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Thinking about Hiring a Virtual Assistant?

Being a solopreneur, freelancer or small business owner can come with a lot of freedom, but the responsibilities tend to pile up when you’re a one-person show.
Getting mundane and less important tasks out of the way frees up time and energy for more creativity and productivity. So if your diary, apps and other online tools are just not working for you anymore, it might be time to delegate some work to a virtual assistant.

Why You Wouldn’t/Shouldn’t Hire a VA

Virtual assistants aren’t for everyone and there are several reasons why one may not be a good fit for you / your business.
If you are the type of person who has to maintain control over every aspect of your business, then getting someone else to take over some of your work is probably not a good idea. It’s also tricky if hiring a VA means that they’ll need access to confidential information such as login details, financial documents, etc.
Remember that the whole point of getting a VA is to free up your time and to take away some of your stress. Although everyone needs training and some time to adjust to a new role, if you find yourself constantly micromanaging, then hiring someone else isn’t worth it. VA ≠ more work!
It makes sense to assign more than one type of task to VAs—who are often versatile in their skill set—but don’t get carried away. The “virtual” in “virtual assistant” doesn’t imply that they are a robot, so if you’re looking for someone to take care of everything for you, good luck. Unrealistic expectations just put pressure on everyone involved.
Then, consider what you’re looking for. Perhaps what you really need is someone to work with you on-site and in your time zone, or an actual employee to focus on a specific role, such as web design or long-term marketing. If this is something you’re not 100% sure about, then perhaps you don’t need a VA.
And, of course, if you simply don’t have the time to train/supervise someone else, or a VA just doesn’t fit into your budget, then you’re going to have to let it go.

When it’s Time to get Help

There are also a number of reasons why you should get a VA. One is when your to-do list and schedule start looking overwhelming, or when everyday tasks have become unbearably monotonous. Additionally, if your business is growing rapidly and you don’t have the time for admin work, to the point that you’re forgetting things, then you need assistance.
Hiring a virtual assistant means that you don’t have to provide someone with office space, equipment and Wi-Fi, any type of insurance or holidays. VAs take care of these things themselves. Furthermore, most of them are flexible in terms of work hours and availability; and—depending on the nature of your contract with them—you are only obligated to pay for time that’s spent on actual work (no sick days, lunch breaks, etc.).
Wondering what types of jobs they could do? There are literally over 100 tasks that you can outsource to virtual staff, some of which include:

  • Managing your emails and calendar
  • Making travel arrangements
  • Writing and transcribing
  • Tracking invoices and expenses
  • Project organization
  • Online + market research
  • SEO for online content
  • Basic video/audio/image editing
  • Customer support & service

If you don’t know where to find a VA, sites like Upwork, Get Friday and Virtual Staff Finder are a good place to start. Remember that although you can hire very cheaply, especially when your VA lives in countries such as India or the Philippines, it’s always best to pay fair compensation; in return, your VA is more likely to stick with you for the long term and will be more willing to go above and beyond their assigned duties.
Doing it all on your own is challenging, but finding the right virtual assistant can be a real life-saver. If you’ve worked with a VA before, tell us about your experience in the comments!

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