Virtual Assistants Offer Cost-Effective Solutions to Small Business Owners
As we continue to look at non-traditional sources as part of your talent strategy, today our focus is on Virtual Assistants (VAs). While this is a thriving industry, some business owners are still unfamiliar with how a virtual assistant can benefit a business.
Skilled, well trained virtual assistants can provide specialized services, increase your efficiency, and reduce your costs.
Virtual Assistants Offer More Than Clerical Skills
Virtual Assistants - sometimes referred to as "freelancers" - have been around for years. Virtual Assistants usually take it a step further and create a specialized business rather than offering services through Upwork or Fiverr.
Many VAs offer specialized business solutions that small business owners know are necessary for their business, but simply do not have time to complete.
They provide vital business services including:
· Tech Support
· Building and Maintaining Websites
· Social Media Management
· Event Planning
· Customer Service Support
· Project and Business Management
These are just a few examples of what services a virtual assistant can offer. Let’s Build Talent provides HR support services to small businesses that either have no HR staff or an HR department of one.
A Growing Industry with Much to Offer Small Business
Even before COVID-19 affected the workplace, the Virtual Assistant industry experienced considerable growth. Now as more women are displaced from jobs or choosing not to return to a traditional workplace, becoming a Virtual Assistant is a viable option.
CNBC reported in September 2020 that one third of the workforce was freelancing, a 22% increase since 2019. The freelancing trend is likely to continue as younger highly skilled professionals are choose more flexible options to traditional employment.
In addition, many professionals of all ages choose self-employment with 75% stating that they are replacing or exceeding their income from their traditional 9-5 jobs.
Kathy Goughenour, CEO and Founder of Virtual Expert® Training walked away from the corporate world in 2001, became a Virtual Assistant, and now is a highly regarded coach and trainer to future VAs. Kathy recently shared, “The Virtual Assistant Industry has skyrocketed during the pandemic. In fact, the women in my program have reported earning an average of 130% more in 2020 than in 2019.” She went on to say, based on her research, “I believe the VA industry will continue to grow” as businesses shift into the post-pandemic market.
Virtual Assistants are Also Small Business Owners
Virtual Assistants operate as sole proprietors, single-member LLCs, or as S-corporations. They provide services as an independent contractor, responsible for their own taxes and business operations. VAs support multiple clients and some VAs have a team that completes the work. Small businesses are charged only for the work completed, usually by the minute or in quarter-hour increments. At year's end, you provide the VA with a 1099 instead of a W-2.
VAs are more cost-effective than a full-time or part-time employee
VAs provide services at your request based on your needs. It's a flexible arrangement, where you indicate the estimated number of hours weekly or monthly. You only pay for the services that you need. On the other hand, full-time or part-time employees earn hourly wages or annual salaries for a set number of hours each week. With a Virtual Assistant, businesses avoid employee overhead costs. VAs provide a service for your business, and you set the budget for that service.
Skilled Virtual Assistants partner with small businesses and are viewed as experts in their field. The VA becomes a trusted ally and supporter of your growing business - once you have a great VA working with you, it's hard to imagine life without her (or him!).
Is it Time to Hire A Virtual Assistant?
Hire a Virtual Assistant when you have a never-ending to-do list or when special projects start piling up. Are there projects or work that can propel your business forward, but you are too busy focusing on the services you provide to customers? If the answer is "yes", then it is time to partner with a VA.
How can you find the right VA for your business? You could start with a Google search, but the results will be overwhelming - it will include a wide range of VAs and agencies from all over the world.
Finding a Virtual Assistant
If this all seems too much, I recommend Kathy Goughenour’s Virtual Expert Matchmaking Service. You will speak with a member of her team to discuss your business and what you are looking for in a VA. You will be matched with graduates of The Virtual Expert® Training program who meet the qualifications, and you take it from there. It is a great way to find professional, well-trained VAs to become a part of your team.
If you decide to narrow down those Google search results further on your own, look for VAs based in the United States or Canada. While VAs based outside of these two countries cost less, differences in communication styles, time zones, and work styles make things difficult.
Review a VAs’ website and LinkedIn profile to learn more about her skills, abilities and overall style. Read testimonials or recommendations from current and past clients. VAs usually share their services and rates on their website.
Most VAs offer a free consultation to see if it makes sense to work together. Discuss your most urgent needs, budget, and timeline to begin working with a VA.
Let's Build Talent Can Help
Virtual Assistants can play an integral part in the way you do business. Does your talent strategy include Virtual Assistants? Let's Build Talent can advise you on the best way to incorporate VAs as part of a cost-effective talent strategy. Schedule a free 30-minute discovery call today!
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