What is a Virtual Assistant & How to Hire Safely

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What is a virtual assistant (VA)? In short, the answer is in the two words. Virtual and Assistant …Got It???… No worries… We Got You~

We’ll break it down to the lowest common denominator. Thus, once you finish this article, without a doubt you’ll know firstly, explicitly what is a virtual assistant. Secondly, how to hire a high-skilled VA. Thirdly, we will provide helpful tips for protecting your company’s sensitive data and security threats. Finally, what are virtual assistant’s duties and responsibilities?

In fact, a recent survey shows the most troubling complaints with (SBO) small business owners.  These SBO’s are overworked, overwhelm, and tired of working overtime. Not only that, there’s a rise in SBO’s emotional collapse and a higher need for a quick fix.  Correspondingly, VA’s are helping frustrated, overworked, small business owners overcome Severe business burnout!what is a virtual assistant

 

Virtual Assistant for Small Business

On another note, Transparency Market Research has revealed: “the global data analytics outsourcing market is anticipated to attain US$20.68 billion by the end of 2026.”

What does this mean to us? Virtually, those small business owners aren’t the only group seeking help. And according to research, not by a long shot. Presently, countless businesses are seeking outsourcing staff from virtual assistants. Besides to outsource is a straightforward way to break through the frustration of trying to grow your business alone.  So are you READY to TAKE BACK your LIFE… KEEP READING!!!

Let us dive in…

 

What is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant is an individual who works from home (virtually).  VA’s can also work at any remote location where they provide support services to small, medium, or large businesses. Moreover, these independent contractors or large companies, assist businesses to carry out menial to complex tasks. Lastly, they can be highly skilled, well educated, and excessively organized.

 

How to Hire a Virtual Assistant?

 

virtual assistance definitionThings to know, there are two ways to go about hiring a VA.  Firstly, you can either go with a freelancing company or secondly,  a larger outsourcing agency that offers VA staffing. In fact, one of the most popular freelancing company’s is; Fiverr.   Unsurprisingly, you may have heard of them now. Especially since they run national T.V. ads. Another freelancing platform equally sought-after is Upwork, formerly Odesk.

Better yet, if you’re a DIY’er who prefers to do things themselves, the learning curve is moderate. Of course, there are a number of websites available to find VA’s. Nevertheless, a great place to start is the two mentioned above. (place photos of Fivver, )

 

Top Online Outsourcing Companies

If you decide to go with Fivver, here are a few helpful instructions. Once you’re on the website, look for the task you’d want to outsource. Here, you’ll see freelancers flexing their muscles. Carefully, Read through their ads or view their videos. Further, you can even request chats with as many candidates as desired before a hiring decision is made.

Yet, if you’d rather go with an outscoring agency that will work as well. Here are two I found online, Work Better Now and  Myoutdesk Both have easy-to-follow instructions that walk you through their onboarding process. Basically, the agencies are set up similar to temp agencies.

Basically, you identify which services or tasks you’d want to outsource and they provide a list of candidates to choose from. (Business ownership is getting easier by the minute)  Thankfully, all administrative paperwork and back-office responsibilities are completed by the agency.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Indeed, some hirers feel more confident going through an agency. Specifically, if they don’t know how to hire a virtual assistant. On the positive side, this may not be a bad idea for first-timers.  Mainly, because of the potential dangers regarding hiring VA’s on or offshore.  We’ll discuss the risk later, however, you can read more about outsourcing challenges in this article. (Outsourcing link)

You’re on first base.

  

What does a Virtual Assistant do?

virtual assistant for small businessA virtual assistant can execute mostly everything; you name it, they claim it. However, VA’s doesn’t come one size fits all.  Nevertheless, you can hire based on specific skill sets. Besides, some virtual assistants (VA’s) are highly sought out. Even more, have begun freelancing simultaneously with multiple companies.  acquiring even more knowledge, experience, and skills.

