What is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant is the name given to an independent service provider who assists in the client’s business processes. Virtual Assistant is often shortened to simply VA. They most often work from a remote location called a virtual office. They’re able to assist the company on a day to day basis, or can assist the company on single projects. This depends on your company’s needs and requirements with regards to whether they work in the long or short term.

When you run a business, you’re running in an advance, professional environment. You’re constantly on the go, busy busy busy! Many people struggle to achieve the work life balance because they’re juggling so many aspects of life, and overwhelmed by the number of tasks they need to complete. What they really want to do is maximise productivity, performance and efficiency; but often they’re stuck in a cycle they don’t know how to get out of. This can often lead to people looking for unconventional solutions such as outsourcing.

Everyday admin tasks are critical to the function of a successful business, but they can often dampen creativity and make you lose focus. This can be quite frustrating when you’d rather be doing things you enjoy and are passionate about. Admin is a necessary part of business but often unproductive as it doesn’t yield immediate results, as opposed to creating a product.

Outsourcing is both cost and time effective. You only pay for the time your virtual assistant works which gives you time and money to do more important things and prioritise.

Communicating with a virtual assistant

Communication is an absolutely crucial part of working with a virtual assistant, and can usually be made via email, post, telephone or applications such as instant messenger or skype. Sharing clouds will also help you manage your virtual assistant’s work effectively. Your virtual assistant should send you regular progress reports too, this will enable you to track the project and monitor the calibre of their work.

Do expect that when you first work with your virtual assistant, they will need to ask some questions in order to determine your working method, specific tasks, and other miscellaneous queries. It’s important that you answer these questions as clearly as possible, this ensures clarity, accuracy and ease of task completion. 

Advantages of hiring a virtual assistant

Virtual assistance can be used to help in many roles, such as: administration, creative, accounting, research, marketing, and much more.

There are further advantages to hiring a virtual assistant – they’re not part of your payroll which means tax and national insurance is their responsibility, not yours.

Virtual assistants are self-employed, they decide their working hours, the services they choose to provide, their training, and their charges. They also cover their own expenses and have their own equipment and office. 

Learning to delegate

Delegating to a virtual assistant can be difficult at first, you may feel reluctance to let go and pass on tasks. An important part of this process is allowing yourself to let go and really believe in the benefits you will gain from delegating.

A simple way to decide what you tasks you could delegate to your virtual assistant is to outline every single task you complete in relation to your business for 2 weeks. Include tasks that are ongoing, and tasks you keep putting off because you don’t have the time or inclination to complete them. Perhaps carry a notebook around to make sure you detail every aspect.

Ensure you include details of each task, the importance to your business, and how much you enjoy it. Also mark the tasks that only you are able to perform, this will create a shortlist to enable you to compress the list further. There’s very little point delegating tasks you do enjoy doing, unless you get the benefit of the extra time. If you’d like to continue doing the tasks you enjoy, then do so.

Remember that delegating tasks to virtual assistants is not about whether you have the ability to complete the tasks, it’s giving you the freedom of time to do other things. Delegating to a virtual assistant is no reflection of your capabilities or skills, it shows you’re able to manage a business and prioritise effectively.

The cost

For many businesses, the deciding factor when hiring a virtual assistant is the cost. Take a look at your budget and decide if it allows for a virtual assistant. If the standard rate per hour is worth more to you in time, it would be worth it. Make sure you’re not losing money by hiring a virtual assistant, but bear in mind that a virtual assistant can often contribute to increasing revenue in your business.

A virtual assistant enjoys what they do, which means they spend the time wisely. They’re more focused and thus more productive.

Final considerations

The final thing to consider when hiring a virtual assistant is the benefits it could have on your life. It will enable you to spend more time doing things you love, developing your business, designing new products, spending quality time with your loved ones, and improve your social life. The benefits are endless.

A virtual assistant gives you more time to do the things you love, but think carefully about the advantages and disadvantages specific for your business. As a virtual assistant only works for as long you need, you could try for a short period and see the impact it has.

A virtual assistant is there to assist you, make the most of it!

 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us 🙂