7 Reasons You Should Hire a Virtual Assistant

If you have followed my journey from corporate CEO to full-time writer and speaker, you know I am a big advocate of using virtual assistants. I couldn’t survive without mine.

But I have noticed that many of my fellow entrepreneurs are reluctant to take the plunge. So often they don’t get the help they need because they think hiring a full-time, physical assistant is their only option.That’s what I thought too. However, this is usually not the best option—at least not at the beginning. Perhaps ever.

In his new e-book, Bryan Miles, CEO of eaHelp.com, explains why. He provides 9 Reasons to Rethink Your Approach to Staffing:

  1. It takes forever to find the right person
  2. Employees cost more than their salary
  3. You have to find a place to put people
  4. You need to keep the people you have busy
  5. Availability isn’t the same as competency
  6. Employees don’t really work eight hours a day
  7. Firing people is a hassle
  8. Your personnel budget is suffocating your margin for growth
  9. An affair will cost you more than you think

You can download this new e-book for free or, if you want it on your Kindle, buy it here. (It’s only $2.99.) You should also follow Bryan on Twitter. He is THE authority on cloud staffing and virtual workforces.

Granted, Bryan is biased. He co-founded a company that provides virtual assistant services to businesses and non-profit organizations, including churches. I am biased too since my virtual assistant, Tricia, works for his company.

However, I think he is right. Too often, we think that full-time, physical staffing is our only option. It’s not.

I’m convinced that virtual assistants are the future. Tricia has worked for me, fifteen hours a week, since last August. Honestly, it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. Many successful entrepreneurs I know are following suit.

You might need to consider hiring a virtual assistant if:

  1. You feel overwhelmed with your workload.
  2. You need help digging out from the administrative pile.
  3. You know you could really “move the needle” if you could focus more on what you and only you can do.
  4. You want to be more productive and less stressed.
  5. You know you need help but can’t afford someone full-time.
  6. You don’t want the hassle of recruiting, hiring, and training a physical assistant.
  7. You want—and need—more margin in your life.

What can an virtual assistant do for you?

Anything that does not require her physical presence.

Practically speaking, this means she can:

  • Screen your e-mail and respond on your behalf
  • Schedule and confirm your appointments
  • Book your travel arrangements
  • Make calls on your behalf
  • Perform miscellaneous research
  • Fill out expense reports and track reimbursements
  • Create invoices and post payments
  • Manage any projects you don’t want to handle

The truth is that most of my professional relationships today are virtual. I’ll bet many of yours are as well.

Almost all of my business transactions are conducted via e-mail and occasionally phone. It really doesn’t matter where my assistant is located. No one knows the difference.

All they know is that I have a sharp, responsive assistant who helps them get what they need when they need it. What I know is that I have a trusted business partner who frees me up to do what I do best. Maybe it’s time to consider hiring one for yourself.

Question: What has kept you from hiring a virtual assistant? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://OutsourceFactor.com/ Chris Umiastowski

    Hey Michael,

    I love this post.  I think a lot of people who write professionally don’t realize how affordable a VA can be if you hire someone offshore.   There are so many options from hiring a freelancer on oDesk, to hiring a part time person through an agency, or hiring your own employee to work for you full time.

    In the Philippines I’m finding that $400/month gets you a full time person who is intelligent, speaks and writes in fluent English, and depending on how you interview / filter, will be an organizational help to your business big time.

    Tim Ferriss’ book is really what got me thinking about the economics of this, and I’ve been using virtual staff for a few years now.  In fact, my partner and I created a site called OutsourceFactor.com as a free way to help people find their own VA.  But there are other great paid services too.  One guy I have never met but trust his quality of information is Chris Ducker from Virtual Staff Finder.  

    The trick is in setting up a culture where your VA knows what to do, reports into you regularly, and communicates well.  Then, always ALWAYS pay them on time.

    Chris Umiastowski
    Co-founder of OutsourceFactor.com

  • Dorley

    Affording an assistant is not an issue. I had a personal assistant for 5 and a half years along with a housekeeper. However, most of my needs vary daily and do require a lot of “hands on” organizing of the PILES AND PILES of paperwork that comes my way. We own multiple businesses that we built from the ground up, each with their own manager. 
    We have four children. We have a ranch with over 150 head of cattle and 17 horses.  We also travel extensively throughout the year and have tried to hire the perfect in-home worker in addition to another personal assistant– A NIGHTMARE. Not being ugly– but no one can even come close to the work ethic I am needing. We are highly ethical and moral people in every way, especially financially. 

  • http://twitter.com/familyp7 Phil

    Hi
    Michael I found hiring a VA a trust issue. How do you know you are getting what you need?  I wanted to write to you about the benefits of putting
    together a client welcome pack, which certainly helped me when hiring
    a virtual assistant. Really enjoyed your why hire a VA list, thanks. With gratitude
    Phil.

    A
    Client Welcome Pack

    How
    to Introduce a Client to Your Services? Use a Client welcome pack.

