As your business grows, you may need help handling tasks such as answering phones, setting appointments, and managing your social media accounts. If you don’t have a budget to pay an administrative assistant’s salary plus benefits, hire a virtual assistant. Such workers perform their tasks exclusively online and you contract their services only when you need them. Consider these reasons why a virtual assistant could serve your small business well.
What Is a Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant can complete a wide range of administrative assistant tasks as well as those that may require a bit more skill. Your virtual assistant can do the following:
- Answer phone calls and emails
- Set appointments
- Coordinate remote employee schedules
- Manage your calendar
- Handle customer service
- Upload blog posts
- Update your social media accounts
You can also hire a virtual assistant who has the skill set to do web development tasks, research, and even article writing.
An administrative assistant’s or secretary’s salary per hour might not seem like much, but remember that you may have to pay for some benefits, which adds to the cost. You also pay for your assistant’s downtime. For example, your assistant may be on the clock even when there’s no work on a particular day. Contrarily, you pay virtual personal assistants only for the work they complete. Tools like Worksnaps and Hivedesk allow you to track your virtual assistant’s online activity which allows you to monitor work, if you so choose, and helps your virtual assistant provide you with accurate invoices for services performed.
Where to Find a Virtual Assistant
You can place ads on social media to attract applicants or browse virtual assistant profiles on websites such as VANetworking and Upwork. It’s a good idea to pay close attention to virtual assistant skills listed in their profiles to ensure any you contract the services of a person with the capacity to get your tasks done right. You might also make note of each virtual assistant candidate’s hourly rate. Generally speaking, virtual assistants located in North America may charge rates that are higher than virtual assistants located other countries. However, avoid selecting a virtual assistant based on hourly rate alone. Consider the person’s skills and abilities to help you do your job efficiently.
The Hiring Process
The best candidates for the job may be located anywhere in the world. You can use a videoconferencing tool such as Skype to conduct more personal interviews. Ask prospective virtual assistants to provide work samples when applicable, and remember that you’re well within your right to ask for professional references. Once you make a hiring decision, spend some time with your virtual assistant working out a regular schedule and coming to an agreement on the terms of work. You can then use tools such as applications Google Drive and DropBox to share assignments, completed projects and a synced work calendar.