If you’re a business owner, I’m sure you’ll agree that your list of daily tasks requiring completion can often be, at times, overwhelming. A helping hand can always be useful when it comes to speeding up your processes and ensuring that your business is successful. Luckily, there are some excellent solutions for this, one of which is a virtual personal assistant.
It’s likely that you’ve heard of personal assistants or PAs as they are also known, but you may not have heard of virtual personal assistants. It is becoming more and more common for businesses to use them to support those in senior positions; helping them to handle their day-to-day responsibilities which might include things like scheduling meetings, lunches, business trips and other appointments.
There are a number of virtual personal assistants scattered across the internet, so they’re not too difficult to find, but if you are thinking of hiring one you should always make sure that they are passionate about what they do, have plenty of interest in your business and have a schedule of availability that meets your needs.
Virtual personal assistants can help you with a broad range of tasks (generally more admin focussed) and can help you organise your workload, therefore, freeing up your time to spend on the projects that interest you most.
That’s why we wanted to write an article for you on what having a virtual personal assistant can bring to your business. This article will outline for you what a virtual assistant is and the range of help they can offer you when it comes to balancing your workload and enabling you to make the most of your time.
If at any point while reading this article you decide you’d like to enquire about hiring a virtual personal assistant yourself, please get in touch with an experienced member of the Cymphony team.
What Is a Virtual Personal Assistant?
Virtual personal assistants are people who help with administrative tasks, personal diary scheduling, organisation, writing emails, arranging meetings via email, booking business trips, acting as a gatekeeper to your contacts, and more.
As the name suggests, virtual personal assistants normally work from a remote location. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can expect virtual personal assistants to now be working from home and not from the provider’s office. Virtual personal assistants are great for those who wish they had more time, as they can act as an extension of your workforce when you need that little bit of extra help. Or, they can become a permanent fixture if you find their help invaluable.
You can expect the majority of your interaction with a virtual personal assistant to happen via calls and email. However, in this increasingly digital world you might also schedule in weekly or monthly catch ups via a video call.
Virtual assistants are especially in demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need help but do not want to spend the money on office space for staff or employ someone full time.
However, a number of small and mid-size businesses also use virtual support, especially for specific tasks such as social media management. Virtual assistants have become increasingly popular since the global pandemic broke out, with businesses rapidly switching from office working to working from home.
It would not be surprising if virtual personal assistants were to exceed their current popularity levels and become even more popular over the coming years, as companies realise the many benefits of having a remote workforce.
Now that you understand what a virtual personal assistant is, let’s look at the ways in which a virtual personal assistant can help your business to build on its current success.
Why Hire a Virtual Personal Assistant?
Hiring a virtual personal assistant will help you to decrease your workload which is arguably the most important role they play, as this gives you more time to focus on valuable initiatives, therefore, making more money for your business. This, in turn, is likely to increase your productivity and the productivity of the business as a whole.
Time is precious in the workplace and in your personal life, and virtual assistants not only allow you to reach your full potential, help you to realise your goals and refocus your attention on the areas that matter in your professional life, but also help you to achieve a healthy work/life balance.
Providing you find the right virtual assistant, you can expect them to be reliable and to get tasks done on time. The expression ‘two heads are better than one’ is usually evident once you welcome your first virtual assistant.
However, this does not mean that you have to stick to just one virtual personal assistant. You can, of course, hire as many as you need and for a time period that suits you. The length of contract you can choose from varies so it’s worth taking the time to figure out what would work best for you and your working style.
A common misconception is that virtual personal assistants’ duties are limited to clerical work. This is not true, or at least it’s not true when you hire a virtual personal assistant from Cymphony.
With us, you can also expect a virtual personal assistant to provide support on initiatives that might include marketing, web design, bookkeeping and many other services.
Some virtual assistants specialise in a specific skill set, and they only perform duties related to those skills. These skills are likely to have been gained from their previous employment, a course they have taken, or from official education such as a university degree.
