5 Reasons to Hire a Virtual Assistant Right Now
Businesses used to hire virtual assistants to handle excess or spill-over work that were categorized non-essential. While delegating work to these home-based workers presented cost advantages, the primary reason was largely for convenience.
But the evolution of digital technology, the development of the Internet and the popularity of social media networks changed the perspective toward the Virtual Assistant. In addition, recent global events which changed the foundations of business necessitated a shift in strategy. By the new millennium, more businesses were outsourcing services in an effort to streamline business costs.
Virtual assistants is 3 times cheaper than full time employees.
Here’s an infographic with the most important things to know about virtual assistants and outsourcing services.
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The global outsourcing industry has grown from $45.6 Billion in 2000 to $104.6 Billion in 2014. But in recent years, a new trend has emerged. A significant chunk of outsourcing has been coming from another industry; one that has steadily grown over the years and has been alternatively referred to as “freelancing” or “telecommuting”.
In 2014, Elance reported that it had over eight million freelancers in its platform, servicing more than two million clients in over 180 countries and generated $750 Million. Reuters reported in 2012 that one in every five people around the world telecommute or work from home. The highest proportion was at India at 50% of the workforce followed by Indonesia at 34%. From their end, Elance reported that 1/8 or one million of their freelancers are from the Philippines.
Freelancers, telecommuters or virtual assistants have found their place in the business agenda of enterprises regardless of size or scale. Here are five (5) reasons you should hire a Virtual Assistant right now:
- Lower your cost of doing business
The number one reason why businesses hire virtual assistants is to lower their costs. It has been estimated that hiring a Virtual Assistant over a Full-Time Employee or FTE will save you 78% in operating costs per year.
Why? Because virtual assistants are self-employed; they own their own enterprise which is the virtual assistance business. This means they are accountable for all of the expenses they incur in the conduct of their services.
When you hire a Virtual Assistant, you don’t pay additional benefits, allocate rental space for work, subscribe to higher Internet bandwidth or incur incremental expenses in utilities.
You can even lower your business costs by hiring virtual assistants from remote locations such as the Philippines or India. In the Philippines for example, you can hire a Virtual Assistant who works 8 hours, 22 days a week at an initial rate of $7 per hour.
- Increase your level of productivity
Hiring a Virtual Assistant is a double-edged sword in achieving profitability because not only does the strategy lower business cost but it also increases productivity.
A remote study conducted by CTrip on its employees showed that 13% of employees work better from home. This study, along with several other reports, has encouraged several large companies to include telecommuting as part of their workforce strategy. The study continues that companies save up to $11,000 per annum per employee by integrating telecommuting in their manpower complement.
Hiring virtual assistants or those who work from their homes increases productivity for two reasons:
- It affords you more time to focus or attend to core functions that demand your expertise.
- Virtual assistants today are more skilled and cover different disciplines.
Over the years, we have developed a more distinctive profile of the Virtual Assistant. In a survey conducted since 2007 covering more than 761 virtual assistants worldwide, VA Networking came up with a number of interesting statistics which firm up the qualification of a Virtual Assistant:
- 8% are female
- 3% are married
- 1% have children
- 2% finished college
- 5% spent some time as a private employee
- 9% are full-time virtual assistants
- 5% do not specialize in any niche
- 9% work 31 to 40 hours a week
- 5% are from the United States, 5.2% are from Australia
- 4% have a website
- 2% turnover less than 10% of clients per month
- 9% manage 1-4 clients at a time
What these numbers tell us is that the typical Virtual Assistant is mature with a good sense of responsibility, has good academic background, work experience and approach the job as a true professional.
- Improve efficiency
Hiring virtual assistants also improve efficiency because you get more work done in less time and cost. 87.7% of virtual assistants are paid on a productive hour basis. This means they will only be compensated when they have accomplished pre-defined milestones.
By comparison, a full-time employee is paid a fixed rate per hour per day as mandated by law. This means that in a typical 8-hour work shift, you will have to pay the employee his hourly wage whether it is productive or not. In a study by business coach, Steve Pavlina, he revealed that the average office worker only accounts for 90 minutes of productive work per day.
From 2009 to 2013, US companies have increased its proportion of telecommuters to regular office workers from 51% to 58%. The reasons for the increase are better productivity, lower turnover rate and improved costs.
Since virtual assistants have previous work experience, they require minimal training time. You can get them to work right away without having to worry much about mistakes and common issues faced with first-time office employees.
- Add business flexibility
Majority of people who make the transition to the virtual assistance work do so because of flexibility. They want to manage their own time so they can be with their families and attend to other aspects of their respective lives.
But the advantage of having flexibility goes both ways. Because virtual assistants do not follow rigidly structured work schedules, you can designate them to manage work hours that would be beneficial to your business.
For example, if you plan to have 24-7 customer service, you can hire virtual assistants from different parts of the world to manage shifts throughout your workday. The time zone differentials will work in your favor. All customer service issues can be effectively attended to as they come in.
- Achieve balance in life!
Perhaps the only unquantifiable value of hiring a Virtual Assistant is he or she can help you achieve balance in life simply by affording you the benefit of time. With trusted virtual assistants in place, you can be like Tim Ferris and explore the world while your business continues to run.
When you are able to find time for the things that matter most in life, you become more productive. After all, ask yourself this simple question: “Why do you work?” If you work only to pay the bills, then you are simply existing; not living. To live is to experience life.