What Is A Virtual Assistant?

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Why Hire a Virtual Assistant for Your Business?

As a business owner, you’re doing all administrative tasks: filling orders, responding to customers, marketing your business, and running day-to-day operations.

That’s why a virtual assistant should be the first “hire” online business owners make to take on the daily tasks and processes involved in running their business, so they can focus on growing it.

A virtual assistant is like having an extra pair of hands without the overhead of hiring a full-time employee. If you’re experiencing the “good problems” that come with growth (like stress and more tedium in your to-do list), it might be time to hire a virtual assistant to reclaim a few hours in your day.

Consider these things when hiring your first virtual assistant

  • What is a virtual assistant and how can they help?
  • When should you hire a virtual assistant?
  • How much does a virtual assistant cost?
  • How to hire your first virtual assistant
  • How to divide and conquer your work day with a VA

What is a virtual assistant and how can they help?

Shopify To Do List

A virtual assistant is an efficient generalist who works remotely to execute tasks or processes delegated to them, such as responding to emails, scheduling social media content, and entering data, often for a fixed hourly rate or a retainer with a set number of hours per month.

A VA can operate as a digital nomad anywhere in the world, manage multiple clients, and is often competent in areas like content writing, bookkeeping, or design.

What can you hire a virtual assistant to do?

Virtual assistants won’t take on an entire function of your business, but rather own specific processes or tasks. For example, a virtual assistant won’t build your entire website, but they can help you manage parts of your online store. They probably won’t write and manage all your content, but they can help with research or product page updates. Here are other functions virtual assistants can help with:

  • Answer customer emails, social media comments, and phone calls
  • Perform community management tasks like moderating comments on your Facebook ads or monitoring Twitter for engagement opportunities
  • Build blogger/influencer outreach lists based on specific criteria
  • Research statistics and examples for upcoming content
  • Process orders and returns from customers (you can find VAs who have experience with Shopify specifically or coach them on how to follow a process)
  • Perform bookkeeping duties or data entry from different sources into a single spreadsheet
  • Make sales calls when provided with a script and guidelines on how to respond to common questions
  • Schedule meetings or book appointments for you
  • Run remote-friendly personal errands like ordering flowers or online gifts - some virtual assistant services empower them to make purchases on your behalf

When should you hire a virtual assistant?

While VAs aren’t employees, they offer an affordable way for ongoing help running your business without any of the additional expenses of a full-time hire (plus their services as a contractor are often tax deductible).

You might consider hiring a virtual assistant if:

  • You’re working in your business more than on your business because you’re overburdened with administrative tasks and you feel any organized and capable person could do just as well from a computer.
  • You’re willing to spend $100 to $3,000+ per month to buy back your time, depending on the hours, time zone, and skills you need for a trustworthy dedicated VA.
  • You already know the specific recurring tasks and processes you want to outsource, such as customer service (e.g., you’re an introvert) or bookkeeping
  • Your biggest weaknesses are organization and administration. VAs are, by trade, organized and efficient, doubling as an “accountability partner” for many solo entrepreneurs whose strengths lie elsewhere.
  • You feel overwhelmed by the growth of your business, are a busy parent, or work a 9-to-5 and are building your business on the side.

Since a virtual assistant is a contractor and not a full-time employee, it’s up to you how long you want to employ them. An underrated benefit of employing a VA is the ability to delegate some non-business errands too.

You can hire a VA when there’s an especially busy period coming up in your work and personal life. Here are some tasks you can delegate:

  • Comparison shopping for furniture to furnish your new place
  • Create a detailed spreadsheet for influencer outreach, including Instagram handles, contact info, audience size, and engagement rates
  • Conduct research for a personality quiz and lay it out in a single document

A virtual assistant can do the necessary work you don’t enjoy and free up the mental space (and time) for you to tackle the work you do enjoy (i.e., business strategy).

When you think about it, the goal of entrepreneurship isn’t to own a business, but to leave parts of it in capable hands, so your business can run without your full attention.

Outsourcing can feel unnatural for entrepreneurs who relish control. But it's key to achieving work/life balance. Doing that is even harder when you're doing everything on your own.

Hiring a virtual assistant lets you focus on the things that matter most—growing your business, spending time with your family, or just giving yourself moments to catch your breath.

Hopegate International is here to give the kind of help that contributes to your success!

Contact James Vernon at:
[email protected]