Have people suggested to you “You should really hire a VA to help with that”? Was your first response, “What the heck is a VA?” Then you’ve come to the right place. Grab a brew and spend a couple of minutes finding out more about what a VA can do for you and your business.

Truth be told, I didn’t know what a VA was when I first heard it either, and I had been a Personal Assistant for over 15 years! A VA or Virtual Assistant is basically a freelance Personal Assistant. Rather than working for only one company, VAs often manage several clients for a range of different tasks, some short term and some long term. This means that VAs often have a much wider range of skills, experience and knowledge than PAs who work with one organization for a number of years.

If you’ve come this far, you must be wondering whether you could benefit from the services that a VA has to offer. Maybe you’re looking to grow your business, but simply don’t have the time to spend on marketing, research and communications. Maybe you want to launch a new product or service to the market, but you haven’t got the time to do it with all the sparkle that it deserves. Or maybe your business has already grown and you’re now finding that you’re drowning in time consuming tasks that you don’t enjoy, or that someone else could do in half the time.

Clock, notebook and pen on a desk

Sound familiar? If it does, then it may well be time for you to engage the services of a Virtual Assistant. Here are five things to consider before taking this business boosting leap:

  1. What do you need help with?

Before approaching a VA, it’s worth clearly identifying what tasks you need assistance with and how long they are currently taking you. If the cost of your time per hour is more than the cost of a VA, then hiring a VA is a good idea for you! Not only will it save you money in the long run, it will also free your time to concentrate on what you’re best at: running your fantastic business and growing it for the future.

2. How much does a VA cost?

VA rates vary depending on their skills and experience. Most VAs offer a range of pricing packages as well as ad hoc hourly rates, so depending on your requirements there will be a solution to suit you. If you need a VA to assist with a particular project you can also ask to negotiate a project rate, which you may also find more cost-effective, but as is often the case in the service-based industry, do be aware that cheapest isn’t always best!

Although VA hourly rates might seem more expensive at first glance, remember that with a VA you will not need to pay for insurance, sick pay, pension contributions, laptops, desk space, holiday pay, software etc., so the savings will massively outweigh any increase in cost per hour. This makes them the perfect option for a business that has fluctuating demand for assistance – you only pay for what you need.

3. How do I choose the right VA?

It is also important to ensure that you are looking for a VA who specialises in the work you need assistance with – even if that is simply administration support. There’s no point in approaching a VA who specialises in bookkeeping when you need assistance with social media marketing. Many VAs have a niche or speciality based on their previous experience and skills, so it is important to identify that first.

It’s also worth considering personalities and core values when selecting your VA. You can get a pretty clear idea from people’s websites or social media as to both of these. For example, my core values are being hardworking, honest, friendly and creative, so I would be more likely to gel with a client who shares at least some of those values. This would mean I would be a better fit for their business. Win win!

4. How do I work with a VA?

VAs by their very definition are “virtual” and so, unless the work demands it, you might never meet your VA in person, as all work can be successfully completed remotely. As a result, VAs often support clients all over the world. I am based in Hampshire, but I have clients who have not been geographically close to me and the working relationship is no different.

Generally, the scope of the work or project will be outlined at the beginning of the working relationship and contracts will be completed accordingly, agreeing rates, hours, key deadlines and expectations. This ensures that everyone feels comfortable with the arrangement and has a solid plan of action. Of course, the work requirements can change as the contract progresses, but regular review meetings can ensure that both parties are happy with the arrangements.

5. Will I get the same commitment from outsourcing as I would from an employee?

Remember that Virtual Assistants are business owners too! All VAs want to do their very best to ensure client retention, return business and recommendations. It is in no VA’s best interests to have an unhappy client.

Laptop, phone, notebook and pen on a nice tidy desk

Hopefully this has answered some of the questions you might have had about working with a Virtual Assistant and dispelled some of the mystery around them.

Please follow me on social media to find out more about how a VA can enhance your business life and pick up some great time-saving business tips along the way. If you have any specific questions, I would love to hear from you. You can book a free discovery call with me via my website. I can’t wait to hear about your amazing business plans and how I can help you achieve them.

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