Virtual assistants, or an entire team of freelancers, can help your business thrive at a lower cost than hiring internally. It is estimated that hiring them will result in an average cost savings of 40%.
Virtual assistants can be self-employed or work for an agency. You minimize the expenses by paying the employee only for the hours they work. Benefits and taxes– depending on your platform, taxes are shouldered by your freelancer and it’s up to you what bonuses to give in lieu of benefits.
There are various recruiting companies and online platforms that can help you find the best candidates. You just need to be keen and patient in looking for the one!
Hiring virtual assistants can assist you in market research, project management, and customer care support. They can manage the company’s social media pages too, do email marketing, and even create a company’s website. And they cost significantly less!
Here are the types of online, ecommerce and back office tasks a virtual assistant can do.
Good customer service results in good reviews and feedback from customers. 52% of customers reported that they have made additional purchases because of a good experience. And 70% said that they opted to support a business that offers outstanding service.
Your virtual assistant can provide a positive customer experience to your clients and target audience.
VAs can schedule appointments and answer phone calls so you don’t miss any important texts or customer meetings. He or she can answer enquiries through the website, chatbot, telephone, email or social media, like Facebook Messenger and Google My Business (GMB) questions.
Your company runs a lot of administrative tasks that can eat entire days or even weeks. With a virtual assistant, you can take back your time and become better organized.
A virtual assistant usually works from a home office, but can remotely access the necessary planning documents, such as shared calendars.
Their tasks include scheduling appointments, making phone calls, planning travel and handling email accounts.
Virtual assistants also help you build and maintain a website and establish the face of your business.
If your customers find your website easy to navigate, they will certainly check it out again. Web developers design user-friendly and optimized websites, not just for Google but for user experience.
Small business owners should put up a social media page. It could either be a Facebook Page, Twitter or LinkedIn since most people spend most of their time on these social media pages.
In 2019, internet users spent 2 hours and 22 minutes on social networks every day!
So why not use this time to engage with your target audience, right? But you can’t do this without the help of virtual assistants! They can handle the social media scheduling, promotions and engagement.
VAs can update your Profile Page, post news and business updates, upload photos, post reviews and much more. They can also make the buy and sell process simple for your customers!
Quality website content can efficiently reach and attract an audience. Writers help your business produce print and digital content, website content, blogs, sales copy, e-books and more!
These content attract potential customers by answering their questions and pain points, with the bonus of educating your audience about your products, in engaging content that displays your expertise in what you do.
Your VA also monitors your publishing schedule to ensure the daily uploads of social media updates, reviews, clients feedback and even images with captions– which is a crucial part of any content marketing strategy.
According to Hubspot, 70% of investors are investing in content marketing. And 77% of companies said they have a content marketing strategy! This is an impressive number!
Content includes social media marketing, video marketing and influencer marketing, all accomplished by a competent and effective freelancer.
E-Commerce continues to thrive in all corners of the world.
2 million full-time workers in 2019 are supported by the businesses in Shopify, they announced last June 2020.
Amazon on the other hand, has completely outpaced Ebay in revenue with a net income of $13.18 billion for the last 12 months compared to eBay’s $5.024 billion.
There are brick and mortar stores that evolved online. One example is Bed, Bath & Beyond! They moved very quickly to an all-in digital approach as soon as coronavirus needed them to temporarily close most of their brick-and-mortar locations around the world.
E-commerce businesses need to manage their products and inventory effectively. You do this with a Virtual Assistant. More and more VAs specialize in ecommerce platforms. Your product data will be processed with full attention and accuracy.
Where can businesses find and hire virtual assistants?
It is easier for people to find a job online. It’s also very convenient for businesses and companies to hire job seekers/freelancers to work for them.
If you are looking for virtual assistants, you can visit the following websites/pages:
Upwork is a popular job board that claims to have the largest number of established virtual assistants. It has more than 12 million freelancers and holds a large number of overseas clients.
If you are looking for a Virtual Assistant, you can start by posting a job in Upwork. Interested applicants would then reach out to you.
Guru is another online space where you can hire Virtual Assistants. And because of its credibility, over 3 million people chose to use this platform
Guru provides a comprehensive dashboard for users and a project management system integrated into its platform. This is useful in organizing all the papers, correspondence, and milestones to track progress especially in larger projects.
Many freelance of course do have a similar system of their own.
Hubstaff — a website for freelance gigs that offers completely free service for both business owners and freelancers.
Is that even possible? Yes, it may sound too good to be true but Hubstaff is free to use!
Why is Hubstaff free? The answer is: they run time tracking platforms for remote teams. It is like offering an upsell where customers purchase more or upgrade a premium version.
