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HIRING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT: ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

Pros and cons of hiring a virtual assistant

Virtual Assistants have become an integral part of the business world. They are recognized as the dependable assets of every company as it starts to expand its business.

Virtual assistants are professional individuals who are capable of doing various tasks, from administrative and clerical tasks to more complicated and expert-level undertakings.

Entrepreneurs who have countless pending tasks employ virtual assistants to aid with repetitive tasks and maximize the efficiency of their current manpower. 

With virtual assistants working remotely from another country, their services are more affordable compared to in-house employees. On top of that, they are able to work on a contractual basis, depending on what the business needs.

Their work schedule could be for a set number of hours each week or each month. They can also be hired for the entire duration of a project. 

On the other hand, there are employers who prefer to delegate mundane and repetitive tasks to their assistants for a long period of time as simple tasks can drain them personally. It is also worth noting that they understand the perks of outsourcing simple tasks to virtual assistants. 

Before discussing the benefits and drawbacks of employing virtual assistants, it is important to have an overview of what their general tasks are. 

What are the tasks that a virtual assistant can do?

  1. Administrative Tasks
  2. Bookkeeping
  3. Customer Service Assistance
  4. Data Entry
  5. E-commerce
  6. Real Estate
  7. Social Media Management

Now that an overview of the typical tasks of virtual assistants have been presented, it is worthwhile to explore the benefits and drawbacks of hiring a virtual assistant.

What are the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant?

1. Increases Efficiency

An entrepreneur who is just starting with his business may have the belief that he has the ability to perform all the tasks involved in operating his own business. But, as time passes, handling everyday tasks may be energy-draining.

Business ownership entails meeting with clients while preparing financial reports, responding to client messages and e-mails, scheduling meetings, planning marketing strategies and business presentations.

Being too occupied with every activity that one’s business is facing can reduce efficiency. Efficiency is of paramount importance to a business and its employees, especially if it aims for long-term growth. 

Leveraging virtual assistants to one’s business opens up the possibility for higher efficiency; hence, one may focus on urgent matters and core activities. This includes activity innovation which paves the way for greater sales and business expansion.

2. Contributes in Scaling a Business

A business person with a powerful strategy to effectively run their business will, without a doubt, expand their enterprise for a long-term setting.

Business expansion, however similar to starting a business, entails challenges in terms of increase in sales, work and/or output.

A good business should be able to handle those situations in a cost-effective manner. When a business grows, other areas such as the bulk of work and financial matters should not be sacrificed. Otherwise, the business and its staff will suffer. 

To prevent such a situation from happening, it is highly recommended to outsource operations to virtual assistants as the cost of hiring virtual assistants are more affordable compared to staffing one’s business with a full-time resource.

Full-time and in-house staff usually expect better pay along with other auxiliary fees such as insurance and benefits.

On the other hand, virtual assistants’ rates are negotiable and are not tied to other forms of compensation such as benefits and insurances. Hence, it will not destroy one’s cost of operations.

Virtual assistants can be paid on an hourly basis. The contract can be terminated once a project is done.

This is beneficial to businesses, especially to start-ups that need employees to finish tasks but do not have the necessary funds to pay a domestic employee. 

3. Enhances Productivity

A lot has changed in today’s business scene. It has become more challenging for a business to stay relevant in the competitive market as there are many tools and strategies that are being introduced every day for every business to maximize sales.

As a result, effective tactics on how to generate sales should be the main focus of entrepreneurs.

Presently, devising an efficient and suitable sales strategy for startups will not be possible without the help of a dependable virtual assistant.

Virtual assistants have most probably worked in a multinational industry in their country before they decided to work remotely.

This means they are expected to be skilled in their own area of specialization. For this reason, it shall not be necessary to provide training before virtual assistants start with their remote work. 

What they need is information regarding one’s business and its objectives. With this, previously pending day-to-day tasks can be assigned to virtual assistants who can complete each task at a specified time. 

Without being tied down by unfinished tasks, an entrepreneur can prioritize factors and plans that generate revenue.

4. Fills the Skill-gap

Every business owner needs help every now and then in managing their business efficiently. This is especially true for when the demand for their business continues to grow. 

There are in-demand skills that are in all probability not possessed by an entrepreneur.

They may undoubtedly be competent at business development and client presentations, but lack the skills needed in social media management and overseeing payroll.

The limitations in an entrepreneur’s skills and knowledge make it vital to hire virtual assistants. Virtual assistants are professionals in their respective field of expertise.

They already possess in-depth knowledge with regard to tasks that are crucial to a company’s objectives and success. 

One must expect that virtual assistants who have expert and significant years of experience can produce results with utmost proficiency. 

Virtual assistants are not the typical virtual secretaries or virtual personal assistants people knew in the past.

Today, they play a vital role in the success of one’s business as they are evolving into individuals who can perform different jobs, including digital marketing and payroll preparation.

Therefore, they fill up skills that one’s workforce may lack. 

5. Improves Flexibility

Unlike domestic employees, virtual assistants work in a different time zone. Thus, they can produce expected results as needed.

This is very advantageous to business owners who have clients demanding immediate results. Clients will be more than satisfied with the quick and commendable results provided by remote staff.

As a result, there is a high possibility that happy clients will continue to do business with the company they are partnered with.

Similarly, this is beneficial to online stores that operate globally. Virtual assistants can be made available and provide support 24/7, even during the holidays.

Thus, online stores can accommodate more customers and expand their efficiency in handling various customer concerns and queries.