Recent research shows according to the SBA, there are 23 million small businesses in the U.S. Coupled that with a global pandemic that forced business shutdowns; the reasoning to hire remote workers is irrefutable.

To repeat, expressly, since the pandemic more businesses are run from home, more than ever. Comparatively, there is an increase in reliable internet availability which is causing an onslaught of employment seekers. Undoubtedly, this mix is responsible for the online explosion of virtual hiring and remote employees. Surely, employing virtual assistants has become the new norm.

Listed below is a list of responsibilities:

  • Organize communication via emails and phone calls
  • Provide customer service as the first point of contact
  • Organize travels, accommodations, and meetings
  • Manage scheduling calendar and contact lists
  • Maintain customer’s online records and files
  • Conduct and give results on market research
  • Presentation Prep
  • Manage social media marketing
  • Setup email accounts
  • Proofread content for a website, PDF’s, and marketing material
  • Website design and upkeep
  • Assist with in-house training
  • Create and respond to instant messaging
  • Assist employees with administrative tasks
  • Data entryvirtual assistant company

Types of Virtual Assistants…

Here’s a shortlist of different types of Virtual Assistants:

 

Administrative Virtual Assistant

They perform administrative duties including but not limited to:

  • Handling incoming and outgoing calls
  • Send and receive emails
  • Address customer questions and request
  • Facilitate refunds and returns instructions
  • Pitch in with the hiring of additional help
  • Book accommodation for travel
  • Maintain and create business systems and processes
  • Data entry
  • Manage to schedule

 

Marketing Virtual Assistant

  • Conduct Marketing Research
  • Managing social media campaigns
  • Create marketing and sales material
  • Manage advertising ads
  • Overseeing and developing marketing campaigns
  • Conduct research and analyzing data
  • Develop and present ideas and strategies
  • Create promotional material and activities
  • Write and proofreading the content and copywriting
  • Updating and maintaining company websites

 

Writing Virtual Assistant

  • Create high-quality website content
  • Set up and write email messages
  • Produce press release content
  • Write articles and guides
  • Proof and critique websites
  • Create PDFs and written instructions

remote workers

HR Virtual Assistant

  • Administrator background and checks
  • Hire applicants
  • Facilitate new employee orientations
  • Responsible for recruiting
  • Conduct interviews, screening, and job placement
  • Explain employees job descriptions, benefits, and duties
  • Process paperwork

 

IT Virtual Assistant

  • Maintain company computers hard and software
  • Upkeep systems, printers, scanners, and networks
  • Service down systems
  • Provide in-house technical support
  • Replace and repair equipment when needed
  • Train entry-level IT staff
  • Set up new accounts, passwords, etc.

 

Customer Service Virtual Assistant

  • Provides helpful customer information
  • Answer customer questions
  • Respond to client’s complaints
  • Manage customer’s concerns
  • Ensure customer satisfaction
  • Recommend services and products according to customers need
  • Resolves problems

 

VA  101

Earlier I shared a few recommendations of freelancers and VA agencies. As a friendly reminder, you’ll need to identify exactly which services you want to be outsourced. However, if you’re unsure, check the above list for a mind jogger. Yet still, as far as skill-set or job descriptions, you’ll have to set perimeters. All in all, your responsibility as a manager /owner is to write a clear-cut, concise roadmap of what you want.

Thus, after figuring out exactly what your needs are, identify which repetitious or easily duplicable task you’d want to be outsourced. Additionally, include those tasks that are needed.  Consequently, if there’s a need for high-skill sets such as product and development or social media marketing managers, those positions can be filled just as easily? Generally speaking, virtual assistants can be all-inclusive.

 

Virtual Assistant Services

Virtual assistants’ services can be identified by niche or categories. After all, our most precious commodity is time. To begin, considering working with a virtual assistance agency is smart business, hence it saves valuable time and money. Taking it a step further, most service providers have their onboarding process down to, “point and click”, within a few Clicks you’re up and RUNNING!

