VA 101: Everything you wanted to know about Virtual Assistants but were afraid to ask!

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Despite the increasing prevalence of Virtual Assistants in the UK, I’m still often met with a blank look when introducing myself as one!  So here’s the lowdown on all things VA..

What are Virtual Assistants?

A VA is a freelancer who provides professional services from a remote location, usually working from home.

Many people think of VAs as freelance PAs but that’s not the whole story…VAs come in all different guises.

Some are like freelance PAs providing a business administration service offering traditional secretarial services.  Other VAs additionally offer specialist skills such as marketing, social media management, project management and bookkeeping.

VAs can work across many types of businesses or they can specialise on an industry sector such as health, property and, in my case, PR.

How can Virtual Assistants help my business?

Running a business is hard work and many business owners struggle to find time to get everything done.

They clock up hours, and often stress-levels, as they get bogged down with not only servicing clients but also everything else required to keep the business going.

A VA can help by taking on tasks that busy business owners don’t have time for, the skills for, or simply don’t enjoy doing.   As result, their time is freed up to focus on what they love doing (usually not admin!) and growing their businesses.

What are the benefits of working with Virtual Assistants?

Increased productivity and cost-effectiveness are the key business benefits of working with a VA.

  • It’s a way of tapping into highly skilled support when you need it, but without the commitment or expense of a permanent employee.
  • You only pay for actual hours works whereas as employee is paid the same salary regardless or workload holidays etc.
  • There are no employee costs such as National Insurance contributions, pension, holiday or sick pay.
  • You’re not constrained by standard business hours as many VAs can work evening and/or weekend hours by arrangement.
  • There are very few overheads because VAs don’t require any office space or equipment – they work from their own fully-equipped offices.

And they are totally motivated to do a good job as they want your repeat business!

How do I choose a Virtual Assistant?

Hiring a VA can be the start of something beautiful!  The start of a fantastic long-term working relationship with someone who understands, and cares about, your business and sees your success as their success.

So it makes sense to think hard about your current AND future business needs when choosing a VA.  Select someone from the outset with the skill-set to take on everything you may throw at them, rather than find you have to move onto a new VA further down the line.

For example, whilst you may only need a bit of invoice chasing now, if you plan to ramp up your PR efforts next year, then a VA with additional PR expertise would be a good option.

There are many VAs (over 1,800 in the UK according to the Society of Virtual Assistants) and many offer free consultations.  So take them up on this offer to work out if they’re the VA for you.

And on the subject of free consultations…do get in touch if you’d like to find out how my know-how and efficiency can benefit you and your business. 

 

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