Most small business owners and entrepreneurs have heard about the concept of working with a virtual assistant by now but many are still rather skeptical about the whole idea, even if they know other people who are using a VA successfully. Can you really work well with someone who is miles away, someone you have never (and may never) meet? The simple answer is yes, as long as you choose the right partner.
There are a great many advantages to working with a virtual assistant – or even a team of virtual assistants. Some are obvious, some not so much until you actually give the matter some real thought. Here though are the top ten reasons that working with a virtual assistant can not only help you build your business and improve productivity but also restore some of the sanity that you probably have been feeling is rather lacking in your life since you started your business.
By working with a virtual assistant you will be freed from those tasks that you simply do not have time – or perhaps the knowledge – to perform effectively. A small business owner or entrepreneur has to wear an awful lot of hats. Chances are that you are your company’s bookkeeper, publicist, marketing department, accounts receivable rep, accounts payable rep – the list can often go on and on. All of things are probably not the reason you started the company in the first place and yet they are crucial to your success, whether you like it or not. By working with a virtual assistant or virtual assistant team you can delegate many of these tasks to them – so that you can actually get back to building your business and doing what you love.
If you choose to work with a virtual assistant you don’t have to make room for them – Some small business owners and entrepreneurs think about taking on someone to help them, maybe on a part time basis but then when they stop and look around their office or workspace they realize that they have no idea where they would “put” them. In the closet with the copy paper? Out in the hallway? A VA doesn’t take up an inch of space because their presence in your business is just that – virtual. You may only have a few square feet of office space right now but by hiring a virtual assist it just won’t matter.
You do not need to buy expensive office equipment for a virtual assistant to use – You spent a small fortune on your own office equipment – your computer, your phone, your desk, your chair – and you have no idea how you could possibly afford to do it all again right now for an employee. With a virtual assistant on your staff you don’t have to. Virtual assistants work in their own offices, with their own equipment at their own desks drinking out of their own coffee mugs. Just another way that hiring a VA is a smart move from a financial standpoint.
You do not have to pay your VA’s taxes, benefits or for their coffee breaks. – Real employees cost a business far more than their agreed upon hourly wage or salary. There are payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, often there are workers compensation or liability insurance considerations too. And unless you want that employee (or employees) to start calling you Ebenezer Scrooge behind your back you have to pay for their vacation time, and their lunch and coffee breaks, as well. A virtual assistant comes with none of this expensive extras attached. You pay one rate, they get the work done, if they want to go to Starbucks its on their time. Sounds great right?
You can ramp up your business’ growth by finally having the time you need to actually focus on building it – Its hard to get out there and promote your business, meet with potential clients, attend seminars and the like when you have to spend your afternoons balancing the books, sending out invoices and ordering supplies all while trying to figure out how to get into that social media marketing stuff your colleagues have been raving about.
By designating all that small stuff to a VA, or by having them implement some of your marketing work as they are trained to do so and you are not, you can get on with growing the business you love without being stuck with the tasks that you hate. And with all that extra help you can begin marketing and promoting your business to a wider audience.
You can make better business decisions by actually having a partner to “bounce” ideas off or brainstorm with – For many small business owners and entrepreneurs the only things around that they can bounce their ideas off are the wall and their cat, neither of which are really much help in this department (unless you have a really, really talented cat) A virtual assistant is not just an assistant – they are highly trained individuals with a lot of knowledge. The best of them have been in the VA game for quite a while and have learned what works and won’t work in certain situations. And because they are a little distanced from the business they can often offer an honest opinion on certain issues that you are too connected to the business to have noticed.
You can now take on new ventures, new challenges and new clients now that you have more time – You have been meaning to get into social media marketing but you don’t have the time and to be honest you don’t know where to start. Perhaps you have also been planning to expand your offerings but have not had the time. By working with a virtual assistant you will have the extra help you need to do all of these things and so much more.
You can consider finally taking a day off – Anyone who runs their own business can tell you that all those things people write about having more free time and jetting off all over the world on vacation while “your business runs itself” is absolute fiction – at least for the first few years. The fact is that for most small business owners and entrepreneurs the idea of even taking a single day off is a scary thought because they need their business to keep running.
No virtual assistant is going to claim that they can run your business as well as you can but they can help keep it ticking over while you actually take a well earned break. From going through your emails to answering phones and keeping the bills going out a VA can be your ticket to the break you have been dreaming of (when you find the time to sleep)
You can gain the expertise you need, when you need it with no long term commitment. Here’s the scenario. You hire a part time assistant. Things don’t go so well. They can’t quite do all the things they claimed they could in their interview and their lunch hours are usually lunch ninety minutes. They come in at 9.10 am and leave at 4.50 and don’t see why its a problem. You’d like to ask them to leave but 1) you are a nice person and you can’t stand to have to upset someone sitting right there in front of you and 2) you are a small business, you don’t need someone saying bad things about you.
A virtual assistant is a business pro. You can use them as much – our as little – as you need them. And if things do not work out you can usually request a different VA or simply end your relationship. Being mean to your VA is not advised – they are people too – but they do understand that their purpose in working for you is to work – after all they are entrepreneurs too!