In this article, we will discuss all you require to think about Virtual Assistants – What Virtual Assistants Do & How to Hire in 2021, the amount they cost, how to oversee and the sky is the limit from there.
What Is A Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is a person who provides various services to entrepreneurs or businesses from a remote location.
There are a lots of things that virtual assistants can do, including:
- Social media management
- Event management
- Managing calendars, appointments and emails
- Preparing reports
- Personal tasks like booking hotels and restaurants
- Simple digital marketing tasks
It’s a never ending list!
In fact (pardon the pun here) they can do virtually anything.
Think of them as what Jarvis is to Iron Man.
They’re not there in person – but they’re still a vital part of your business.
If you’re curious about all the different tasks they can do?
We’re not going to go over each of those here, but we’ll touch upon the main ones later.
Why You Need A Virtual Assistant –
3 Great Reasons
Virtual assistants are everywhere these days. More and more people are turning to them and it looks like they’re here to stay. Here’s why you should hire one yourself.
1. Better Use of Your Employees
Say a mid-level or senior-level employee had to choose between these two options:
- Playing an active role in spearheading growth strategies
- Preparing routine reports on a daily basis
What would they choose?
Chances are, they’d opt for option #1.
It’s more interesting and seems more important.
But that doesn’t mean you can neglect these mundane tasks like emails and finances. Your business would crumble without this boring repetitive work.
So how do you keep your in-house team happy but still get the mundane tasks done?
With virtual assistants.
They can take up most of these mundane tasks that can be done remotely.
A full-time employee (especially those you are more senior or talented) can stay focused on more pressing matters that need to be done in-person at your office.
2. Reduced Costs
One of the main reasons why entrepreneurs and businesses outsource work is that it costs less.
Saving Salary Cost
Instead of hiring a full-time employee for a small job, you could choose to outsource it to someone at an hourly rate.
Lower pay isn’t the only way you can save money with virtual professionals though.
Saving Training Cost
A business owner can also save a lot when it comes to training costs. Usually, companies have to train their in-house team on tasks and duties after they’ve cleared the hiring process. All this costs time and money – that most companies can’t afford. With VAs though, small business owners can hire professionals who already experts in their field.
This way, a business owner doesn’t have to waste time and money training them – they can get started right away.
3. Saves Time
Another reason why small business owners turn to VAs is that it saves them a LOT of time. We all know that time is money – especially in business. For example, let’s say you are a small business with no HR team. Your employees shouldn’t spend hours posting job advertisements, doing preliminary resume screening, organizing an interview process – all on a hiring process for someone at entry-level position.
Why not skip all this and get a professional to work on specific tasks instead?
With virtual assistants, this is what you’ll get:
- You’ll have verified experts that you can hire in no time
- They’re time savers as you don’t have to waste time training them
- As they can stay focused only on tasks you’ve hired them for, they’ll get the work done quicker than someone juggling multiple demands
It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
What Can Virtual Assistants Do?
I’ll be honest. A more appropriate title here would be – “What Can’t Virtual Assistants Do For You?” As mentioned earlier, there’s a host of things you can outsource to them. It’s far too many to list down here, so we’re just going to cover the most common virtual assistant work by VAs.
1) Administrative Work
You can hire virtual assistants to be…*cue drumroll* Assistants. They can take over all the business duties that a typical administrative assistant does.
- Diary management – Scheduling meetings and appointments
- Answering phone calls
- Basic data entry
- Organizing your to-do list and calendar
- Booking travel arrangements
Basically anything that an administrative assistant usually does.
The only difference here is that an executive assistant doesn’t have a desk in front of your office.
Apart from that – it’s pretty much the same thing as a typical administrative assistant.
2) Personal Tasks
You can always hire a VA to help out with tasks in your personal life as well.
Here are a few examples:
- Organizing your personal to-do list and calendar
- Booking travel arrangements for weekend trips or vacations.
- Helping you make purchases – gifts, books, stationary, hardware and perhaps even clothes!
