Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant is a growing trend in small and online businesses. But, what exactly is a virtual assistant, and why should you consider hiring one? According to the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA), “A Virtual Assistant (VA) is an independent entrepreneur providing administrative, creative and/or technical services. Utilizing advanced technological modes of communication and data delivery, a professional VA assists clients in his/her area of expertise from his/her own office on a contractual basis.” There are many reasons that a VA may be the right choice for you, but we will look at just three of them today: the ability to hire an expert, cost effectiveness, and ease to work with.
Hire an Expert
Possibly the most exciting reason to hire a virtual assistant is the leverage that it provides. It is now easier than ever to hire an expert in either a specific industry, or with a specific skill set! Most VA’s quickly develop some type of niche. Some VA’s concentrate their efforts on working with a particular client type for example, insurance agents or realtors. Others may focus on a specific service such as website design and marketing.
Don’t let your heart start racing the moment you get an estimate from your potential VA. A VA’s rate can sometimes be deceiving. Rates can vary and may sometimes be hourly, monthly, or per project. A virtual assistant is probably more cost effective than you would think. Here are a few things to consider:
- A Virtual Assistant is not like a traditional “employee”. You are not responsible for any of the benefits, or payroll taxes that you would have with an in house staff.
- There is also no need for you to provide any type of office space or supplies. Normally, any standard office supplies and equipment such as paper, phones, computers, fax machines, paper clips, etc. are all included.
- There is little or no downtime. When your business suffers from a lull, you can simply cut the hours that your VA works. Although in some cases, there may be an exception if you have entered into a contract.
It’s So Darned Easy
Even though your VA doesn’t reside in your office, at times it just might feel like it. Because of the nature of what a virtual assistant does, there are several ways for you to reach them or work with them. Technology has made it very easy. Most VAs will use some combination of the following: a website, social networking sites, telephone, video chat, instant messaging, or even third party software (such as Basecamp) in order to stay closely connected to you.
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Jennifer Muench is a virtual assistant and the founder of Everyday Business. She has been providing office support to small businesses and online entrepreneurs since 2008. Find out more about Jennifer at