Remote work blossomed with today’s digital age and technology. Aside from the development of the ecommerce industry, certain business processes and operations now rely on digital channels and an array of online platforms. Taking this into consideration, there is an explosion of job opportunities that work strictly under remote work setups. One of which is the thriving virtual assistant industry.
Today, businesses of all shapes and sizes are adding virtual assistants to their operations to provide crucial support that helps alleviate employees’ workload and boost productivity and efficiency. But what is it exactly like to hire a virtual assistant for your business? Here’s a brief overview and a comprehensive guide to the VA industry.
What Is A Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant or VA is typically an independent contract worker hired to provide support to companies or individuals. They serve primarily as online executive assistants who offer a helping hand to deal with laborious or time-consuming tasks such as administrative work and data entry. However, VAs can also be assigned specific duties and responsibilities depending on their skills and years of experience. Some of the other common virtual assistant jobs include graphic design, customer service, social media management, and the like.
Benefits Of Hiring A Virtual Assistant
Having an extra pair of hands to offer help when you started a business is always a good thing. This is especially true when you are trying to grow and scale your operations. As more customers and clients pour in, tasks and responsibilities can easily be overwhelming for a sole proprietor or rookie entrepreneur.
But aside from small businesses and startups, even global companies like Apple, Meta, and Google have taken advantage of adding remote virtual assistants to their roster. To give you a better idea, here are some of the notable advantages of hiring a virtual assistant for your business.
Save precious time
Hiring a virtual assistant means that you have someone readily available to offer their help or support on whatever task you’re doing. Owners of relatively small or young businesses often handle a bunch of responsibilities from management, operations, and even marketing. A part of this comes with time-consuming or repetitive tasks such as data entry, payroll management, and the like. Getting a virtual assistant to take these responsibilities off of your hands would provide you with so much time to work on more important tasks that can help grow your business such as digital marketing, networking, and more.
Having a virtual assistant for your business means that you would always have someone readily available to take on a variety of tasks in order to help the team. Let’s say that you hire a virtual assistant to do data entry tasks. Any other member of your team with this task on their list can simply delegate work to the VA and move on to more important objectives. So instead of having your marketing head waste time entering client or customer information for their campaign database, your VA can handle this while your marketing team can focus on creating the best marketing strategies for your business.
Get lower operation costs
Given that VAs work online, business owners can reduce operating costs in terms of rent, utilities, office supplies, equipment, and even furniture. Technology nowadays even opened the doors for fully remote business operations which significantly decreases the investment needed to start a business.
Generally, VAs are responsible for their home work setups. However, some businesses choose to offer support by adding a little extra to pay for the internet and electricity bills. Some companies also provide equipment for their remote employees in order to ensure that nothing keeps them from working comfortably. Despite this, business owners still get lower operation costs when hiring remote employees as compared to having a team work in traditional office spaces.
When To Hire A Virtual Assistant
While getting a VA to assist you in your business has a lot of benefits, some business owners are still reluctant to hire a virtual assistant as part of their team. However, there may be circumstances where hiring a VA can be the solution to a bunch of issues and problems your business is facing. Here are some of the tell-tale signs in your business that show you need to get a VA as soon as possible:
- You are overwhelmed with piles of paperwork and administrative duties.
- You’re spending too much time working on repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
- You need help organizing and managing business files and databases.
- You need an extra pair of hands to deal with basic personal responsibilities such as scheduling appointments, responding to emails, and answering phone calls.
- You have a one-time business project that needs technical skills and you can’t hire a full-time employee.
How To Hire A Virtual Assistant
Some may think that hiring an online executive assistant or VA doesn’t need as much preparation or attention. Although VAs are typically assigned menial tasks, they are still working for and with you as well as your business. And given that virtual assistants work remotely, it would be harder for a team leader or manager to keep track and close attention to every single thing that their VAs are doing.
Hiring a virtual assistant comes with the notion that you would have to delegate work to them. Whether it’s handling customer service or digitizing client information and databases. Your VA would still play a crucial role that can help you complete the task assigned to you efficiently. Taking this into consideration, here is a simple step-by-step guide on how to hire a virtual assistant or a remote employee:
Step #1: Know the VAs task and responsibilities
Before you even think about sending out a job posting for a virtual assistant, the first thing that you need to do is to identify what exactly are the tasks and responsibilities you are delegating to your soon-to-be-hired VA. Doing this will allow you to better determine the right background, skills, and experience are you looking for in your online executive assistant so they can complete the assigned task effectively and efficiently.
Step #2: Conduct an interview
While going through one’s resume is one thing, it’s also important to conduct an interview when you’re hiring a virtual assistant. If you’re looking for someone who would be working closely with you, it is best to ensure that your personalities are compatible. Aside from that, make sure that you can communicate effectively with one another, and that they hold a certain level of professionalism and accountability with the way they work so that you wouldn’t have any problems with miscommunication or quality of work in the long run.
Step #3: Hold an applicant’s skill and knowledge test
Aside from checking their resume and doing a simple background check, another step that is crucial when it comes to hiring a virtual assistant is to check how their skills match with what’s written on their resume. While this can be a good metric for how good a VA can be in their job, it’s important to offer enough leeway for your applicants. Instead of focusing on the test results, consider their overall performance and their potential to become amazing employees.
Tips On Managing A Virtual Assistant
Aside from the hiring process, it is also important that you know how to properly manage a virtual assistant that is a part of your team. Much like any employee, your VA would look up to you for guidance, especially at the start of their employment. With that, here are some helpful tips on how to manage a VA employee:
- Provide an in-depth work guidebook upon hiring.
- Give them a level of flexibility as they go through the learning curve of their tasks and responsibilities.
- Personally train your VA on more technical tasks.
- Communicate regularly and provide constructive feedback.
- Avoid micromanaging.
- Practice effective delegation and provide a degree of authority and accountability over their work.
Thinking about getting a virtual assistant for your business? Sidekicks is an on-demand virtual company and we’re eager to help visionaries and entrepreneurs like you. Get a free ebook and learn more about how we can help you by signing up for our newsletter. We also offer a free 30-minute consultation if you prefer something more personal.