Last Updated: February 2, 2024

Should You Use A Virtual Assistant?

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    Julie WhiteTeam SM90

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    100% human content The content of this article was entirely researched, written and reviewed by humans, to ensure accurate and exclusive information. No AI writing tools were used.

    Should you use a virtual assistant? You need to think about various things like your budget, how much it could boost your productivity, and if it will help your business grow. In this article, we’ll talk about when it’s a good idea to use a virtual assistant, the advantages of having one, and some issues you might encounter when hiring and working with a VA.

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      Who Is a Virtual Assistant?

      A virtual assistant (VA) is like an office assistant who works from a remote location. VAs handle various tasks like:

      • Scheduling appointments
      • Handling emails
      • Organizing files
      • Booking travel
      • Doing research
      • Social media management 
      • Transcribing audio files 
      • Planning events
      • Data entry 
      • Managing calendars
      • Creating content for social media 
      • Digital marketing, etc.

      When Should You Use a Virtual Assistant?

      When exactly should you use a virtual assistant? Here are some situations where getting a virtual assistant could be really helpful for you and your business:

      When You’re Pressed for Time?

      When you feel overwhelmed with work and wish for more hours in the day, it’s time to consider hiring a virtual assistant. They can work just a few hours each day, but this extra help will give you more time to manage your tasks more easily. 

      When You Can Afford to Hire a Virtual Assistant 

      If you’re short on time but don’t have a lot of money, think carefully before hiring a virtual assistant (VA). First, calculate whether the time the VA saves you will help you earn enough to pay their fees without hurting your personal income or business. If you find that you can afford a VA without losing too much money, then it’s a good idea to hire one. 

      When Your Business is Ready for Expansion

      If you’re just starting a new business, it might not be the right time to hire a virtual assistant. In the early stages, focus on growing your business and saving money for future expansion. However, when you start getting a lot of customers, and are making more money consistently, then it’s a good time to hire a virtual assistant.  

      When You Don’t Have the Skills You Need

      If you need services that you’re not skilled in, it’s a good idea to hire a virtual assistant who is an expert in those areas. For example, if you need graphic content for your social media pages, it’s more efficient to hire a virtual assistant with graphic design experience than to try learning graphic design yourself. 

      When You’re Transitioning from One Role to Another 

      Imagine you were working in the maintenance department of a solar company and got promoted to a solar consultant. Now, you have to attend solar consultations and communicate with clients more often. To manage this change, you could hire a virtual assistant to handle smaller tasks. This way, you can focus more on doing well in your new role.

      When You’re New to an Industry

      Starting a business in an unfamiliar industry is different from starting one in an industry you know well. If you’re new to the industry, you might not know the best ways to succeed. For example, if you open an online fashion store without fashion industry experience, a virtual assistant who knows the industry can be a big help. They can effectively communicate with customers, persuade them to buy, and follow up with clients after delivery to ensure satisfaction and repeat business.

      Pros of Using a Virtual Assistant

      Virtual Assistants Are Flexible

      The great thing about having a virtual assistant is that you’re not tied to a strict schedule where they work for you on all weekdays. Instead, you can send them tasks as needed, and they will take care of them. Because of the remote nature of their work, many VAs are available even on weekends. 

      Reduction in Training Costs

      Many virtual assistants already have relevant skills and often require minimal training. However, if you happen to hire a VA who lacks specific skills you require, you can ask that they acquire those skills at their own expense. You’re not obligated to cover the cost of their training.

      Ease of Dismissal

      You can easily remove virtual assistants from your team whenever you want, without the providing weeks’ notice or concerns about retaining them longer than necessary. This gives you the freedom to adjust your VA team to match your changing requirements without any unnecessary obligations.

      Improved Work-life Balance

      Having a virtual assistant allows you to establish a clear boundary between work and leisure. The constant stream of email and message notifications, as well as incoming business calls that used to disrupt your work-life balance, can be efficiently managed by your VA. This newfound balance frees up more time for you to enjoy with your loved ones and for personal activities.

      Networking Opportunities

      Using a virtual assistant (VA) can offer indirect access to their professional network, which often includes other VAs, as well as experts and leaders in various industries. This connection can be valuable for your business. For instance, an experienced VA might have contacts with skilled professionals like accomplished copywriters or email marketers. These contacts could potentially help elevate your business by providing expertise that you might not have had access to otherwise.

      Cost Savings

      Virtual assistants are usually more affordable than regular employees. You don’t have to pay for things like their vacation, health insurance, retirement plans, training costs, office space, or equipment. Virtual assistants cover their own work expenses like their workspace, computer, phone bills, and internet. They’re often paid by the hour, sometimes as low as $3, depending on their skills and experience. 

      You Can Use Different VAs for Different Purposes

      Virtual assistants (VAs) have various skills. If one VA can’t do everything you need, you can hire another one for the other tasks. This way, each task is done by a specialist, and you get good results. 

      Using a VA Helps Resolve Time Zone Differences

      If you’re hiring a virtual assistant to talk to customers, pick a VA who lives in the same time zone as your customers. This will ensure that your customers get the support they need when they need it.

      Also, having a VA in a different time zone can extend your work hours. While you manage the business during the day, a VA in a time zone 6 or 7 hours different can handle tasks during their daytime, which might be your nighttime. 

      Innovative and Fresh Perspectives

      A virtual assistant (VA) can be a valuable asset to your business. They offer a fresh perspective and can serve as a close collaborator. Consulting with your VA before implementing business ideas can introduce you to new approaches. 

