The Ultimate Guide: Outsourcing To A Virtual Assistant

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This guide will tell you everything you want and need to know about outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant. We’ve made it easy for you to jump to different sections using the menu below.

Introduction

As a business owner, time constantly feels limited. Trying to attend to every area of your business, as well as stay on top of digital and industry trends and changes can have more negative than positive effects. Being constantly overloaded and overworked just doesn’t allow you to be the best you can be. That burning urge to offload is very common and in fact, a natural part of your businesses journey as it flourishes. Which is what has led you here.

The thought of putting your trust in someone else can be daunting, but you shouldn’t disregard this option until you have explored everything, gathered all the facts and tried it. Sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zones to be able to move on to the next chapter. This guide will provide topics around the wonderful world of outsourcing to a VA, including an explanation of why, when and how to outsource effectively as well as the benefits. Once you know all you need to know about outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant, you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

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81% of small business owners work nights, and 89% work weekends.

Source: Semrush

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42% of small business owners have reported recently experiencing burnout.

Source: Capital One

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35.8% of small business owners are working longer hours than they were before the pandemic.

Source: FreeAgent

What is a Virtual Assistant?

The term Virtual Assistant (VA) has become more and more recognisable over the years, particularly among small business owners and entrepreneurs. You may have heard different terms such as Virtual PA, Virtual Office Assistant or a VA. Maybe you are more familiar with the terms outsourcing or a freelancer.

All refer to someone who offers businesses support with tasks and projects remotely. The assistance and skill set of a VA are endless, they literally come in all shapes and sizes. General VA’s can assist with a variety of day to day tasks whilst your specialist VA will have a more defined set of skills under their belt.

Advantages of Outsourcing to A Virtual Assistant

A never-ending to-do list can pull you away from the tasks that really count when it comes to growth, leaving the gold mine tasks unattended or neglected. Collaborating with a VA really can be a pivotal moment for you and your businesses journey. They support you helping lighten the load, and relieve your stress, so that you can focus on areas you enjoy, excel in and that ultimately helps build your business. We prominently work with small business owners but no matter what your business size you can benefit.

Think about it, if you are spending all your precious time working in your business instead of on it, how are you fuelling your business growth? How are you attending to your wellbeing, family and other commitments. Working with a Virtual Assistant comes with many benefits for small business owners looking to grow, work smarter and save time.

 

  1. Flexible working
  2. Do not have to worry about paying, sick days, holiday and pension
  3. Pay for what you get, we only track the time spent on your projects and tasks
  4. Additional skills set brought to the table that you can utilise
  5. Access to paid software and apps that your VA purchases so you don’t have to
  6. More productivity and less stress

Types of virtual assistants and their specialties  

There are numerous tasks that you can outsource to a VA. It’s important to understand the different types of VAs and their areas of expertise. This will help you identify the specific skills and knowledge that you need for your business, and ensure that you hire the right VA for the job. We’ve provided an overview of each type of VA and their unique skillsets, so you can make an informed decision about which type of VA is best for your business needs. 

 

General Virtual Assistants (GVA)
General Virtual Assistants (GVAs) provide support in a wide range of tasks. Unlike specialised virtual assistants, who have expertise in a particular field, GVAs are generally considered to be “jacks of all trades.” They have a broad set of skills that they can apply to different tasks and projects, making them an excellent fit for businesses or individuals who need support across various areas.

 

Executive Virtual Assistants (EVA)
An Executive Virtual Assistant (EVA provides administrative and technical support to high-level executives, entrepreneurs, or business owners. Unlike General Virtual Assistants (GVAs), EVAs are specialised in providing executive-level support, often working with clients who require a higher level of discretion and confidentiality. EVA is an invaluable asset to high-level executives and entrepreneurs who require a high level of expertise and professionalism in their support staff. They provide exceptional support, enabling their clients to operate at peak efficiency and focus on the essential aspects of their business.

 

Tech Virtual Assistants (TVA)
Tech TVA’s often have a strong background in computer science or IT, providing them with the skills and knowledge necessary to troubleshoot and resolve technical issues. They can also provide support with a range of software and applications, including content management systems, email marketing software, and project management tools. TVAs provide a valuable service to businesses or individuals who need technical support and assistance to ensure issues are resolved quickly and efficiently, allowing you to focus on the essential aspects of your business.

 

Creative Virtual Assistants (CVA)
CVAs specialise in tasks that require a high level of creativity, including graphic design, content creation, social media management, and marketing. They have the expertise and knowledge necessary to create visually appealing and engaging content that can help businesses attract and retain customers. CVAs provide a valuable service to businesses or individuals who require creative support and assistance. They can help businesses improve their branding and marketing efforts, create engaging content, and enhance their online presence. 

 

Marketing Virtual Assistants (MVA)
MVAs have the expertise and knowledge necessary to create and implement marketing strategies, develop engaging blog copy, content, and manage marketing campaigns on various channels such as email, social media, and search engines. They provide a valuable service to businesses or individuals who require marketing support and assistance to help improve marketing efforts, reach your target audience, and generate leads.

Find out how a Virtual Assistant for marketing can revolutionise your strategy.

When to outsource to a Virtual Assistant 

You may be getting things done by yourself, but are you completing them in a timely manner? Are you producing quality work? Are you seeing results? When you find yourself asking these questions as well as lacking time, knowledge or interest, it’s time to re-evaluate the way you are working and what you work on. Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant may very well be the next crucial step you take in order to reach personal and professional goals. Here are a few more common reasons you will be able to resonate with.

