Virtual Assistants: What They Do, and How to Decide if You Need One
People who work as virtual assistants: what they do, and how to figure out if you need one
Virtual assistants work from home to help their clients with administrative tasks. Entrepreneurs may be able to use this to grow their businesses.
A virtual assistant is someone who helps clients with their administrative needs while working from a different place. People who work as virtual assistants are usually on their own, but you can also work with a virtual assistant agency. Also, a lot of people who apply for administrative assistant or office manager jobs have worked in a professional office setting for a few years as an assistant or manager.
There are a lot of things you need to think about before hiring a virtual assistant:
The job of a virtual assistant
When a business hires a virtual assistant, they can choose and pay for the services they need. This kind of flexibility can save businesses a lot of money every year, and it also gives them the chance to change their contract as their business grows and needs more services.
Some of the most common jobs and tasks that a virtual assistant does:
- Calendar/schedule management
- Travel arrangements
- File organization
- Email monitoring
- Call management
- Bookkeeping and accounting
- Social media management
- Vetting prospective clients and partnerships
- Customer service tasks
A virtual assistant can act as an executive assistant, an administrative assistant, or even a personal assistant, depending on the needs of the business and the person they work for.
Do you need a virtual assistant?
- Small businesses are afraid to hire and give certain tasks to a virtual assistants because they don’t know how it will work. If you run a business, you might think you don’t have the money or time to hire a virtual assistant. However, just like you can’t build an empire on your own, you can’t run your business alone.
Here are some signs it’s time to hire a virtual assistant:
- You’re spending too much time doing the same things over and over. Keep track of how much time you spend on small, menial tasks if you’re thinking about hiring a virtual assistant but aren’t sure if you’re ready to do so. As an example, you might have to answer emails, keep track of your schedule, or book an appointment. If you spend a lot of time each week doing the same things, it might be time to hire a virtual assistant to do them for you instead.
- You don’t need full-time help, just extra help. If your business needs a full-time assistant who does a lot of complicated work, don’t hire a virtual assistant. As a result, virtual assistants are best for businesses that need help with one or two specific tasks or projects but don’t have the money to hire a full-time salaried worker.
- You have the money for it. Before you hire a virtual assistant, do a cost-benefit analysis to figure out how much your time is worth compared to how much it costs to do certain things. If you have the money to hire a part-time worker and your cost-benefit analysis shows that you will get back a lot of time, look for a virtual assistant.
Hiring virtual help on a trial basis is a good way to find someone who fits in with your small business’s way of doing things.
How to hire a virtual assistant
Step 1: Document your processes
It’s important to write down everything you want to do with an assistant before you look for one. This includes tasks, projects, and steps. When you can, make training or standard operating procedure documents that new employees or contractors can use to learn how to do their jobs. Make sure to include any goals you want to achieve in your plan.
Step 2: Post a job description
Next, write a job description that is clear, concise, and lists the tasks you want to delegate. When you write the job description, you should also include a list of skills and tools that candidates should know or be able to use. These should include things like Excel and G Suite. A job description can be put up on a website or in a directory when you have it written up and ready. The most common places to find a virtual assistant are:
Step 3: Review applications and conduct interviews
If you put the job description on a lot of different websites, you could start looking through a lot of applications very quickly. To quickly weed out applicants who don’t put in a lot of work, think about adding an unusual question or “Easter egg” to your job posting. Applicants might be asked to write down the name of their favorite book at the bottom of their application form.
Once you start interviewing, make sure you ask a lot of questions to see if the person you want to hire can do the job you want to delegate.
Step 4: Hire on a trial basis
It’s best to hire them on a trial basis, as long as it is possible to do so. Make sure they work well with your company by taking a look at them. If you start working with a virtual assistant and it doesn’t work out, it’s best to cut ties and move on quickly so that you can find someone else. People who understand your needs and work well with your company can be brought more into the group.
VA FLIX wants to give you ideas from people who are well-known and well-respected. However, before you make any business decision, you should talk to a professional who can help you think about your own situation.
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