What is a virtual assistant? Well, a virtual assistant is a freelance worker who can help support small businesses with a wide variety of tasks. This could be anything from admin to HR or website development. In essence, they can offer the same level of business support that an in-house employee could do.
As they work virtually your VA could be based anywhere in the world. They will have their own fully functioning home office with all the software and equipment needed to fulfill their role.
Over the past decade, virtual assistants have become increasingly popular with small businesses. This is due to the flexibility that working with them provides. You can choose to work with them for a couple of hours or up to 40 hours a week. This is entirely up to you and depends on the level of support you need.
Your virtual assistant will have a specific skill set. Therefore, you will find this is the area that they will specialise in. This could be in marketing, website design or human resources. You may also find that they have a specific sector that they work within. This could be with business coaches or property investors. By virtual assistants being specific in their target market, skillset and knowledge, it helps you ensure you get a good fit for your business.
How to work successfully with a VA
With the advances in technology working with a VA is now as easy as it has ever been. You have project management apps like Asana where you can set and assign tasks. You can also communicate with your VA very easily in Asana and it keeps all your communications and tasks in one place, which is great for auditing purposes. Google documents are great for document creation and conference calls can be done through the likes of Zoom Meeting.
One of the main benefits of working with a virtual assistant is the increased productivity that working with them provides. Having support from a virtual worker is crucial to help facilitate growth. By outsourcing your admin, email management, web design or content, you are freeing up vital time that you can use to do those high-profit tasks that your clients pay you to do. Over time this will help your business grow.
How to hire a Virtual Assistant
The first step to hiring a VA is to make a list of the tasks that you do that are easy to outsource. Then list them from most urgent to least urgent in terms of what needs to get done and how much of your time they take up. You can then prioritise the ones that need to be done by putting them at the top of the list. It could be tasks like managing your emails to updating your website, research work or content writing.
The next step is to decide how to go about hiring your perfect VA. Below are some tried and tested methods:
- You could use a VA hiring service which will train and hire a team of virtual assistants and assign someone with the right skill set to you.
- Your other option is to use sites like People Per Hour or Upwork. These are freelance websites which will have a wide variety of virtual assistants to choose from. Therefore, all you need to do is advertise your job and await the proposals to come in. You can then vet them and interview candidates.
- Furthermore, you could ask your network for their referrals. This can be a great way of finding a virtual assistant who has already been vetted. They will have impressed somebody else with the quality of their work. This will then give you a good indicator that they are good at what they do.
The positive outcomes of working with a VA
Whatever option you choose, I am sure that hiring a virtual assistant will not be a decision you regret. It will free up your time to enjoy life, give you a chance to get away from your desk and concentrate on other business activities. You could also choose to spend more time with loved ones and on the things you enjoy doing in life.
Hopefully, I have answered the question 'What is a virtual assistant?' I have also maybe given you some ideas on how they could help you free up your time and take the pressure off running your business.
If you want to learn more about how you can successfully hire and work with a virtual assistant, please download our eBook.