Virtual Assistant Services are a key ingredient to helping startups and early stage companies get off the ground. Entrepreneurs are superheroes, or at least they like to think they are. Being a micro-manager may be necessary at first, but as time goes by it’s important to start letting go of the steering wheel just a little bit.
When you’re the sole proprietor of a small business, you have hundreds of tasks you have to fulfill before the day is done. Everything from bookkeeping to social media management, as a small business owner (SBO) you have a lot on your daily plate.
Chris Ducker, a virtual CEO and publisher of ChrisDucker.com, recommends every entrepreneur to create a “3 Lists to Freedom” for immense entrepreneurial success. These three things help you delegate your time more effectively and boost productivity.
Here are the three things you should write down:
The first item is very simple: write down what you dislike doing in your business on a day-to-day basis. This could be anything from bookkeeping to administration.
The second thing are daily elements of the company you don’t have any experience in, which could consist of social media marketing to graphic designing.
Finally, according to Ducker, the third placement will fundamentally change your business and is a “game changer.” So ask yourself honestly: what shouldn’t I be doing? Remember, you’re not a superhero.
Ducker says this is essentially the road map to taking on a virtual assistant, or VA.
And how can they help me?
Virtual assistant services have substantially grown since the economic downturn a few years ago. The role of being a virtual assistant (also known as a VA) is attractive: flexible hours, remote working, competitive pay and more family time.
If you don’t believe just how popular VAs have become then look at any website that has contract listings. You will see thousands of VA job postings. There is plenty of work available.
A VA can both scale your business and shave off hours from your work week. SBOs can also receive an array of benefits from hiring a VA: no employee-related expenses, no separate office space and no worries concerning downtime. You simply pay the VAs for the services they performed according to the terms of their contract.
Business experts posit that a professional and reliable VA becomes very important to the team akin to a permanent employee and should be treated as such. When there is trust and dependability, VAs suddenly become integral to the organization, and this is when you realize you have a diamond in your hand.
Sometimes, you can be overloaded with tasks and responsibilities, particularly if you’re a one- to five-person operation. The prudent decision would be to hire a VA, but some businesses feel it’s not feasible cost-wise.
Here are the seven primary roles that you can outsource your tasks to virtual assistant services for rates as low as $3 per hour:
It’s important to realize that VAs will likely not maintain expertise or complete assignments in all of the above fields. SBOs have to take on a VA who has a specific acumen and then move on from there.
For instance, if a VA is adept in writing then you can hire them for content writing and digital marketing. Or, if they’re experienced in administration then you can assign them data entry, reminder services and appointment scheduling.
As you focus on the growth of your company, VAs will hone in on tasks that usually kill your time as an entrepreneur.
Essentially, VAs are time savers, and time is an important commodity in business (and life).
Similar to labor costs, administrative costs are a major burden on small businesses when measured in both time and resources.
Administration – emails, payrolls, invoicing, sales reports and customer inquiries – can diminish the amount of time an employee or even the SBO can focus on another important part of the business. This is where a VA fits in.
A VA will likely be hired specifically to perform these types of duties and will be assigned with general virtual office responsibilities. By completing these various jobs, entrepreneurs can boost their productivity levels and help the small business grow to new heights.
One of the biggest myths around is that anyone can write content, including content marketing endeavors. This idea is untrue, which is why a a lot of content marketing projects fail. Like anything else, content writing is an art form and is usually performed by a writing and/or marketing expert. In other words, a graphic designer or web developer shouldn’t be in charge of writing blog posts, press releases or newsletters.
An excellent content writer will understand how to write to a specific audience, how to write in a conservative yet engaging tone and how to get the point across without spending several paragraphs to get there.
You have a website. You have a product. You have plans for the future. That’s great, but you also need the first two to attract eyeballs and gain recognition in order to meet those plans for the future.
A VA with experience in SEO and/or digital marketing will prove invaluable to your company. The right VA can boost web traffic, sales numbers and brand ubiquity with the right SEO and digital marketing techniques and strategies.
This year, companies will grow their social media spending by 70 percent, especially when it comes to mobile marketing. Social media marketing has become essential to the growth of businesses. With a large portion of budgets being allocated to this area, you don’t want to waste more than you have to on labor.
A VA with a stellar social media acumen will understand how to get noticed, retweeted, liked and shared on all of the social networks. Simply put: they know more than just hashtagging.
As an entrepreneur, you may believe that it’s simple enough to tweet and like on social media. But it isn’t, and you shouldn’t spend your valuable time on something that you don’t know much about. Leave it to the VA and save time and money.
Although content management systems (CMS) have made it a lot easier to start a website, the web development of your business should be left to a seasoned professional who studied this in school.
Web development has greatly evolved in the last 10 years alone, and the coding aspect has become a lot more difficult to understand.
Your VA will have the skills necessary to produce a website that will have the following traits:
It may be easier said than done but sometimes it can be a lot harder to achieve these aims.
Again, the likes of YouTube and Microsoft have made audio and video editing somewhat easier. But this is for very simplistic audio recordings and videos. If you want to amplify the quality of a podcast or a YouTube video then you have to employ better software, equipment and editing.
The company’s VA will understand all of the above, especially editing. Even if you have weak equipment, your VA will make your webinars and podcasts look and sound amazing and stand out from the rest of the crowd in your niche.
Sometimes, you just need to have some random things done around the office. It could be anything from taking notes during meetings to buying items for the office. After a while, you realize that you’re spending a lot of time on non-essential tasks, which hurts your business by taking away productivity.
Here is what Alec Bowers of Abraxas Solutions told the Huffington Post:
“It became clear when tasks from my personal life started to interfere with my ever-growing schedule. It wasn’t as much of a problem before — but after that line was crossed, it became a trade-off between getting all my work done or neglecting the personal errands.
Thankfully, now I can delegate much of my personal life to my assistant, as well as some of those small business tasks that ate time.”
Your VA will accomplish these general tasks while saving you money on higher labor costs.
Today, businesses of all sizes are attempting to minimize costs, boost profits and become lean and mean. With the costs of taking on employees soaring – payrolls, benefits, taxes and insurance – it has become more feasible for a company to outsource work to virtual assistance services.
It is definitely understandable if you are concerned about taking on a VA. You may think they are unreliable or won’t get the job done at the cost you agreed to. You may even feel they’ll subcontract out the work. These are all reasonable worries.
However, take a look at a recent survey conducted by VA Networking that painted a picture of what the typical VA is like: married with children, college educated, working full-time (31 to 40 hours per week), maintain one to seven clients, majority don’t subcontract and have a very low turnover rate.
This type of professional won’t risk losing clients with shoddy work and deceptive practices.
If you’re looking to grow your business at an effective cost then a VA is your solution.