Hiring a Virtual Administrative Assistant

An administrative assistant is someone who can do a little bit of everything to make an office run. But given today’s digital environment, it’s entirely possible to hire a virtual administrative assistant and get just as much done. 

Unfamiliar with how it works? We’ve put everything you’ll need to know about hiring a virtual assistant of your own will work:

The Types of Tasks You Can Handle with a Virtual Administrative Assistant

Here’s a good rule of thumb: a virtual administrative assistant can handle just about anything that an administrative assistant can handle if they were working from home—on the other side of the country. In other words, they can’t pick up your dry-cleaning, but they can do just about anything that requires remote access.

Want specifics? Let’s talk specifics:

  • Daily office tasks. Your calendar, your files, your email inbox, your phone management system—these are all elements of running your daily life that you can outsource to a dedicated virtual assistant. As long as you don’t need to do the office tasks on-site, a virtual assistant can help.
  • Scheduling and travel arrangements. Need to book a conference in a few months? Outsource it to your virtual assistant. Need to follow up on that meeting that a client missed? A virtual assistant can be on top of your calendar. If you spend too much time digging through your own calendars, a virtual administrative assistant can be an immediate boost to your productivity.
  • Remote office management. Although your virtual administrative assistant can’t be there to set up the conference room table, there’s still plenty in the office that can be managed remotely, including handling bookkeeping, invoices, managing expenses, and handling payroll. 
  • Phone calls. From handling incoming phone calls to placing phone calls on your behalf, a virtual assistant handling administrative duties can be your ears and voice when you’d rather be working on productive and distraction-free work.

Where a Virtual Administrative Assistant Helps You Get Work Done

It’s one thing to list some of the things a virtual administrative assistant can do to help you. But it’s even more important to illustrate how this might work. Here are a few scenarios that might help you imagine life after hiring a virtual assistant:

  • Distraction-free work. Imagine that you want to work on a project for three clear, distraction-free hours in the morning. If you run an office, you’re going to also have to field calls, handle problems that come up, deal with social media, or handle other administrative tasks. Want to avoid all that? Outsource the administrative tasks to your administrative assistant and you’re free to focus on the most productive work of the day.
  • Additional capacity. Let’s say you don’t feel you need an administrative assistant just yet, but the calls from clients are starting to be a bother. You still want your clients to feel valued with a human touch, but you’re not sure how you can make enough time for them and still get your day’s work finished. A virtual administrative assistant can take calls from anywhere and keep your clients in the loop.
  • Time off. Hiring a virtual administrative assistant isn’t just about giving yourself more time to work. It’s also about giving yourself more time off. Rather than work over lunch to finish data entry for a project you’re working on, it’s the perfect task you can outsource to a virtual assistant.
Young Female Administrative Assistant Working Remotely

How to Tell When You Need a Virtual Assistant

Maybe the scenarios above sound nice, but you’re still on the fence. How can you tell whether you’ll truly get enough productivity out of a virtual administrative assistant that you’ll feel the investment was worth it? Here are some signs that you may already need one, and just didn’t know it.

The Prohibitive Costs of Hiring Employees

If you’ve been pulling your hair out because you’re overworked and your company doesn’t have the capacity to meet the demand, then you’ve likely entertained the idea of hiring new people. The problem is that hiring new people is expensive. Very expensive.

A virtual administrative assistant is a great way to offset some of the costs. According to BestOfBudgets, a virtual assistant can save as much as 78% on operating costs throughout the course of the year. If you’re not quite sure that you want your business to grow too fast but you know that you need help, a virtual assistant can also work as a great “first step” in expanding your business’s capacity. 

Loss of Productivity

When you started your business, you may have noticed how easy it was to put all of your energy into the work itself. But as a business grows, administration becomes an exponentially larger portion of the business. It’s no wonder major corporations have entire armies of accountants and administrators to help with the load.

The good news is that it’s an easy fix. According to SmallBizTrends, “research shows that remote workers are more productive because they have more control of their time and spend less time traveling to the office.” That allows your business to get back to its roots: focusing on the work.

With 91% of workers finding they’re more productive at home, you may even find that a virtual executive assistant is more efficient than hiring someone to work in the office itself.

