It may not come as a surprise to hear that many small business owners, particularly new and growing businesses, may feel overwhelmed by their workload, but don’t have the budget to hire in-house support.
Fortunately, if this is you, there is a solution that can potentially save you valuable time and money. It’s hiring a virtual assistant.
Virtual Assistants (VAs), when used effectively, can streamline and lower your business costs. Some business experts estimate savings of up to 78% in operating costs per year, when compared to a full-time employee.
Outsourcing work to a VA or freelancer, means you don’t have to provide a workspace, or pay many of the usual employee benefits, such as leave entitlements.
Other key benefits of having a VA may include:
- Increased Productivity – it can enable you to delegate tedious or time-consuming tasks to someone else, so you can devote your time and energy to other areas of your business.
- Create Flexibility – VAs can help get you through peak times of the year, or fill temporary gaps, giving you more options to manage workloads.
- Increase Your Talent Pool – While many business owners are a jack of all trades, it’s often out of necessity, not choice. VAs with specific expertise can be hired to manage specialist tasks, such as bookkeeping, marketing or graphic design.
Before you jump in though, it may be a good idea to gain a better understanding of the process involved in finding a VA, or the right VA, for your business.
Virtual Assistant Types
There are many different kinds of VAs and freelancing options available to small business owners.
Some VAs are available on a project or part-time basis, and others can work full-time for you.
You can hire VAs to take care of specific areas or tasks for your business, or you can choose a general VA, who may be able to help you with broader tasks.
The Ultimate Guide for Using Offshore VAs groups VAs into several different types. Some of these include:
- General Virtual Assistant – This type of VA may be able to fulfill tasks we often associate with a personal assistant, such as email and diary management. Other common tasks can include data entry, online research, bookkeeping, social media management and email marketing.
- Web and Online Search – Small businesses often don’t have the budget for a full-time IT or web resource. Hiring a VA with specialist web skills could be a more affordable alternative. Tasks you may be able to delegate include website design and updates, landing page development, and enewsletter set-up and management. VAs can also be sourced to help you optimise your site so it’s more easily found via search engines, such as Google.
- Content Production – There is a growing number of small businesses turning to content as an effective marketing tool. Video and audio content ranks among the most popular, but can create a challenge for small business owners. Specialist VAs can be sourced for audio and video editing, animation creation and transcriptions. There are also VAs that are experts in writing and editing, as well as graphic artists, who can design marketing materials.
At this point, you may find it helpful to make a list of tasks you would like to delegate, so you can clearly communicate this to potential candidates.
Where to find VAs
- Upwork – Millions of VA and freelancing jobs are posted annually on this leading platform. It’s a relatively simple process to post your job and get personalised bids. You can also browse Upwork’s database and invite potential candidates to apply for your job.
- Freelancer.com – Another large freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace where you can advertise your job and find VAs from more than 247 countries, regions and territories.
- Guru – This virtual platform can connect you to VA candidates in a similar way to the sites mentioned above. It has more than 3 million members worldwide.
- Other VA agencies – There are also many other agencies around that can manage the process of finding and hiring a VA for you. You may wish to research each agency before using them, to ensure they are the right option for you.
Speak to Experts
If you’re still not sure about hiring a VA, it could be a good idea to reach out to your existing network.
You may find it useful to speak to other businesses, accountants or small business super experts, who may have had previous experiences with outsourcing, and understand the challenges you face.
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As at the time of compilation, the information in this article is correct, and any estimates, opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made.
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