As a lot of these tasks don’t need to be done by someone in-person, they can easily be outsourced to a VA instead.
3) Content Creation
Content writing has propelled itself to the top of the digital marketing ladder in recent years. There’s a reason why large corporations put out blog posts often. It helps boost their search engine optimization and drive traffic to their website. Having someone oversee this process can be a great digital marketing decision on your part.
If you have a blog that puts out new blog posts on a regular basis, you will:
- Have more people finding it on search engines
- Having more of them clicking on it and visiting your website
- Have more conversions as a result
The problem is, content creation isn’t easy. In addition to writing, there are a bunch of specific tasks like research, finding and editing images, uploading articles to your blog and so on. That’s why it’s a good idea to outsource your blog posts to a virtual assistant. You can either rethink the auxiliary errands like pictures or transfers or the whole cycle.
Outsourcing it to only one person ensures that each piece of content has a personal touch and doesn’t dip in quality.
4) Managing Finances
There’s this general assumption among small business owners that VAs can do your taxes for you. In an ideal world, yes they could. But in reality, at the end of the day, they can’t do any actual accounting for you. What they can do though, is help manage your finances. They can maintain budgets, make purchases, and keep track of your expenses to make your finances as transparent as possible.
Avoid the last-minute rush once tax season comes around!
5) Social Media Management
Social media is a very important weapon in your marketing plan.
It’s where many of your potential customers are going to notice and engage with you. However, most companies appear distant and disconnected with their potential customers – your social media presence can change this.
If you don’t have the bandwidth to handle social media accounts why not outsource it to a VA?
They’ll be in charge of these specific tasks:
- Creating content to share on your social media accounts
- Scheduling posts
- Engaging with your followers
- Analyzing statistics and reports
It’s important to have someone experienced here as managing a company’s social media presence is complex. Your social media accounts need to be able to connect with people while staying relevant.
That’s why a lot of businesses turn to virtual professionals to handle macro level social media tasks.
They can keep track of what’s going viral, monitor interactions and analyze statistics to see what converts best.
You can say goodbye to worrying about why things like Tide Pods are going viral.
Research is a core part of any company’s growth strategy. Without some sound insights, you’ll never know how to grow. However, a business owner can’t spend hours on research while still trying to run a small business. When it comes to research, you need a dedicated person who’s natural language is data crunching.
They should be able to:
- Keep track of competitors’ products and services
- Analyze consumer trends
- Find formats for press releases
- Screen applications for an affiliate program
That’s a lot of research! That’s why assigning it to someone in your team who already has other duties isn’t a great idea. It’ll most likely be overwhelming for those team members. That’s why small business and even large corporations are turning to VAs for research. As they don’t have any other duties – they can stay focused on solely gathering and analyzing data to help your company.
7) Customer Service
Customer Service was one of the first fields to incorporate VAs en masse.
Why? Think about it. Your customers aren’t interacting with you in person, so you don’t need an in-house customer executive either. Also, as most customer service interactions are largely centered on addressing concerns that can be answered easily from a manual, you don’t need a high level of expertise here. Of course, if your VAs can’t handle an issue, it can always be escalated to a full-time employee.
Your VAs just have to spend a decent amount of time going over what it is that you offer and they’ll be prepared to answer any questions about it.
It’s the perfect fit!
What if you want your VAs to have limited access to your customers’ information?
Use a Co-browsing software like Talkative which sets up a secure way to see your customers’ screens rather than a less secure approach like screen-sharing.
8) Email Management
We’ve all been there. Opened our inbox to see an army of unopened emails staring at you. You feel like the Millenium Falcon staring at the giant Death Star. Responding to all those emails can be Herculean task. But it has to be done – if you just leave this repetitive work as it is, you’d be in trouble. That’s why a lot of businesses and entrepreneurs outsource this to VAs now:
- They can sift through all your mail to weed out any spam that’s crept in.
- Assistants can answer job inquiries, general questions and follow-ups.
- They can organize and filter your inbox.