Online Jobs (PH)
OnlineJobs.ph is a marketplace based in the Philippines for hiring outsourced workers and freelancers. At present, it is the largest and most popular job site in the country with over 500,000 talented VA’s.
Why hire a VA from the Philippines?
First, Filipinos are great English speakers! 92% of the population are proficient in speaking English.
Filipinos are resilient! This is well-documented: Filipinos soldiering on even during floods to go to work.If the job is what gets them every day and supports their families, they will do their best to turn up for work. In freelancing, this translates to Filipinos being hardworking and more flexible about their work than other nationalities.
Their work ethic is very commendable!
Going directly to a company or digital agency
You can also hire virtual teams through an agency — here’s some of the Best Digital Agencies and Leading Digital BPOs for outsourcing.
An outsourcing agency’s assistance leads you to trustworthy and skilled virtual assistants. They do the heavy lifting:
- Sourcing and hiring of digital talent
- Training and upskilling
- Providing computer hardware, software and apps
- Leased on centralized location for your team to work from
- Payroll, legal compliance and tax requirements
- Keeping your virtual assistants on time and accountable, without ghosting clients
What arrangements should you consider when hiring a virtual assistant?
Pay rates for virtual assistants vary depending on their skills and experiences and when it comes to paying a VA there are several different choices. And different companies have different arrangements.
In Guru, they use PayPal in sending the earnings of their VA’s. Just connect or link your PayPal account to your Guru profile.
Upwork, on the other hand, has a lot of Payment options available for their clients. You can use one of the following:
- Direct to Local Bank
- Direct to US Bank
- Bank Code
- Wire Transfer
- Instant Pay for US Freelancers
How a freelance VA should be paid is something you also have to discuss with him or her, of course! And a VA who works from an agency or company should have their payments made through whatever payment platform their company requires.
How long should a VA stay online?
Working hours vary! Do you want someone to be there when you’re also working? Or do you want teams who work while you’re asleep? Both?
Considering the time difference between time zones is a key factor to bear in mind when hiring a virtual assistant. It’s quite simple!
In some cases, the working hour of a full-time VA is 8 hours a day, and 5 days a week. If you are a Virtual Assistant freelance, the hours will depend on the requirements of your clients.
A Virtual Assistant’s working hours should match the client’s required number of hours.
Daily communication with your Virtual Assistant is a must! He or she must understand what tasks need to be done, how to get it done and the outcome you expect to achieve.
There are communication channels out there that you can use to effectively communicate with your VA.
Trello is made up of boards that you used to organize cards into a list. It’s like Pinterest! These cards could be an assignment, notes, goals, or files. You can rearrange them according to the urgency.
You can learn everything you need to get a job done from a task card and every discussion can take place right there.
It’s also a tool used to connect with your colleagues and not to be hazed by email.
Asana’s key features are the ability to build a detailed list of activities, share information and set deadlines for a project that allows you to visualize your work, and arrange all of your emails and files in one place. Organize your work in the best way possible!
Asana users have their own view of “My Task”. where they can view their specific tasks. It’s for them to view everything you need them to do easily to avoid miscommunication and missed deadlines!
This platform allows you and your VA to manage different tasks and projects systematically. This software has features that enable you to track projects and assignments, upload files and messages, manage and share documents.
One known tool when you communicate with your VA is email. It’s quite common and everyone knows how to use it!
You can use it to discuss new projects, assignments and deadlines. You can also store your messages so it’s easy to go back when you miss something. And you can send a single message to a large number of people!
Using instant messaging platforms, you can quickly share files, media and voice messages which are very beneficial to you and your VA. When he or she wants to ask something about the task, you can easily provide answers thru chat or voice message.
It is a channel-based platform. If you have a large number of virtual assistants, you create channels for teams or tasks and add the freelancers involved in that channel. Private chats are there, too. And Slack is integrable with so many tools now including Google Drive, Asana, Zendesk, Github and more.
Microsoft Teams offer shared workspace for a variety of Microsoft Office applications. This gives you and your VA the option to do your tasks without using a lot of different applications!
This software provides a user-friendly app that you both can use to chat, have voice conversations and conduct video calls and meetings.
Real time meetings with you VAs can be done through Google Meet. This video-chatting app is easy to use. You can simply schedule meetings and just send a link or an ID so the participants can join. It can also accommodate 100 participants.
Like Google Meet, Zoom can also do real time meetings and video conferences either by video or audio, or both. It has a screen sharing feature which will be beneficial for you and your VA because it allows them to see what you see. Explaining or discussing subject matter will be much easier!
To wrap it up, virtual assistants are now crucial to get the work done and increase your competitive potential without spending too much.
Any business that wants to focus on their core competencies, increasing its capacity, save in recruitment and operation costs, increase productivity and make business organized needs virtual assistants. They are accessible, productive, and efficient.