    How
    you welcome your customer is crucial, this is the virtual assistants
    chance to describe how they can perform at their best, once a new
    client has decided to hire a virtual assistant it is necessary to
    welcome the client in the perfect way. Providing a welcome pack is a
    useful tool to getting hired.

    Virtual
    assistants need to set firm criteria for a working relationship at
    the outset. These should include:

    1.
    About you or About Us

    Grab
    the clients attention, tell the client about you or your VA company,
    so clients can ensure they are hiring the right virtual assistant.
    Why did you become a virtual assistant? This is a question you can
    not afford to skip read:
    http://pro-virtual-assistant.com/va-resources/guide/why-did-you-decide-to-become-a-virtual-assistant/

    2.
    Services available

    Tell
    customers exactly how you can help them? What exact services can you
    provide and how are you computer literate, what programs do you
    routinely use? For example your services might be ghost writing to
    design in Microsoft Suite and Adobe Photoshop. Its best to be
    specific.

    If
    you are a company tell the client more generally what services you
    provide for example:

    “Hire
    Virtual Assistant is a VA Company that provides Virtual Assistant
    Services, VA Services, Virtual Administrative Assistant, Virtual
    Receptionist and Work From Home.”

    http://www.hire-virtual-assistant.co.uk/

    3.
    Your Values and Policies

    Give
    information about of all your guidelines so customers know exactly
    what to expect when they begin working with you. Demystify your
    working practice and how the client will work with you? (as
    appropriate).

    Benefits
    of Hiring a Virtual Assistant or Virtual Assistant Company

    Tell
    customers the advantages to dealing with you or your staff. What can
    you offer that no-one else can? give information on any additional
    value or service you can provide. Are you creative? How have you
    overcome problems in the past? Many sites provide reasons for
    hiring a virtual assistant this is a good explanatory post:
    http://www.hireyourvirtualassistant.com/blog/advantages-of-hiring-a-virtual-assistant-versus-a-full-time-employee/

    4.
    The Agreement Stage

    Tell
    customers what you want them to provide to you so the work can begin?
    How you want them to proceed? They may sign a working agreement or
    they may need to pay before the service is provided. This is unique
    to each agreement. There are many companies that send such policies
    out to clients Brickwork India is one example.
    http://www.brickworkindia.com/our-values/

    5.
    Contact information

    It
    is important to provide contact information. It is useful for it to
    be included at the top and bottom of the page. Name, address, Phone
    number, Fax, Email, Web Address are commonly displayed. However, many
    companies control how they receive their information for example
    directing fax to email.

    One
    more set of advice, if you do make a welcome pack keep it short and to the point so
    it doesn’t scare clients away. You can always provide links to your
    website for clients to read more if they so wish.

    Phil
    Edwards

    http://www.
    Family-Portrait-Poses.com

  • http://twitter.com/joshua_murry Joshua Murry

    Most of the business owners are really hesitant on hiring a virtual assistant but for me, it is necessary because we have to admit that we can’t run a business and do most of the things all at the same time. It would be too stressful. And also hiring an in-house assistant would be expensive that’s why I agree on outsourcing this kind of service.
    It is very cost effective but yes it is also risky because it is going to be very difficult to monitor your assistant’s productivity. But it just depends on the company where you hire your VA. Like on staff.com, they have an employee monitoring software to assure their clients that the staff they are going to hire, the work will be visible and transparent. If EA Help also have a time tracking tool, then there’s no reason for employers to worry.

  • http://twitter.com/Stan_AM Stan Miroshnik

    We’ve come up with an even better way to utilize virtual assistants by breaking work down into specific digital tasks. You submit a task via a simple one click interface, and you get a hyper specialized provider assigned to it immediately. So for word files, t will be an MS word expert, for graphics a photoshop expert, and so on.  No hassle of hiring, interviews, timezones – Ziptask.com IS the freelancer. This way your VA is even more virtual and you are always using 100% of capacity on an as needed basis. 

    Check it out at http://www.ziptask.com – a brilliant idea for digital tasks. 

  • Kshousewrightcook

    I
    don’t know how to make money doing what I love. Yes, there are a bazillion
    things to be done to make Miracle You Ministries fiscally stable and I either
    don’t know how, don’t have time, my brain injury keeps administrative tasks out
    of reach. I’m brilliant in what I do…I’m a total dud in practically
    everything else!

  • Vagail247

    this makes a lot of sense hiring a virtual assistant is an excellent idea when your a busy person.

  • http://www.jobiety.com/ Kash

    I am very much interested in hiring a virtual assistant but have two main hurdles to jump over. One, as someone has mentioned in the comments, is the trust issue. With all those identity theft and online scammings going on, its really hard to trust someone with your confidential information whom you have not met.

    Second is the issue of delegation. I am solo-
    preneur  for long and delegation is something I am not used to.

  • http://twitter.com/activeinterview Active Interview

    Michael,  What do you think about the idea of using video interviewing or skype to screen candidates for language skill level.   I.e. something like this   http://activeinterview.com/blog/2012/08/23/using-video-interviewing-to-hire-a-virtual-assistant/

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I think it’s a great idea. Thanks.

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  • Guest

    Typo in your 2nd list #3. FYI.

