We received an email recently from a potential client in the States. The question he asked was, “What does a virtual assistant do? Also, how can a virtual assistant help my business? I own and manage a small eCommerce business. We have been around for nearly three years, but since last year the COVID-10 pandemic has really jumpstarted our growth and our inbox and customer inquiries has simply exploded. We are two people running the business, my girlfriend and I, and it’s getting to a point where it’s a bit of a challenge to stay organized, but I can’t afford to pay for a full-time help or resources like an office manager. Also, we run our business from home and I don’t want to move to an office space yet since even that would be too expensive, so we want to stay as a home business but space is an issue. Can you help with some advice, especially about the tasks virtual assistant can do and how they can work for us?”
We are receiving more and more of this type of question, and this is great – it means that people are relooking the traditional staffing solutions: there is a need to create a business focused on their lifestyle rather than molding a business to the traditional norms that do not offer a work-life balance. But let’s begin with the basics, and explain what a virtual assistant or VA is. Then we will look at the benefits a virtual assistant Sam can mean for you and your business.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
In simple terms, a virtual assistant, also known as a remote assistant, or sometimes as a consultant if in a higher-skilled position, is a person who works independently. Such an assistant usually works from a home office, which could be in a remote location.
There are two types of virtual assistants. First, there are the less-skilled workers who assist with mundane and time-consuming tasks. Such tasks are nevertheless vital to the running of your company, helping you to stay organized and assisting with your clients. They will fill your administrative, social media, customer relationship, data entry, marketing, and business development tasks. These virtual assistants are essential if you are low on hands to complete tasks and feel overwhelmed by the pressure. VAs can be delegated to complete tasks that will mean you and/or your managers will have more time to focus on growing the business.
The second group of VAs are assistants more highly skilled or consultants, who will offer business services and skills that the company lacks, such as graphic design, software deployment, or even transcribing or content-writing services. Here the business owners benefit from their skills and can drive growth faster. However, similar to the less skilled, VA work can cost you less. A virtual assistant commands less money in wages. Also, normal cash outlay for hiring on-site staff is reduced or eliminated, such as cost of workstations, computers, insurance, office space, etc.
Virtual assistants have become popular since they offer flexibility to businesses, from small start-ups to large international corporations. VAs also increase the ability to scale up businesses based on the needs of the company. Remote assistants can work part-time or full-time, depending on your needs. Also, if you have seasonal needs, a VA can be handy, giving you that help only when you need it.
What are the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant?
Besides the financial benefits (you can save up to 70% on labor costs), the significant benefit for you is that you are freed up, time-wise. Time is a precious commodity – not only will you gain time to spend with your family, but you can also accomplish your tasks as the owner of the company. Why would you hire yourself to do tasks if you can have these banal chores conducted by someone else for less than it would cost you in time? Additional benefits are instant additional skills to complete projects; also that outsourcing can be a game-changer (which means that you can beat your competition).
In order to devote time to high-value tasks, it is critical to spend not as much time on lower-value activities. For this reason, many companies have now started hiring virtual assistants. Often, within six months, such companies have expanded sufficiently to hire more virtual staff.
We also recommend that you read Startups Using Virtual Assistants [a Practical Guide] and Clever Thinking for Your Home Business – Hire a Virtual Assistant. These articles will give you more details, and some pratical advice. However, for a more personal discussion based on your needs, do book a free consultation session. This chat takes only 30 minutes. In that time, our expert outsourcing agent can guide you on the most suitable hire method for you, and you are then one step away from hiring your own virtual assistant Sam. A new process can always seem overwhelming, even a bit strange. However, once you grasp the potential of this innovative business idea, you will risk a plunge into new waters. Once you see the results, you will wish you had taken the plunge much earlier.