Have you ever considered hiring a virtual assistant to help you run your small business more efficiently? While many virtual assistants – also called VAs – perform mundane or repetitive tasks, others have the experience and training to complete complex administrative, technical, creative or professional work. In some cases, they may even be trusted with outsourcing work and delivering completed results to their bosses.
Many new and small businesses find that virtual employees offer the best solution for a variety of jobs. If you’re overloaded with work but aren’t ready to hire more in-house employees, you might explore the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant.
1. You don’t need to offer your virtual assistant a desk or equipment.
Most of the time, virtual assistants work from home or a shared office space and not at your company’s physical location. They supply their own computer, internet connection and workspace as part of the deal. Depending upon the kind of work they do, they may or may not provide their own software. For instance, VAs may have access to word processing or spreadsheet software; however, you may have to supply them with credentials for more specialized tools.
In any case, you will have almost no overhead costs associated with a VA. A VA may be ideal if you also work from your home office, shared office space or a very small office. If your duties require a lot of travel, a VA might suit you perfectly because you’re seldom in one location anyway. You and your VA can work together without physically being together.
2. You can enjoy the benefits of a flexible workplace.
Many businesses have seasonal peaks and slow periods. For instance, small accounting firms may be very busy during tax season and slower during the summer. Conversely, the hospitality business may pick up during warm months and then slow down during the winter. You probably don’t know any small business owners who enjoy hiring people when they get busy and then firing them again if there isn’t enough work to do.
You can hire virtual assistants for a certain number of hours or simply until they complete a project. If you like their work, you can hire them again when you need them. However, if you don’t have work or would rather use another service, you don’t have to fire them. You can move on to other tasks and assume your VA will move on to other clients.
3. You only pay for the work they do.
You may want to begin hiring employees at some point to make sure that you can maintain a stable workforce. Besides a salary, you may also have to provide your permanent employees with such benefits as insurance, paid sick days and so on. When you are just trying to grow your small business, you may be relieved to simply pay a virtual employee an hourly rate or even by the task that they complete.
While they may charge enough to handle their own insurance and other benefits, you aren’t directly responsible for anything other than paying them the agreed rate for the work they do. This can help you manage cash flow until you are ready to bring in more full-time employees.
4. You free up time for big-picture items.
Of course, the main reason to consider hiring a virtual assistant is because he or she can perform certain tasks for you more efficiently than you can. You may need to plan strategies or attend meetings. Meanwhile, your VA can answer emails, order supplies or post content to your social networking pages.
Remember that some VAs may even be able to supply your company with skills that you lack. Some small businesses hire VAs to install websites, create spreadsheets or maintain databases. You might be able to acquire these skills; however, that would require time that you could invest elsewhere more profitably.
5. You might find your next great employee.
You probably already know how difficult it is to hire the right employees for your small business. You hope to find people with the right personality to get along with you, the skills and motivation to get work done and the aptitude to progress.
If you found a VA that you liked working with so much that you offered him or her a permanent job, you wouldn’t be the first savvy small business owner to find employees this way. You both get to test the working relationship out before committing to a permanent job.
Is a VA right for your small business?
Commonly, virtual assistants work as online contract employees. Small business owners and managers communicate with these remote workers with email, the phone or a messaging or conferencing app. In this connected age, it’s usually as easy to manage a virtual assistant as it is to manage an employee in the next room. You might consider hiring VAs to benefit from a flexible workforce, lower overhead and the possibility of a long-term working arrangement.
Constantina Kokenes is a Content Specialist at Kabbage, a small business loans provider. She holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. When not immersed in the small business world, Constantina loves cooking, baking, going on hikes, and playing with her cat and chinchilla.