Is it Time to Hire a Virtual Assistant?

by Shari Talbot

Running a business can be completely overwhelming. In an attempt to save money, we often try to do everything ourselves, but what if there was a better way? 

Virtual assistants often have talents that lie in our own areas of weakness. When we consider the value of our time, VAs can often save us money in the long run. Since they are self-employed freelancers, they are usually paid by the hour or by the project. You won’t be responsible for extra costs and paperwork like benefits and tax deductions.

When to Hire Help

If you are working more than the hours you have allotted for your business, and still feel like you are not getting enough done, it might be time to get some help. Make a list of the tasks you have on your plate right now. You might want to divide them into daily, monthly or weekly categories. Highlight the jobs that you are having trouble completing and the ones you really dislike. Are these tasks keeping you from attending to your highest priorities and the parts of your business that you enjoy the most? Which of these could you realistically hire out?

What Can a Virtual Assistant Do?

Virtual assistants are often highly talented in many areas. Experienced VAs will be able to run with a variety of tasks. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, but some examples are:

  • Invoicing and other bookkeeping tasks

  • Email and social media management

  • Answering phone calls and customer follow-up

  • Online research and writing tasks

  • Data entry and transcription

  • Content creation or graphic design

  • Blog administration and SEO

 How to What to Look for in an Assistant

Do you want to hire an assistant who will follow your directions to a tee, or do you want someone who will take initiative and work independently? Will a remote applicant be suitable, or do you prefer face-to-face communication? Do you need someone in your time zone, or can they work at their own pace? Would you like to hire someone will tonnes of experience or someone you can train according to your preferences? Consider applicants who are quick to respond, have great communication skills and pay attention to details.

How to Find a Great Match

Know exactly what you are looking for, before you hire. Create a precise and detailed job description and narrow down a list of tasks you want your VA to perform. Include some information about your business culture and values so applicants can decide if it’s a good fit for them. If you are disorganized and not really sure what you want an assistant to do, you’ll likely both be disappointed.

Decide in advance how you will communicate together. For some, email or texting might be sufficient. Others may require Skype calls or in-person meetings to develop a relationship.

Sometimes, as business owners, we feel like Jacks-of-All-Trades and Masters-of-None. Hiring a virtual assistant allows you to outsource some tasks while feeling more in control of the ones that help you build your business. Remember, nobody is perfect. Allow time for training and recognize that it might take a while for a good flow to develop between you and your VA. Once you get things rolling with a VA, you’ll have more time to focus on the things most important to you.