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When Is It The Right Time To Hire A Virtual Assistant?


Barnaby Lashbrooke

Founder and CEO of Time etc, author of The Hard Work Myth

8 minute read

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For entrepreneurs and small business owners today, it feels like so many tasks are wrapped up in one day. With all the decisions to be made and projects to complete, sometimes it can feel like there’s simply not enough time in the day.

The thought of hiring a virtual assistant (VA) might sound intimidating, especially if you tend to associate virtual assistants with large, successful companies. But before you rule out the idea of hiring one, hear us out.

A VA can take on tedious and time-consuming tasks so that you can focus on the more critical aspects of your business growth. With access to more time and a clearer head, imagine all the possibilities.

So the question is, how do you know if it’s time to hire a virtual assistant?

Keep reading to find out.

Burnout is part of your everyday life

Is your to-do list constantly growing with no end in sight? Are you feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to handle day in and day out? Sadly, it's easy to feel this way when you're trying to take care of everything yourself as a business owner.

While working hard and being passionate about your work is admirable, it can also lead to burnout, negatively impacting your overall health and quality of work. Burnout often leads to fatigue, anger, insomnia, and other mental and physical health issues.

Hiring a virtual assistant to take over some tasks can help you avoid burnout and give your mental health a much-needed break.

Administrative tasks take up most of your day

No matter what industry you’re in as an entrepreneur, you'll always get to a point where you feel you have no time for what matters most. But could it be that you're failing at time management and devoting too much time to less important tasks?

According to a report by Asana, employees in most companies spend 60% of their time on "work about work" and only 27% on crucial tasks like strategizing and planning. "Work about work" refers to repetitive and inefficient tasks such as replying to emails, searching files and documents, and responding to inquiries.

The extra hours you spend on billing, invoicing, and emailing could be better used on higher-value tasks. Furthermore, if you spend so much time on these repetitive activities, putting quality time into projects that will move your business forward will be tough—if not impossible.

We're not suggesting that you neglect or dismiss these back-office admin tasks as unimportant. Instead, you could hire a virtual assistant to help you manage these specific tasks and free up more time. Hiring a VA will also reduce the burden of work and ensure that all tasks are completed on time, leaving you with enough work hours to focus on growing your company.

Your family and friends are complaining about not seeing you often

Running your own business will no doubt be time-consuming. While it’s crucial to dedicate time and effort to making your business successful, having a healthy work-life balance is essential. As Arianna Huffington said, "Living a life in which we work all the time and never prioritize recharging simply isn't sustainable -- not for individuals, and not for companies either."

If you’re continuously missing out on family dinners or your friends are complaining about not seeing you enough, it may be time to find somebody to help lighten your load. You can leave those tedious tasks you tend to complete after business hours to a virtual assistant and start spending more quality time with your loved ones.

A VA can also ensure you don’t take any work home and help you say goodbye to all those late nights spent at the office. When you’re not stressed about unanswered queries or responding to comments on your business's blog, you’ll have time to build relationships outside your business.

You need an extra pair of hands but don't have the resources to hire an in-house team

When business is booming, it can be tempting to take on every new project that comes your way. If you want to satisfy your clients while maintaining quality outputs, you'll need an extra pair of hands. Your first instinct might be to hire an in-house team, but that's not always feasible with the resources available to you.

Hiring in-house assistants means you will incur the cost of employee payroll tax, insurance, and benefits. You might also need to expand your office space to accommodate extra workspaces for your new team members. All these costs can add up to a hefty sum.

A virtual assistant is more affordable and can perform the same duties as an in-house employee. Research shows that if you hire VAs, you can save 78% in operating costs.

These savings mean more money can be invested in other crucial aspects of your business, like marketing and product development. Plus, a virtual assistant is also more flexible since you can scale up and down depending on your workflow without any added costs.

You can't find local talent

With so many industries currently facing labor shortages all over the world, you might have difficulty finding qualified personnel for specific roles in your business. The challenge worsens when you need a full-time employee since you can only hire those within commuting distance. If you're unlucky enough to be in a location where talent is scarce, even hundreds of job ads on the best job boards won't get you the right person.

If you get to this point, you should look outside your city and country to find qualified virtual assistants who can help you with your business. Considering virtual assistants for a small business means having access to a larger pool of talent, increasing your chances of finding someone suitably experienced for the job.

You can find highly skilled personnel who can do the job just as efficiently, if not better, than someone in your vicinity. They don't need to come into an office or relocate, so you won't deal with the headache of visas or immigration. Depending on your business needs, you can find VAs who specialize in different areas like social media management, customer service, scheduling, and inbox management.

You need to grow your business but lack the time and energy

Are your competitors outpacing you? Are you struggling to find the time to plan and strategize for your business? If you’re doing everything in your small business, it's easy to hit a wall and not have enough time to focus on growth or the capacity to think about what else your business needs to grow.

This is perhaps the number one reason why people choose to bring a VA on board. Virtual assistants can take care of almost everything running in the background that stops you from focusing on propelling your business to new heights.

They’ll handle your social media marketing by creating posts, managing campaigns, and engaging with your followers. Your assistant could also refresh your website and source new images for it so you can reach more potential consumers. When your workload becomes much more manageable, you can use your time and energy to plan, strategize and come up with creative ideas to grow your business and outdo your competitors.

You're missing important deadlines

Few things can hurt your brand more than missing deadlines. Customers and clients won’t stick around if you don't deliver your products and services on time. After all, they have options left, right, and center and won't hesitate to find an alternative if they think you're unreliable.

Unfortunately, it's easy to miss deadlines when juggling multiple tasks, moving from one issue to another without pause. Even worse, your work quality may suffer as you rush through tasks to meet deadlines.

Guess the impact? Your customers will recognize the poor quality and may never come back. Now you have to start the customer acquisition process all over again.

Hiring a VA is the best way to get back on track. VAs are organized and won't miss out on any task, no matter how small or insignificant it seems. They'll keep track of deadlines and provide reminders when necessary so that your business remains in good standing with its customers.

What's the bottom line?

In today's ultra-competitive world, even the most experienced entrepreneurs can feel like they’re spread too thin, which makes it tough to find opportunities to scale or improve your operations.

So it's no surprise to hear that so many small businesses outsource to virtual assistants to save money, time, and energy, not to mention take advantage of other valuable benefits.

With an experienced professional keeping all your day-to-day administrative tasks running smoothly in the background, you're free to focus on what matters most. Working with a virtual assistant enables you to accomplish more in less time, and enjoy a less stressful and more balanced life.

Are you ready to take back control of your time with a virtual assistant?

Instead of wasting precious time and money trying to find a candidate that's the right fit for your business, Time etc is here for you. Our expert team will carefully match you with an assistant based on the skills, experience, and even personality traits you need.

Our virtual assistants must pass a rigorous 10-stage process to join us, so you can be safe in the knowledge that you’ll only ever work with someone that’s dedicated to providing quality support.

Speak to our expert team to get started or try a skilled virtual assistant for free today.

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About the author

Barnaby Lashbrooke is the founder and CEO of Virtual Assistant service Time etc as well as the author of The Hard Work Myth, recently recommended by Sir Richard Branson. Barnaby is a Forbes Columnist on productivity and is also an accomplished entrepreneur, selling more than $35 million worth of services.

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