What is a VA?
Even though VA’s have been in existence for some years, they are still a relatively unknown breed. So let me do my bit for the species and explain exactly what a Virtual Assistant is, and why you should consider outsourcing work to a Virtual Assistant.
Most Virtual Assistants (or “VA’s” for short) are highly-skilled, freelance business professionals who work from home. They provide a range of services, whether administrative, creative or technical and work to support small to medium business owners by taking on some of the tasks that need to be done, but not necessarily by you, the business owner.
Types of Virtual Assistants
Virtual Assistants generally fall into one of two camps. They are either classed as “Generalist”, i.e. they can take on administrative work remotely, offering services which might traditionally fall within the remit of a Personal Assistant, for example entering expenses on a log, managing a diary or email inbox or making travel arrangements or they can be “specialised” and offer more tailored services, such as marketing, web development, people management and a myriad of other services depending upon their own skill set.
Generally, VA’s will have spent a considerable amount of time learning their craft and gaining the experience and expertise necessary to offer these specialised services to their clients. Although a good VA should make you feel like their only client, the reality is that they may have many clients, for whom they carry out a variety of jobs and consequently are employed for varying amounts of time each month. Part of the skill of being a good VA involves employing great time-management skills and those of us that have worked in busy office settings previously, perhaps as a PA or similar, will have honed those skills perfectly!
What can a VA do for me?
As a small business owner, you are often required to wear a variety of different hats. Maybe some of those hats fit better than others. Although it can be quite flattering to adopt the view that “if you want something done properly, you should do it yourself”, nobody can be a master of all trades and try to do all the tasks all of the time can have a detrimental effect on both your business and you, personally. At some stage, in order to grow, you are going to need to delegate some of those tasks and what better way than to delegate some administrative tasks to a freelance administrative assistant? Outsourcing work to a Virtual Assistant allows you to “buy more time” in your business day and, by so doing, alleviate stress and allow you to be more productive and concentrate on your core business. But this is not the only reason. Here are a few others for you to consider:
Outsourcing work to a Virtual Assistant
Maybe you know you need help, but don’t have space? So many new businesses start in a spare bedroom or home office and maybe there just is no room for another person, or you simply do not like the idea of someone in your home. Outsourcing work to a Virtual Assistant negates the need to find that extra space, as well as the expense of buying office equipment and software or paying all the fringe benefits that are due to a permanent employee.
Pay as and when you need business assistance
As many businesses experience seasonal peaks and troughs, there is no problem with keeping a Virtual Assistant employed during quiet times. They are simply employed when and for as long as is needed. A good virtual Assistant will usually give you an idea of how long they anticipate an outsourced task may take and you may be surprised how quickly they can complete a task that may take a less experienced employee much longer! The joy of hiring a virtual assistant is that they very often offer retainer packages. These are great if you need assistance with an ongoing project and wish to guarantee a certain amount of your VA’s time during the month.
Work ON your business, not IN it.
As a business owner, it can be tempting to try and do everything, but what is the point? Think about how valuable your own time is. How much do you charge out your own time at? Why struggle with a task that either you do not enjoy, but nevertheless has to be done, or that you do not have the expertise to complete effectively, when you can pay someone to take on that job for you, thereby saving several hours of your own time and potentially a good amount of income. A Virtual Assistant is likely to charge much less to complete the work in less time … so it is a win-win situation.
Strengthen weak areas
As mentioned previously, it is impossible for one person to be a superhero, and to be a master of all areas of a business. By hiring a Virtual Assistant, you are gaining access to an area of specialism that may so far have evaded you and filling a skills gap in your organisation. By outsourcing work you are opening your business up to a whole new channel of expertise, as well as completing those tasks that maybe get left to the bottom of the pile because no one in your organisation is quite sure how to complete them!
Have more leisure time
Savvy small business owners will identify those tasks that require their personal attention and outsource the rest! In this way, not only can they rest assured that the work will be completed on time, but they are adding more productive hours to the day and resetting that work/life balance. Imagine how much extra time with your family and friends this could mean to you! In addition, some Virtual Assistants offer a Virtual Concierge service, or Lifestyle Management and will, for example, take care of buying presents, sending personal Thank You letters, researching cheaper utility supply and a plethora of other services designed to make your personal life run smoother. Imagine, never missing another important date again!
Why not take the opportunity now and outsource your administrative work? Contact me now for more information on how I can help you grow your business.