What I did find out was that virtual assistants are real people that work remotely for your business as independent contractors. They come with specific skills that can apply to a range of industries. My hesitation in using a virtual assistant is trust. As a small business owner, I tend to trust employees that I can train and develop a working relationship with. So trusting someone that I’ve never met is hard for me to do. However, I’ve learned that a virtual assistant that is vetted well can bring value and opportunities to your business.
Most small business owners suffer from having to wear several hats in their business. This can cause owners to feel overwhelmed and can even limit the growth of the business. In addition business owners who are spending time on tasks that don’t contribute to the growth of the business can feel as if they are wasting time and energy. This is where having an assistant can help. However, a conventional assistant can be costly. They must have a space to work in, computer, telephone, office supplies, and other resources. This is why most small business owners would rather save their money and handle those tasks on their own. However, a virtual assistant works as an independent contractor. They come with their own set of skills, own equipment, and supplies and work based on an hourly fee. One virtual assistant, I spoke with (in order to write this article) I found on a site called www.upwork.com. This site connects virtual assistants with business owners looking to hire an assistant and allows them to read their online resume and profile. The virtual assistant I spoke with lived in Virginia and she typically works 8 hours a week for each client depending on their needs. Her rate is $13 an hour and she specializes in healthcare administration. She has a wide range of industry-specific skills acquired over 13 years in her career. Her clients rely on her to do client intake, scheduling, insurance billing, and maintaining HIPPA compliance. She mentioned that her clients enjoy her ability to understand their needs and work efficiently within the time they can afford. The benefit she has seen for business owners is that by hiring her they are able to focus on building the business through marketing activities, networking, and client focus.
If you are in a position now where some help taking care of administrative tasks would be better handled by someone with more experience in order to allow you to grow your business then I would recommend taking a look at hiring a virtual assistant for your business. Be sure to evaluate their experience as it relates to your business. Ensure the rate they are charging makes sense for your business. Ask hard questions to be sure you are hiring someone with problem-solving skills. Maintain good communication in order to draw the most benefit from your virtual assistant.
“Business Tips” was written by Alejandro Castañon, Business Development Specialist of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. For more information on the topic of this article or the services of the ASU · SBDC, contact him at Alejandro.Castanon@angelo.edu.