Are you considering whether it’s time to get virtual assistant services?
It can be hard for many business owners to make the shift to entrusting key tasks to someone else - it’s your “baby” after all! How do you decide what needs delegating? How do you know how much time you need? What will you do with the extra time?!
Here at The Virtual Hub, all of our virtual assistants work for a minimum of 20 hours per week for each client they serve. In fact, this is a minimum requirement when hiring a virtual assistant through us.
At first, this might sound daunting when you’re used to doing everything on your own. You might think that 20 hours sounds like a very long time - how will you possibly use it?
Here are what we talked about in this blog post:
What is A Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is an independent contractor who is hired to complete administrative tasks for a client or business owner. It can also be someone who provides administrative services for an organization, such as scheduling appointments and answering the phone.
Virtual assistants work from a home office or telecommute via a computer with internet access, and typically interact with their clients on an email basis. This means that it’s possible for them to communicate feedback to you in real-time via email.
But what does a virtual assistant do? In general, virtual assistants are trustworthy, dependable, and capable of multi-tasking. They are good with money, computer software programs, and technology-related tasks.
These individuals are not physically present in your home office, but they work to support your business, meet deadlines, and complete projects on time. Virtual assistants can perform most company management responsibilities that need completing, freeing up your business hours for revenue-generating activities.
Why 20 hours is a good minimum
First, there’s a tendency among entrepreneurs to underestimate the amount of work they have. You’re so used to getting into the hustle, making everything happen yourself, that it’s easy to miss how much time you’re spending on repeated tasks.
To give just one example, let’s say you are in the habit of scheduling out social media posts to keep a regular schedule (a good habit to get into). Sitting down to find interesting things to share, actually writing posts, and sourcing images for just two weeks’ worth of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can easily take a good 6-7 hours to get through. Add that up, along with the time you spend actually engaging with people on your social channels, and simply managing social media easily runs up 20+ hours in a month.
Social media is necessary for visibility, but is it the best use of your time?
This doesn’t even take into consideration all of the other repetitive tasks that take up your time. What else are you doing? Is there anything that you’re hanging onto when you really don’t need to be doing it?
Keeping too many tasks on their own to-do lists is another common tendency among business owners. Sometimes it’s because they get caught up in thinking that they “have” to do it, they’re the only ones who can do it properly, or that it’s too difficult to train someone else.
If it’s a repeated task, what’s your reason for holding onto it? Could it be something that, if you spent a few minutes documenting a process, would be better delegated to an online virtual assistant? Put another way, what could you be doing to grow your business in the time that you usually devote to doing those tasks?
What can a virtual assistant do in 20 hours?
This is probably one of the most common questions we are asked! When you’re used to having to do everything yourself, 20 hours can seem difficult to fathom.
With anything from website management to administrative tasks, you can see that 20 hours will fly by. We created an in-depth task list, which outlines exactly what our virtual assistants will do within each category.
Do these give you some ideas? Most businesses will more than meet 20 hours’ worth of virtual assistant services.
Benefits of hiring a virtual assistant for 20+ hours
When you look for a virtual assistant service, there are a number of possible options that pop up. Many of those are freelance virtual assistants, who run their own businesses and contract themselves out to clients.
There are many talented virtual assistants who work this way and you might find someone who is truly great and will work for less than 20 hours.
One thing to consider though - if they’re only working 5-10 hours per week for you, this means that they’re having to take on other clients to make a decent income. In some cases, they might have several clients, all of whom they work with at the same time.
This means that the virtual assistant has to juggle their time - they are less likely to be able to respond quickly or make themselves available without plenty of notice. Secondly, it might take longer for them to get to know your business and your particular preferences. If they’re only doing a few hours per week, it’s reasonable to expect that they might need a few weeks more to learn your operations.
At The Virtual Hub, we have been very conscious about how this constant “client juggle” can impact both the virtual assistant and the client. Virtual assistants in this situation need to spread themselves across more clients just to pay their bills, while clients don’t get the benefit of more dedicated attention.
For these reasons, all team members in our virtual assistant company work for us exclusively. Additionally, all clients must have a virtual assistant for a minimum of 20 hours work per week. This way, it’s a win/win. The virtual assistant has reliable employment, while the client has a reliable assistant who is able to devote sufficient attention to their needs.
We find that, with a minimum of 20 hours per week, your virtual assistant gets to know you much more quickly, so you see the efficiency benefits of hiring one sooner.
Maria Golding, Creator of Intuitive Motherhood Programs, Motherhood Mentor, Mental Health Professional and Previous Midwife, hired a Virtual Hub virtual assistant when roadblocks with certain tasks made it difficult for her to move on and grow. She noted another benefit of having a virtual assistant for at least 20 hours:
“I particularly have found that having a familiar VA who was committed to my business each day of the working week has resulted in them feeling a sense of ownership to the vision. Instead of it being just ‘my’ vision it’s become ‘our vision’. This has resulted in a shared enthusiasm, and my VA has quickly shown initiative further enhancing and accelerating the business. So much more gained in less time. It would have been a very slow road without her!”
What Will You Do With 20 Extra Hours?
Of course, a key benefit is that you have 20 extra hours in a week that you didn’t have before.
This is a secret to businesses that scale - their owners understand the value of delegating those repeated tasks to a virtual personal assistant and they make the most of the newfound time they have.
It makes absolute sense if you want to scale up your business that you spend at least some of those 20 hours ramping up activities that spur growth. Maria Golding says of making the decision to hire a virtual assistant:
“I think when you do get one you’ll finally have the time to focus on building your brand and your product and take it to a whole new level. It’s definitely a necessity in my opinion.”
Author and coach, Pip McKay found that hiring a virtual assistant helped to boost her online presence, obtain more event bookings and even buy a bit more time for herself:
“I have a much bigger web and Facebook presence because of VAs. This has expanded my business and allowed me to reach more people. We have doubled our 1 Day Events and that increases numbers in our workshops.”
You just don’t have the same ability to scale as quickly when you only use a virtual assistant for a few hours per week. From our experience and the multiple stories we hear from clients, 20 hours is a good number to make a significant impact.
At the very heart of our recommendation that you get virtual assistant services for at least 20 hours per week is that it’s simply more effective.
Working successfully with someone means getting to know them, and ensuring that they know you and your business well.
A virtual assistant who is committed to at least those 20 hours becomes invested in your business and a crucial asset on your team. They learn your needs more quickly and can offer ideas that will help.
Finally, most of us need that extra 20 hours. We need to focus more on the activities which grow our businesses, and perhaps take more time just to have a break. You didn’t become an entrepreneur to work yourself ragged, and a virtual assistant creates more time in your life.
Interested in learning more about virtual assistants? We have a MASSIVE guide that will teach you all the ins and outs about virtual assistants and how they can help YOU grow your business. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Virtual Assistants.