• Matty Panagopoulos

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a person who provides business support services to another business from a remote location. Virtual Assistants are especially in demand by entrepreneurs, small and mid-size businesses that need help but don't want or have the budget to employ extra staff or have space in their office or working location.

What a Virtual Assistant Does

Theoretically, a VA can do anything any other support staff does, except make the tea! There is a common misconception that a VA is a personal assistant that works remotely. For some, this might be the case, but in reality VAs can support the business as a whole using a range of skills and experience. Many VAs provide marketing, web management, bookkeeping and and an array of other services.

Some VAs specialise in a specific skill set. For example, a marketing virtual assistant only offers marketing support. Other VAs do a variety of duties but within a specific industry. For example, a real estate VA provides support over a wide range of tasks, but only in the property sector for Estate Agent clients for example.

Most VAs run their own home-based virtual assistant business. This allows them to have greater control over the duties and provide a wider set of skills that they perform. However, some businesses hire virtual assistants in an employment or contract position.

How to Hire a Virtual Assistant

Getting virtual help is crucial for small business owners (especially) to maximise income and facilitate growth. As a small business owner, there comes a time in which it's impossible to do everything, at least well enough to be efficient and effective. Hiring a VA frees up your time so you can focus on the work that will make money and drive business growth. Plus, many Virtual Assistants may be better than you at some tasks.

A good process to help you decide if you should hire a VA is to calculate how long it is taking you to complete the tasks you’re not as good at or which take up too much of your time, and then work out what that is costing you at the day rate you set for yourself. Often you will find it is cheaper and more efficient to delegate these tasks.

For example:

You spend 3.5 x days a month on bookkeeping and administrative tasks

You currently charge yourself or your services out at £250 per day

That equates to a value of £875 worth of your time

A VA could charge £25* per hour and can do the work within 3 days

The VA cost would be £525 total for the work

This is a saving of £350 and it provides 3.5 days for you to work on gaining more clients or managing more projects or work.

*The above figures are for example purposes only. VA services are quoted on a brief provided by each client.

The first step in hiring a VA is to make a list of the tasks you want or could outsource. Make a complete list, prioritising the activities you want to delegate first. For example, if managing your diary and emails is time-consuming and tedious, put that at the top of your list. Or maybe if website issues are taking too much time, you can look at outsourcing your website management.

The next step is deciding who to hire. There are many ways to hire a virtual assistant. You can use a VA service that hires and trains the VA, and then assigns you one based on the services you need. Another option is to engage your network for a referral. While you can put an ad out looking for a virtual assistant, finding one that is recommended will save you time and headache.

Want to see how a VA could save you time and money? Why not send us a list of jobs that you could outsource or want help with and we can provide a no obligation quote. We can guarantee calculating your tasks could save you time and money! Contact us here.