With the rise of World Wide Web across multiple devices, the need of setting up and maintaining an online business is increasingly becoming important. Creating, maintaining and running a website isn’t an easy job. Many online entrepreneurs do not have the required time or necessary skills to manage the technical end of their websites.
So most of them are forced to hand over the technical stuff to outsourcing companies where by luck, they can find someone reliable. But this is costly and sometimes can produce catastrophic results because you are not working directly with the technical people dealing with your website.
In these dire circumstances, only one individual can save the day for you. This individual is known as a virtual assistant and this guide covers everything you need to know about this highly professional and efficient individuals.
What is virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant typically referred to as a VA is generally a self-employed individual that provides professional, technical, administrative and creative services to a client. These individuals typically work from an offshore office. Some of them have even set up offices in their homes.
The 3 Types of virtual assistants
There are three types of virtual assistants these days. The following will discuss how you can reap benefits from a certain virtual assistant and how important or relevant they are for your particular business.
- Task based virtual assistants
Task based virtual assistants are excellent if you want single assignments done quickly. They are available to help you with various tasks like travel planning, online research, appointment setting and other small administrative jobs. You can find many task based virtual assistants on monthly subscriptions. There are many virtual assistant companies around the world that offer a set of features within a single service.
- Project based virtual assistants
As the name suggest, these virtual assistants help you with all or any kind of projects you have. They are the perfect choice if you want to accomplish a single project with a well defined endpoint. For example, you may require many articles written, a website designed or developed or you may want a logo created. A project based virtual assistant can help you with these tasks. Most VAs available for project bases charge hourly or fix price per project.
- Virtual Employees
Virtual Employees are your employees sitting across the sea to help you out with tasks, projects and others to name a few. These kind of virtual assistants are hired on monthly payments and you can pick and choose which VA you want. Perhaps you want a virtual employee who deals with the graphics department of your business? Or you may want someone to deal with all your website technical issues. They come in all shape and sizes and can provide you high end services with affordability in mind.
Why hire a virtual assistant?
If you follow the journey of a corporate CEO, you will come to find out that most of them use virtual assistants regularly. Many entrepreneurs are reluctant at hiring a VA to assist them with tasks. These entrepreneurs rarely make it to the top because they lack the professional help of highly trained and professional individuals.
There are a number of virtual assistant benefits that are listed below:
- Improves Productivity
A well selected virtual assistant in any of your business department can greatly boost the productivity of your operations. Virtual Assistants are professionally trained to work under different tasks. Some of them are even specialists. By hiring a specialist, you can improve the back end of all your projects by boosting productivity.
- Cost Effective
Virtual Assistants are mostly based in offshore locations which make them highly cost effective especially if you are operating in the U.S. where employment can be extremely expensive.
- Greater speed
With expertise in their field, virtual assistants are well trained to match all the deadlines thrown at them. Just be sure to hire a specialist because a jack of all trades rarely works in this industry.
- Superior Quality
You can get superior quality work done on areas of a project you are not familiar with. Most entrepreneurs are good at marketing but they lack the skills of a website developer or a graphics designer. Hire a virtual assistant to handle these tasks and you will be surprised at the quality of work they can provide.
- Eases strain on office resources
As mentioned above, the ability of hiring virtual assistants based in other countries means you save significantly on employment costs and as well as other office resources because these individuals usually have their own offices in their home country.
- Save time
With individual expertise, a virtual assistant’s professional experience can save you time on tasks you are unable to perform quickly yourself.
- Save money
You instantly save costs like providing computers, tools, electricity, food and other valuable needs every employee has to have by hiring an individual that is based in an offshore location.
- Save headache
Save yourself from the trouble and embarrassment of working with freelance individuals who come in all sorts of characters. A professional virtual assistant is far more capable than freelancing individuals which ultimately saves you the headache of ending up in bottlenecks.
- More Time for Self
With a virtual assistant taking care of all the small but necessary tasks, you can make time to do more important stuff, stuff that you are good at doing without the worry of completing smaller tasks.Find more top 7 business benefits of virtual assistant benefits.
How much does a virtual assistant cost
The whole point of hiring a virtual assistant is to save money that you would otherwise spend on hiring expensive professionals in your home country. If you are working with a virtual assistant that has no association with a company, you can find a decent deal but it all depends on the kind of work and tasks you have on board.
Alternatively, there are several companies that provide virtual assistants on ‘rent’. By rent we mean that you have to pay a monthly subscription for as long as you are using the assistance of a VA. These companies offer attractive monthly packages that include decent working hours. Every company has their own charges so you need to go out there and ask for quote before you can get the services. Typically, a VA can be hired started from $10 an hour to as much as $70 an hour or more.
Virtual assistant skills
As mentioned above, virtual assistants are professional individuals that are trained in a number of different skills. They can be found to have just about any skill you want. Some VAs train themselves in multiple skills, while others become specialists in a single skill. Below is a list of skills that VAs are capable of providing.
- Online research (Web research)
A virtual assistant trained in research can help you find critical information over the web to support you. You may be running a blog where you actively want someone to conduct a research or you may want someone to simply conduct a competitive research. No matter what your needs are, a VA can help you with any kind of web research.
Ideal for people who run websites in constant need of maintenance and technical changes.
- Graphics Web Designer
A VA having graphics skill can help you create meaningful graphics to market your business over social media and other platforms.
- Web Developer
Websites constantly need changes in their core. A web developer based VA can get this job done easily.
WordPress is the number one content management system on the internet. Although it is designed to be used by laymen, some of its features require professional skills. A VA trained in WordPress can constantly help you manage WP powered websites and alter its features on the go.