Businessman Assessing Options


How to Get Started with Your Own Virtual Assistant

We’ve gone through a long list of reasons you might want to hire an administrative assistant on a virtual basis. It saves money, it’s more productive, and it ensures that you can have a great addition, much like an office manager, without taking on the risks associated with a full-time employee.

Convinced? Then it only helps to know how to take the next steps and start with a virtual assistant today. Here are the key steps:

  • Sign up. That’s it—just sign up with us and get started with an account to kick off the process. Signing up is easy. 
  • Get in touch with a customer success manager. We like to make sure that anyone who hires a virtual administrative assistant through us has the right match of skills and experience for their needs. We’ll offer the administrative support to help make it happen.
  • Pair with your VAA (virtual administrative assistant). With help from our customer success manager, the next step is to select the administrative assistant who’s right for you.
  • Develop a plan to plug the VAA into your business. What will the VAA be doing on a regular basis? What are your top priority tasks? What do they need to know about your business before they start? Get ready to answer these questions.

Get Started with a Virtual Assistant Today

Save money, get more productive, and allow yourself more freedom and flexibility at your office.
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FAQ for Virtual Administrative Assistants

Still have questions? No problem. We’ve taken some of the most popular ones and answered them below:

What does a virtual assistant do all day?

That really depends on your business. A virtual assistant can be part-time. A virtual administrative assistant will typically have experience with office management, scheduling, data entry, phone calls, and other office tasks like bookkeeping and expensing. Anything that relates to the management of an office—and can be handled remotely—tends to be within their purview. The question is: what is it that you need done?

How do I “train” a virtual assistant to get started with my business?

There’s a balance between relying on the virtual assistant’s experience and your own business’s unique needs. We recommend creating an onboarding document to help a virtual assistant learn the ins and outs of working at your business. For example, you might give them access to an existing employee handbook for some of your most important tasks. In other cases, you might create something specifically for a virtual assistant. 

How do I know which virtual administrative assistant I should hire? What are the traits to look for?

For most businesses, a virtual administrative assistant will have a fundamental grasp of basic office management skills. Administrative tasks like managing schedules, handling phone calls, or handling data entry are some of the most frequent. Typically, the best way to choose a virtual administrative assistant is to look for someone with a lot of experience in your top priorities. For example, if you mainly need someone to field phone calls for you, then an administrative assistant with experience handling phone calls won’t have as much of a learning curve.

What should I have my administrative assistant do every day?

It depends on what you need! We can tell you that some of the common tasks tend to include communications (like email management and taking/making phone calls), administrative tasks like bookkeeping and scheduling, and virtual office assistance in the form of handling expense reports and other administrative tasks. But only you know what your business truly needs most often.

What are the limits of a virtual administrative assistant?

Anything requiring physical location is the obvious one. A virtual assistant can’t pick up your dry cleaning or set up a conference room table. They can arrange for catering at an event remotely, but they can’t contribute with their presence. But aside from this limitation, an executive assistant can essentially take on the role of another employee, taking on administrative tasks with ease. They work remotely—and that’s one limitation—but it’s really one of the few limitations they’ll have.

What happens if the virtual assistant is hard to train?

This is the risk inherent in adding anyone to your business. And yet we see how many businesses regularly add people to their lineup. That’s why it helps to be patient, especially if this is your first time adding help. A virtual executive assistant will need regular feedback in the early goings so they can adjust their processes to what your business does. Like anyone else, a virtual assistant will thrive when they have the feedback necessary to do the job to the best of their ability.

What kind of experience will my assistant have?

As with any new hire, that will vary. But it’s more important that you seek out the relevant experience of a virtual administrative assistant who can help your company with routine administrative tasks. Look for experience with those tasks you need the most. Then you’ll find that the transition to your company is not only smoother, but you may even discover that the assistant can improve your processes.

Who does best with a virtual assistant?

C-level management. Small business owners. Executives. Freelancers. Entrepreneurs. Any busy professional who needs to take fewer administrative tasks but still needs to handle a growing business. Do you need an office manager? Then you might need one without a full-time commitment. It’s important to remember that there’s no single person who’s going to tell you that it’s time to grow with a virtual administrative assistant. It’s up to you to make that call. And if you’re reading to this point, we’re willing to bet that you may need one yourself.