The Team Member You Haven’t Hired…Yet

Ever wish there was more time in your day? Feeling bogged down by the administrative or time-consuming tasks that aren’t on your critical path but still need to get done? Then you should probably know about virtual assistants (VAs).

Most virtual assistants are contract or freelance workers who do their jobs from home and focus on administrative tasks that are similar to those of an executive assistant or secretary. Generally employed by entrepreneurs, professionals, and/or small teams, they can and will do everything from responding to emails on your behalf (I know, you’re sold already!) and keeping contact lists current, to sending out follow-ups from networking events and finding the best deals on hotel and airfare. They can even take raw data and throw it into a PowerPoint presentation on the fly.

Here are some more services a VA can provide:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Internet research
  • Proofreading
  • Social chores (sending out thank-you, holiday, get well cards, follow-ups, etc.)
  • Business card creation
  • Ordering supplies
  • Database entry
  • Travel research
  • Scheduling
  • Industry knowledge prep/research
  • Social media management
  • Telephone management

In my research, I found off-shore options that charge a fee per task with a maximum amount of tasks per day. The downsides include the time difference and language barrier. I’m not sure how I’d feel about outsourcing my bookkeeping tasks to the other side of the world. Even if it did only cost as much as my morning coffee.

There are also several companies with VAs in the U.S. that obviously cost more (about $20-25 an hour) but are available during core business hours and work per hour instead of per task. You can then add bells and whistles such as a quicker turnaround time (one hour vs. same day) or after-hours/weekend services.

Thinking your budget is already too tight? Consider this from 5 Reasons Why You Are Actually Destroying Your Business:

“Most business owners are surprised to learn that hiring a virtual assistant is considerably more affordable than initially believed. The cost-benefit equation is simple.

Say for example your time is worth $100/hr. when you’re doing tasks like getting new clients and adding new revenue to your business.

When you’re handling mundane tasks you’re using your time at $100/hr. when you could be paying a virtual assistant about $20/hr.

In the long run and even in the short run you’ll see an ROI of $80/hr. by hiring a virtual assistant.”

And it goes beyond that. Ever think about your personal life? What if you had someone to book your travel, send out birthday and sympathy cards, pay bills, get estimates on new carpet, figure out why your last dental visit wasn’t covered by your insurance, do ALL of your Christmas shopping? It makes me a bit breathless to think about all the time I’d get back to spend with the people I love or having the option to sit back and watch a great movie.

All this being said, any good review should be well-rounded and offer the pros as well as the cons. The thing is, I’m not seeing much of a downside here. With many VA companies offering free trials, what is there to lose?

I used to get paid a fairly sizable hourly rate to schedule Lync sessions and proofread presentation materials. And then they let me go. Perhaps they hired a virtual assistant to complete these tasks now. I know I would!

For more information, check out 2015 Best: Virtual Assistants Review:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704198004575310710174207000