- Website maintenance
Website maintenance is a fundamental need of any modern website. Without proper maintenance, the website can get slow or even shut itself off during heavy traffic.
Search Engine Optimization is another fundamental need of a successful website. SEO VAs can use powerful white hat techniques to increase your website’s rank in search engines to attract more attention.
- Internet marketing
Marketing is essential if you are selling a product or service.
- Social Media management
With social media networks constantly evolving, it’s a good idea to hire a professional virtual assistant with critical knowledge of how to manage your social profiles.
- Photo editing/clipping
Updating your website with great photos is an excellent way to attract people. A VA having knowledge in Photoshop can easily manipulate photos in your favor.
- Article Writing
Content is the heart of any website. A blog can significantly boost your business with decent and informative articles. A VA can handle this job very well by adding new articles to your website daily.
- Administrative Support
At some point you’ll come across a lot of small issues with your website. Administrative skills are needed to deal with them on a timely manner.
Why skill virtual assistant
Earlier we mentioned that going with a virtual assistant who is a ‘jack of all trades’ isn’t necessarily a good idea. If your business is rapidly growing, then you cannot depend on an individual who isn’t a master of certain skill. You will require a very skillful virtual assistant if you hope to deal with issues of a large website.
A skilled virtual assistant is trained for years under a single skill. It allows them to focus within the industry they have worked for in years. This gives you an edge because you can always depend on the services of someone who has been trained for years to do the one job properly rather than work on many jobs.
Virtual assistants vs. In-House employees
In-House Employees are an excellent option for your business. They sit in your office and you can constantly eye them and get them to do tasks on time. They are widely available in your home city and often possess the right skills you need for your business. But what makes them an inferior option compared to virtual assistants?
Price. It all comes down to the cost and value for money.
Just imagine, an in house employee will cost you thousands of dollars a month to sustain. You will have to abide by minimum wage law of your country that means you are forced to pay a certain amount to an employee. Also you will need a proper office to allow these individuals to work. You cannot have an in-house employee work from home constantly. Also there are several employment rules and human rights that you will have to abide by.
Plus, the cost increases by time when you find out you have to offer increments to these individuals if you want to keep using their services in the future. If you don’t give them increments on time, they can leave your company which can be devastating for your company.
Then there are hiring and training costs. Every in-house employee needs to go through a mandatory training session before they can completely dedicate their services to you.
With a virtual assistant, you don’t have to worry about any of the above hassles. All you need to do is find a company or an individual and hire them for as long as you like their services. They don’t have to sign a contract with you. They don’t require quarterly increments. They don’t need a space in your office. They don’t use your computers, electricity or other office resources. They only require you to pay a fix amount. You also don’t have to worry about employment laws or human rights because they operate from a different country.
Virtual Assistants Can Help You Build Your Entire Business
Hiring a Virtual Assistant is not the only way your business can key into remote services to save yourself a lot of time and effort. VA services cover a wide range of elements from business administration to database management, SEO, website building, content provision and a lot more. You can, in fact, build your entire business using outsourced services.
With the development of online and remote businesses, there are a wealth of freelance and agency workers out there with the exact skills you are looking for. If, for example, you are building your own online business and have a small budget, you can save yourself the time and effort of learning each aspect of the business or hiring staff, by sourcing the work from elsewhere.
One major advantage of this method is scalability both up and down. You access the services as needed on the scale you need. In order to do this well, however, you need to know which VAs fit into your business model and at which scale. To learn how to do this, you should check out this excellent guide on creating an outsourced business model.
How to hire a virtual assistant
- Before you decide to hire a virtual assistant, you need to a few things to ensure that they will be useful. Following are just few factors that can help you do that:
- Find out if they are really useful for you by conducting a preliminary test or seeing their portfolio.
- Read about the pros and cons of having a virtual assistant for your business.
- Create a document stating the rules and regulations for your potential virtual assistant
- Turn this document into a job posting and post it on places where virtual assistants are widely available.
- Alternatively, find a company that offers virtual assistants under monthly subscriptions.
- Determine whether the individual has leadership values. This is a great attribute if you want to expand your team in the future and need someone to look over them.
- Set up your budgets and find virtual assistants under your set budget.
- Don’t compromise on the hiring cost if you find a really good virtual assistant with ideal talents and skills.
- Thoroughly discuss your plans with the virtual assistant and have his/her feedback to see if they understand your needs.
- Set working hours and mode of communication with them
- Assure that they do not have domestic problems like energy outages.
Where to find a virtual assistant
The internet is full of places where you can find, hire and train your virtual assistant to become the ultimate force. Below is a short list of top places where you will find the ideal candidate for your business:
You can hire some of the most professional, talented and skilled virtual assistants from vatask.com. We have established a network of meaningful individuals that are trained in specific skills for particular needs. Also very affordable.
Assistant match – excellent platform that matches the VAs with skills needed for your business.
Office details – A small business that hires VA’s and then hands them over to you. They are ideal if you want someone else to keep a check on them because office details does that for you.
Craigslist – the best place to find thousands of individuals at a very affordable rate. However, the sheer popularity of craigslist attracts all kinds of individuals. There are no background checks.
Twitter – social media platform where you have to do the hard work yourself and find VAs in the swarm. Using hashtags, you can attract a number of different VAs to your cause. Keeping a check is up to you.
VA Networking – an excellent starter place for VAs and people who need VAs. The network has a number of VAs available that discusses your plans and give their feedback over them under a forum. You can pick and choose who you want to work with.