Whether you are an executive, small business owner, or entrepreneur, you likely spend far too much of your day completing mundane and routine tasks that do not directly generate leads or revenue for your organization. For many, time-consuming administrative tasks such as checking email and scheduling appointments overshadow critical duties that must be done to run and grow a business. Yet, you cannot simply ignore administrative tasks; someone needs to do them. Virtual assistants (VA) offer a viable solution for you to free up your time from administrative tasks and focus on activities that promote growth and sales.
Below we offer more in-depth information about virtual assistant companies, specifically what they are, what they do, some top VA companies, and factors you should consider when choosing a VA company.
What Is a VA Company?
A VA company employs or contracts virtual assistants who provide administrative services to clients but carry out duties while working from home or another location outside a client’s office. The best VA companies find and train virtual assistants to provide services to one or more companies at the same time. Ultimately, when you hire a virtual assistant through a VA company, they have already taken care of the entire screening process, saving you the headache of checking references or performing background checks. You will find no shortage of virtual assistants. In fact, FlexJobs reports that it is currently one of the fastest-growing remote work fields.
What Do VA Companies Do?
The main goal of a VA company is to provide you with administrative services that will free your time to engage in other meaningful tasks to manage and grow your department, small business, or organization. VA companies vary in quality as do the assistants they hire or contract. A top VA company ensures their assistants can take on a variety of tasks, which include:
- Inbox management
- Calendar management
- Tracking expenses
- Creating invoices
- Handling social media accounts
- Doing research
- Data entry
- Content marketing
- Planning events
- Making travel arrangements
- Website maintenance
What Are Some Top VA Companies?
When you hire a virtual assistant, you want the best of the best to ensure you can feel secure that your assistant is completing tasks in a timely and professional manner. Below are some Top VA companies to consider:
Zirtual is the premier VA company in the United States. Unlike many other VA companies, Zirtual requires their assistants to hold a college degree and live in the U.S. This ensures clients can communicate with their assistants easily in real time and that assistants have the skills they need to provide excellent support to businesses. Zirtual works with many types of clients including property managers, financial advisors, real estate agents, nonprofits, start-ups, eCommerce businesses, writers, agencies, and those who provide business and property services.
Magic entered the VA company scene in 2015 as a text-based concierge service. They help clients with a wide variety of personal and professional tasks on-demand and provide around the clock service. Although Magic is a top VA company, it does have some drawbacks. Clients do not get a dedicated assistant who knows the ins-and-outs of their business. Instead, the company assigns a team of 15 people, so you never really get to know your assistant. This makes Magic a poor choice for small businesses and entrepreneurs who really only need one person to take over their administrative tasks.
24/7 Virtual Assistants
24/7 Virtual Assistants serves clients throughout the world, they are based in the United States, they offer a dedicated assistant, and they have competitive pricing plans. Yet, all of 24/7 Virtual Assistants’ assistants work from offices in India, making communication less than ideal. These assistants are not managed like Zirtual and some other companies. More importantly, this company’s VAs have varied, but limited skill sets and the company does not guarantee assistants have been college-educated. 24/7 Virtual Assistants is a top VA company for their span, but they simply do not offer the top quality found at other VA companies.
Virtual Assistant Talent
Virtual Assistant Talent is a top VA company because they provide some unique features. The company has dedicated staff to conduct daily attendance and ensure VA’s are on time for their work schedule. They also have a screen-capture program to monitor VA work activity and measure VA productivity. Yet, the reason virtual assistant talent needs to monitor their assistants so closely is because they are all located in the Philippines. Like other top VA companies, the quality and education of each assistant aren’t verifiable and the company does not screen their assistants as carefully as companies who hire only U.S. virtual assistants.
What Should You Look for When Choosing a VA Company?
When choosing a VA company, you should take the time to learn about the company’s processes and offerings, but you also need to look for characteristics related to the virtual assistant you will be hiring. Some things you should look for when choosing a VA company include:
VA companies are located worldwide, so as a U.S.-based company, it will be easier and more convenient when you find a U.S.-based VA company. Yet, be careful because not all U.S.-based companies have assistants located in the United States. Instead, some have them in India or the Philippines, making it more difficult to conduct business on your timeline.
VA companies need not hire only those who have business degrees, but you want a VA who has a college degree in something. A basic liberal arts education provides problem-solving and critical thinking skills, allowing VAs to go above and beyond. Anyone can answer phones or perform data entry, but those who have honed skills in college help with advanced tasks like social media strategy, emergency travel plans, and out-of-the-ordinary requests that require someone to think outside the box. You don’t want to have to spend time training someone; you want them ready to rock when they work for you.
Some VA companies simply provide a team of assistants to handle the tasks you need to be completed. You do not always know who is doing what and it makes it difficult to ensure your intellectual property is secure. This is especially important if you are a start-up. When you work with a VA company that provides you a dedicated virtual assistant, you know who is completing work for you and you know who needs to be accountable when errors occur. Additionally, executive assistants often serve as gatekeepers for those who employ them, and they are in the know. When you develop a working relationship with a dedicated VA, you have the chance to cultivate a strong working relationship that benefits you and your business.
If you embark on a new project you will likely need more than one person to handle all aspects of the project that you need help with. Look for a VA company that gives you the option to add one or more members to your VA team when you have the need. Your dedicated personal assistant can serve as a project manager and help ensure professional, on-time completion.
Some VA companies are simply online marketplaces for you to search for the assistant that fits your needs. This means you have to screen each candidate, review their resume, interview them, and go through the same hiring process as you would otherwise. Look for a VA company that screens each assistant, does comprehensive background checks, and saves you time and money. Matching is another important aspect of managed VAs; you want a VA company that takes care of matching its assistants with the right clients for a good fit. Once you’ve begun to work with an assistant, a company that manages their VAs will check in to ensure you are happy with your VA.
Rapid Response Times
Not being able to reach an assistant when you need their help is quite possibly one of the most frustrating things when you are an executive or business owner. Some VA companies have poor response times and only promise to answer within 12 or 24 hours. Others don’t focus on response times at all. Look for a VA company that has rapid response times, so you know your VA will respond to you within a few hours.
Sometimes VAs and clients are not a good fit. That’s okay. It happens. Look for a VA company that understands some people don’t mesh well and will gladly replace your VA and provide a new one with no extra cost or effort on your part. The best VA companies have account managers that will communicate with you and help you make any necessary changes, so you can focus on your business and let them make sure you have what you need.
Transparent Pricing without a Contract
Business needs and cash flow change regularly, especially for entrepreneurs and start-ups. Working with a VA company that forces a client into a long-term contract sometimes puts clients in a tough financial situation. Instead, look for VA companies that have transparent pricing without a contract and allow you to adjust as your needs change. You also do not want to pay more than the service you use, so it’s in your best interest to find a VA company that offers pricing by the hour instead of a flat monthly fee.
Choose the Top VA Company – Zirtual
Zirtual understands you need to focus on critical tasks you need to grow your business, often overlooked when dealing with important administrative things. A college-educated, tech-savvy, Virtual Assistant (VA) located in the U.S. can take some of those easier tasks off your hands. Contact us today to learn more!