When thinking about working with a virtual assistant, there’s a whole heap of information available online to help guide you. Some of it is helpful, some are well-intentioned but some can be inaccurate and just absolute nonsense. This article helps you sort out the important nuggets of gold and bust a few of the myths about virtual assistants. No doubt your searches have turned up the following fake news opinions! Here’s the truth about what it’s really like to outsource to a virtual assistant.
FAKE NEWS #1 – Virtual Assistants Are Just Remote Secretaries?
Don’t hang yourself up on the word ‘assistant’. Yes a VA can perform the tasks of secretaries and PAs but there is also so much more in their arsenal too. If there is a job that is time-consuming and distracting you from running your business, or there is something you lack knowledge in, you can outsource it to a virtual assistant. Entrepreneurs are excellent at driving their companies forward and wearing all hats but they also need to be good at recognising when they are struggling, missing deadlines, or not getting around to completing tasks. This is a sure sign that you need support. There is no shame in admitting you need help!
FAKE NEWS #2 – Work With A Virtual Assistant And Pay More
You might have read that it costs more to work with a virtual assistant and this is a prime example of how not to analyse costs and statistics. How much you pay for a virtual assistant depends very much on the services and or time you require. If you want them to complete ad hoc jobs on demand then, of course, the hourly rate will be more than what a permanent in-house employee would charge. However, with a VA, you only pay for what you use and you can have them do as much or as little as you like when you like, all thanks to the flexibility they offer.
If you outsource to a virtual assistant for longer projects or for retainer hours, you get a much better hourly deal. In addition, you don’t have to pay holiday or sick pay, provide a workspace or even fund their tea and coffee consumption, because they work remotely.
FAKE NEWS #3 – Virtual Assistants Know ‘A Little Bit Of Everything’
This is an argument used to suggest that VAs are ‘jacks of all trades, masters of none’. Frankly, that’s insulting to a host of talented virtual assistants who provide expert services to their clients. In reality, a good virtual assistant concentrates on the areas in which they excel so they can deliver the highest standard of work possible to their customers, but also tend to offer other services around this skill like administration and research for example.
Many virtual assistants collaborate with freelancers to help them provide a wider range of options for businesses. They might have a trusted graphic designer for website-building tasks or an accountancy whizz for clients that require bookkeeping. The best virtual assistants understand the need to forge great working relationships with experts in fields beyond their own. You don’t just hire an assistant, you take on a team and their collective expertise for a bargain price.
FAKE NEWS #4 – You Need To Supply A VA With Equipment & Tools
When working with a virtual assistant, they should be able to start work straight away. If they offer a service, they are responsible for having the tools at hand to complete the task including having the necessary software. All a virtual assistant needs to start working is an overview from you that includes what you want to achieve and any specific requirements you might have, that are unique to your organisation.
There are no hidden costs with a virtual assistant, you merely pay for the work they do. This helps you budget without having to factor-in layouts such as buying new licenses for software. It’s up to them to have the workspace, software, equipment, and necessary caffeinated drinks, all at their own expense.
FAKE NEWS #5 – You Can’t Trust A Virtual Assistant With Confidential Information
If you work with a virtual assistant, you should expect the same professionalism you would receive from an employee. Even though VAs do not necessarily interact with your business every day, customer satisfaction and integrity come as standard. In fact, a VA has to prove themselves to multiple companies in order for the work to keep rolling in, so they need to be beyond reproach.
If they gain a reputation for passing on secrets, they will soon put themselves out of business. You can also have them sign a non-disclosure agreement, just as you would with a staff member. This acts as peace of mind for you, knowing that you have a legal route to venture down if your VA goes rogue. Reputable virtual assistants will have registered with ICO to show their compliance with the latest data protection regulations. As the VA will potentially process your data, this is evidence to give you peace of mind and also shows that they are fully aware and compliant.
FAKE NEW #6: Anyone With An Internet Connection & PC Can Be A VA
Virtual assistants come with experience in their previous job roles in various support roles, from office management, and executive PA to Marketing manager. There are certainly people who claim to be experienced but it is up to you to make sure this is the case as you would do if you were employing someone. You will have an idea of the level of support you need. This is why we recommend working with a trusted, reliable VA agency or company, we do the vetting process for you making sure that we only take on the best, one less headache during this process ensuring a successful hire.
FAKE NEW #7: VAs Require Less Onboarding & Less Communication
Hiring a virtual assistant is just as important as hiring an employee but for some reason, it is a common belief that it requires less input, time, and onboarding. They are mistaken. Like any investment and new relationship, it takes time, and fine-tuning.
In our experience, the most fruitful relationships involve consistent, clear communication with a thorough onboarding process so everyone is on the same page from the get-go. Foundations are important here, you may need to dedicate time to train your VA, find an effective way of delegating, and agree on how you will communicate. Once you have invested time to go through this during your onboarding process you can rest assured that your VA knows exactly what they are doing and are more likely to be able to work independently without much oversight.
Myths About Virtual Assistants – Final Thoughts
We hope that’s cleared a few things up, let’s hear your work myths! What do people believe about the sector in which you work that is completely untrue? What questions do you find yourself answering EVERY TIME you tell people what you do? We love myth-busting, so throw some more at us! Why not work with a virtual assistant today? Let’s talk about how we can make your life so much easier whilst you build your business.