You need to consider how long you will need a virtual assistant for each week, which is why it’s important to do your research and understand what you need your virtual personal assistant to do for you.
This leads us to our next point which is to know whether a virtual personal assistant is right for your business and your routine.
Is a Virtual Personal Assistant Right For Me?
It is important to carry out research about the virtual assistant you are considering welcoming to your team, and who will play a part in your week-to-week meetings because each individual virtual assistant has something unique to offer. Some will be a better fit for you and your team than others.
The difference between hiring a good and a great assistant is the impact it will have on your productivity both in your work and your personal life, as these tend to cross over.
You also have to consider the recruitment process for a virtual personal assistant if you’re not going through a sourcing company such as Cymphony, as it can be a lengthy process; interviewing them, finding out about their previous experience, and figuring out if you can trust their training.
If you are going to find a virtual assistant on your own, we will always recommend that you factor in the possibility that you might get it wrong and end up with the wrong person for your organisation.
Not to blow our own trumpet, but we do like to point out that going through a premium provider such as Cymphony will minimise the chances of facing issues like this. You will also have assurance that the person chosen is going to add maximum value to your business due to ongoing and consistent training and evaluations.
To give you an idea of why a virtual assistant might be right for your company, and to illustrate one of the benefits that a virtual personal assistant can bring, here’s a quick story…
A study conducted by Stanford University did an experiment that followed 500 workers at Ctrip, a travel agency based in China. The participants were randomly divided into two separate groups. One group continued to work as normal in the office while the other group was permitted to work from home. The experiment lasted for a total of nine months.
The relevant point from the study for this article is the findings. The office working group had lost 35% of its employees by the end of the nine month period, compared to just 17% lost from the remote working group.
This clearly shows that one benefit of having remote employees is employee satisfaction and, therefore, reliability. Could this help you to decide if a virtual personal assistant is right for your business?
How Much Does a Virtual Assistant Cost?
According to Business Know-How, a number of business owners say that they don’t have the money to hire a virtual assistant but there are alway solutions to this problem if you have the right motivation. If you narrow down your expenses and compare the time a virtual assistant saves you, the investment is often worth it.
To give you a quick overview of how virtual personal assistants can be affordable, we’ve put some easy to digest, explanatory bullet points below. To make you aware, these benefits and affordability are based on using a premium provider like Cymphony.
- You are not providing office space or equipment
- You are not paying to educate them or upskill them
- You do not pay taxes or benefits on their work
- They require little training by you for basic tasks, so you don’t have to sacrifice your time explaining from scratch
- Virtual assistants will have other specialist and trained virtual assistants at hand to assist them in specialist tasks
An article written on Medium found that virtual personal assistants can reduce your business operating costs by as much as 78%. That’s a nice number to reduce your operating costs by, am I right or am I right?!
Once you factor in the cost reduction over time, or another way to word it is once it’s compounded over time, you will find the results get better and better as the costs stay down but the productivity levels and number of new clients increase.
Overall, virtual personal assistants are there to accommodate your and your business’ needs. If your virtual personal assistant is not doing that, we recommend that you consider why this is and what replacements might be out there.
Arguably the most important aspect of choosing a virtual personal assistant is having someone who cares about their work, your priorities, your business, and communicates regularly and clearly with you.
You will hopefully now agree that, based on the above points, having a personal assistant is likely to be a pretty beneficial move for you no matter what the nature of your business is.
Just make sure you always do your due dilligence on the company providing the virtual personal assistant, or the individual you are looking to take on directly.
How Can We Help?
I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read this article and consider the options we have outlined. Hopefully you now have an idea of how a virtual personal assistant could add value to your business, your work-life and your home life.
Of course, what we didn’t touch on is how a virtual personal assistant can add value specifically to you and your business. That’s why if you are thinking that this might be a potential solution to some of the challenges that you and your business are facing, we encourage you to get in touch with a member of our experienced team who can guide you in your decision.