What Is A Virtual Assistant And How Can They Benefit Your Business?

Looking for a post about robots, chatbots or other artificial intelligence type things? If so then sorry, you are in the wrong place. The virtual assistants I am talking about are real, actual people – no robots here.  

Virtual assistants (often referred to as a VA) are becoming more & more popular these days. But what exactly is a VA? You have probably heard the term “virtual assistant” before, but maybe you don’t really understand what it actually means. Well, today we are going to take a closer look at VAs and how they fit into your business, and some of the benefits they can provide.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

Put simply, a virtual assistant is like a personal assistant or an admin assistant who works online. A VA provides flexible admin support for your business and can be used for a one-off project or for ongoing work. However, instead of coming into your office to assist you, VAs work remotely and complete their tasks online. Thanks to the wonders of technology location is no longer a barrier. You can now have someone assist you with your admin work regardless of if they are just down the road, or on the other side of the country.

Not your average employee

Whilst a VA works with you and assists you with all your admin needs, they are NOT an employee. Virtual assistants are an independent contractor with their own business and ABN. That means you don’t pay for sick leave, holiday pay, superannuation or any other employee benefits.

A VA will have multiple clients that they do work for and they will invoice you for their work. It is very common for a virtual assistant to have a contract or service agreement in place which they will send to you before commencing any work. This outlines all their terms and conditions, payment information and details of the services they will be providing you. Typically, a VA works from a home office (or shared space) so they will have all their own office equipment already.  

OK, so what does a VA actually do?

All virtual assistants have different skill sets, experience and different services that they offer. Pretty much any admin related tasks you need assistance with you can find a VA who would be able to help you. There are loads of things that a VA can assist you with, but here are a few examples of some generic services a VA might offer:

  • General admin support
  • Document editing
  • Email & calendar management
  • Data entry
  • Updating spreadsheets & customer databases
  • Preparing agendas and taking meeting minutes
  • Putting together training packages
  • General customer service
  • Making travel arrangements for you
  • Phone answering services

A VA may offer just a few of these services above or they may offer all these services and more. Some VAs specialise in more specific areas like accounting, marketing, social media management or website development.  They may not always call themselves a VA if they ONLY offer specialised services in these types of fields. They may choose a title that better reflects what they do e.g. Social Media Manager. Some virtual assistants work only in set industries and others work across a range of industries. When looking to hire a VA work out what tasks you want done so you can find someone with the right services and skill set for your needs. 

What are the benefits of hiring a VA?

There are many benefits to hiring a virtual assistant but I have outlined a few of the main benefits below for you.

  • Flexibility: Most VAs offer flexible arrangements to suit your needs. Whether you need someone for a couple of hours per month, for a one-off project or you need someone on an ongoing basis, they can fit in with your needs. 
  • More time: Running a business is time consuming! I’m sure many of you have wished there were more hours in the day at some point. Handing over some of your admin tasks to a VA will free you up to attend to other more important aspects of your business. You might even get some much needed free time.
  • Cost effective: Hiring a VA often works out to be cheaper than putting on an employee as you only work with them as you need them. (Remember no superannuation, holiday or sick leave payments either…). A good VA will be able to help you find more efficient ways of doing things which can result in more savings for your business. Also, if you are not tied up with all the admin stuff then you can be doing the things that actually make you money in your business. (How much is your time worth and where is it best spent?)
  • Organisation: VAs are usually super organised individuals who can help YOU get more organised and be more productive too.
  • Less stress: Imagine how you would feel if you had someone reliable on hand, taking care of your admin stuff for you. One less thing to stress or worry about in your day, wouldn’t that be great!

I hope you now have a better understanding of what a virtual assistant is and how they can fit into your business. Next time you are sitting there staring down 100’s of emails, buried in admin work or stressing about not having enough time to get everything done, remember there is a better solution – it doesn’t have to be like this. Virtual assistants can help reduce your workload, reduce your stress and give you back more time. VAs offer flexible admin solutions and can be a great asset to your business. So, if you need some help with your admin tasks it is well worth looking into hiring a VA. 

Be sure to follow my FB page for extra hints and tips for your business – I try to cover a range of business related topics. I also have a monthly newsletter so you can get helpful information delivered right to your inbox. If you have any questions about how a VA can benefit your business please contact me as I am happy to assist .

Keep calm and hire a virtual assistant