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Why Entrepreneurs Should Hire Virtual Assistants To Stay Competitive In A Digital World

Barnaby

Barnaby Lashbrooke

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

9 minute read

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In the fast-paced and highly competitive landscape of business ownership, the effective management of time and resources can often make the difference between stagnation and rapid business growth.

For many entrepreneurs and small business owners, hiring a virtual assistant (VA) is not just a passing trend, but a strategic decision that can greatly enhance your business in ways you may not have thought possible.

Challenging the traditional work model

The typical workday of an entrepreneur can often seem like a constant juggling act, with the relentless, sometimes mundane, administrative tasks competing for attention alongside high-level strategic decision-making and development.

So in an era where the lines between professional and personal life are increasingly blurred, and work-life balance is seen as a pipe dream, outsourcing tasks has emerged as a critical means of maintaining focus and control and, ultimately, success.

Enter the virtual assistant—a remote professional equipped with a range of skills to handle the varied administrative tasks needed to keep any enterprise running smoothly. What used to be seen as something only big companies could bring on board is now a must-have for entrepreneurs of any size.

What is a virtual assistant?

To really grasp why virtual assistants are so important, let's break down what they actually do.

A virtual assistant is an independent contractor who provides administrative services to clients while operating from a remote location, often a home office space. These individuals are highly skilled and can complete a broad range of tasks, from the standard to the more specialized, at a fraction of the cost of hiring full-time employees.

Another great advantage that virtual assistance offers is access to a global talent pool. No longer bound by geographical limitations, you can handpick your team members from a diverse selection of professionals based on capabilities, experience, and even working hours. This global marketplace of skills fosters innovation and diversity within an organization, bringing fresh ideas and perspectives.

For those willing to take the leap, hiring a virtual assistant to handle routine tasks is not just an operational convenience but a strategic investment in the longevity and growth of their ventures.

So, let's dive into how virtual assistants can help you level up your business operations.

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Improved efficiency and productivity

An entrepreneur's most precious commodity is their time. Efficiency, time management, and productivity are the cornerstones of success and the pivotal point where a virtual assistant can have the most significant impact.

Save time and energy

Entrepreneurs are often spread thin across a multitude of repetitive tasks, and administrative responsibilities many of which, while necessary, don't directly contribute to their business growth.

In fact, an often-cited report estimated that business owners devote 68% of their time to handling these day-to-day tasks and putting out fires, leaving only 32% for the more strategic aspects of their role that drive growth and profitability.

The most successful among us understand the value of their time and energy. They know that simply working through your to-do list and 'getting things done' isn’t enough to propel a business toward success. That’s only possible if the right things are getting done.

See: 50 Tasks You Can Outsource To A Virtual Assistant To Save Time In Your Business

Focus on your core competencies

By entrusting virtual assistants with these routine tasks, entrepreneurs reclaim precious time to concentrate on what truly matters: their core competencies.

Why is this so important?

  • Competitive advantage: Core competencies are the unique strengths and capabilities that set you apart from others. By focusing on these areas, business owners can leverage their distinctiveness to create value for customers, build brand reputation, and establish a competitive advantage in the market.
  • Efficiency and effectiveness: Instead of spreading yourself too thin across various tasks and functions, leveraging your expertise and experience in these areas makes it easier to streamline processes, optimize performance, and deliver superior products or services to customers.
  • Innovation and growth: Core competencies often serve as the foundation for innovation and differentiation. By investing in and continuously refining these areas of expertise, business owners can innovate faster, introduce new products or services, and stay ahead of evolving market trends. This innovation drives growth, enhances brand reputation, and attracts new customers.
  • Alignment with customer needs: Core competencies often align closely with customer needs, preferences, and expectations. By focusing on these areas, businesses can better understand and address pain points, deliver solutions that resonate with their target audience, and build lasting relationships based on trust and customer satisfaction.

So whether it's brainstorming innovative strategies, nurturing client relationships, or refining products and services, virtual assistants make it possible for you to channel your energy into high-impact, critical tasks that boost your competitive advantage and drive your business forward.

See: Why Focusing On Your Unique Ability Is Crucial For Business Success

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Scalability and flexibility for the future

In a world where change is the only constant, virtual assistants offer a flexible, scalable support system that can adapt to your company's needs without the hassle of hiring or firing employees.

No long-term contracts or commitments

When you hire virtual assistants through a fully managed service, you typically choose monthly packages or subscriptions based on how much support you need.

For example, if you're having a busy month, you can get additional support without any hassle. If you're going through a quiet month and things are less hectic than usual, you can easily reduce your monthly support hours. Some services, like Time etc, offer plans that allow any unused hours to roll over into the following month so you don't lose out. This can be really useful when your workload picks up again!

