Currently, many businesses use modern technology like virtual offices and telecommuting to get more done without physically being somewhere or meeting someone face to face. Small business owners and entrepreneurs can also take advantage of this convenient and flexible way of work with the use of a virtual assistant. But what exactly is a virtual assistant and how can they help your business?
Learn what a virtual assistant is, what business tasks you can outsource to them, how much it will cost you, and the benefits and downsides of hiring a virtual personal assistant.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is an individual hired to take care of recurring tasks and business administrative responsibilities. Small business owners, self-employed individuals, and managers hire virtual assistants to help free up their time for other personal and business-related tasks.
This individual works remotely, using the internet and phone to conduct their clients’ business. A virtual assistant, or VA, can be an independent contractor or self-employed individual or work as part of a larger company that provides other business-related services.
What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?
VAs offer a flexible alternative to hiring a personal assistant or secretary to do the same type of online tasks. Virtual assistants can take care of a number of administrative and business tasks, including:
- Send reminders for calls and appointments
- Help with financial reporting
- Manage your schedule and make appointments
- Provide correspondence with clients and customers
- Reschedule calls and appointments
- Follow up with clients on unpaid invoices
- Screen emails
- Update or add new client contact information
- Arrange travel/ transportation for business trips
- Complete orders online
- Transcribe voicemails, voice recordings, and webinars
- Research leads and identifies outreach opportunities
- Complete personal tasks
For those who only need a virtual receptionist to answer phone calls and transfer incoming calls, then VoIP virtual office services are a great alternative. However, if your business needs someone who can take on more responsibility and administrative work, then a VA will be your best resource.
When to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant?
There are various situations where outsourcing work-related responsibilities can be highly advantageous for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Such individuals generally have to cover all aspects of a business on their own or with little help, making the use of a VA a must. Therefore, consider outsourcing work to a virtual assistant, if:
- A task is repetitive and must be routinely completed but can take up a significant amount of time
- You need to free up your time from administrative paperwork to make room for other pertinent business tasks in different departments
- You need some help but do not need to hire a full-time worker
- You have the available funds without needing to stretch your business budget
How Much Do You Pay for a Virtual Assistant?
The cost of using a virtual assistant will depend on the services you wish them to provide and the level of expertise and experience they possess. According to Talent.com, the average salary in Canada for a virtual assistant is approximately $48,000 per year, or $24.62 per hour. That being said, if the VA is part of a larger company or agency, then you can most likely bundle other business services into the cost.
VAs require a combination of skills, education, certifications and training to do their job properly. Depending on the type of work they are willing to do for clients, and what industries those clients work within, virtual assistants could have a Bachelor’s degree in a variety of fields. There are also many training courses virtual assistants can take from the Canadian Association of Virtual Assistants.
Advantages of Using a Virtual Personal Assistant
Enlisting the help of virtual assistant services can hold you and your business in good stead. Just like gaining various benefits of using a virtual office space, you can use modern technology to streamline work processes and get more done.
When a VA undertakes all the small responsibilities and administrative tasks, it frees up much more time and energy to be used elsewhere in the business. Suppose you never had time to create a new marketing campaign or audit internal processes because you were so busy covering the everyday tasks. With the help of a VA, they can take care of the day in and day out administration, giving you the time you need to develop your business further.
Not only does it free up time and energy, but it also lightens the mental load. The stress of running your own company can be immense, with a never-ending to-do running through your brain. Delegating the constant, smaller tasks to a VA can help to lighten your load and give you some breathing room to get yourself organized and zen like.
On top of the physical and mental benefits, there are many other business benefits you can obtain when using virtual assistant services. A trained individual can help you with marketing outreach, customer service, lead generation, content, and bookkeeping, providing their expertise for your business operations. At the same time, having someone else manage such things means your business can better handle scalability with less risk, allowing for growth when the opportunity arises.
Disadvantages of Using Virtual Assistant Services
A virtual assistant is just that, virtual. Sometimes a VA is outside of your neighbourhood, or even country, so you might not be able to meet them face to face should you need to. In addition, if you need someone in-house, or doing physical tasks, then you will need a different type of assistant.
Since they are an online resource, this also means there could be some disconnect between when you assign a VA work, and when they complete it. At the same time, you might not be able to reach them to make changes in the middle of the project, or there could be delays in communication causing issues. Since the work is conducted online, your communication is also at the mercy of spotty telephone reception and internet connections.
Securing Virtual Phone and Assistant Services
All that being said, deciding to hire a virtual assistant will depend on what you and your business need most. Weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of using virtual assistants before making a decision. If you do decide to hire a virtual assistant, then where can you secure such services? Your business can either hire an independent contractor, or use established and professional services like Telsec’s virtual services.
Contact Telsec to learn more about how our available virtual phone and assistance services can help you with your business today.