What is a Virtual Assistant and How a VA Can Help Grow Your Business

virtual assistants

In this era of the Digital Age, more and more people are turning to the Internet to make their work and play easier and more accessible. They are also using it to work less and play more.

One of the services now available to do this by using the services of a Virtual Assistant. I myself, have employed virtual assistants for at least 10 years now.

What are Virtual Assistants?

Virtual assistants are home-based, skilled professionals, offering businesses and entrepreneurs administrative support remotely instead of within the traditional office setting.

When you choose to hire a virtual assistant the first thing you’ll want to determine is whether you want them to be an employee or a self-employed contractor. There are pros and cons with each arrangement.

When you hire an employee, even a remote one, you’ll need to provide any benefits your other employees receive, as well as add them to the regular payroll. Additionally, an employee may receive training from you if the company needs someone to take on a new responsibility.

If you choose to work with independent contractors or a freelancer, you will have none of those responsibilities. But, you will have little control over what hours they work or be able to demand when they can be available.

To be designated as an independent contractor, an individual must be free to determine how the work will be done to completion, free from the client/company’s control.

The contractor is responsible for the final product only as far as the terms of their contract requires. However, a contractor already has the knowledge to complete a project so no additional training is required from you.

Just like hiring a regular employee, make sure that you conduct an interview process before hiring them.It’s important to ask questions if they have the qualities and knowledge that you’re are looking for. If possible, request for references.

Aside from their pay rates, it’s also important to know their time availability. Some of these virtual assistants are working for more than one employer.

Where can I find a Virtual Assistant?

The short answer, Everywhere. Ask a friend or another employee. I found my Virtual Assistant from my programmer.

Just as the internet provides the opportunity for the concept of a VA to work, it also provides locations, and even platforms to easily find, hire and pay your VA.

Here’s a short list of websites that provide freelancers and businesses a way to find each other.

  • 24/7 Virtual Assistant
  • Assistant Match
  • eaHelp
  • Fancy Hands
  • Freelancer
  • FlexJobs
  • People Per Hour
  • Red Butler
  • Time Etc.
  • Me
  • Upwork
  • Virtual Assistant USA
  • Virtual Staff Finder
  • Worldwide 101
  • Ziptask
  • Zirtual

So, make a list of tasks you are willing to delegate, weigh the pros and cons of permanent hire vs freelancer, and find a site that will best provide you with the easiest way to find the right fit for you.

virtual assistants

Why do I need a Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is an online worker that can be quite valuable to any business or entrepreneur.

No one person can do everything.

Having a VA would help you scale up your business, allow you time to spend on managing the more important tasks, increase your production and output, and even free up time for your personal endeavors as well.

My Virtual Assistant does a lot of things for me. Aside from administrative tasks, she’s also my social media marketer in charge of my business’ Pinterest and Instagram accounts.

These days, since it has become so easy to set up, outsourcing should be a standard part of business recruitment plans. One of the biggest mistakes a lot of entrepreneurs make is not delegating enough.

The ability to assign certain tasks to qualified individuals will allow you to focus on what really matters. You simply cannot do everything by yourself.

Additionally, if you go the freelancer route, as a small-business owner themselves, your VAs are as concerned with your business success as they are on their own. Your success means their success.

What can a virtual assistant do?

Most virtual assistants focus on administrative tasks that are similar to those of an executive assistant or secretary, they just do it from home. However, with the growing number of VA available, their offerings now run the gamut, making it easier to find the right fit for you.

Entrepreneurs can now hire a VA for everything from making vendor or customer service calls to sending out thank you cards to clients.

Not sure where to start? Aside from the usual tasks, you may have an Executive Assistant do, here are some more ways you can use a virtual assistant to improve your business.

  • Bookkeeping: Keeping tabs on bills and other bookkeeping matters can be one of the easiest things to assign to a virtual assistant, keep in mind, you will need to hand over some control including passwords and account access.
  • Online Research: You can easily delegate Internet research to VAs. Be sure to send explicit instructions, along with any login info needed so assistants can get access to specialty search tools or paid websites.
  • Database entries: Data entry is a very suitable task for VAs. Why have one of your permanent employees get tied up with a short-term project, like converting your Rolodex into a digital filing system, when you can set up a temporary gig for a VA to do it.
  • Data presentations: Turning raw data into a clear presentation for meetings. Do you have all the info but don’t know how to make it interesting to an audience? Let a VA with PowerPoint expertise do it for you.
  • Social tasks: VAs can be a good bet to handle tasks such as writing cards or thank you notes.
  • Scheduling: Because many scheduling tools are available online, virtual assistants are managing the calendars for many of their clients.
  • Industry knowledge prep: With limited time to keep up with related news, small businesses have turned to VAs to keep tabs on important happenings within their industry. Many executives then use the information to update their Twitter feed.
  • Social Media: Speaking of Twitter. Let’s face it. Social Media is here to stay. But keeping up with the ever-changing options that Social Media can provide has basically become a full-time job. This makes it an excellent job for a VA to handle.

Hiring a virtual assistant will leave you with more time and energy on your hands to focus on the things that matter most, creating new products, developing your business, and enjoying extra time with family and friends.

So, make a list of tasks you are willing to delegate, weigh the pros and cons of permanent hire vs freelancer, and find a site that will best provide you with the easiest way to find the right fit for you.

BA in Accountancy, he entered the entrepreneurial world by starting his first online marketing business in 2004. He is passionate about personal finance, self-development, the stock market, and a digital marketing addict. He strongly believes that financial knowledge combined with self-discipline is the key to achieving financial freedom.  He is also an avid golfer and a 15 handicapper.

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