the partnership.
Set a budget for your virtual assistant
One of the best benefits of hiring a VA is that it is more affordable than hiring a full-time staff. Before hiring a virtual assistant, you should estimate how long each project will take and how much to pay your VA. Communicate with the VA candidates about the rates and any other perks you offer. Hiring a reliable virtual assistant near you can ensure you complete your projects on time on time and on budget.
Evaluate candidates thoroughly
This could be easier said than done, but you have to do it to ensure you hire the right candidate you are looking for. You can use Google Forms or any questionnaire to know the candidates. You can schedule an online interview or require applicants to send a short introduction video stating why they should be hired. Pay particular attention to their soft and hard skills and work experience during interviews.
Consider using a time tracker
Some companies use a time tracker to monitor their VAs and daily tasks. Let the VA candidates know you are using one and why. Project management apps like Asana, Trello, or Basecamp can help monitor VAs’ tasks and progress.
Provide valuable feedback
Virtual assistants take repetitive tasks off your hands so you can focus on the core aspects of your business. However, your responsibility is also to support and push them to be their best professionally. Set aside a few minutes in one-on-one conversations with the VA at least once weekly to discuss their performance. Recognize the accomplishments and cite areas for improvement. VAs love clients who appreciate and value their hard work, which can help inspire them more.
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Why a Virtual Assistant is More Than a Remote Worker
Hiring virtual assistants is not only a trend these days.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have already hired VAs to help with daily business operations. Tens of thousands of professionals work as virtual assistants. The figure could even reach millions if you also consider freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time VAs.
Nonetheless, working with a VA can be a smart business decision. They can make your life easier by taking on repetitive but essential tasks, allowing you to have more focus and energy on core aspects that truly matter for your company.
Of course, finding a reliable VA to help you run the business lies in your hands. Fortunately, you can easily find virtual assistants offering different skills and work experience for every business need via job sites, social media platforms, and professional networks. Make sure to identify your company’s needs and find someone with the relevant skills and work experience to help you achieve your goals.
With proper training, guidance, and compensation, the right VA can take your business to the next level. It becomes more interesting if you hire one from among the business process outsourcing (BPO) capital of the world – the Philippines.
Why Filipinos Are the Best Virtual Assistant?
As the BPO capital of the world, the Philippines is globally known to be an outsourcing expert country and is also popular for hiring the best virtual assistants. Filipino virtual assistants are primarily known for their excellent English language skills, work ethic, and cultural affinity. These qualities have endeared them to the hearts of most European and American SaaS startups.
About the Author
Jaycel Demonguitan worked with Brad as his first Virtual Assistant since 2017. Outsource Access is the brainchild of Brad and Jaycel with the ultimate goal to help entrepreneurial businesses realize their potentials. She now leads 300 employees as the Chief Operating Officer for Outsource Access. She is responsible for achieving the goals of the company.