7 Unbeatable Reasons Why You Need a Virtual Assistant
- January 16, 2023
- 12 min read
- By Kirti Goyal
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The pandemic transformed the way businesses operate, causing them to adjust and adapt to the ‘new reality.’ They realized the need to outsource back-office tasks to meet business needs and goals. As they laid off full-time staff and went remote, they explored budget-friendly options, which led to a 41% hike in hiring virtual assistants through offshore agencies.
Find that unbelievable? The below graph highlights the increase in inbound poll queries for virtual assistants between 2019 and 2020. Check it out! Virtual assistants possess valuable skills and perform many in-demand services that add incredible value to the lives of busy business owners.
Image Source: NanoGlobals
In this post, we highlight the top seven reasons why you should hire a virtual assistant for your business. If you are on the fence about onboarding virtual assistant(s), read on. But remember, successful collaboration depends on well-defined tasks and goals. A mismatch in expectations could lead to a mutually unsatisfying relationship later.
Before discussing the benefits of hiring virtual assistants, let’s start with the question - what is a virtual assistant? Virtual assistants are remote workers who handle your non-core operations.
They may offer generalized services or hold expertise in tasks like accounting, marketing, or social media management. A virtual assistant may source clients on a freelance basis, on managed marketplaces, or work in-house for a BPO, helping you with:
1. Lower Overhead Costs
In-house employee hiring requires you to create hefty packages and benefits. Besides a base salary, organizations are responsible for health insurance, 401K plans, accidental coverages, workspace allowances, team offsites, and paid time off. Emerging businesses don’t have the resources to meet these demands.
Virtual assistants help you cut these overhead costs and focus on scaling.
2. Domain Expertise
Virtual assistants are subject matter experts who are constantly perfecting their craft. You can find the expertise you need and leverage it to build your business. The more seasoned the virtual assistant, the higher the value they bring to the table.
You can work with top talent without adding a permanent position to the payroll.
3. Quality Work
Unlike most in-house employees, independent contractors compete for projects and constantly upskill themselves to remain in demand and attract premium clients. High-quality work helps them build a reputation and collect testimonials.
When hiring a virtual assistant, you can check their portfolio and determine if their skills and expertise match your quality standards and needs.
4. Quick Delivery
This one is no brainer! Virtual assistants balance quality with timelines. Full-time employees often juggle multiple priorities and struggle to prioritize effectively, which leads to delays and missed deadlines. But since most virtual assistants focus on one project at a time or operate within shorter timeframes, they share deliverables comparatively faster.
5. Diverse Talentpool
DE&I initiatives are as important as ever. Most SMB businesses can’t afford to hire global talent due to logistics concerns. But hiring virtual assistants is a great option to engage with a larger talent pool without confining yourself to local areas.
Besides cost savings, a diverse team - comprising individuals from different cultural and educational backgrounds - leads to better business ideas and outcomes.
6. Lower Company Risk
Hiring someone in-house means investing in their career growth at your company. You invest time and resources in onboarding and training them to be successful in their role. But it can go to waste if the employee decides to leave. With independent contractors, you don’t run that risk.
You can build contracts with clear deliverables and payment terms, without affecting your internal processes. The absence of a long-term commitment lets you optimize resources.
7. High Flexibility
Often, virtual assistants work flexible hours to serve clients in different time zones. While in-house employees are available only during specified working hours, independent contractors may also be available for last-minute emergencies.
Their flexible work schedules enable them to step up and offer support as and when necessary.
Virtual Assistant Skills to Check
Besides core competencies, virtual assistants need soft skills to win at their jobs. Soft skills are a mix of people skills, emotional intelligence, personality traits, and social qualities that help them collaborate effectively and hit KPIs, especially when working in groups.
Whether you are hiring a virtual assistant to work with you directly or in a team, check for these five crucial virtual assistant skills:
- Communication: Your virtual assistant must be familiar with the latest online collaboration tools like Slack, Trello, Airtable, and Notion for async updates and should know how to communicate efficiently over video meetings in real-time.
- Time Management: Seasoned virtual assistants stay on top of the schedule and know how to prioritize efficiently. Your contractor must have solid time management skills and a realistic understanding of how much they can complete in a day without getting burned out or missing deadlines.
- Organization: Without a well-organized virtual assistant, it’d be hard to follow project timelines. Project management is a valuable and in-demand soft skill. If you are a busy executive and hiring a personal virtual assistant, check if they can work independently with minimal supervision.
- Self-motivation: The freedom to work from anywhere and on their own terms leads many to leave their full-time jobs and become independent contractors. But a virtual environment can get dispiriting quickly. When hiring, check your virtual assistant’s experience with remote work.
- Reliability: Trust is a big consideration factor when working with virtual assistants. Regardless of whether they charge hourly, by project, or a monthly retainer, they must be available during the agreed hours for any updates and catch-ups and take new assignments as per business needs.
Tips to Find the Right Virtual Assistant
Organizations have always been privy to the drawbacks of traditional staffing solutions. But the pandemic brought them to the forefront once again as remote work and flexible workforces - distributed teams and independent talent - became the norm. Onboarding virtual assistants is a great way to cut exorbitant recruitment costs and employee churn.
But to enjoy a fruitful long-term collaboration with contractors, consider these tips:
1. Spot Skill Gaps
Unless you have identified business needs, it’d be difficult to find the right fit for the job. Do you need help with marketing, programming, design, or something else? Hard skills require job-specific and measurable competencies.
Let’s take an example.
A programmer turned writer can create highly technical product documentation but a content marketer may not have the coding expertise to write authoritatively on the subject. Once you identify the role and skills, determine if it’s an addition to the existing team or to support a new business unit or department launch.
2. Assess Goals
A well thought-out hiring strategy takes long-term and short-term staffing needs into account. Before you hire a virtual assistant, consider which roles require full-time help and which are better suited for a one-off project or hourly contract.
That way, you can fill skill gaps quickly and scale or downsize your team as needed.
3. Created Detailed JDs
Develop a job description featuring the role’s core duties and responsibilities. It’s easy to work off templates but ensure you tailor them before sharing them in your networks.
A detailed JD is key to attracting the right talent and saving hours on combing through a high volume of irrelevant CVs. Don’t forget to add the soft skills and an “About Us” section - highlighting your company values and mission - to help potential candidates check the mutual fit.
4. Perform Extensive Research
Freelance websites, gig-based job boards, and outsourcing companies are all great options to hire virtual assistants. But in-depth research is necessary to steer clear of potential hiccups like misalignment on job requirements or hidden fees.
A trusted virtual staffing provider like Office Beacon sources top candidates and takes full charge of employee training and management, without levying any additional charges.
Take the Leap
The Pandemic pushed the frontiers of what the business world thought possible. No longer restricted to traditional hiring channels or strategies, companies can now access top talent and build scalable and flexible teams quickly.
Did this article answer your questions about why hire a virtual assistant? Tell us your challenges and goals below.