It is easy to want to go solo with your entrepreneur gig for as long as possible. When you are new in the business and just starting out, you are most likely trying to cut costs by doing as much of the work yourself as you can.
But soon business picks up. Your inbox goes from a few promotional emails to several emails from potential clients and customers. You are having to spend more time with invoices or posting on social media than actually coming up with ways to improve your business. There aren’t enough hours in the day just to get the paperwork done, let alone find ways to provide better services or products to your customers.
It feels like the business you once loved has turned into a chore because you feel like you are drowning in paperwork.
If you can relate to any of the signs above, it might be time to hire help. Many people think that hiring someone to help you with your business will take a lot of time, hassle, and money. Fortunately, technology allows us to have virtual assistants.
What is a Virtual Assistant and What Tasks Can a VA Perform
A virtual assistant (or VA for short) is an individual you can hire to perform various tasks remotely. They can perform any task that can be performed online, on your behalf.
A virtual assistant can perform tasks anywhere from basic administrative work such as answering phone calls or replying to emails, to managing social media accounts and graphic design. The advantage of hiring a VA is that you can hire someone for virtually any task you can think of. Below is a list of example tasks you can have a virtual assistant help you with:
- Manage your calendar and schedule appointments
- Building reports and databases
- Booking travel arrangements
- Prepare agendas and presentations
- Write website content
- Edit blog posts
- Schedule blog posts
- Manage Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Topic research
- Keyword research
- Schedule social media posts
- Respond to social media activity
- Website maintainance
- Sending invoices
Ways You Can Utilize a VA
Think you might want some help, but you are not ready to hire someone on full time? You can also hire a virtual assistant for a single task and see how well it goes. Part of the advantage to hiring a virtual assistant as opposed to someone in person is that a VA can be hired full time, part time, or for a single task. The job is completely flexible, and there is someone out there willing to do what it is you need.
Another advantage to hiring a virtual assistant is that you can hire someone with the expertise that you are looking for in a specific area. Your specialty is your specific line of business. If you are having trouble with the marketing side of the business or keeping the books, hire someone who has the experience you need. There are plenty of people who do these things full time and are very knowledgeable.
Where You Can Find a VA
There are two ways to find a virtual assistant: through a freelance agency or by sourcing an individual
Right now, there are plenty of websites where you can post the work you need and virtual assistants will apply for your jobs. Here is a list of just a few of these websites
These are just some of the more popular options. One thing to think about with these websites is that the agency usually gets a percentage of the money for each assignment, so the VA might charge more in order to get to the rate they want.
Another way you could go about it is to find individual virtual assistants. Some of the more expert virtual assistants do it full time and have their own businesses and websites. Take the time to do some research for who is the best in the business for the task you need. These websites might also feature some of their previous work and reviews from their clients. Since you are working directly with the virtual assistant, rates might not be as high.
If you know someone who has used virtual assistants, ask them for recommendations. Many virtual assistants find their clients through referrals.
Typical Rates for a VA
Typical rates for virtual assistants tend to vary according to a variety of factors. Some of the factors that could influence these rates are:
- Estimated length of project
- Experience level
- Geographic location
- Whether or not an agency is getting a percentage of the rate
In other words, short projects that do not take a lot of specialized skill, data entry into one spreadsheet for instance, are not going to cost as much as someone you hire full time to manage your accounting.
If you want to get a more definite idea, Payscale estimates the median hourly rate for a virtual assistant to be around $15.56 (payscale.com). Think of how much more value you could add to your business if you had just an extra hour everyday. It might be worth the $15.
Is It Time to Hire a Virtual Assistant?
Take some time to evaluate your business and the needs of your customers. Are you tired of spending time doing the administrative side of the business and want to spend more time doing what you love? Or are there some tasks that you need done but who don’t know how to go about doing it? Are your customers getting impatient with you because you cannot respond to them quick enough?
A virtual assistant can help you with just about anything you can think of, and you don’t have to enter into some long time and expensive commitment to do so. Your expertise is to produce great services or products, not to reply to emails and drown in paperwork. Don’t waste your time doing something that someone else could be doing for you.
What tasks do you wish you could delegate to someone else? Would you ever think about hiring a virtual assistant?