Note: I originally published a version of this post on Startup Grind back in November. I’ve added some updates and a couple more points on how working with a virtual assistant can help you simplify your busy life.
Virtual assistants are a fast-growing sector of the administrative workforce and their income potential continues to rise as more startups and small businesses request highly specialized work without the full-time salary obligation.
The “ghostwriters” in the world of receptionists and secretaries, virtual assistants often do the tough jobs of an office and rarely see their name in lights. They specialize in a wide variety of administrative duties and because of the scope of their services, are able to work remotely.
This means you don’t even need to have a physical office space to hire a virtual assistant or virtual receptionist–I know a few startup founders who work exclusively from coworking spaces around the world as they travel and rely on a virtual assistant in a centralized location to handle their administrative duties and keep their scheduling on track.
According to Randy Duermyer, the “Web Go-To Guy,” there is a high demand for virtual assistants among small and medium businesses because they provide the skills and experience of a long-time employee without requiring the resources of a full-time employee. Startups and small businesses aggressively hire VAs to tackle a wide variety of tasks, from bookkeeping to creating logos.
Read on for three common startup scenarios that call for a virtual assistant.
3 Signs It’s Time to Simplify and Get a Virtual Assistant
1. When your planner is out of control
Even if you relish being in control of every other aspect of your life, you’ll feel nothing but sweet relief when you get a virtual assistant and hand over the reigns of your jam-packed planner and calendar.
Big events? Planned. Meeting invitations? Accepted. Lunch with a potential client? Scheduled. Virtual assistants can save you a lot of time by handling scheduling tasks for you, so if you’re struggling to keep up, hire someone to help. You can start your search by checking out trusted agencies like Conversational and Zirtual. Not ready to jump in with human help? Start by getting a hand planning your meetings with the help of AI instead.
2. When the finances need some attention
Falling behind on bills, or having trouble keeping track of all your invoices and payments? This might be a good time to get a virtual assistant and outsource your bookkeeping.
Once you’ve found an agency or individual you trust with your account information, you’ll be able to focus on your business knowing that your accounts are in order and that all invoices are current. That piece of mind is almost priceless for an entrepreneur.
3. When there’s mounds of new data
Whether you’re fresh from an industry convention or just wrapped up a successful advertising campaign, you’ll have lots of new customer data that is essentially worthless to you until it’s plugged in and sorted.
Sure, you can plod through the mounds of data yourself, but wouldn’t your time be better spent planning the next campaign? Hire a virtual assistant or virtual receptionist to handle data entry in scenarios like these to hit fast-forward on your R&D projects and marketing tests. Additionally, you might get more clarity and insight on projects where you can strictly manage the “big picture” rather than the details.
While they are certainly common scenarios, these aren’t the only situations where virtual assistants or receptionists offer value to startups. Have you hired a virtual assistant to lessen your workload? What advice would you give to entrepreneurs considering hiring a VA? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
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