Life is hectic for busy freelancers. Managing your work, business, personal life and family responsibilities can get overwhelming. Wouldn’t it be nice to have extra help from time to time? You could hire an assistant. That would mean spending some time to create a job description. Then you would need to research job boards to post your listing and find the energy to interview candidates. It seems like you’ve created more work than you had intended in the first place.
Instead, consider hiring a virtual assistant. We’ve touched on some of the benefits of outsourcing your non-work chores during the holidays, for instance, gift buying, cleaning, standing in line at the post office and other errands. What about extending this type of service year-round? You’ll get much-needed assistance with some of the more mundane daily tasks without the hassle of a lengthy candidate search or having to go through the hiring process. An established virtual assistant company can match you with the right individual who can bring a new level of success to your small business.
A Virtual Assistant Frees You from Daily Tasks
Imagine having someone who can answer your business calls and screen out those that would waste your time. Or perhaps remind you when you’re due for your next physical. Or manage your business’ bookkeeping and update your social media presence. These are the types of tasks you can delegate to a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants come from a variety of professional backgrounds, so you’re likely to find one who is a good fit for your business needs.
A study by Pace Productivity found that administrative tasks take up at least 25% of a manager’s time in the corporate environment. Imagine how much time you’re spending on these types of tasks when you’re juggling multiple roles for your home-based business. Not having to keep track of the routine tasks will free you to focus on the most important duties.
Can I Afford a Virtual Assistant?
Is hiring a virtual assistant a cost-effective solution? Let’s consider where you can save. First, there are no overhead costs since you won’t need to provide a virtual assistant with office space or equipment.
Assistants are paid only for the hours they work. You can choose to hire them only when you need them, for instance, just during your busy season. Also, virtual assistants are independent contractors and are not subject to payroll taxes or employee benefits.
Since virtual assistants are selected for their specific skill sets, they’re ready to start working immediately. There is no orientation period or training time needed to get them up to speed.
Another plus, since virtual assistants are remote positions, they can be filled very quickly and from a wide talent pool. As a remote worker, your virtual assistant will likely be more engaged in his or her role and more productive. This means that you will be more productive. As your assistant unburdens you of the tasks that you don’t have time to do, or don’t want to do, you’ll have more time to focus on growing your business.
Getting Started: Create a Task Inventory
If the thought of having a virtual assistant has crossed your mind, but you’re not sure if you really need one, ask yourself what your breaking point might be. If you’re still not ready to make the commitment, try this simple exercise: Make a list of the things that you need to do throughout the day but know that you aren’t going to be able to complete. This “task inventory” can give you an idea of whether you could benefit from additional assistance.
While compiling your list, be sure to include items that can be done remotely and those that do not directly bring revenue to your business. Your task inventory will give you the opportunity to see exactly where your time is going. Are you spending the bulk of your time creating more business opportunities or mainly on administrative tasks?
Once you’ve charted the tasks that you’d like to outsource, you can determine the number of hours you’d expect to use a virtual assistant and decide if it is something that fits into your budget. Even if your list ends up on the short side, chances are you could still benefit from the help. Virtual assistants can work any number of hours, some even as low as five hours a week. The time of day or day of the week isn’t a limiting factor either. If you’d prefer your virtual assistant help only during the evening and weekends, you’ll be able to find someone with that availability.
Start Building Your Remote Support Team Now
You may be worried about providing so much personal information to someone you’ve never met in person, or be wary of them actually completing the work. Many virtual assistants have years of experience in the business world and, like you, have decided to work for themselves. Finding the right match for your tasks and requirements is key.
There are a wide variety of sources where you can begin your search for a virtual assistant; for instance, Upwork, Zen Assistant, Time etc, Virtual Assist USA to name a few. If you go through a reputable company, they will conduct the background check as well as the necessary review of the candidate’s work history. Also, keep in mind that virtual assistants are paid for the hours of work that they complete. Their ongoing source of revenue comes from building a reputation for providing quality work. Your success is also their success.
Today’s workforce is trending toward a remote environment. Keep your competitive edge by building your mobile team now — starting with the right virtual assistant. Between cost savings, improved work-life balance and productivity gains, there is no better time to give it a try.