- Virtual assistant can carry out email marketing campaigns and manage email lists.
The result? Your email channel is still fully functional – without you having to do anything about it.
Where To Find Virtual Assistants
At this point, it’s clear that having these virtual team members can be of great assistance to you. They can boost your productivity, take routine stuff off your hands, manage travel arrangements – the list goes on.
Now let’s get to the hiring process – How do you hire a virtual assistant?
What’s the interview process like? This poses a unique challenge because you’re never going to be face-to-face with them. As they’re remote workers, there’s always an element of risk associated with them.
How will I know they’ll be working diligently?
How do I verify their credentials?
Are they trustworthy?
These are all valid questions.
The first solution is to get virtual professionals from reputed sources. The second solution is to use a Yeteman international to ensure the best.
Managing Your Virtual Assistants
Hiring a VA or any independent contractor can come with it’s fair share of concerns. As you’re not interacting with them in person, there’s a lot of variables involved. That’s why a lot of people think that managing virtual staff is a troublesome task. There are far too many things that can go wrong in a virtual office.
However, all these challenges have simple solutions. Let’s check out the most common areas you need to manage.
As you’re not interacting with them in person, communication with VAs can be hard.
There’s only so much that regular emails can convey right? That’s why using a communication tool like Slack, Fleep or Chanty can be helpful. Slack can give you and your VAs a direct line of contact easily. You can share ideas, files, messages – all within seconds!
This is the most common challenge faced by anyone looking to hire a VA. When you’re in an office, you have an idea of what everyone’s working on. But when your mobile workforce is 1000 miles away, they could be up to anything right? But there’s a simple solution.
Use a Time Tracking and Monitoring Tool like Time Doctor or Top tracker
With Time Doctor, you can address these concerns to make sure your virtual staff is working diligently. Here are a few concerns you may have and how Time Doctor can address them.
How Do I Track The Time A VA Spent On A Task?
As most VAs charge an hourly rate, time is literally money. The problem is, they could always inflate the time it took them to get a larger payday. So how do you ensure that you’re only paying for hours worked? With Time Doctor, you can track how much time your virtual staff spends on virtual assistant tasks.
All they have to do is click when they’re starting a task, and the app will start tracking how much time it took them.
How Much Do I Pay A Virtual Assistant?
There are a few factors that come into play when it comes to determining a pay scale for your VA.
Here are a few of them.
Type of work
A lot of what you pay depends on what you’re paying for.
If it’s basic administrative tasks like managing phone calls as a personal assistant, you’d be paying around $15-25/hour.
Customer service executives handling inbound calls can earn about $25-30/hour.
When it comes to more complex skills such as digital marketing, that rate may jump to $50/hour.
To give you a better idea, check out this list from Upwork on the average hourly rate for different freelance work.
Experience level is another important factor that comes into play here.
VAs with years of experience may charge more, but they bring a lot of expertise with them.
And with that expertise comes a level of professionalism.
That’s why opting for someone who charges a lot less but doesn’t have years of experience may be a bad idea. Sometimes that extra money for someone with years of experience can go a long way for getting reliable results.
There’s a reason why a lot of businesses outsource to places like India and the Philippines.
It’s far cheaper hiring an independent contractor there than hiring a virtual assistant from the Western world. The good news is that these days, you’re not compromising on quality when it comes to hiring from these countries.
You’ll still get quality work done.
You’d just be paying a fraction of the price you’d usually pay!
If you want some assistance on what to look for when hiring a virtual assistant from these countries and what daily tasks are most suited to them, check out our articles on:
Hiring A Good VA From The Philippines: A Detailed Guide
How To Hire A Good VA From India
Taking the help of virtual assistant to become more productive and grow your business is no longer a rarity – it’s close to becoming a necessity.
Having a go-to person for pretty much all your needs is a great assistance to any individual or business.
And if you want a Experienced virtual assistant, you can always contact Yeteman international. To see how Yeteman international can help you manage your VAs more easily, why not Contact-us?