Running a business is no easy task. It requires a lot of time, effort, and resources to start a business and build it up for success. Entrepreneurship is a demanding and challenging journey, and that is why business owners often have a lot on their plate. They typically handle much of their business operations, from marketing, sales strategies, inventory management, and even customer support.
However, these tasks tend to pile up quickly. Business owners unknowingly spend hours working on administrative tasks, figuring out logistics, and keeping up with stocks and inventory. While these tasks are all essential in running a successful business, some say these are not the most productive use of an entrepreneur’s time.
Instead, business owners should spend most of their time figuring out how to grow their businesses. When you find yourself losing time or drowning in too much work, this might be the best time to consider hiring a virtual assistant.
To help guide you, here is everything you need to know about and consider about hiring virtual assistants for your business.
What Is A Virtual Assistant?
First things first, what is a virtual assistant exactly?
Virtual assistants (VAs) are remote employees who provide online support and management services for businesses. VAs typically serve as online executive assistants who help manage and organize business processes and operations.
They often take over mundane day-to-day tasks such as answering phone calls and responding to emails, allowing entrepreneurs to save time and focus on technical or more pressing business matters.
However, VAs have broken through various industries and now involve specialties depending on their skills, years of experience, and niches. Virtual assistant jobs focus on online or digital duties such as social media management, data entry, graphic design, email marketing, and the like.
Some of the most common types of virtual assistants in the industry are:
- Administrative virtual assistants
- Social media virtual assistants
- Finance virtual assistants
- Customer service virtual assistants
- Ecommerce virtual assistants
- Research virtual assistants,
- Medical virtual assistants
Advantages and Disadvantages Of Hiring Virtual Assistants
Hiring a virtual assistant is something business owners need to consider carefully. While VAs can provide much-needed help and assistance in running a business, having a remote working employee also has its fair share of risks and challenges.
With that, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of adding virtual assistants to your team.
Pros of Hiring Virtual Assistants
Boost work productivity
One of the most notable advantages of hiring virtual assistants is they can help boost your business’s overall productivity. When you delegate work to your VA, you are now free to pursue other tasks and responsibilities.
You will no longer be spending too much time responding to emails, answering phone calls, and the like. Instead, you can focus on making future plans, building relationships and networks, and other duties directly related to scaling your business.
Larger talent pool
There are hundreds of thousands of virtual assistants working from home worldwide. Another benefit of the remote work industry is that employers can find applicants and hire someone even if they are across the globe from each other.
The virtual assistance industry provides business owners with access to global talent, allowing them to find the person with the right skills, knowledge, and experience for the job regardless of location.
Flexible work setups
Remote work offers flexibility for both the employer and the employee. Business owners have the option to hire virtual assistants on an as-needed or project basis instead of keeping them full-time.
Aside from that, you can also negotiate your VA’s schedule and availability. Depending on your agreement, you can have your VA working at times opposite yours, ensuring around-the-clock customer support and service availability for your business.
Cost and time-saving
Generally, hiring virtual assistants is more cost-effective than getting an in-house employee.
The average rate for VAs ranges somewhere between $5 to $10 per hour. Some VAs with more experience or specialized training would have an hourly rate of roughly $15-$30.
Despite this, the cost of hiring a virtual assistant is still significantly cheaper than the average salary in the US. Not only is the payment more affordable, but a remote employee also cuts overhead costs such as office supplies, equipment, utilities, and so on.
Virtual assistants can also save entrepreneurs a lot of precious time. Time-consuming tasks such as data entry, email management, database management, and the like can be delegated to a VA. This frees up time and lets you focus on more critical aspects of your business.
Cons of Hiring Virtual Assistants
Cultural and language barriers
When hiring a virtual assistant, there is a high possibility that you will find someone from a significantly different cultural background. Considering this, one of the drawbacks of a global talent pool is the chance of cultural differences and language barriers that can affect how you work with each other.
Lack of control
Remote work has its own set of challenges and risks. One of which is the need for more direct monitoring and supervision. Given that your VA works from home thousands of miles away, you don’t have much control over their work environment, habits, and processes. These factors can influence their productivity and the quality of their work.
Complex onboarding and training processes
Hiring a remote employee requires a different approach during onboarding and training. You would have to spend time and effort introducing the tools you use and explaining your business operations to ensure that your VA understands their roles and responsibilities well. The process can be challenging as you would have to rely solely on digital communication when onboarding and training them.
Signs That You Need To Hire A Virtual Assistant
Knowing what it’s like to hire a virtual assistant can help you decide whether you want one. You better understand what VAs have to offer and the challenges you may have to face. But more than that, several telltale signs show that you need to hire a virtual assistant to help with your business.
To give you a better idea, here are some reasons why you should consider hiring a virtual assistant as soon as possible.
- You are overwhelmed with your tasks and responsibilities as an entrepreneur.
- You spend a significant amount of time on mundane and repetitive tasks.
- You’re not able to complete tasks on time.
- You are worried about the quality of your work.
- You need help with specialized tasks and duties.
- You’re turning down opportunities because of too much work.
- You want to expand your business.
- You need flexible work setups.
- You’re trying to reduce costs.
Factors To Consider When Hiring A Virtual Assistant
If you’re thinking about hiring a virtual assistant, it is crucial that you know how to find the right person for the job. Here are some factors to consider when hiring and onboarding a VA to your team.
Technical skills, knowledge, and experience
There are different types of virtual assistant jobs with various specializations or expertise. When looking for a VA online, it’s essential that you specify what niche and background you’re looking for to avoid confusion. Most importantly, take steps to test your applicant’s skills and proficiency to ensure that they are well capable of doing the job.
Schedule and availability
Another factor to consider when hiring remote employees is their schedule and availability. Given that it’s possible for you to find an applicant living across the globe, there would be significant time differences between the two of you. Consider location and time zones when hiring a VA and specify the hours you need them to work with you.
Virtual assistant services come at different price ranges and rates. Find someone who fits well into your budget when looking for a VA. However, keep in mind that their rate can reflect the quality of work they offer.
Hiring a virtual assistant can be a game changer for entrepreneurs looking to increase their productivity and save time to scale their businesses.
VAs can take on general admin work or even more technical responsibilities such as web management, ecommerce, graphic design, and so on. However, it is essential for anyone thinking about hiring a virtual assistant to learn how to delegate tasks effectively to maximize the help and support their VA has to offer.
Want to know more about adding virtual assistants to your team? 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.