Hiring a Virtual Assistant Changed My Life
When I started my business, I did almost everything myself. I did my own marketing, booked my speaking engagements, bought plane tickets, created my business plan, you name it. Other than paying someone to do my taxes, I handled the key aspects of the business myself. And I’m certain that many entrepreneurs started in the same way, with their sleeves rolled up.
Very quickly, however, managing all of these aspects became overwhelming. I knew I needed help, but hiring someone wasn’t part of my business strategy at that point. Fortunately, a colleague told me to hire a virtual assistant.
That advice made an incredible difference in my business. For a few hours each week, someone else took over the most time-consuming but necessary parts of my job. Instead of poring over flight and hotel websites, someone else did that for me.
How A Virtual Assistant Saves You Time
Virtual assistants are independent contractors who help you with specific tasks. These tasks may be administrative — such as answering phone calls, managing your schedule, arranging travel, and taking care of business paperwork. They may be financial, such as business development, accounting, or tax preparation.
Things like taxes, paperwork, and even marketing your business are necessary, but they can be time-consuming and stressful.
When do you need a virtual assistant?
- Your business is at a growth point where you need help to accomplish mundane tasks but aren’t ready to hire someone full time just yet.
- You feel like you’re mired in tasks and can’t dedicate time to advancing your business strategy.
- You have a good idea of which tasks can be parceled out to be done by other people, to increase efficiency.
Know what a virtual assistant is and is not
- They do not replace a full-time employee.
- They take mundane, time-consuming but necessary tasks off your hands.
- Unlike freelancers or consultants, who specialize in just one field, virtual assistants may handle a variety of business tasks.
Are You Ready for a Virtual Assistant?
Not every startup is at the point where they need to bring on a virtual assistant, but it’s important to assess your needs periodically and act quickly so you don’t get overwhelmed, like I did.
Write down the business tasks that you must handle right now. How much time do these tasks take? Can they be delegated to a virtual assistant? How much of your budget can you carve out to pay for a virtual assistant?
Then, start looking. Quite a few companies have sprung up online that hire out virtual assistants, and this can be a fast way to find someone to handle basic tasks like data entry. But don’t overlook one of the strongest sources of high-quality virtual assistants: word of mouth. Message business colleagues through LinkedIn or email and ask for recommendations. Those who respond will have a wealth of information and may even recommend an assistant by name.
Efficiency Equals Business Growth
I’ve never regretted my decision to hire virtual assistants to help me out. These dedicated people kept my business running smoothly, and helped me keep my sanity while my business was going through its early growth phase.
Even today, I engage a virtual assistant occasionally to handle specific tasks. It’s far easier for me to contact the assistant, tell them what I need, and then go to my next meeting or speaking engagement. I no longer have to worry about certain things getting done, because a reliable virtual assistant is taking care of them. In the meantime, I can focus on my clients and on being the best speaker and trainer. It’s worth the small investment.