There are a lot of myths surrounding businesses using a virtual assistant. Aren’t they too expensive? Wouldn’t it be easier to have someone in the office? What do they actually do? Here, we give you some facts so you can see for yourself how an investment in a VA could be an investment in your company’s success.
Fiction: Virtual assistants are too expensive
Fact: Well, you certainly get what you pay for. Virtual assistant rates per hour – which is the usual way to charge – vary depending on experience and set-up. So an inexperienced VA will cost less, but you may need to spend more time training him or her, and they are unlikely to have the infrastructure in place to provide you with the service levels you need. An established agency will have a higher hourly charge, but will be staffed by people who can get up and running immediately and will actually add value to your business.
And don’t forget that an hourly charge for a VA is still less than the cost of recruiting, training and paying a permanent employee.
Fiction: Remote workers aren’t as productive
Fact: This is an argument used for a variety of remote-working roles, but research shows that it’s just not true. A recent two-year study by Stanford University showed that remote workers were not only more productive; they were less likely to take sick days. So, a professional home-based virtual assistant could easily give you more value for your money than someone working in the office. For those VAs running their own businesses, it’s vital that they give their clients the best possible service – which is another incentive to keep productivity high and deliver work that exceeds expectations.
Fiction: It will take too long for a VA to ‘get up to speed’ with my business
Fact: The very nature of the virtual assistant role means that they are used to understanding businesses quickly and fitting into the role as required. Intelligent virtual assistants have a great deal of commercial experience and in addition to being able to get to grips with your tasks quickly, can also give valuable help and advice on areas where you may have less knowledge, such as social media management or bookkeeping.
Fiction: A virtual assistant can only help with basic admin tasks
Fact: This comes down to doing your research, really, and identifying the tasks that your business needs help doing. Some single VAs may only be comfortable with straightforward admin, but an established virtual agency business will offer a wide range of services from people who have very specific skills and experience. If you want help with admin tasks, that’s easily done; but you can also ask a good agency to help with digital marketing, financial planning, events planning and management and much more. In fact, building a good relationship with your VA means you can grow your business faster and with more control than if you are hiring.
Fiction: I don’t know what I’m getting when I hire a virtual assistant
Fact: The most successful businesses treat recruiting a VA in the same way they would recruiting someone in-house. You need a good fit for the business, both in terms of attitude and skills. You need someone you can work with collaboratively and someone you can trust to get things right. Taking the time to find the best virtual assistant for your business will result in a lasting and valuable relationship that will support your business through its next stages. So make a list of the tasks you need covering, identify the skills and approach you are looking for, and talk to several agencies so that you can be sure you’ve found the right fit.
Fiction: I’ll need to spend all my time managing my VA
Fact: Again, if you take the time to find the right agency to work with, you should spend less time managing your admin, not more. A good agency has in-built quality control and client management to ensure that you are always getting exactly what you want from the relationship and that any issues are identified and managed as soon as possible. Talk to the virtual assistant manager at your chosen agency to put together a plan for regular reviews, quality targets and more so you can spend less time managing and more time working on your business.
Fiction: I’ll need lots of virtual assistants to cover the tasks I have
Fact: A wide-ranging skill set is one of the hallmarks of a good VA service. It’s usually the day-to-day tasks that you want to outsource to a virtual assistant, which means you need to find someone – or a team of people – with the range of expertise you need. That may be straightforward administration or secretarial roles, time and diary management, sales and marketing support, bookkeeping, social media and many other jobs. You don’t need lots of separate virtual assistants – you need a single source with a variety of expertise.
Fiction: Using a VA won’t make much difference to my business
Fact: The benefits of hiring a virtual assistant can easily be measured for your business – in hours saved of your own time; in costs saved by not having the overheads attached to a permanent member of staff; in increased engagement and sales because of better communication and client relationship management, and in general savings because of the experience of your virtual assistant and the suggestions they can make. When you are interviewing your prospective VAs, ask for case studies or client references so can see what a very real difference they can make.
Overall, the best advice if you’re looking for a virtual assistant is to first sort out the jobs that you think could be handed over so that you don’t have to do them. Then do your research either by searching online, asking trusted colleagues or going to networking groups. When you’ve narrowed your search down, ask your chosen VAs for a list of virtual assistant services so that you can see not just how you can benefit now, but how they might be able to help you as your business grows. Make sure you look for a VA that is going to be a good fit for your business, and do a trial period so you can see for yourself how it works.
If you’re finding yourself short on time and think using a virtual assistant might help, call us on 0800 994 9016 or click here to request a free consultation.