Are you looking at your never-ending to-do list and wondering, “Will it ever end?” Or have you reached a point where you feel you can’t manage it all, or at least not as efficiently as you’d like? Running a business is not easy, and it can get pretty chaotic pretty quickly.
What if we told you that it’s possible to get an extra pair of hands to help your business (yes, even if you have a home business) without dealing with the headache of hiring a full-time employee? Think Jarvis and Iron Man. Or Genie and Aladdin. Power couples, for sure. Sound good?
A virtual assistant might be what you need.
How Can a Virtual Assistant Help Small Businesses?
There’s a lot to juggle in running a business. Spending time on regular, repetitive tasks like data entry, bookkeeping, sending invoices and responding to emails can not only impact your productivity, but it can also take away from the things you most enjoy about owning a business. A helping hand can make all the difference, and that’s exactly where a VA comes in. Here’s how a virtual assistant can give your business a boost.
Hiring a virtual assistant can save time and also increase the productivity of your business. Are you spending too much time replying to emails or following up on invoices? Hand the task over to your VA, so you can save time and focus on sales or any other pressing need.
A VA might also be a whole lot more efficient at certain tasks than you, as many of them are trained specialists. If generating monthly financial statements or creating social media content is not your cup of tea, you can find an assistant who specializes in those domains. Some VAs might be a jack-of-all-trades and can take on a wide range of jobs.
Another bonus of hiring a virtual assistant service is that the VA isn't your employee, thereby removing any burden associated with employee salaries, benefits and contracts. You also don’t need to worry about creating a physical office space for them.
Lastly, there’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to a VA. You can hire them on a short or long-term basis or simply for an urgent ad-hoc job for you. Also, once you've got trusted assistants in place, you can truly concentrate on your growing your business.
When it comes to hiring a virtual assistant, you're not alone. Business owners are hiring VAs at a fast rate. The global market is expected to grow by $4.12 billion from 2021-2025.
So you're ready to hire a virtual assistant, but you're wondering: Where can I find them? How do I interview a virtual assistant? Are they trustworthy? These are valid concerns and here's the lowdown on finding and hiring your own Jarvis while sticking to your budget.
What to Consider While Choosing a VA
As a virtual assistant is remote, chances are the hiring process will be quite different. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind while starting your hunt for your VA.
What tasks do you want to offload? Is it a one-time request or ongoing support?
How will you communicate with your VA? Will it be via chat/email?
Do you prefer the assistant to be in the same time zone as you?
Is there a special project you can assign as a trial to determine if the VA is competent, efficient and aligned with your goals?
Where to Find a VA
The first option to consider is working with a virtual assistant services provider. The advantage of hiring a VA through these companies is that most of the assistants have extensive experience, are tech-savvy and have undergone some serious vetting for their skills and background. Most services also provide backup support just in case something falls through or goes wrong with the assigned assistant. It’s important to keep in mind that the pricing at these companies can vary. While some charge based on the hours per month, others are priced as a package. Here are four virtual assistant services that even the pros stand by.
Used by over 22,000 entrepreneurs, this virtual assistant service boasts of some heavy names (i.e., Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group). Time Etc.’s pricing starts at $290/month for 10 hours. Probably the best part of working with Time Etc. is that they offer a free trial — you can get one task done by their team and gain first-hand experience.
Founded in 2010, Fancy Hands is one of the fastest and most affordable (pricing starts at $17.99/monthly) VA service providers. Whether you have a one-time request or a need for a dedicated assistant, Fancy Hands' subscription VA service can help with both. Any unused service requests (you only had one job to be done, but you paid for three) will be rolled over to the next month.
Frequently used by small business owners, realtors and budding entrepreneurs, WoodBows is one of the best-rated VA services in the U.S. The company's superior service has resulted in 98 percent customer retention. Just in case you aren't satisfied with the job done, WoodBows will give you double the hours for free. Pricing starts at $49/week.
Magic provides dedicated college-educated assistants for the flat rate of $10/hour within 48-72 hours. Their VAs' 24/7 availability and quality assurance software that prevents missed deadlines make them the best platform for on-demand jobs.
You can also hire a VA from freelance marketplaces like UpWork, Fiverr or PeoplePerHour. Set your job requirements and budget on these platforms and get matched with qualified candidates. Beware that prices on these marketplaces are assistant-specific and not all of the VAs are thoroughly verified. However, you can minimize your chances of making the wrong hire by reviewing a VA's ratings and portfolio.
Lastly, you can tap into your own network for a referral. Finding an assistant that is recommended by someone you trust will save you time and possibly even protect you from onboarding an unqualified person.
Upgrade Your Business By Getting Your Own (Virtual) Genie
In running a business, you probably rarely feel like there's enough time to complete all the tasks on your to-do list. Unfortunately, as your business grows, so will this list. From responding to clients and setting up email marketing to managing contracts and checking the books, virtual assistants can help you run your business more effectively and efficiently.
Working hand in hand with a virtual assistant might be the step forward your business needs, especially as it grows. Hiring an assistant will increase productivity and save costs, which in many ways can be almost like adding new life to your business.
Swara Ahluwalia is a freelance content writer with experience in the technical, B2B and SaaS domain. She also has curated content for various lifestyle brands. In her downtime, you will most likely find Swara training for her next marathon or spending time with her two daughters.