If anybody is not yet familiar with ‘virtual assistants’, I’ll brief you, but the term is pretty much self-explanatory. A virtual assistant is simply someone that does administrative (and higher level) tasks for you from a remote location. Since technology has lowered the costs of computers, broadband Internet and other communication mediums, having somebody in a remote location doing all the little stuff that you don’t want to do can be a huge relief . In his book The Four Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss talks about how he and other “New Rich” use virtual assistants and similar means of outsourcing mundane tasks to enable them to live the lifestyles of their choosing.
This post is specifically for those of you that are not yet utilizing virtual assistants. If you are a flying solo as an entrepreneur or service professional, you will be intrigued – I promise. Without further adieu, I am going to dig a little deeper and share with you the Top 5 Reasons You Need To Get a Virtual Assistant – and NOW.
- You will be forced to analyze which things you do that are really important
Getting a virtual assistant will force you to break down some of the tasks you do on a regular basis and chop them down into bite sized chunks. You see, virtual assistants are not magic assistants. Therefore, you need to pour out all of the things that are just in your head out onto paper. The process of doing this will help you learn how much time you spend on things you could be having someone else do. They key to having some sanity as a business owner is, at some point, being able to take a break and watch the fruits of your labor grow.
You may be in trouble (or paradise, depending upon which was you look at it) if you discover that you can have virtual assistants take over your entire business day. If this is the case, fear not. You just have that much more upside potential to keep adding value to your customers.
- You will have a fresh perspective on how you organize yourself and your workload
Once you begin working with your virtual assistant, and you realize which activities you do that are core to your business, you will be much more organized and focused. Trust me, almost every business owner feels bogged down in the minutiae at given times throughout the day. When you can clear some of the crap out of your day, your mind feels liberated and your productive juices get flowing. You will be free to concentrate your energy on the most important things
Achtung! (that means ‘Warning’ for those of you non-German speakers and non U2 fans). Don’t use a virtual assistant as a means of letting yourself wander into the entrepreneurial abyss. Make sure you get crystal clear about your goals and objectives before delegating like crazy.
- You can work from anywhere – and so can they
If you hire an assistant and they have to come into your office, chances are you are going to have to show up a great deal of the time to manage that person. This further chains you to your office and doesn’t allow you to spend as much discretionary time as you want (read: out getting more business or having fun – or both). When you set up for a virtual assistant, you are focused on ‘deliverables’, the end product. Does it really matter to you that the person works in their underwear with a Bloody Mary in their hand at 5:30 a.m.? Well, it might, but let’s just assume you aren’t going to know either way. You just want the work done, and done well, on time and on budget.
It helps if your virtual assistant is friendly, I’ll give you that.
To put it as simply as I can, virtual assistants give you more flexibility to get the things you want done. Flexibility is one of the most necessary attributes of being successful in business – and in life.
- Your communication skills will increase exponentially
Most people are bad communicators. Gasp! Yes, I said it. We all need to work on our communication skills. Most problems in the world are problems of information and communication, or some combination of the two. How many people do you know cannot put clear and concise thoughts into an email? How many people do you know that cannot leave enough of a voice mail to get what they want? (think: leaving a call back number, reason for calling, etc).
When you work with a virtual assistant, your communication skills will rocket to the next level in a heart-beat. You will be amazed at how quickly and easily you will be able to put your thoughts and words into actions that get results. Working with a virtual assistant will help you utilize email, voice mail, telephone, instant messenger and collaboration software (Go To My PC, WebEx, etc). more effectively.
- You will realize how fast you can leverage your virtual assistant to help you GROW YOUR BUSINESS
Surprise, surprise! Yep, growing your business is perhaps the best benefit of having a virtual assistant. You see, once you learn how to break down tasks and processes to have someone do remotely, typically for lower cost than “in-house” (think avoiding payroll taxes and extra office space and equipment versus offshore – though offshore works very well also), you will see unlimited growth opportunities for your business. You can leverage a virtual army, if you want, to vault you into the top tax bracket.
So, what are you waiting for? To get started finding a virtual assistant check out the following sites:
www.elance.com – A great site that connects you with freelance professionals and outsourcing companies globally
www.guru.com – Another great site that that connects you with freelance professionals and outsourcing companies across the world
www.craigslist.org – The biggest and most popular online classified site
I have found great virtual assistants, outsourcing service providers and free lance professionals on all of these sites. Dig in and get going.