Virtual assistants can answer queries even after a business’ office hours are over. In the long run, the extended support that virtual assistants can bring to a business’ customers will enhance client satisfaction and B2C relations.

Likewise, it will not hugely affect one’s cost of operations as outsourcing eliminates paying auxiliary fees and night differential in one’s currency.  

Evidently, offshoring tasks will not only increase efficiency and productivity but also lessen operational costs. 

What are the drawbacks of hiring a virtual assistant?

6. Language barrier

English is the universal language. Most people worldwide are expected to understand and speak the language in such a way that there is sensible and worthwhile communication between both parties involved.

However, despite what has been mentioned, miscommunication still occurs due to the fact that there is difference in diction, grammar, culture and social context. 

When a message is not communicated well between employers and virtual staff, there is a tendency that the message will be misinterpreted.

As a result, tasks will be executed differently, and it might be too late to do revisions to tasks that have already been completed. As one would expect, conflict between both parties may arise, damaging their established relationship.

Considering such situation, using slang words, idiomatic expressions and jargons that are not recognized by non-native English speakers should be avoided to prevent any sort of confusion in the future.

In school, individuals whose second language is English were taught formal words, especially when they come from a conservative country.

With this idea in mind, using formal words to communicate with them as well as in confirming if they understand an instruction can aid in operating the business with less hassle.

It also contributes to fostering stronger relationships between the business and the hired virtual assistant.

7. Lack of dedication and commitment

During a job interview, everyone claims to be dedicated and committed to responsibilities which they handle, but they may lose motivation and focus over time.

As for virtual assistants, there is no denying that they are probably working with three or more clients, making it difficult for them to multitask as one client may assign tasks that are more challenging than those assigned by other clients. 

To ensure that virtual assistants will give their full dedication and commitment to the job, it is crucial to clearly communicate one’s rules and objectives before work commences.

Doing so prevents virtual assistants from accepting multiple projects at the same time. This will ensure the smooth flow of completing essential tasks at hand. 

Another piece of advice is to seek virtual assistants from reputable agencies which offer a money-back guarantee. These types of virtual assistant outsourcing agencies only deploy individuals who are highly skilled and fit for the job.

More importantly, agencies ensure that they work with and present virtual assistants who exhibit 100% dedication to their work. 

8. Risk of data security

As the internet evolves, lawless elements who are skilled in illegally gaining access to an individual and business’ sensitive information continue to emerge.

Without realizing it, unsuspecting victims have already given the go-signal for hackers to copy or download their files to their perpetrator’s database.

Personal information stolen online are commonly being used by cybercriminals to their advantage. 

Taking the situation into account, one has to execute a thorough background check before hiring a virtual assistant.

Interviews and tests are also some of the factors that determine whether a candidate is the right fit for one’s company or not. Failure to perform such actions may result in data infringement. 

A dependable and trustworthy virtual assistant should have good data security policies. They understand that it is perilous to share sensitive information to third parties; hence, they use data encryption to protect one’s data.

After the strict process of hiring, it is now safe to divulge confidential information and records to one’s hired virtual assistants in order for them to hit the ground running.

9. Potential for abandonment

Abandonment typically happens despite the rigorous hiring process. Some assistants may not be dedicated enough to get the job done.

When the situation escalates, they choose to leave in the midst of their employment instead of rise up to the growing business demands and challenges. This results in potential losses for the company. 

One way to keep this from happening is to look for resilient candidates who can be relied on even when times are tough. It is best to hire individuals with a proven track record.

Those who were able to contribute positive change to other companies, especially those that were on the verge of falling, are the right people to employ. 

Furthermore, individuals or firms that have been in the business for more than five years serve as evidence that they are stable.

Aside from this, they pride themselves on their achievements, the testimonials or reviews they receive as well as their case studies. 

10. No personal supervision

In a physical office, a leader can easily communicate with their staff whenever there are important matters to be discussed urgently.

Thus, employees can clarify instantly in case there are details unclear to them. On the other hand, in a setting where the staff is hired remotely, communication is done through social media messaging applications such as Skype, WhatsApp and Telegram. 

The problem with using social media applications as the main communication tool between employers and virtual assistants is there can be discrepancies brought about by poor connection or signal.

At times, the sound quality may prevent both parties from receiving a clear message from the other. Internet connection problems may likewise delay meetings and force business owners to reschedule their agenda with their virtual assistants. 

It should also be noted that if doing a task needs supervision, it would be difficult for a leader or a supervisor to monitor the quality of a task that is being handled by a virtual assistant.

This leads to additional time spent in editing to produce a revised version of a task if it does not align with the targeted output. 

Having that in mind, leaders can ask their virtual assistants to submit drafts from time to time or report their progress in order for leaders to give constructive feedback if it is deemed necessary.

The takeaway?

People live in a world in which perfectionism is strived. But, in actuality, as everyone is aware, regardless of a product’s beauty or face value, there will always be glitches that come with it.

This truth applies to hiring virtual assistants. However, if one would analyze every VA situation as uniquely and as carefully, then it can be agreed that the pros outweigh the cons.

Virtual assistants have indeed become a helping hand to business owners as they contribute to the increase of revenue being generated by businesses. Tasks are more well-divided and managed. 

Finding a suitable and competent team of virtual assistants may be a new endeavor for some startups and businesses, but it is also undeniably practical and efficient. 

Are you looking to employ remote staff to fortify your existing roster of dependable employees? We can help you! Check out our lineup of Virtual Assistant Services now.

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