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What You Need to Know in Hiring Virtual Assistants

virtual assistantsAs a business owner, your prime objective is to make money. As the old adage goes, time is money, especially in business. Did you know that by attempting to perform every task related to the operation of your business yourself, it may be costing you up to 40% in lost revenue?

According to statistics by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the average small business owner spends up to 40% of his or her time on routine administrative tasks. Also, business experts say, approximately 80% of your time should be focused exclusively on performing activities that create the most value and profits. The more time you can spend planning, strategizing, marketing, networking, and creating and delivering your revenue-producing products or services, the greater your business will grow and profit.

The demand for services from Virtual Assistants has seen a steady increase in recent years as business owners seek ways to run and grow their businesses using support services that are flexible and cost effective. Virtual Assistants can offer many benefits, but it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate those that are reputable from those that have set up to make easy money without the relevant experience, skills, or systems to do the job effectively.

In this article, you will learn about all the things you need in hiring virtual assistants:

  • What is a “Virtual Assistant” and what they can do and scopes of jobs they can deliver.
  • Legit platforms where you can hire virtual assistants
  • Screening the right VA for you.
  • Salaries and Fees

What is a Virtual Assistant?

According to Wikipedia, A virtual assistant or VA is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office. Virtual assistants are in demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need support but don’t require or want to have their staff physically present in their work locations or offices.

What can they offer?

You might be wondering, what can a VA offer if they are miles away from you or from your business. With the technology that we have right now, nothing is impossible to get things done (except shred the paper).  Virtual Assistants works are not limited to administrative or clerical work, or as your Executive Assistant doing your admirative project from scheduling meetings, taking calls. There are a lot of VAs provide marketing, web design and IT support, social media management, project management and can even provide Customer Service or support for your customers via phones or email.  There are VAs too that can help you to manage finances, help you with Taxes, accounting or bookkeeping.

However, take note that just like the other normal employees in an office based set up, VAs has specific skill sets too. For example, a marketing or PR virtual assistant only does marketing or PR work, same goes with web developer and other fields. Other Virtual Assistants do a variety of duties but within a specific industry. On the other hand, there are Virtual Assistants that are flexible and can perform general administrative tasks to make your life easier, delegate tasks so to free up your time that will allow you to focus on the work that will make money.

How and where do we get a good one

First, you need to know what the tasks are you want to outsource.

The first step in hiring a virtual assistant is to make a list of the tasks you want to outsource. Make a complete list, prioritizing the activities you want to delegate first.  For example, if managing email takes up too much of time and tedious, put it at the top of your list. Or, maybe assisting your customers with their concerns is also important for your business, hiring an experienced customer service representative will be really a great help for you. You are spending too much time for your technical issues, search for someone who is an expert in IT or website management.

Next step is to determine who to hire. There are many ways to hire a Virtual Assistant. You can connect with an agency or a company that hires and trains and profiles them according to your requirements.  Going through an agency will save up time in sourcing, interviewing and screening your VA, agencies will also cover the works for the compensation for the VA. However, getting a VA via agencies might a little expensive than going through a freelance service.

Here are some of the top platforms in hiring freelance Virtual Assistants:

  1. Upwork

One of the largest marketplaces for projects. You can see all expertise, projects and you can see freelancers related to it. It has now 12 M registered freelancers and 5M registered clients. Can offer shorter/longer-term projects, from entry up to expert level.  Upwork has a tool to monitor the work and time spent by your VA then you will pay your VA through them.

  1. Onlinejobs.ph

One of the largest job board in the Philippines, with more than 250,000 members. Onlinejobs.ph is a subscription-based pricing model, where you will be subject for a fee to be able to contact the workers. You can do all the filtering and searching you want, but you can’t communicate with the workers until you pay. Here, you can arrange payment directly with your VA .

  1. PeoplePerHour

It offers all-around freelancers and outsourcing marketplace with a wide range of categories like Web Design, Video, Audio, Web Development, Sales & Marketing, Support, Writing, Translation, Social media, Software Development, Mobile Development.

  1. Guru

Another marketplace for finding VAs, they have a simple hiring process. Marketplace is smaller than the mentioned platforms though making it less competitive.

  1.  Freelancer.com

This could be possibly second best to Upwork.  According to their homepage, they have millions of businesses use them.

Rates and Fees

Virtual Assistants’ rates varies from $5 USD to $25 USD plus per hour. There are also factors that decide rates of freelance virtual assistant.

First is the location, hiring VA based is significantly higher than other part of the region.

Secondly is the experience, experienced VAs frequently charges more money than the beginner ones. That is why it is really important that you identify what task that you are going to offload, weather is a simple task that can be done by a fresh graduate or complicated one that needs someone who has an experience.

Another factor is the type of service or technical expertise, Virtual assistants with technical expertise in any software or application, such as programming, digital marketing are relatively charging hugely.

Use these as a guide when you are evaluating a Virtual Assistant. Determine if the rates are worth, probe they length of their experiences, seek testimonials from previous clients, or proof of their good work from past projects. Do you need who complete pro or maybe newbie that can perform the simple tasks. On a brighter side, you can always negotiate with reasonable rate, of course. Always ask nicely, they are doing these jobs for a living, so it is always within their right to say no. Come up with an arrangement that will work for both sides. If this doesn’t work and not a good fit, move on and jump to the next applicant.

To sum up, here are the Pros and Cons of having a Virtual Assistant.

PROS:

  • Makes your life easier. How great it is to know that you always have a helping hand.
  • Saves time (resulting to a healthy work-life balance)
  • Decreases stress level, beating deadlines or dealing with hard customers, pass it on!
  • Saves Money, significantly more cost efficient than hiring an in-house assistant.
  • Provides flexibility, VAs have flexible working hours, you can also work on a contract month-by-month basis, replace someone who’s not performing in just little amount of time.
  • Makes you focus on developing your business. You will have more time to plan and strategize sales (more profits) while your precious VA is continuing the day to day administrative operation.
  • Bonuses/rewards are flexible. Since you are not mandated by the government and VAs are independent contractors.

 CONS:

  • Language barrier. Since you hire someone from different region, there will always be cultural differences. Always us simple English.
  • Work monitoring is difficult. You can’t watch your assistant’s screen and monitor how they actually work.
  • Trust and Confidentiality. VAs will be exposed with you and your client’s information. Observe and know your VAs very well before exposing them to confidential information.
  • Connectivity can be an issue. Internet/Technical issues are beyond our control. It can cause big problem in case there are urgent tasks. Ask your VAs to have a backup connection or plan and always communicate in times like this.
  • Unable to meet face-to-face. Tech tools such as Skype or Facetime are available, but meetings and conversations are always better face-to-face….. also… you cannot treat your assistant for lunch.

So, maybe youare wondering why a company who helps business get into office space would be promoting remote workers. The reason is we want to see business thrive and if it means you take a few square feet less, so be it. Even if you use a virtual assistant or two, you will still need some office space for your local staff. That is where we come in. Our local reps are pros at helping make sure you get the right office space for your business. There is no cost to their services. The landlord pays them to represent you. We do a lot more than just find offices that could work for you. We make sure you get the right space at the best possible price. Give us a try.