For many small business owners and freelancers the realization that they need a virtual assistant comes to them like the cartoon light bulb turning on over their heads: “Oh! That’s exactly the type of person and help I need!” It may be soon after their business is launched, or it may be after years of overwhelming, time-consuming work.
Virtual assistants (VAs) can be a huge relief to growing small businesses where time is money, and money is not always in large supplies. VAs can work remotely, start immediately, and provide just the type of support you need.
What exactly is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is a self-employed administrative or personal assistant who works remotely for various clients. Virtual assistants, or VAs, have a variety of skill sets and can provide numerous online and offline services.
They can accomplish tasks for you that include:
- Posting to social media
- Formatting blog posts
- Sending email newsletters
- Managing your book or album launch
- Scheduling appointments
- Corresponding with customers or clients
- Setting up webinars
- Designing websites
- Managing your calendar and emails
- Creating print documents
- Preparing presentations
- Creating business systems
- Any regular or repetitive task that you don’t personally need to do
That’s only a small sampling of the tasks and services a VA could provide for you and your business. Many VAs specialize in a few services or consider themselves a creative, administrative or technical VA and provide services only in those areas.
What’s the benefit of working with a VA?
There are many but they have to be the right benefits for your business. In general here are three great reasons many businesses decide to work with a VA:
1. VAs are independent contractors, so forget the salary, benefits or overhead
There’s no need for you to hire a full time or part time employee. When you take on an independent contractor, they are working with you but not for you, and therefore you’re not responsible for all those added benefits that employees receive.
You gain a working partner without the extra expenses. You pay for the tasks and goals achieved without the coffee or cigarette breaks. The expense for a virtual assistant could be the most beneficial investment you make for your business.
2. No training required
Most VAs are small business owners who left a corporate job to work for themselves. Many have valuable business skills and enjoy working from home. Others need a portable career that suits an on-the-go lifestyle. Many are self-taught experts who are always on the lookout to develop a new skill.
Despite the differences in how they function or run their businesses, almost all VAs come with the knowledge, skills, and resources to hit the ground running. You will work initially together on your business plan and concept, how to interact with customers and clients, and requirements for daily tasks, but this is far less than the weeks’ or months’ training new employees require.
Daniëlle Molenaar from Virtual Efficiency agrees:
As a virtual assistant and independent contractor, I know the ins and outs of running a business. For my clients, this means that I can provide a valuable service. Not only am I responsible for completing delegated tasks, I’m frequently also a sparring partner to discuss ideas with.
3. Virtual assistants are mobile, flexible and want to keep a good work-life balance, just like you!
VAs work from home, the local coffee shop, a shared work space or a tropical island. All they need is a computer and an internet connection. That means that you get your tasks accomplished. Period.
And along with the mobility factor, VAs can be as flexible in their scheduling as they want, and as long as you and your VA work out when the tasks and items need to be done, they’ll get them done.
Why are these things good for you and your business?
First of all, your work is getting done, but second of all, when you work with happy, satisfied people, it’s a more positive experience for both parties. Most VAs started their own businesses for the same reasons you did, including the ability to work when and where of their choosing, and to provide their customers and clients with smart, cost-effective solutions.
Great minds think alike, and should definitely work together.
I’m not so sure…
Not convinced? That’s OK, most small business owners and freelancers are hesitant to start working with a virtual assistant for many reasons, too. Delegating is hard to do, especially when it comes to your own business. But if you’re ready to start taking back control of your valuable time grab my Delegation Done Right Guide, and you’ll be off to a great start.
While you may think no one else can take care of your business like you, I bet there’s a VA out there right now who would love to support your business like it was their own (like me!)
VAs are also extremely cost-effective when you’re paying for the accomplishment of tasks and not for someone to be watching the clock to leave the office. It may seem like I’m offering a silver bullet or magic potion, but in reality a VA could be the answer to get your business growing and you loving your work again.
Have you worked with a virtual assistant before? Let me know in the comments below.