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Should You Hire a Virtual Assistant?
Is it time to hire a virtual assistant (VA)? The answer to this question is very dependent on the type of help that you require. Do you need help with your administrative, social, or marketing tasks? A virtual assistant can offer a great deal of help in all these areas, freeing up your time so that you can focus on business growth. But before you start thinking about hiring a VA, it’s worth first asking yourself whether you really need one.
There are many advantages to hiring a virtual assistant, but some people argue that it’s simply not necessary. This can be a hard task to undertake, as there are many benefits to hiring a real-life assistant, such as the benefit of regular business contact. A real-life assistant may be required when you need some administrative help or support when you’re away from the office. So why hire a virtual assistant?
It costs significantly less than hiring a full-time secretary or receptionist. You can hire your VA once and not have to hire him or her again for the next few months. Hiring a virtual assistant also means that you never have to meet them in person and therefore, no awkward or embarrassing situations can develop between you and your VA. Finally, you never have to worry about physical or technical problems such as bulky computer equipment that will need to be replaced.
However, it’s clear that there are times when you do need to hire a virtual assistant. Perhaps you have a particular area of the business that needs administrative support and you can’t provide it yourself. Perhaps you need help with a client who requires regular updates on the progress of their project. Perhaps you have accumulated a large number of contacts, but simply don’t know how you’re going to be able to keep up with them. Whatever the reason, there are several things that you need to keep in mind before hiring a virtual assistant.
First, what kind of work can a virtual assistant perform? Well, practically anything computerized can be done via a virtual agent. This is a good thing if you need someone to answer your phone, make appointments, respond to emails, or perform other clerical duties. These are all things that you would be able to do if you hired a regular secretary. However, if you need more than a secretary, and especially if you expect your business to grow substantially, then you may want to consider a virtual assistant.
In order to be a good virtual assistant, you need to be excellent at multitasking. A lot of people think that they can only be effective if they’re at their desk and typing out reports, but a competent virtual assistant can actually do much more. For instance, if your business deals with media-related tasks, such as creating DVDs or editing videos for your website, you would want to make sure that you hire a competent media professional.
Of course, since most of these tasks involve interacting with the public over the internet, you should also make sure that your virtual assistant has basic computer skills. One of the most important aspects of being a good assistant is being able to use email, have access to MS Office applications, and general knowledge of how a computer works. As always, be wary of what you sign up for. Remember that these virtual assistants have to pay for the same things that regular secretaries do – taxes, medical benefits, etc.
Finally, you should always consider the type of relationship that you’ll be establishing with your virtual assistant. Will it be an on-site, or off-site arrangement? Many of us prefer to work with our own personal assistants, but many others are willing to do remote work. Ultimately, your decision will depend on many factors. The most important thing to remember when making this decision is that you shouldn’t always hire the first assistant you come across.
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