You're always covered

For larger companies, employees taking time off is usually manageable. However, for smaller or newer businesses with limited team members, covering for absences can be challenging. Even a few days without coverage could cause significant disruptions.

But hiring a virtual assistant through a fully-managed service means this worry becomes a thing of the past. You'll have a dedicated account manager making sure your tasks are always taken care of. In the event that your virtual assistant takes time off, arrangements will be made for another capable assistant to step in seamlessly during their absence.

Cost-effectiveness

The cost savings of hiring virtual assistants are a compelling argument for any business owner looking to maximize their resources.

Reduce your overheads

When it comes to running a successful, profitable business, keeping overhead costs low is essential.

But if you hire someone to work in-house, expenses can seriously pile up even before their first day. You have to provide them with all the equipment and supplies they need for their role, as well as a suitable space for them to work—the latter being the second-largest overall expense and the single-largest fixed cost your business will accrue over time. And while your monthly revenue may fluctuate, these overheads remain consistent.

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Due to the remote nature of their work, hiring virtual assistants means you don't have to worry about carving out space in your budget for physical office space, utilities, and equipment.

Save money on salaries

At first, when you check the hourly rates of hiring a virtual assistant versus a full-time employee, it might seem like an employee is cheaper. But here's the thing: with a virtual assistant, you only pay for the time they spend actually working on your tasks, as little or as much as you need.

Let's break it down further. Recent reports show that the average full-time employee is productive for around 2 hours and 58 minutes each day. So, what could cost you around $200 to pay a full-time assistant for the day would only be about $106.92 for the same amount of productive time with a virtual assistant.

Plus, because virtual assistants are independent contractors, you don't have to worry about providing any additional employee benefits, either.

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When you tally everything up, hiring a virtual assistant can save you up to 90% compared to a full-time, in-house employee. You can redirect those freed-up financial resources toward strategic initiatives that drive growth and innovation.

Access to specialized skills

Entrepreneurs are often the hardest workers, and it’s natural to want to do everything yourself when you’re used to being the founder, the visionary, the innovator, and the creative lead for your business.

But the truth is, everyone has different skills, and we can all achieve more when we focus on our strengths. Because let’s be honest, you may be an expert at strategic planning, have a knack for client engagement, or be a master at content writing, for example, but the chances are that you won’t be everything at once.

So, hiring the right virtual assistant doesn't just lighten your workload, it also fills in any skill gaps you might have, making your team stronger and your business more successful. Just ask Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group. He'll tell you, "When my friends and I started up Virgin, I knew that I was lacking vital knowledge on some subjects, and so I started learning (delegation) very early on in my career."

No need for extensive training

Another significant benefit of hiring virtual assistants is that they bring these specialized skills to the table without requiring you to spend your valuable resources on hiring additional employees to bridge the gaps or training your existing team.

For example, all assistants at Time etc are skilled professionals with a minimum of five years of prior experience in a relevant professional setting (many of whom gained their experience at companies such as AOL, Apple, and Virgin), so you can be confident they've got what it takes to handle your tasks well.

But as we all know, the needs and demands of a business can change considerably month-on-month and year-on-year, especially during periods of growth. And as we've mentioned, different people have different skills. If you need to assign multiple tasks to your virtual assistant, it can become difficult for one individual to tick every box in terms of the skills and experience needed.

Thankfully, fully managed services like Time etc have got you covered.

Let's say you wanted to hire a virtual assistant for a specific purpose, like scheduling appointments and managing your inbox. A few months later, you reach the point where you need to offload more varied or specialized tasks to free up more time in your schedule, like creating graphics for social media posts, for example. If your virtual assistant doesn't have the skills or experience you need to take on these extra tasks, you can add additional assistants to your team at no extra cost to make sure all bases are covered.

See: How To Successfully Work With Multiple Virtual Assistants: Top Tips For Entrepreneurs

What's the bottom line?

Hiring virtual assistants for administrative support is a game-changing solution for any business owner looking to save money and hassle.

Offloading non-core tasks makes it possible for entrepreneurs to optimize resource allocation, streamline operations, and focus on core business activities. By leveraging the expertise and flexibility of remote professionals, entrepreneurs can achieve greater efficiency, scalability, and competitiveness in today's ever-evolving business landscape.

So why not give it a shot and see the impact a virtual assistant can have on your business?

Speak to our expert team to get started, and we'll set you up with a dedicated virtual assistant who will help you take back control of your to-do list and take your business further.

Or try us out for free today!

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About the author

Barnaby
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.

Psssst...want a free copy of my book The Hard Work Myth?

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