In full disclosure, I’ve never had a virtual assistant because my interns are actually hard-working little elves that I borrowed from Santa.
However, before I started my first business, I did work as a VA and I loved it! Virtual assistants can be a life-saver for your business and they’re much easier to find and manage than a traditional assistant.
As entrepreneurs, we sense a panic attack coming on at the very thought of relinquishing control of our business to someone else.
You’ve got to kill that mentality.
Virtual assistants are the other six arms you wish you had on those days when you’re pulled in every direction.
The key to hiring a virtual assistant is knowing when there are obligatory tasks taking up your time that can easily be done by someone else.
Entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be as difficult as you’re hell-bent on making it. Stop being so stubborn!
The entrepreneurial lifestyle is about doing what you love, creating, and helping others.
If you’re busy micro-managing yourself, you can get lost in the humdrum of “getting things done.”
You’ve already created a system
Once you’ve been able to implement a system that seems to work well for your business, now you can step back and let someone else continue it.
You don’t have to bite your nails and wonder whether or not your VA is going to understand your technique, your style, the brand voice you worked so hard to cultivate.
All they have to do is follow the system.
Every system is teachable, and it should be pretty easy to train your VA to fall into the flow of things. It’s important that you’ve already mastered your system to avoid major hiccups.
Once you know the inner workings of the system that you’ve created; you’ve tweaked it, and found your way around most issues — it’s easy to answer any questions your virtual assistant will have for you.
Virtual assistants have unwavering dedication
Most virtual assistants aren’t VA’s simply for the money. They love being busy and enjoy the thrill of being a part of a company’s growth.
My days as a VA were incredible because I had the opportunity to learn from some serious, goal-oriented masterminds. I also got to get my hands dirty and learn how things were really done.
Every day was different and I welcomed all the challenges that were thrown my way.My tunnel vision focus was how can I contribute to making this business better.
That’s it. I was their second pair of eyes, constantly monitoring and examining the business while the entrepreneur I worked for got to take much needed time to focus on creating.
While having an intern or a traditional assistant is great, they’re concentrated more on learning the skills they need to branch off and do their own thing.
VAs tend to be more committed and passionate about the people that they work for.
They’re always available
Virtual assistants, by nature, are glued to their phones or spend most of their time in front of their computer screens.
Whereas a traditional assistant considers their work to be done when they leave the office, a virtual assistant is much easier to reach “after hours.”
As a virtual assistant, I’d sometimes get emails late at night or texts extremely early in the morning. I was always readily available to respond.
It just comes with the territory and most VAs are completely fine with it (as long as you don’t abuse the privilege).
They have a wide range of skill
Virtual assistants are hidden gems. They’re collectors of information. They know a whole lot about a whole lot.
Your VA will continuously surprise you with their extensive knowledge.
It isn’t rare to learn new skills from your virtual assistant that will totally simplify your life.
With the experience of working with so many different types of entrepreneurs, they’ve got more life hacks than lifehacker.com.
It’s easy to get recommendations
Back in the day (before the era of VAs) you had to interview your assistant, call up references, hope they told the truth, put them on a probational period and keep them away from information that could be used against you for your competitor.
Thank God those days are over.
I’m willing to bet your entrepreneurial peers have used VAs in the past and have some names they can recommend. The best virtual assistants tend to travel in the same circles because most of the time, their gigs come from referrals.
You don’t even need to put out an ad, just ask your pals! You can take it a step further and send an email to experts that you follow – ask them for a referral to a VA they’ve worked with before.
This may be a great way to break the ice if you’ve been brainstorming reasons to reach out to them.
You’re launching a new product
Preparing for a launch is a time-sucking process and to get it right, you have to focus all of your attention on …getting it right.
What about all the millions of other things you have to do daily?
Say it with me; I need help.
There’s nothing wrong with bringing someone in to lighten up the load so you can better serve your audience. As a matter of fact, by trying to do it all yourself, you’re actually doing your customers a disservice. They’ll know it, too.
Your response time becomes slower, your editing gets sloppy (eek, misspelled words in the ad? How did you miss that!), and you aren’t consistently following up on your promises.
All for the sake of perfection and pride, you’re actually damaging the relationship you’ve built with your audience. A virtual assistant is like having your own personal Superman when you need him.
Focus on making your next product your best product and let Your VA handle the rest.
They’ll help you stay creative
In a lot of ways, having a VA is somewhat like having a partner or a really good, unbiased (well, maybe a little biased) friend on your side. You can always ask their opinion, feedback, and suggestions about the things you find yourself second-guessing.
Virtual assistants tend to be extremely honest because the scary idea of “tension in the room” is completely eliminated. They’re so charged with positive energy that it’s easy to bounce ideas off of them. An advantage of getting input from your VA is that they have a better understanding of your business than a friend or family would.
Your VA will catch you when you fall
Let’s be real. We’re lucky to get six hours of sleep a night. We’ve got families depending on us and we’re doing almost everything ourselves. Sometimes we make mistakes.
Virtual assistants are the net to catch you when you slip up. They can see the things you managed to miss and can point out places where you need to improve. If you get a really awesome VA (like I was) they will keep you up to date on trends in your industry. They can also monitor any customer dissatisfactions and let you know before it snowballs into a bigger problem.
“I never got my package” can turn into “Her whole business is a scam!” REAL QUICK
Take a guilt-less vacation
One of the reasons most people quit their jobs and become entrepreneurs is the freedom to take a vacation whenever they feel like it. In black and white, that sounds great.
We have a fear that the moment we leave, everything will fall apart. VAs allow us to take our much needed time off without feeling the guilt that would typically come along with it.
Once you’ve properly trained your virtual assistant, they’ll be able to discern what needs your immediate attention and what can wait until you come back. They can also help you prepare for your vacation by wrapping up all your pressing matters, automating some of your day-to-day tasks and taking care of trivial tasks for you while you mass produce enough content to cover your time away.
Affordable on a less than glamorous budget
If you’re like me, you work from home. It’s hard having a traditional assistant without an office. Heck, it’s even hard having interns without an office.
Virtual assistants have everything they need; a computer, a phone, and a desk. Also, virtual assistants tend to be cheaper than the salary of a traditional assistant.
They don’t have to get dressed up every day, pay for gas to travel to your office, or need money to buy lunch at the Subways down the block. So, the tradeoff for a little less pay is usually worth it. If you live in a large city like NYC or Los Angeles, hiring traditional assistants can run you a pretty penny.
When did you know it was time for you to hire a Virtual Assistant? Let me know in the comments below!