No matter what your business, whether you’re a sole trader or a large team, you will have paperwork to deal with and admin to organise. You may prioritise getting clients/sales and doing your business, but this paperwork is a vital part of your business too.
But what if you:
- Aren’t a fan of admin?
- Would rather be doing something else?
- Struggle for time?
A virtual assistant isn’t the same as Siri or Alexa. They’re not there to play your favourite music or check the weather (necessarily). But today’s technology does allow a real person working from a remote location, usually their home or office, to help support you and your business.
A Virtual Assistant may seem like a luxury but can actually be surprisingly cost-effective and can benefit you in many ways. Think about it. If you could easily delegate certain regular tasks, what would your week look like?
- Increase income because you have more time getting more clients/sales.
- Be more productive because you are more focused on the tasks that excite you in your business.
- Reduce your stress levels and increase your well-being if you’re struggling to juggle work, family and leisure interests.
How much time do you spend each day/week on the following:
- Checking and sending emails?
- Making/taking telephone calls?
- How many are spam?
- Planning meetings/travel?
- Organising insurance renewals?
- Filling in spreadsheets?
- Preparing/formatting documents?
- Drafting letters?
- Preparing invoices/quotes?
- Chasing customer payments?
- Managing projects?
- Getting distracted?
Do you have a separate work phone or do you use your personal one? How often do you hear a ping on your phone and check to see if it’s an important email but then get distracted because you got tagged into a post on Facebook? Then while you’re there, you have a quick scroll down to see what everyone has been up to at the weekend?
How many phone calls do you take each day? How many of them are spam and disrupt your train of thought in what you’re working on?
What about meetings? How many face to face meetings do you attend? Do these meetings require you to plan travel, parking?
Do you tend to renew insurance policies or service renewals without researching for alternatives (and thereby maybe paying extra) or do you take the time to get new quotes for each? Whether it’s your car, property, public liability or travel insurance, it all takes time.
How up to date are your IT skills? You may have done IT as a degree module at university or taken a European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) a few years ago but with technology updates happening constantly, how quickly can you prepare or format a spreadsheet, report or presentation with the latest version of software?
Getting money into your business is essential but the administration of it can easily be handled by a Virtual Assistant, whether it’s preparing your invoices/quotes or handling credit control. A good PA may also be trained to use accounting software such as Xero, where repeating invoices can be easily set up, saving even more time.
A Virtual Assistant can also help make you more time by automating regular tasks with things like email responders and appointment schedulers to make sure routine things happen without any ongoing effort.
As mentioned previously, it’s easy to get distracted or interrupted by a phone call or email but what about procrastination? How often do you spend procrastinating about a task that you know needs to be done but you’re just not looking forward to doing it? Instead, could you delegate it to a Virtual Assistant?
If you need help in several areas of your business, you can choose to use more than one PA. Or you could use an organisation that offers Virtual Assistant Services. The latter may suit you better because you have access to support from a whole team of people, therefore you get a wider range of skills and experience for the cost of one assistant, plus you are assured continuity of service regardless of holidays or sickness.
For the solopreneur with a long to do list, you might feel you haven’t got time to train anyone to handle these tasks or that it’s easier to just do it yourself. It is true that in the short term you would need to allocate time to ‘handing tasks over’ but then your time would be saved. Initial investment for a long term reward.
Another concern may be that of maintaining quality. A good Virtual Assistant will make your business look good. They’ll have the same work ethos, communicate in the same way that you would and be professional in every task they carry out. They will be an extension of you. It is possible to ask a Virtual Assistant to do a test piece of work for you to ascertain your confidence in them and their work, or you could delegate a few tasks initially and then increase the workload over time.