By now, you may have heard about the great help that skilled virtual assistants (VA) give to businesses, particularly small businesses. The question is: Do you need a virtual assistant? To answer this question, you'll need to carefully evaluate your own situation, so consider the following:
Are You Pressed for Time?
Are there things you need to do for your business that you just can't get to in the course of your day? For example, small tasks you think may help your business but you can't seem to squeeze in. These types of tasks could include generating a list of local businesses to call, researching the people you've collected business cards from, or generating a list of people to follow on Twitter. If these tasks could help you increase your sales, expand your client base, or improve your chances for success, it may be worth paying for someone else to do them. Or you may be a solo practitioner who needs help with invoicing, proposal generation, or other routine tasks. In general, if you can break tasks up into small, manageable chunks, a VA could perform them quite well and free up your time (or at least knock a few things off of your to-do list).
What Don't You Know How to Do?
What's holding you back from achieving the type of success you want? Or if you are pleased with your progress, are there ideas you have for making things even better? Sometimes business people are slow to implement a new strategy because they aren't sure how to proceed. This is where a virtual assistant can help. For example, let's say you want to implement social media marketing strategies in your business, but you don't know how to start or where to go with it once you begin. Instead, of spending days or weeks muddling through, you can hire a virtual assistant with social media expertise to give you that one-two punch right from the very start. And best of all, you won't have to take time out from the many important tasks for which you are already responsible, as VAs typically work well without too much hand-holding. Of course, don't trust your business presence (social media or other) to a complete stranger; agree in advance on the tone and content of your presence and follow closely to be sure that you're being represented well.
Do You Need Help Only Occasionally?
Think about the types of tasks with which you need help. Do you need help only occasionally, or on less than a full-time basis? If so, a VA may prove perfect for you. Many VAs will provide as much or as little assistance as you need. If, for example, you need just a few hours of help per week, no problem. You are sure to find a virtual assistant who can help. Or maybe you need help for a couple of hours several times a week--there's a VA to fit this bill as well. Don't worry if you do need many hours of help each week, however, as you can find VAs who are interested in working several hours each day as well.
If you're still unsure about whether you should hire a virtual assistant, take a look at this short list of seven things a virtual assistant can do for your business, and remember, VAs handle these important tasks and so much more:
- Market your business
- Perform market research
- Make phone calls and send/receive emails on your behalf
- Schedule appoints, events, accommodations
- Produce content for your website, blog, or mailings
- Maintain your website and blog
- Post advertisements and social media content
Remember, one of the most attractive things about hiring a virtual assistant is that you only pay for the time the VA actually works. Do you have to provide space for her/him in your office? No. Need to furnish a desk or computer? Negative. Have to pay for benefits? Not at all. A virtual assistant could be a custom-tailored, cost-effective solution for your business needs.
In a follow-up post next Monday, we'll discuss how to hire a virtual assistant.
Have you hired a virtual assistant before? What were some of the benefits for you? Please tell us your experience in the comments.