  1. Your business has started to grow but you need another you to get it to the next stage
  2. You’re forever feeling like there are never enough hours in one day
  3. Double bookings are being made, appointments and opportunities missed
  4. You’re having to turn away work, it’s become almost impossible to do it all alone

Rather than an undefined approach like, “I want a VA to help me grow and save time”, be specific. Do you have a newsletter that should go out like clockwork every week or month, but don’t have the time? Do you want to experience an inbox zero system? Take the time to ask yourself these questions.

What do you really need help with? Understanding this will allow you to work out exactly what kind of support your business needs as well as the skill set, experience and knowledge required when ready to outsource to a Virtual Assistant. Knowing what you want from the get-go will get you off to a strong start. Begin by prioritising your tasks and priorities before outsourcing to a virtual assistant.

How can I spot a good Virtual Assistant?

You’ve decided to take a leap of faith and find a Virtual Assistant, but the task you tackle next is knowing where to start and what to look for. It can be a tricky one especially when you are on new grounds. As you will see from your Google searches there are many choices available but not all will be a good fit for you. Make sure you zone in on some of the most important and valuable skills and qualities that are important to you and your business. We have listed below some of the qualities we believe all Virtual Assistants should have:

  1. Honesty
  2. Hard-working
  3. Impeccable time management
  4. Can bring new ideas to the table
  5. Problem Solver
  6. Great communication skills
  7. Organised
  8. Reliable
  9. Resourceful

In addition to this, you will want to make sure an agreement and non-disclosure form is provided to protect yourself and your business. Here are a couple of other things you will want to ask: 

 

  1. Do they have professional indemnity insurance?
  2. Are they registered with ICO
  3. Do they have any reviews

How much does a Virtual Assistant cost?

This is the question that many business owners want to know above all others. How much does this amazing support cost? Is this option affordable for me? Virtual Assistants understand that no two working relationships are the same and that every business is as unique as its owner, which is why they provide options. One package that is popular, and you will most certainly come across when doing your homework, is Retainer Packages. These are hourly bulk packages you can purchase on a rolling agreement. Some also offer bespoke packages for a particular service which is usually an area they are experienced and specialize in.

The cost of a VA comes down to several factors. The level of experience, the number of projects/tasks you want to outsource and the budget you have set aside. All will all be contributing factors.

What tools can I use with a VA to work effectively?

Throughout your relationship, you are going to be working on a number of different projects and tasks. This means sharing emails, documents and anything else required to get the job done. Trawling through email communications can be a headache, eating up a chunk of time you never accounted for. The complete opposite of why you outsourced in the first place.

Using a project management system is a must for a truly effective organised team. It allows you to assign tasks, set due dates, communicate and upload files all in one place making it much easier to refer back to later. It may be another tool you need to learn how to use but we can guarantee you will not look back. If you are not already using something like this in your business, you will soon find yourself using it professionally and personally. Your Virtual Assistant will most likely use a project management tool already so should be able to recommend one and walk you through it.

Best practices for outsourcing to virtual assistants

There are several best practices to keep in mind when outsourcing to virtual assistants. Here are a couple of crucial points you should think about.

Create a clear job description: That outlines the virtual assistant’s tasks and responsibilities, as well as any required skills or experience. This will help potential applicants understand exactly what it is you are looking for and if they fit the bill.

Document processes and procedures (also known as Standard Operating Procedures): This will help your virtual assistant understand how your business operates. This makes sure you all your work is completed consistently.

Setting realistic expectations: Be clear about achievable goals and deadlines so your virtual assistant understands what’s expected of them.

Encouraging collaboration and feedback: This promotes a positive working relationship. Make sure they feel comfortable asking questions or making suggestions to improve processes.

Be mindful of mental health: Just as the VA can help you prevent overwhelm, remember that remote workers are also susceptible to feeling disconnected so make sure you support their mental health and check in with them to make them feel part of the team.

By following these best practices, you can ensure that your outsourcing relationship with your virtual assistant is productive and efficient. Explore more virtual assistant best practices to help you start this journey right.

How to work with a VA? The do’s and don’ts

Here are the things you should do when working with a VA:

Trust your Virtual Assistant

All good Virtual Assistants will thoroughly research their tasks and ensure they know exactly what they are doing before commencing. If they need clarity on any aspects, they will ask.

Give clear instructions as to what you want to achieve

This ensures you get the results you want.

Inform your Virtual Assistant of your priorities

They can deliver the work in the order that suits your business best.

 

And here are the things you should not do when you outsource to a VA:

Don’t micromanage your Virtual Assistant

The reason you started outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant was to free your time up. They are professionals who are used to working on tasks independently.

Don’t forget to set deadlines for work

If you need something finished by a certain date, tell your VA. They will make sure it is complete.

Don’t ignore your VA

Communication is key and although you don’t want to be constantly messaging back and forth, keeping in contact can help. A regular phone call allows you to keep track of tasks delegated, also giving the VA a chance to suggest other ways to save you time.

 

Resources

If you want to know more about working with a VA, there are a number of resources you can use to help. Here are a few suggestions:

Outsourcing to a VA is not just a good idea, it can be essential for taking the weight off your shoulders, it can be life-changing when it comes to running a business. There is so much to do away from your main tasks that it is easy to either put them off or complete them without the care and attention they need. You need to concentrate on driving your business forward.

Make sure you book a free consultation today so we can help you work out which aspects of your business can be outsourced most effectively.

“It’s all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family.”

– Philip Green

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