 

Challenges of Hiring your First VA

  • Not communicating succinctly and concisely
  • Not sticking to your native language. Language barriers can kill time, hence money.
  • Not decide upfront your payment, via hourly, monthly, or by the job
  • Not ascertaining grace or trial periods in written
  • Not checking results quickly and make corrections quicker

 

Precautions and Safety Guidelines for Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Finally, as promised, lets’ talk about precautions and the dangers of hiring a VA. Further, with special attention on security. All in all, IP security and data breaches are the most commonly talked about threats to outsourcing. That being said, most savvy business owners look for ways to grow our bottom lines. But on the other hand, we want to succeed as safely as humanly possible. Notably, there is no sugar coating outsourcing security threats, they are real. Listed below are helpful security tips. ( Keep in mind NO security is 100%)

Security Threats Helpful Tips

  1. Minimized as many sensitive data as possible
  2. At all costs never expose trade secrets.
  3. Instruct your legal team for explicit VA’s terms and agreements
  4. Be sure to monitor day-to-day workflow
  5. Inspect what you expect, and course-correct immediately.

How are Virtual Assistants Paid?

virtual employeeVirtual assistants are paid by contractual agreements. Regarding company-sponsored virtual assistance, monthly pricing is available. This may include a sliding scale, for example, $595.00 to $1995.00, which could be a reasonable starting place. Additionally, hourly, monthly, or by job options, are also options in many cases.

Remember, you don’t have to take the first train coming. On the other hand, don’t choose the cheapest, you get what you pay for. In fact, the more skilled or industry-specific, the more you’ll have to pay. However, weighted against an in-house employee you still win…

My best advice is if you’re hiring an individual VA, start slow. Better yet, if your operational systems and processes are in order, this makes hiring even better. That this point, you can easily pass on your processes for a smooth transition. All in all, this produces a few more positives it saves time and guarantees consistent results.

 

Conclusion:

At this point, I hope we’ve clearly answered what is a virtual assistant? Equally important let us reiterate what they do. Virtual assistants help busy small business owners complete tedious, repetitive tasks. Moreover, VA’s can perform services such as accounting, IT, product development, customer service, and much more. Further, SBOs or entrepreneurs who are unable to financially afford full-time or part-time employees find it more affordable to employ virtual employees.

Remote Employees

Undoubtedly, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages or risks. Indeed, this is a sure-fire way for independent contractors and entrepreneurs to hire Additionally, they can hire top-notch, highly-skilled personnel, for less than an in-house employee.

In fact, the only difference between a virtual administrative assistant versus an onsite administrative assistant; one’s in the next office and the other across the globe.

 

To recap: hiring a virtual assistant will:

  • Free you from performing routine, repetitious task
  • Pass on tasks that annoy you
  • Allow you to build a world-class team for less
  • Hire skilled employees without a full-time commitment
  • Boost profits and productivity

 

To Hire a Virtual Assistant

  • Think about tasks in your business that are easiest to outsource. Hint: Focus on tasks that are routine or repetitive. Which tasks do not require your expertise?
  • Check out services like Work Better Now to ascertain a list of recommended virtual assistants who may match your requirements.

Regardless of your needs, if you’ll looking to scale your business, prefer to eliminate performing mundane tasks, or just want more free time, a VA can be the missing piece to the puzzle. I think you can see hiring a virtual assistant could be key to your success. Hope this helps with your decision-making whether a VA is right for your business!

 

Do you use VA’s in your business? If so, how?

Do you have a VA success story to share?

Let us know by leaving a quick comment below.

P.S. Enjoy this post? You can share it on Twitter here!

Good luck!

 


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Deborah Pretty

Hi Everyone! I hope that the article you read today will be used as another building block to further grow your small business empire. PYTalkBiz.com was solely designed to help you reach your business goals, quickly and more efficiently!

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