A virtual personal assistant can free up your time so you can focus on more critical tasks. Read on to learn all about virtual assistants and how they can help you grow your business.
Everything You Need to Know About Virtual Personal Assistants
What is a Virtual Personal Assistant?
Virtual personal assistants or virtual assistants (VAs) are a special type of administrative assistant. The word “virtual” is thrown into their titles because VAs work remotely. So most of their tasks can be accomplished off-site and turned over online.
There isn’t one kind of VA. Every VA has a different set of skills and can offer a different combination of services. There are two main VA categories:
- Generalist – VAs who can perform a wide range of administrative tasks.
- Specialist – VAs who usually have more experience in performing a handful of business functions.
Here are a variety of tasks that are well within the skillset of a generalist VA:
- Calendar management
- Data entry or database management
- Screening phone calls
- Make travel arrangements
- Email management
- File management
- General research
- Other personal tasks
Here are some common business functions handled by specialist VA:
- Online marketing
- Content creation or management
- Customer support
- Systems management
- Social media management
There are also some VAs that specialize in specific industries, like health or real estate. Some of them may also possess other skills that you may need from time to time (ex: graphic design).
Why Hire a Virtual Assistant?
Utilizing virtual assistant services can take your business to the next level. Here are some of the advantages:
- Maximize On-site Employees – If you already have a team of employees working for you on-site, you can maximize them further by outsourcing certain time-consuming tasks to a virtual assistant. That way, your team has extra time to spend on more critical tasks. You can also use that time to upskill your team.
- Cut costs – Hiring an onsite, full-time assistant can increase your overhead. With a VA, you have more wiggle room and engage their services when the need arises.
- Reduce the need for training– Having an in-house team usually requires investing in training. When it comes to working with a VA, you can already choose someone who has the skills you need.
- Save Time – Time is money. One of the biggest advantages of hiring a VA is that they can free up your valuable (and irreplaceable) time. Let someone else take care of all that unavoidable administrative work so that you can focus on more important matters.
- More work-life balance – Many business owners spend more time at work at the expense of their personal lives. A virtual assistant can help you carry the load so you can enjoy your free time.
You need time and resources to take your business to the next level. Outsourcing to a virtual assistant can help you free up time and resources.
Who Needs a Virtual Assistant?
Virtual assistants can help both large and small business owners to improve productivity. There are many functions in a business that don’t need to be completed on-site or face-to-face.
There are also seasonal business functions that don’t require full-time employees. These tasks and functions can be outsourced to a virtual assistant.
Some new business owners have a lot on their plate, but can’t hire full-time employees yet. A virtual assistant is a more affordable way to get extra help while they grow their business.
Before hiring a virtual assistant though, business owners need to be comfortable with using a computer or smart device. Proper communication is essential when it comes to managing a virtual assistant and most of this communication happens online.
So managers should be comfortable with using email, chat apps, or video conferencing apps. It’s also helpful if they have a stable internet connection.
How Many Hours Does a Virtual Assistant Work?
The number of hours a virtual assistant works for each business varies. It depends on the arrangement both parties agree on.
Some virtual assistants agree on an output-based agreement. This means that it doesn’t really matter how much time they spend working, for as long as they get the job done.
On the other hand, some virtual assistants are hired on a time-based agreement. They can start off rendering 20 hours each week at an agreed-upon time. Full-time VAs can work the usual 40 hours each week.
VAs who work part-time usually get paid an hourly rate. While others are full-time employees of a virtual assistant company.
Where Can You Find Virtual Assistants?
While there are freelancer virtual assistants who work independently, it’s advisable to hire a VA through a virtual assistant company. Here are some advantages of hiring through an established company:
- Assistants are vetted. You don’t need to exert as much time and effort in the hiring process.
- Assistants require less training. A reputable and competitive virtual assistant company will make sure that its pool of assistants has up-to-date knowledge on best business practices.
- It’s easier to find the right fit. If you find that it isn’t working out with one assistant, a VA company usually has a pool of other assistants you can consider.
- There’s more accountability. If you hire a freelance VA, there’s always the risk of the assistant going MIA or leaving abruptly. A VA company usually hires full-time assistants, so this can help reduce the risk of turnover.
- You get an extra pair of eyes. A good VA company will constantly monitor the work and progress of all of its assistants. They’ll help ensure that your assistant provides high-quality output.
- They simplify the outsourcing experience. From the payment, onboarding, and evaluations, a company can help simplify the outsourcing process. A good VA company can serve as a one-stop shop for most of your outsourcing needs.
A VA company should be able to simplify and facilitate the hiring process while ensuring the best client-assistant fit.
How Do You Hire a Virtual Assistant?
Before you begin the hiring process, it’s important to understand your needs. So before you contact a virtual assistant company, ask yourself: what tasks/roles do I want to outsource to a virtual assistant?
It doesn’t have to be too detailed at the start. Coming prepared with a shortlist of tasks can help the VA company better assess your needs.
Once you have a clear idea of what you want, contact a reputable virtual assistant company to begin the process. Here’s what the onboarding process usually involves:
- Book a call. Schedule a meeting with the VA company.
- Meet with a representative. A representative will ask you questions and try to assess your needs.
- Decide on the kind of VA needed. You’ll need to decide if you want a part-time or full-time VA. You also need to decide if your needs are best met by a generalist or a specialist. The VA company can also make recommendations.
- Company initiates pairing. A good company will thoughtfully pair you with a VA. This means that they won’t only consider the assistant’s skill set, but they’ll also factor in the client and assistant’s personality.
- Interviews with prospective VA. The company will arrange for an online meeting. This is an opportunity for you to get to know the prospective VA before making your final decision.
- Selection and onboarding. Once the client chooses the VA, the company facilitates the onboarding process and the VA can start working.
A good VA company should continue to provide support throughout your engagement. They should also continue to train and upskill all of their assistants.
Remember though, not all VA companies are created equal. Some companies provide little or no support once they’ve made the assignment. So make sure to go with an experienced company that won’t leave you hanging.
If you want a virtual assistant to help take your business to the next level, make sure to sign on with the right company. Not only will the Virtual Hub match you with a highly skilled assistant, but they’ll also provide continuing support. With the help of your virtual assistant and their team leaders, you can let go of certain tasks and truly focus on growing your business.
Are you ready to level up? Book a call with the Virtual Hub today.
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