Being a startup founder is a ton of work. Doing everything on your own day in and day out will eventually take its toll on anyone. How did the big companies make it in the beginning? How can anyone possibly handle everything a startup needs, alone? When hiring full-time employees isn’t an option, what can we do to help take some of this workload?
Every startup founder (or even small business owner) knows the weight of these questions all too well, but what they may not know, is that some business operations such as general administrative tasks can be handled by trained virtual assistants and while it’s an investment, it will undoubtedly save money.
The right virtual assistant can be the most valuable asset to business growth, so let’s talk about all the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant.
What Is a Virtual Assistant and Why Is It Important?
Virtual assistants are individuals that provide various services to businesses or entrepreneurs on remote sites. Although the employee does not work from home the employee has access to information and software necessary for virtual work. Virtual assistants were typically self-employed people that had specific skills. As the virtual assistant market grew, there are now several virtual assistant companies offering virtual assistant services.
What services will virtual assistants handle for me?
Virtual assistants are individuals whose job mainly involves providing administrative services in remote places such as home offices. Virtual assistant services handle many administrative tasks that may involve setting appointments, making phone call arrangements, traveling, and managing emails.
Some virtual assistant companies also provide answering phone calls, create lead generation, or handle social media management (more on this below).
Virtual assistants can also help with research, data entry, and more advanced tasks such as writing articles or blogs for your website. What’s also beneficial is that virtual assistants can be accessed around the globe and can work from almost any remote location, so finding someone local doesn’t have to be a prerequisite for the position. They usually work in the background and will report directly to you, so you don’t need to be constantly checking in with them for updates.
What Value Does a Virtual Assistant Bring?
Virtual assistants are employees that offer administrative support remotely, often part-time. These can perform duties that a professional executive assistant usually handles to increase business productivity and scale operations by taking care of the non-core tasks that are time-consuming, but necessary to how the business functions. Most virtual assistants are familiar with remote working and can manage low-level administrative tasks easily, but some range into more detailed tasks such as running social media accounts.
They are a fantastic resource when managing multiple clients and organization is key.
It’s also possible for your company to reduce its operating cost to 78% by getting a virtual assistant instead of an internal full-time employee. Using a company’s virtual assistants as a partner can actually save an estimated $11,000 on costs.
This includes training costs, operating costs, and overhead costs that aren’t necessary when bringing on an independent contractor versus hiring a full-time employee.
As your relationship grows you can trust them with sensitive or important matters that are very important and help you get through your life smoothly. Hence the ‘overworked’ businessman.
Why Should I Hire a Virtual Assistant?
By utilizing VAs, you can save on office space, maintenance costs, and other costs. A further bonus is the lack of office supplies including computer equipment if possible. Virtual assistants work full-time or part-time, depending on your specific business needs.
Hiring virtual assistants will help you can scale your operations without risk. Because growth requires money and Virtual Assistant services are a relatively inexpensive alternative to real-life staff, you will substantially decrease the costs of your business rather than investing it in your own.
All the Benefits of Hiring Virtual Assistants
Many times, VAs tend to be the first point of contact with clients, which means they have to be able to answer any questions that come their way. They also play an important role in coordinating meetings, scheduling, and managing calendars.
Many benefits we’ve mentioned above, but there’s a lot more to how a virtual assistant works in your company.
Here are 11 Additional Ways a Virtual Assistant Benefits Your Startup
1. Flexible Support: Virtual assistants have flexible availability and can work remotely so they can be easily accessed anywhere, which makes them more convenient than real-life assistants who may have limited availability or require travel time for meetings.
2. Multitasking: Virtual assistants are capable of multitasking, making it easy for them to handle many tasks at once while allowing you the time and space to manage higher end tasks and know the other details of your business are being handled.
4. Cost: Virtual assistants are cheaper than hiring a full-time employee or even a part-time employee. You won’t have to set up the same employee benefits and while you’re investing into a service, this will help you save money in the long run.
5. Time. One of the most valuable assets anyone has is time because there is only so much of it, and once it has passed, there’s no getting it back. That’s why hiring people to delegate tasks to is essential. Entrepreneurs that spend their days handling low-level admin tasks are destined to stall, or stop altogether. VAs make sure you are spending your time doing what you NEED to do — not what you HAVE to do.
6. Improve Processes, Products & Services. The possibilities for your processes and operations in the hands of a VA are endless. They can do the research, monitor markets, scan threads on social media about your industry, keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, and collect feedback from new or existing clients.
7. Scalability. Virtual Assistants will aid in scaling operations — with a lot less risk. Since growth requires capital (and VAs are a cost-effective alternative to real life employees) you can reduce your costs and instead invest your money back into your business.
8. Online Presence. There’s no escaping having an online presence in this day and age by means of a website, social media, and more. Managing every account is a time-suck most entrepreneurs can’t afford on their own – but a Virtual Assistant can.
9. Lead Generation. Lead generation is a very time-consuming – although invaluable – task. Your Virtual Assistant can sort through leads, calculate their value, and add potential clients or customers to your database.
10. Customer Service. To best serve your customers, your Virtual Assistant can:
Respond to customer inquiries
Send email responses or FAQs
Follow-up on clients requests/inquiries
Handle complaints or negative experiences
Follow best practices for ultimate UX
11. Peace of Mind. Possibly the most important for any business owner (does it even exist?). Having someone you can delegate tasks to without anxiety of things going awrysaves you the grave cost of your sanity. A Virtual Assistant can help you focus on the important things. If you’re thinking peace of mind doesn’t exist — try out a VA and see if you don’t change your mind about it.
Where to Find Virtual Assistants
Finding a virtual assistant can be difficult. There are many different websites and apps that offer services, but it is hard to know which one is the best for you.
To find the perfect assistant for your needs, first think about what you want them to do for you. Do you need someone to help with social media? Do you need someone who can take care of your email inbox? Do you want someone who can help with content creation? Once you have figured out what type of assistant will work best for your needs, then it’s time to start looking at websites and apps.
Hiring a virtual assistant IRL
For quick one-off gigs, some good places to start looking are Upwork, TaskRabbit or Fiverr. You should also consider whether or not you would need continuous support. Many times, a virtual assistant is as much a part of the team as other full-time employees.
If you’re looking for a more committed member for long-term engagement or big projects, virtual assistants at Zirtual might be the best fit for you. They only hire background checked, college-educated professionals that are skilled on many levels. However, if you’re looking for something different than what they offer, there are other VA companies that are just a Google search away.
Conclusion: Who needs a VA?
Virtual assistants are a great solution for entrepreneurs who want to manage their time more efficiently. They are also a good option for those who want to focus on the creative aspect of their business and not on administrative tasks.
Think of it this way: Most companies spend time answering emails and other tasks every single day. If you spend most hours a day completing any tedious task at all, you should definitely consider hiring a Virtual Assistant.