You as a small business owner or entrepreneur have a lot of stuff to keep track of, from the smallest details such as editing and spell-checking your e-mail and web content, to the largest: your company’s vision and long-term strategic plan. Faced with a sometimes overwhelming daily to-do list, it is very easy for the “little things”, which are essential, to fall through the cracks and prevent you from making your vision and plan a reality. This might spell doom for your business, because the first five years are crucial for a small business’s success; a majority of small businesses fail within this time frame. When you partner with a virtual assistant with specialized skills and experience, you find that everything on your list gets done quickly and professionally, freeing up extra time for you to quickly move forward solidifying your company’s vision. Even better, your daily operations will become simpler and less overwhelming.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A Virtual Assistant (or simply VA) is a highly skilled professional who provides administrative, technical and creative assistance and other specialized services to businesses, entrepreneurs, executives, sales professionals and other people. Virtual assistants work remotely from their own office over the Internet for a business on a contractual basis (hence “virtual”).
Why Hire a Virtual Assistant?
There are many benefits for companies to hire a Virtual Assistant – mainly to save money and for convenience. A full-time administrative assistant can cost anywhere from $35,000 to $50,000 and upward (based on data at Salary.com for beginner to senior-level administrative assistants in Dallas, Texas). This amount does not even include additional benefits and bonuses. If you don’t need someone around all the time or if you only need help on a few projects, hiring an administrative assistant can be really expensive!
A Virtual Assistant works hard to build long-term relationships with his clients and provide business support services for their businesses. The VA will tailor services to fit a particular need for their clients and also work outside of their job descriptions when specific needs arise. Because these professionals are independent contractors, companies do not have to worry about payroll taxes, offering benefits and bonuses, or even additional office space! In short, a VA becomes a business partner motivated to see clients succeed and their businesses grow.
What Can a Virtual Assistant Do?
There are a wide variety of tasks Virtual Assistants can perform based on their skill sets. Some may gear their work more toward scheduling and logistics, while others may focus on web-based services like email accounts, research or social media. They may:
- Upload blogs or email newsletters
- Respond to e-mails and set up email lists
- Update client calendars and make travel arrangements
- Prepare presentations and reports
- Manage the company’s social media accounts
The possibilities are almost limitless!
Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant
- You pay only for time spent on task
- No office space, equipment, furniture, supplies, or training is required
- Your VA is always available to handle your seasonal or special, one-time projects
- Your VA knows your business and brings that knowledge to each and every assignment (temporary staffing solutions can’t provide that kind of consistency and reliability)
- Your VA is available when your current staff gets overloaded
- Your VA is self-employed, which relieves your burden of paying employer social security taxes, FICA taxes, worker’s compensation insurance, and other taxes
- Compliance with OSHA regulations, the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is the responsibility of your VA
- You don’t need to pay for medical, dental, and vision care benefits
- You don’t need to pay for vacation, sick, and holiday time
- You don’t need to pay for other employee benefits, such as “401K’s”, retirement plans, etc
- You don’t have to pay someone to administer tax, benefits, and compliance issues