It’s only the beginning of the work week and you have three meetings today, eight emails to send, two business calls to make, projects to manage, payroll to handle and much more, all the while preparing for your startup’s public launch next week. Too much to do, too little time to do it — talk about a nightmare of a schedule!
What can you do without going insane? The answer is: hire a virtual assistant.
Technology is a beautiful thing, and more importantly, it helps businesses of all sizes work to achieve their goals in effective and innovative ways including outsourcing critical parts of the business to virtual workers, without taking on the financial burden of a full-time employee. If you are a busy employer, hiring a virtual assistant is a great way to get more work done, quickly, efficiently and affordably, freeing up your time to focus on important things such as core business strategy.
Whether you’re looking to hire a virtual worker or trying to become one, we’ve put together a complete guide of virtual assistant resources to help you learn everything you need to know and what to expect from working with a virtual assistant.
What is a virtual assistant?
Are you ready to free up more of your time to focus on important business tasks? If so, it’s time to consider hiring a virtual assistant.Are you ready to free up more of your time to focus on important business tasks? The answer is: hire a… Click To Tweet
A virtual assistant is a personal assistant who works remotely for either a dedicated client, or oftentimes, multiple clients. Virtual assistants handle all sorts of tasks from administrative to highly specialized work. These days, you can inexpensively hire a virtual worker with almost any skill set and experience level suited to your business needs without much fuss or time required.
Virtual assistants have worked their way into the business world with the arrival and advancement of computers, internet, email and online information sharing. With the increase in number of remote workers and telecommuters, businesses have begun using virtual assistants to assist with tasks beyond what a standard receptionist, office administrator or personal assistant could do.
Task delegation is essential for business growth. With a virtual worker, you can shave hours off of your work day previously spent on administrative tasks. There is a good chance that a virtual assistant can get it done more efficiently than you could yourself. Without having to worry about everything that is required to make your business thrive, you will be able to focus your energies on strategic growth and scaling your business.
How can a virtual assistant help you?
Do you spend hours working on small tasks that could be completed by an assistant? Are you spending too much time trying to do everything yourself and you just end up exhausted from working overtime?
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If the answer is “yes,” it’s time to hire a virtual assistant to help you eliminate these stresses.
Simply put, hiring a virtual assistant will save you time and overhead and give you the opportunity to hire from a larger talent pool without facing agency fees for temporary employee hires. On the contrary, if you don’t hire and manage your virtual assistant carefully, a virtual assistant can cost more time and resources if you’re not cautious.
Some reasons you should hire a virtual assistant include:
- Can’t find local administrative talent
- Previous hires have been lower in quality
- High turnover rates with administrative staff
- Your job has become more demanding recently
- Core tasks aren’t getting done in the hours you have
- Wanting to pay only for hours worked
- Don’t want to or can’t afford to pay a full-time worker with benefits
- Can’t supply a physical office or room for your assistant
- Prefer to manage your growth
- Want to reduce your stress, workload and overwhelm in your job
Many virtual assistants have a niche area of expertise or specialty such as accounting, event planning or excel entry. Additionally, think about which specialties and experience would best benefit you and your company when hiring a virtual assistant, and be sure to list these things as being a plus when you submit your job description.
Some examples include:
- Calls and emails
- Scheduling and calendar management
- Travel arrangements
- Composing letters or memos
- Database management
- Scanning and faxing
- Filing and organizing
- Bookkeeping and accounting
- Website maintenance
- Employee training
- Market or other research
- Direct mail campaigns and correspondence
- Content creation
- Project management
- Social media management
- Event planning
- Shopping and other errands
How do you find a virtual assistant?
Now that you know you need a virtual assistant, where do you find one?
The good thing is that the applicant pool for virtual assistants has increased over the years, as workers see the benefit of working remotely for employers and vice versa. Working remotely allows employees to create their own schedule rather than being confined to standard business hours. This gives employees the flexibility to live in remote locations where jobs may not be plentiful and also a flexible schedule to accommodate personal and family schedules.
With a virtual assistant, you can draw from a pool of nationwide applications with a wide variety of skills and qualifications, versus a much more limited, local talent pool. This gives you more opportunity to find the right fit when you hire your virtual assistant. In addition, you can hire a part-time, full-time or even contract virtual assistant, as well as multiple virtual assistants, allowing you to scale up or down your requirements as you need them.
Where can I find a virtual assistant to hire?
Once you’ve determined your virtual assistant needs, there are an abundance of websites that offer virtual assistant services or list available freelance virtual assistants, to help you find the ideal candidate. Freelance websites like Hubstaff Talent, job boards and classifieds like Craigslist, and social media groups such as those on LinkedIn give you the ability to search for qualified candidates across the globe.
Finding virtual assistants on freelance websites, job boards and social media platforms has its advantages but can also be a bit tricky. It’s true that there are millions of contractors on those websites, but it’s also true that there is a lot of uncertainty when hiring someone you don’t know. To eliminate these uncertainties, be sure to check out the candidates’ portfolios including their profile description, experience and availability, see if they have any good reviews, and ask for references from their previous employers.
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How do you effectively work with a virtual assistant?
Now that you’ve selected your virtual assistant, how do you work with them?
There is a right way and a wrong way to work with virtual workers. The most important thing to remember is that virtual assistants are employees too. With that said, you should always treat your virtual assistant just as you would any physical employee.
This means that you should always:
- Pay your virtual assistant on time and show them respect
- Praise them for a job well done
- Offer your virtual assistant the right information to do the job
- Communicate with your virtual assistant regularly and adequately
- Set up time tracking software to monitor your virtual assistant’s activity
- Pay your virtual assistant for time worked, but don’t micromanage them
- Allow your virtual assistant to work independently
- Work with your virtual assistant to arrive at a schedule and workload that works for both of you
When working with a virtual assistant, you need to find a way to ensure you’re getting consistent, high-quality work at a fair value for the price you’re paying, while giving your virtual assistant the confidence and tools to succeed.
Thanks to many useful employee management tools such as virtual employee tracking software, you can keep virtual employees productive, accountable and in touch. Virtual employee tracking software is a cost-effective way to ensure time is being spent properly and productively. It’s also a great way to ensure that employees are being paid accurately and in a timely manner. This means you track the time, invoice and pay all within one system which puts time tracking at the center and kills tedious admin work associated with time tracking and payroll.
How do I track their time worked?
Time tracking software options like Hubstaff, available on Apple, Android and various other desktop and mobile devices, offer time tracking for virtual workers with an effective, non-invasive virtual monitoring software and easy automatic payments. That way, you can focus less on monitoring and paying your virtual assistant, and more on growing your company.
Good virtual employee time tracking software also integrates with numerous project management tools, so if you’re already using project management tools such as Basecamp, Trello, or any other business management or payroll tools like PayPal or Quickbooks, you can streamline your business processes seamlessly — simply download and sign up.
Virtual assistants continue to ease the workload of many a busy professionals. They’re a great asset to have in your back pocket in order to keep things moving at work. They also reduce the stress of running your business while you grow.
Do you have any tips for hiring or working with a virtual assistant? Share your experience with us!