Why You Need A Virtual Assistant
Posted by NANCY BAKANOWICZ
15 June, 2016
As a small business owner, you wear a lot of hats, and most likely you work a lot of hours. But if you find yourself working more and more on administrative tasks rather than working at your business goals, then it may be time to consider hiring a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant (VA) can free you up to do what you need in order to grow your business while knowing that the everyday tasks are getting done correctly and efficiently. This becomes even more important if you are a solopreneur with no employees to whom to delegate such tasks – a VA can be an invaluable tool to take some daily administrative tasks off your hands.
Virtual assistants are part of the new working environment that utilizes technology to give workers more flexibility in their schedules and jobs so they may not even need to be physically present in an office. In today’s business world, it’s not uncommon for an employee to be located in an entirely different state than his or her employer. VAs are usually contract workers or freelancers who focus on administrative tasks in different sectors, freeing business owners and entrepreneurs to concentrate on what they need to do to build and grow their businesses. VAs can be very beneficial to a business’ bottom line, as they are often only hired as needed, or they can be more of a steady employee, as well. But how do you know when to hire a VA? This list from Entrepreneur Magazine outlines some points to consider when determining whether or not to hire a virtual assistant:
- You don’t need and can’t afford a full-time employee.
- You’re having trouble completing your most important tasks.
- You need work done that doesn’t require an office presence.
- You travel a lot and need someone who likes working virtually.
- You spend more time organizing rather than executing.
- You know what tasks need to be done but you don’t have the manpower.
Virtual assistants can be a big time saver when your company is growing but you can’t afford to hire a fil-time employee just yet. In addition to personal tasks, VAs can help with bookkeeping, social media, design, web development, email management, marketing administration and much more. They can even help you become a better business owner – and more knowledgeable in your field – by keeping you on top of the latest happenings in your industry.
So, now that you know you want to hire a VA, how do you go about finding one? A good place to start is the website of the International Virtual Assistant Association, which has a searchable database of VAs that belong to the organization. You may also consider contacting websites like Elance and oDesk, which specialize in matching virtual assistants to companies. Once you have a pool of candidates, you will need to interview them just as you would any other employee. Prepare a job description that includes a list of duties and expectations, including any specific hours the VA would need to work. Finally, when you hire a VA, you will need to develop an agreement of terms that includes the fee, billing and payment terms, the work expected, cancellation terms and procedures, and by what process information will be shared. Once both parties have agreed on the terms, the agreement should be drafted and signed by both parties. Like any other legal document, this is done to protect your business and the VA, as well.
Virtual assistants can be an excellent resource for all phases of your business, whether you are just starting out or you’ve been in business for decades. A VA may be used once or twice for short term projects or could become a long-term employee, as trusted and valued as any who work at your physical location. Regardless of the need or reason, a virtual assistant can be a great benefit to your business, providing you with expertise when you need it, and helping to keep expenses down when you don’t.