Boost Productivity with a Virtual Assistant

Every day I have at least ten things that I need to get done. Some days, work doubles up as items from the previous days remain undone and accumulate. Receiving a call from a creditor, supplier or associate asking if I had attended to the billing statement, invoice or business proposal is not good for my reputation. When this happens, plans for today or the next few days are disrupted because these items have now climbed up the “to-do” list.

As business owners, we try to do our best to be professional in meeting deadlines and having things done on a daily basis and move our enterprise further down the long and winding road to success.

We’re risk-takers who have the confidence in our abilities to grow our business regardless of obstacles that lay ahead. We’re “Superman”; faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than locomotive able to accomplish a million tasks in a single day.

But we’re not.

The truth is, most if not all business owners can and should only focus on three items every day. I structure my “to-do” list based on PROTI or Potential Return on Time Invested. These are the items that I believe deserve most of my time because of their relevance to the enterprise. The bottom third of the list are categorized as non-essentials which doesn’t mean they are not important. But most of these items have a “due date” or expected period of delivery which grants me some luxury of time.

Eventually, these items expose another weakness in my business organization: calendar-management.

Not addressing these so-called non-essentials can harm the business through payment penalties and poor industry reputation.

The obvious solution would be to hire an office assistant who can manage tasks 4 to 10. But this will increase monthly operating costs by adjusting payroll, benefits, internet and phone usage.  A transfer of office to a bigger location may be required and this will increase monthly rental expense. Sure, having an office assistant onboard will get more things done but what should the incremental return on my business have to be in order to justify hiring another employee? The salary of an office assistant starts at $20 per hour.

I’m sure my experience and dilemma is common to other business owners.

A better option would be to hire a Virtual Assistant.

As the term implies, a Virtual Assistant or VA works online. He or she is a contracted independent virtual employee and freelancer. So they are accountable for their own expenses. They are not paid benefits by those who contract their services. Because their overhead expenses are low, a VA offers more flexibility in costs. Some will charge on a per hour basis but the rates typically do not exceed $10 per hour. If you contract a Virtual Assistant from a remote location as the Philippines, the rates average $7 per hour. Other VA’s will charge on a “per project” basis whereby payment is contingent on the accomplishment of milestones set by the client.

Since the 1990’s, the industry for online workers has increased significantly. Factors that contributed to its growth include the evolution of mobile technology, massive job layoffs brought about by economic turbulence, the growth of social media of business and the need to re-align resources from non-core to core activities.

There are so many online workers today that you have a large pool of talent available on a global scale. You can outsource services to a VA that cover more than just secretarial work. Other services that you can outsource include payroll preparation, bookkeeping, writing, social media marketing and market research. There are online job market places, networks and platforms a business owner can access and qualify their VA.

In addition to their online freelancer profiles in these job networks, I suggest checking their personal profiles on various social networks. Viewing what they share on a social networking site gives me an idea of the kind of people they are. I also search their name online to check if the candidate has been involved in illegal activity.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant is the best solution to managing a workday. You can stay within your schedule and be assured everything on your list will be taken care of. The end result is higher productivity and greater strides to accomplishing your business goals.