Why It Might Be Time for a Virtual Assistant

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Does this sound like your typical day?

You start with scanning through and ultimately answering a slew of emails that somehow collected through the night. Then, you move onto accounts payable, followed closely by – your favorite – accounts receivable. You’re starting to feel buried just as the phone rings, that delightful sound. Now, you’re officially sidetracked. Something’s wrong, and you’ve got to put a fire out.

Once you figure out a solution on the fly, you settle back in to your to-do list, and decide to tackle researching the best value for that new receipt scanner you need. And then, it happens. Before you know it, the day is gone and you weren’t able to focus on your business. You weren’t able to get anything of real substance done because your day-to-day is flooded with distractions.

Sure, an assistant would be great, but you wonder if explaining tasks to them would be more time consuming than just doing them yourself. And, you wonder how you could justify one or two on-staff assistants when you consider your ever-growing, already-overwhelming overhead. Even if you can justify the cost, the thought of training them is daunting, and the idea of them wasting time at the water cooler or perusing social media on their smartphone is downright infuriating.

I know, crazy – enough to make you want to shut down for the day and take a brisk walk.

But, what if there was a way to have an assistant only when you needed one? What if there was a way to pass off those smaller tasks that keep you from growing? What if those tasks could be taken care of without all the paperwork and interoffice politics that make hiring such an irritating task?

Well, there is.

Using virtual assistants can be a great alternative to a centrally located office with local employees. Typically, many have viewed hiring a virtual assistant as risky in the past. Why? Truth be told, many are scared simply because it’s something new. People fear unknown territory and hesitate to step out, especially when it comes to their small business. Rightfully so, your business is your life and it’s all about calculated risk.

But, have you ever considered what risk you’re taking by trying to do it all by yourself?

If you know what you need and can articulate the task, there is a virtual assistant out there that is ready and willing to help. Hiring a virtual assistant is a great way to have someone when you need them and a great way to grow your business – without all the risk of taking on a full time employee.

Still don’t believe me?

Well, consider this. You hire Sally to work in your office. Sally wants to be paid hourly and is looking for full time employment to work as an assistant for you. She is more than qualified and you know a part timer is probably not going to be as committed. You need to consider that she will be paid hourly whether you have work or not for her, she will need health insurance, you will need to contribute to her social security, taxes, take care of employment paperwork, manage her, follow up with her on tasks, train her on the way things are done at your office, and ensure that she is doing the job right.

But, here’s the real kicker. If Sally turns out to not be the best and brightest that her resume promises, you’re going to have to deal with hiring someone else to pick up the slack, let her go, or deal with discipline in the workplace. These three options are not really appealing when you consider that you originally hired an assistant to lighten your load.

Virtual assistants work on an as needed basis, and require minimal paperwork. In addition, these people are experts, and even if it’s not working out, you can move quickly to replace them, without the emotions and endless paperwork.

Why pay someone to sit at a desk and collect during a slow season? Why get overwhelmed when it’s busy season and you need someone else? You can always call on a trusty virtual assistant, or two.

That being said, virtual assistants aren’t always the replacement for an on-site person. But, they can significantly lighten your load and allow you to propel your business without much risk. The key is knowing your needs, properly articulating tasks, and communicating your expectations right from the get-go.