When you’re running a small business, you wear all the hats. You’re the COO in charge of growth and organization, you’re running the marketing campaigns, you’re fielding cold emails and you’re producing the actual product or service.
What if there was a way that you didn’t have to handle your own administrative tasks anymore?
That dream is actually a reality. A virtual assistant or VA is someone you can hire who can handle repetitive tasks so that you can get back to running and growing your business. Most virtual assistants have a specialty, but in general, they handle administrative tasks such as scheduling meetings, responding to emails and answering phone calls.
According to Ryan Fyfe, COO at Workpuls, Inc, VAs typically help with these types of tasks:
Setting up meetings
Building and sending marketing emails
Bookkeeping services like paying bills and balancing books
Website design and management
To help you evaluate whether or not hiring a virtual assistant will benefit your business, here are some of the top benefits, according to the experts.
According to the experts we asked, the number one benefit you’ll get from hiring a virtual assistant is less stress.
“A VA can be hugely beneficial to your stress management,” says Tina Hawk, SVP Human Resources at GoodHire. “This is especially pertinent for solopreneurs who are often boosted simply by virtue of no longer having to face the holiday slog alone.”
No matter the time of year, when you’ve got someone on your team who can take some of the tasks off of your to-do list, you can more easily manage your stress.
If stress reduction isn’t enough of a benefit for you, this one’s got to be. Hiring a virtual assistant can save you valuable time. Because they take care of tasks that you then no longer need to do, you’ve got more time in your day to work on other things.
“Hiring a virtual assistant is very beneficial to any busy entrepreneur or business owner,” says Shilonda Downing, founder of Virtual Work Team. “Virtual assistants also typically need very little hand-holding and that allows business owners to focus on the things they do best. Most importantly, an excellent VA will act on your behalf when needed and provide valuable insights into growing your business and doing things more efficiently.”
When you find the right VA who can understand your business and is easy to work with, you'll find they can do even more than complete tasks. They may also be a listening ear and support system when you need to make business decisions.
Another benefit that a virtual assistant can provide to your business is that they can allow you to increase your capacity, get more done each day and focus for longer periods of time without interruption.
“Once your VA is onboarded well, you should be free to put at least 80 percent of your time and energy into non-administrative work,” says Hawk. “And this can result in greater conversion rates and overall success for your business.”
When you’re able to delegate admin tasks to your VA while you focus on critical business operations, you'll be more likely to maximize growth.
Eliminate Repetitive Tasks
Any business owner who has spent time answering customer service emails, generating invoices or sorting transactions in QuickBooks knows that these repetitive tasks take up a lot of precious time.
Expert Ryan Fyfe says: “The idea behind hiring a virtual assistant is that they take on repetitive tasks that don't require your attention or expertise, freeing up more time for you to focus on other aspects of running the business, lead generation or marketing.”
When you don’t have to slog through the same tasks over and over, you get to focus on the more important aspects of your business that need your attention.
Get 24/7 Efficiency
When you hire a virtual assistant for your business, you can look to hire someone locally or you can hire someone from a different timezone. “If you hire a VA from the other side of the globe, you can benefit from having someone on-hand to deal with any issues around the clock,” says Hawk. “This can be a huge boost to small businesses that tend to get flooded during the holiday season.”
When you have someone monitoring your email or doing other admin tasks while you sleep, you get to wake up to completed tasks each morning before you’re even out of bed, making your business more efficient.
Generate More Revenue
One of the difficulties small business owners face is that even if they work eight or more hours a day, not all of those hours worked are billable hours or revenue-generating hours. When you’re working on administrative tasks, you’re not making money.
“When small business owners try to do everything themselves, they are actively reducing the amount of time they have to use toward generating revenue and driving the mission forward,” says Gwendolyn L. Young, founder and CEO at Your Virtual Admin Expert.
If you’re starting to think that hiring a VA is a no-brainer for your small business, there are a few things to consider before you take the leap. According to Young, the things you should consider before hiring a VA “include communication barriers, how much supervision might be required (all VAs are not created equal) and data security and management, so you'll need a good process for managing things like sharing passwords, financial data, etc.”
When you hire a VA, you’re letting someone into the intricacies and private parts of your business. It’s important to vet them and ensure that you’re hiring someone trustworthy. “It isn't easy to find an excellent VA, and unless you've got recommendations to pursue, you never quite know what quality of output you're going to get,” says Hawk.
Additionally, the interviewing and hiring process can be time-consuming — especially if you get it wrong and then need to go through the process again. “If you hire a VA that you really need and after a few days decide it isn't going to work out with them, your business is in danger,” says Hawk. “With little to no time to go through the process of selecting another VA ... many small business owners are deterred from hiring one at all due to the risk of being burned like this.”
While there is a risk of being burned, the potential benefits to your business will at some point outweigh the concerns. If you do decide to hire a VA for your small business, be sure to ask friends for recommendations, interview multiple candidates and check references before you hire anyone. When you do find the right virtual assistant, they’ll be able to take on some of your administrative tasks so that you can focus on building and growing your small business.
Page is a freelance content marketing writer with experience writing about small business, the future of the workplace and health. She also operates a weekly email newsletter where she shares advice on living an authentic, intentional life. When not writing, you can find Page traveling, fostering older cats and working as a sexual assault advocate.