Businesses used to hire a freelance virtual assistant to handle excess or spillover work that was categorised 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 required a shift in strategy. By the new millennium, more businesses were outsourcing services in an effort to streamline business costs.
Here’s an infographic with the most important things to know about virtual assistant and outsourcing services.
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5 Reasons To Hire An Experienced Virtual Assistant Right Now
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 on its platform, servicing more than two million clients in over 180 countries and generating $750 Million.
Reuters reported in 2012 that one in every five people around the world telecommute or work from home. The highest proportion was in 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 operations of enterprises regardless of size or scale. And any business owner who has experienced the benefits of hiring a virtual office assistant for all kinds of administrative tasks will understand the value for business productivity.
Here are five reasons you should hire a virtual assistant right now:
1 – Lower Your Cost Of Doing Business
The number one reason why businesses hire a trained virtual assistant is to lower their costs. It has been estimated that hiring a virtual assistant over a full-time employee will save you 78% in operating costs per year.
Why? Because trained virtual assistants are self-employed or hired by an outsourcing agency. This means that someone else is accountable for all of the expenses, employee benefits, and operational costs like office space 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 a remote location such as the Philippines or India. In the Philippines, for example, you can hire a Virtual Assistant who works 8 hours, 5 days a week at an initial rate of $7 per hour.
This can include virtual assistant work like data entry, word processing, or any kind of repetitive tasks to provide business support.
2 – Increase Your Level Of Productivity
Hiring a Virtual Assistant is a double-edged sword in achieving profitability because not only does the strategy lower your own 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 employment strategy leading to increased business growth.
Hiring virtual assistants or those who work from their homes increases productivity for two reasons:
- It gives you more time to focus or attend to all the tasks that demand your expertise.
- Virtual assistants today are highly skilled in IT and administrative services allowing you to outsource more time-consuming, mundane tasks.
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 defined 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 specialise 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 several tasks for 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 a good academic background, work experience, and approaches the job as a true professional.
All of these things should give small business owners the confidence that a virtual assistant will help them increase productivity.
3 – Improve Efficiency
Hiring virtual assistants also improves 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, full-time employees are 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 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 increased the 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.
And there’s one other major advantage that Outsource Workers can offer.
Because all our virtual assistants have previous work experience, they require minimal training time. You can get them to work right away without having to allocate a lot of time to train them on mundane or complex tasks.
From a project management point of view, that saves a lot of upfront costs for onboarding and training, which ultimately makes your business more dollar productive.
4 – Add Business Flexibility
The majority of people who make the transition to virtual assistant services 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 VAs 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 for answering phone calls. The time zone differentials will work in your favour. All customer service issues can be effectively attended to as they come in.
And you can extend the same concept to every aspect of your business. Whether you need someone to look after social media management to have new posts ready first thing in the morning or need certain data entry completed outside of normal office hours, a virtual assistant in a different time zone will make those important tasks possible.
Or think about waking up to a completely organised email inbox because your virtual assistant got everything categorised so you can start your day with productive work.
The more specific tasks are tied to inconvenient times, the better they are suitable for handing over to a virtual assistant.
5 – Achieve Balance In Life!
Perhaps the only unquantifiable value of hiring a virtual assistant is that they can help you achieve balance in life simply by affording you the benefit of time. With trusted VAs in place, you can be like Tim Ferris and explore the world while your business continues to run.
Or, you can simply focus your attention on the most dollar-productive tasks without having to waste time on boring stuff like social media management or scheduling meetings.
And the more productive hours business owners and managers have, the better an organisation will operate.
When you are able to find more hours 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.
Find Out How Fast You Can Have A Virtual Assistant On Your Team
If you want to find out how much of a difference a virtual assistant can make for your business and overall time management, then contact our team at Outsource Workers.
We have created the best virtual assistant services that give small businesses a hands-off experience when it comes to hiring a new virtual team member.
Rather than having to go through weeks of finding the right person with the ideal skill set, we can allocate one of our VAs based on your business needs. We take care of specific training needs and ensure that your virtual assistant has all the technical expertise and great communication skills to contribute to your business’s success.