With the advancement of the internet and the ability to work remotely while still staying connected, there has been a change in the way individuals and companies are getting work done. You’ve probably heard the title “virtual assistant” but really don’t understand what that means. Let me help explain what a virtual assistant is, who they work with, and how they can benefit you.
Virtual Assistant Definition
A virtual assistant (VA) is a self-employed freelancer who remotely provides administrative, creative, or technical services for brick-and-mortar or online business owners.
A virtual assistant operates their own independent contractor business where they pay their own self-employment taxes, set their own rates, choose which projects they want to work on, control when and where they work, and usually have multiple clients at once. A virtual assistant works remotely from a home office or a shared workspace. They work with business owners on a specific project or will be hired to work on a long-term basis. A virtual assistant will partner with a business owner to deliver a service or take over a specific task for them. They might handle a variety of tasks to support their client and the job that a virtual assistant performs will look different based on each business owner’s needs.
Virtual assistants come from a variety of backgrounds, each with their own skill sets, expertise, and experience. The opportunity to hire a virtual assistant for your business has changed the way companies worldwide are run. They no longer need to only hire full-time employees. Instead they can outsource tasks to help save time and money.
Many virtual assistants have prior experience in a professional or corporate setting. They create their own virtual assistant business to have more flexibility. They can work hours that fit their schedule, work on projects that interest them, and set rates that are based on their experience. Virtual assistants are highly motivated go-getters who aren’t just looking for another “stay at home” job. They are dedicated freelancers who want to keep their clients happy and see their businesses succeed.
Primary Benefits of a Virtual Assistant
- Saves you time
- Allows you to focus your efforts on your primary benefit to your business
- Get more specialized help in a certain area
You might consider hiring a virtual assistant if you need an expert in a certain area that you don’t have the experience in. Rather than take the time to learn another skill you can find someone who already has that knowledge. This will save you time, energy, and money.
You can hire a virtual assistant when your business starts to grow, and you want to take it to the next level. You only have so many hours in the day to get everything done. Hiring a virtual assistant will allow you to delegate out tasks that have been taking up your valuable time. By getting your time back you will avoid burnout and the overwhelm you might face as you continue to grow your business.
Common Tasks You can Delegate to Your Virtual Assistant
Operating a business can be expensive and time consuming. Hiring a virtual assistant can help a business owner have more time to work “on” their business rather than “in” their business. They might just need a few hours of assistance per month, so rather than hire an employee, they can purchase a monthly package of hours from a virtual assistant that they hire.
A virtual assistant can offer a never ending list of services that an in-house employee might traditionally manage. Here are a few of the most common tasks that a VA works on:
- data entry and spreadsheet maintenance
- calendar management and scheduling
- answer phone calls
- file management
- travel arrangements
- take meeting minutes
- customer service
- email marketing
- lead generation
- funnel generation
- search engine optimization (SEO)
- competitor research
- amazon marketing assistance
- template creation
- marketing campaigns
- manage email lists and systems
- tax preparation
- graphic creation for websites, social media, and promotional material
- business cards
- brand boards
- photo editing
- template creation
- calendar management and event planning
- making purchases
Social media management
- graphic creation
- hashtag research
- schedule and post
- engagement with audience
- grow following
- create ad campaigns
- analytic reports
- setting up your customer relationship management (CRM) tool
- email newsletter management
- website maintenance (wordpress, squarespace, etc)
- course creation
- monitor analytics
- blog posts
- social media posts
- podcast show notes
- formatting blogs
- grant proposals
- resume writing
- website copywriting
As mentioned before, the list of tasks a virtual assistant can work on has no end. If you have something specific you need help with in your business, there is absolutely a VA out there to help you get it done. Read our article here for a deeper look at what a virtual assistant does.
