By Kevin Leyes, Chairman of Leyes Enterprises and the CEO of Leyes Media, an SMM and PR agency, and Team Leyes, an urban jewelry company.
Running a business requires taking on many tasks and responsibilities. In many cases, it can be overwhelming, and you may need support daily.
As a business grows, it may require greater efforts to help support this growth. This means that you may need to acquire new resources to avoid overloading yourself and to help keep your business on track.
It is precisely for these reasons that you may benefit from hiring a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants are increasingly popular among freelancers, entrepreneurs and large business owners — mainly because they can help in so many different ways.
Personally, hiring a virtual assistant has allowed me to dispense with some simple tasks — such as scheduling events, answering some emails and scheduling meetings — and give more attention to those that require my continuous presence.
What Is A Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is essentially an administrative assistant who helps with a diverse array of professional functions to support a company remotely. They are also known as online secretaries or online assistants. Many of them handle the same types of tasks as a traditional secretary, but without the need for a physical space in your office. A variety of technology tools allow them to effectively carry out tasks from afar.
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Why Hire A Virtual Assistant?
There are many advantages to hiring virtual assistants. Some of the main benefits are:
• Experience: A virtual assistant may specialize in a particular area or have the ability to perform many different tasks. They are likely to have valuable experience working for different types of companies, as well as the ability to adapt to different environments.
• No physical space is required: Hiring a virtual assistant does not require any modification to your company’s physical space, since they work remotely.
• It saves time and money: Hiring a virtual assistant can save you time and money. You often don’t have to go through a lengthy recruitment or interview process. And you can save money by hiring a virtual assistant as an as-needed contract worker instead of a full-time salaried employee.
• It can increase your productivity and customer response time: By hiring a virtual assistant, you can increase your productivity and ensure that customers receive timely responses. If you are too busy to respond quickly to customer inquiries, for example, a virtual assistant can take this task off your hands. This not only ensures that your customers are taken care of, but it also frees you up to do other work.
How And Where To Find A Virtual Assistant
There are many websites where you can easily find virtual assistants — Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr are a few of the most popular platforms. Although choosing the right person may seem like a complex process, there are some important elements to consider:
• Your needs: Determine your company’s needs before you begin searching for a virtual assistant. This way, you will know when you find the right person with the right knowledge to work for your business. Mainly, analyze what tasks you want to delegate and the skills needed for those tasks; this will help you determine what kind of person to look for, and when you will need them. In addition, identify your company’s major weaknesses. For example, if users complain about the time it takes you to answer a query, this may be a weakness that a virtual assistant could address.
• Fluid communication: If you need a virtual assistant to help with customer service, finding someone with excellent communication skills is a must. When you’re considering candidates, establish communication with them. This will allow you to evaluate their skills. You also can test their abilities by role-playing: Pretend you’re a potential client, and see how they respond to you.
• Proper knowledge: Pay close attention to candidates’ work experience; this will give you an idea of whether they have the relevant knowledge and experience.
As you evaluate candidates, ask key questions, either through a questionnaire or a simple form (I use Google Forms). Or consider conducting an interview via video call. This will give you an even clearer view of the person.
I’ve found that one of the most useful questions is: “Why did you decide to apply for this job?” It is also useful to have them record short videos pointing out why they think they are appropriate for the position. This can provide you with greater clarity on whether the person will be a good fit for the job, and whether you feel a connection with them.
Working hand in hand with a virtual assistant can be a step forward in the optimization of many of your company’s processes. But finding the right person is crucial. Be sure to identify your company’s specific needs and find someone who’s a good fit.
This article appeared first on forbes.com