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  • Robin Willson

    Hire Dedicated virtual assistant @ $6.49 USD per Hour with understands US culture and perfect english Getassistantservices.com

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  • http://ideal-helper.com/ Francis

    I had to laugh at your 9th reason :)

    I am lucky not to worry about this one because the only non-virtual assistant I will ever have would be my girlfriend.

    What you really should learn to work with a virtual assistant in my opinion is that you learn to delegate. More importantly you learn how to not do everything yourself, which is a big secret in life. As you get more and more busy in your professional life, having the skillset of deciding ‘not to do yourself’ can literally save you years of your life.

    That’s one of the main lessons I have taken away from working together with virtual assistants.

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  • Lynne Siebrits

    This is great and I hope you don’t mind – I have copied a link to your blog and taken out two excerpts I would like to send out in a newsletter – would that be all right with you? (I haven’t sent the newsletter yet)! And by the way, if you ever need a good VA ……. Thanks so much for this article, Kind regards, Lynne Siebrits (Katlyn Virtual Assistants – http://www.katlyn.co.za) My email is katlynva@adept.co.za.

  • http://www.boltonstaffing.com/ Edsel Mendoza

    It really boils down to how open one is to the idea. I’ve read that one of the biggest reasons why some companies shy away from remote workers is because of so many negative assumptions about the concept, and the fact that it’s something new that’s challenging what is seen as the normal work environment.

    Other than that, you really provide all that’s needed to know in your article. Great job! The sixth factor to consider is one of the things we want companies to recognize; the traditional recruiting, hiring, and training process doesn’t need to take as long as it used to. Our company Bolton Staffing, for example, does all that to make sure clients don’t have to be hassled by getting a remote employee from us. Do check us out at http://www.boltonstaffing.com.

  • Scott Suddoth

    I am a manufacturers rep; and have gone back an forth on whether to hire an Administrative/Executive Assistant. I have a few concerns: 1) I travel quite a bit and I need to be able to call or e-mail someone on a moments notice to respond to customer inquiries, send information to customers, fill out sample forms, update targets, respond to emergency situations. I never know when this will be necessary; so one day might require quite a bit of activity and other days might be very slow…but I need someone on call from 8-5 M-F. 2) I will need to spend some time upfront training my EA on the specifics of my business and how things need to be handled; my concern is if I share a “pool” of EA’s, I would have to re-train them and not have the consistency needed. 3) An obvious concern is how to structure their fee with this scenario. They will not be able to set up blocks of time to work for me; there will certainly be times where they can do that, but they will also need to be available on a moments notice.
    What is your advice regarding my situation?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I would discuss your situation with a reputable firm like eaHELP. I have two assistants with them, and they are superb. They might not be able to help you, but I’ll bet they can bring more clarity.

      • Scott Suddoth

        OK, thanks Michael.

    • http://www.eahelp.com/ Tricia Welte

      Scott, at eaHELP, we are set up to serve leaders who are exactly in your circumstance. They need flexible time, not scheduled time. They have days and weeks that workload is heavy and others are light. We base fee on hours per week, not on blocks of time or # of tasks. We’d be happy to review our model with you. You can reach me at tricia at eahelp dot com, and I’ll get you connected.

      • Scott Suddoth

        Tricia, thank you for your reply. I will contact you.

  • http://www.cloudstaff.com/downloads/assistants Armie Cabrera

    Thanks for sharing this very informative article. It is really helpful. Cheers!

  • http://www.process-box.com/ Clarissa Lucas

    A very informative article on the different reasons to hire a virtual assistant. Thank you for posting such a helpful article.

  • jackAustin

    Thank you for posting such a informative blog i like this blog and i want to subscribe it so can you please tell me when your blog gets updated.

  • jackAustin

    Thanks you for sharing such a informational blog. please tell me when your blogs gets updated i would like to read it. Best of luck

  • Anonymous

    That video included only young, attractive females as the virtual assistants. That alone turns me off from using their service. I am sold on the idea of using a virtual assistant, but I can’t support a company with a promotional video like that.

  • virtual assistant services

    This is such a great post. First of all, in order to become a competitive VA you must have the talent of writing a unique article coz basically ghost writing is the main task that you will do. The rest of the task can be learn through google or video blogs.

  • Ace

    I’m Ace Viray from Philippines, Bachelor of Science in Information Technology graduate at STI College, San Fernando, Pampanga. Working as full-time virtual assistant with over 6 years administrative experience, in my fully equipped and dedicated home-office. I provide a wide range of administrative services including data entry, internet research, data management, web posting, social media marketing, email marketing, article and directories submission and other support services like email support, mailing list development and database management. Also have a knowledge in microsoft word, excel, powerpoint, html, google spreadsheet, desktop remote and various software. I can offer you with support for short-term and long-term basis and pride myself on delivering a high quality, fast, accurate and confidential services. Excellent skills with a flexible approach, good use of initiative and willing to learn any other skills required for the role. For more detail about me visit my pages http://aceviray.wordpress.com or http://acefire23.wix.com/myportfolio.