Common Industries VA's Work With
Many virtual assistants work for other small business owners. Since the owner of a small business usually doesn’t need to hire a full-time employee, a VA is a great option for them to pass off tasks that are slowing them down. A virtual assistant can help clients in almost any industry out there. Here’s a list of a few industries where a VA could benefit a company:
Tips on How to Select the Best Virtual Assistant for You
You should evaluate a prospective virtual assistant on some of these skills, keeping in mind where you may need someone to off-set your own short-comings, or what may be most critical to the role:
- Similar communication skills
- Keen attention to detail
- Personality type that meshes well with yours
- Understands your goals
- Willing to learn
- Interested in your business
Cost: What to Expect to Pay a Virtual Assistant
In the United States, you can expect to pay between $20-$50 per hour for a general virtual assistant. Their rates will vary to reflect experience, skill set, and the type of task being completed. As you request assistance for more specialized tasks their rates will increase.
There are many cost benefits to hiring a virtual assistant. Instead of hiring a full-time or part-time employee, you can hire a VA to complete only the number of hours you need for that month. You also don’t need to pay for any training since you will be hiring a virtual assistant with the skills that you need. Another major benefit that’s important to remember is that you won’t be paying for any employee benefits, taxes, equipment, office space, or bonuses. Your VA will take care of all that themselves!
When you begin your search for a virtual assistant, take the time to determine your budget and the level of experience you are expecting. It might be critical for your virtual assistant to have extensive knowledge in your industry or have a certain skill. On the other hand, you might be willing to hire on a virtual assistant with less experience, but is someone who has the enthusiasm and is a great personality fit for your company. After you meet with potential virtual assistants, reflect on who would be the best match for your company and don’t base your decision completely on their pay requirements. If you hire the cheapest option, you might receive lower quality work. It’s best to remember that your VA will be working closely with you as a team member of your company and will have a great impact on your business as it grows.
Where Can You Find a Virtual Assistant for Your Business?
There are many different ways to find a qualified virtual assistant for your business. Here are a few options:
- Online VA agencies (such as Delegated.com)
- Facebook groups
- Local networking groups
How to Get Started with Your New Virtual Assistant
Once you hire your virtual assistant the first thing you need to do is go through your systems and strategies with them. You want to make sure your VA knows what your processes, goals, and expectations are. It will be key to have very open communication with them, especially in the beginning. It would be smart to plan a weekly or monthly phone call with together so you have a scheduled time to touch-base. In between your calls, keep the lines of communication open via email.
It’s helpful to provide your virtual assistant with any documentation you have on your processes. If you don’t have it documented yet, that might be a great task for the VA to handle!
As time goes on, make sure you provide constructive feedback and mention when they did something positive for your business. They are working to help you gain the best results. When your virtual assistant hears that they are doing a great job it will help motivate them! On the other hand, if they are doing something incorrectly, they want to know as soon as possible so they can correct it.
Considering a Job as a Virtual Assistant?
To start your own virtual assistant business you'll want to consider a few things:
- What are your skills? What can you offer to a potential client?
- What will your pricing be?
- How many hours do you want to work?
- Who is your ideal client?
- Create a Facebook Business page or a website to start networking
- Update your resume and portfolio
- Create an on-boarding process
Once you've gotten through everything above, it's time to start applying and reaching out to find potential clients! Here are a few places you can find clients or job listings (it's similar to the list above, but with some additional aspects):
- Online VA agencies, such as delegated.com
- Facebook groups
- Google search (searching for folks online who are posting on different websites, message boards, or their own website)
- Local networking groups
- Friends and family
- Send out cold pitches to your ideal client
It can be nerve-wracking and exciting as you begin applying to virtual assistant positions. Here are a few things you can do to land your first client:
- Research everything about your potential client
- Practice what you'll say on your discovery call
- Take thorough notes to reference later
- Ask questions
- Charge what you are worth
- Be honest about your skills and be yourself
Additionally, you can look for virtual assistant job descriptions online, at some of the websites listed above - and work within another existing business.
Join the Virtual Assistant Trend Today -- with Delegated.com
Gartner Inc. predicts by the year 2021 that 25% of digital workers will use a virtual assistant for their companies. This will be a major increase from the 2% of virtual assistants being used in 2019. Are you thinking you might need virtual assistance for your business? This might be the perfect time to find a qualified virtual assistant to help you out!