      For instance, if you’re planning a social media campaign targeting teenagers and young adults, a VA within that age group can provide valuable insights on which social media platforms would be most effective for the campaign. Their perspective can help you make more informed decisions and tailor your strategies for better results.

      Virtual Assistants Are Adaptable

      As your business expands, your requirements for services may evolve, becoming more advanced or diverse. A VA is typically motivated to continuously enhance their skills and adapt to market trends. This means they are always prepared to modify their services and work arrangements to align with the evolving needs of your growing business.

      Effective Time Management

      Virtual assistants are often paid by the hour, which motivates them to complete tasks faster.

      Project Continuity

      Virtual assistants seldom require time off or vacations since they can work from any location. This guarantees that your projects won’t be paused midway. Moreover, VAs continue working even when you’re on vacation or taking a break, ensuring that everything is in order for your smooth return.

      You Can Take on More Work

      Using a virtual assistant frees up your time. With time on your hands, you can accept more orders and jobs. You can delegate some of this extra work to your virtual assistant. You might even find yourself with so much work that you need to hire outside companies. Plus, with a virtual assistant’s support, you can consider partnering with another business or colleague to take your business to the next level. 

      You Can Monitor Your VA’s Performance

      You can use performance tracking tools to see how long your virtual assistant takes to do their tasks. If you can’t use such tools, set a time limit for each task. For example, replying to and sending emails should take no more than 15 minutes. This keeps your VA focused and helps you predict their pay, so there are no surprise charges.

      Using a VA Relieves Stress

      Business owners often get very stressed, and a lot of this stress comes from tasks a virtual assistant could handle. To reduce your stress, try delegating some mundane tasks to a virtual assistant.

      Cons of Using a Virtual Assistant

      Limited Company Knowledge

      Virtual assistants, who operate remotely and do not physically interact with your company, may initially struggle to understand the intricacies of your business operations. This limitation can affect their ability to effectively perform their duties. 

      For instance, if you sell a particular product, a virtual assistant located in a different country might not have the opportunity to use it. This is often due to the cost of shipping items over long distances. As a result, the VA might find it difficult to respond accurately to customer inquiries about the product, as they lack first-hand experience with them.

      Dependence on Technology

      If either you or your virtual assistant (VA) experience a power outage or are in a place with no mobile connectivity, it can cause a break in communication and delay the completion of tasks. Take, for example, a situation where your VA travels to a remote, rural area that lacks WiFi or a reliable mobile network. In such a scenario, they would be unable to carry out their duties for you until they return to a location with proper connectivity.

      Communication Lapses

      If you and your virtual assistant (VA) are in time zones that are significantly different, it may be challenging to monitor their work. This time difference can also make it easier for the VA to become less diligent in their tasks. Additionally, since the VA doesn’t work in your physical office, you can’t communicate with them instantly as needed, which could lead to delays in finishing projects.

      It Takes a While to Onboard a Virtual Assistant

      Beginner VAs are the cheapest, but they lack experience. If you choose to hire a novice VA, be prepared for a learning curve at the start. They might make mistakes that you’ll need to address, and if they’re slow learners, you’ll need to be patient as they adjust and improve.

      Some VAs Can Abandon You

      It’s really difficult when a virtual assistant quits suddenly without enough warning. The worst part is not expecting it, so you won’t have a replacement ready. Sometimes, they might leave their work only half done or not update you about what they were working on in your business. This can make it hard for you to continue from where they left off.

      Extended Turnaround Time

      A virtual assistant, like anyone, might have emergencies. Because they work remotely, they can suddenly stop working on your project during these times. This can leave you with unfinished work. In the end, it might take them days or even weeks to finish their tasks, which could slow down your business growth.

      A Virtual Assistant May Overcharge You

      If a virtual assistant has a low hourly rate, they might pretend to work extra hours to get more money from you. Even if you track their work hours, they could work on someone else’s project during the time they’re supposed to work for you and still charge you for it.

      Lack of Motivation

      Some virtual assistants choose this job thinking it’s an easy way to make fast money. If you end up hiring a VA who only acted well in the interview but doesn’t really care about your business, you might face problems like their passive-aggressive attitude, laziness, or disobedience. 

      The Process of Hiring a VA May Be Stressful

      You might need to interview many virtual assistants to find the right one for your project. This can be hard if you’re short on time. If you’re hiring through freelance platforms, you might need to pay for trial tasks to see if they work well with you. This extra cost could be a problem if you don’t have much money to spend. 

      Data Security Concerns

      Usually, you share private business information with a virtual assistant. There’s always a chance that they might leak customer data, share your business secrets, or reveal other confidential information.

      Importance of Sourcing the Right Virtual Assistant

      If you find the right virtual assistant, you’ll get all the benefits of using a VA and avoid the downsides mentioned in this article. It’s important to choose a VA from a reliable platform and use tools to track their work, so you don’t regret hiring a VA.

      You can find great VAs on Fiverr or Wing Assistant. Fiverr is a freelance site where you can hire VAs starting at $5 per hour. Meanwhile, Wing Assistant matches you with a VA from their pool on a subscription model. You subscribe to Wing Assistant, and they pay the VA. 

      After hiring a VA from Fiverr or Wing Assistant, you can use tawk.to to monitor how they handle customer messages. Tawk.to is a live chat tool for websites, allowing real-time conversations with visitors. If you don’t have a website, you can create a tawk.to Chat Page for live chatting.  Tawk.to also allows you to create a knowledge base with useful information for customer queries, which your VA can use for responding to customers. 

      By using these three websites, you can confidently find the perfect virtual assistant for your needs. Happy hiring!

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