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How many hats are you wearing?

As an entrepreneur, you not only want to do it all yourself but cost restraints often force you to do it all yourself – this could be website updates, social media updates, book-keeping, research, data inputting or anything else your business needs to run and grow. But doing it all yourself can lead to late-night struggles trying to figure out accounting packages, Microsoft office, the minefield of social media etc.  Even doing the most mundane of office tasks takes time and effort.

Small businesses often don’t have the workload or money to justify an in-office assistant. Or maybe your workload is unpredictable. For instance, you may need help sporadically and, rather than hire someone full or part-time, you’d rather pay someone specifically for the hours you need. You may just need help with a single project or help on an ad-hoc basis.
It’s time to hire a virtual assistant (VA), a self-employed professional who provides administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients remotely.

The top four benefits of hiring a virtual assistant (VA) are:
  1. VAs have a far more flexible pricing program than regular part-time and full-time assistants. Also, you only pay for the hours they work.
  2. VAs can work on a per-project or per-hour basis – so you can find someone to help you with a specific project or work unpredictable hours. The choice is yours.
  3. A VA is cost effective and works as a consultant, not as an employee, so you won’t have to pay NI, holiday pay, sick pay etc.  Nor do you need to supply a pc or desk.
  4. Using a VA frees up your time allowing you to work on your business rather than in it.
A few tasks you can outsource (by no means a comprehensive list).  Most tasks outsourced to a VA are non-income generating tasks -
  • Bookkeeping – most VAs can use online accounting packages or can keep your books on excel for simple accounts
  • Research: Rather than spend hours poring over the infinite information held on the internet, use a VA to find relevant sources for you.
  • Data entry: Tedious and time consuming tasks, like data entry, should be outsourced whenever possible
  • Typing from a dictation file emailed over to them
  • Social Media
When you meet or speak to your potential VA, always have an idea what tasks you would initially like to outsource.  Ask yourself -
  • How complex will the delegated tasks be? Do you need a technically savvy VA or someone who just needs to be organised and have a knowledge of Word, Excel etc.?
  • Do you need a great deal of writing done? Remember, if you use a VA from overseas they may be cheaper but English may not be their first language.  You get what you pay for.
  • What’s your budget? Virtual assistants have a wide range of fee structures. Some charge by the hour, some work on a monthly retainer basis (a certain number of guaranteed hours per month). Some charge a sliding scale: a lower hourly rate for common administrative work and a higher hourly rate for high-end skills, like website maintenance or database management.

Don’t be afraid to ask for references -

Also check out his/her website. Does this VA take care with his/her site or are there misspelled words/bad grammar? You don’t want someone who doesn’t even take the time to market themselves well.

Why not contact Julia to see how LinksVA can help you.