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What Is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant provides online support services to businesses and entrepreneurs while working from a remote location. While administrative duties are the most common to outsource to virtual assistants, virtual assistant services encompass a broad range of tasks. Business owners have employed at-home secretaries since the early 1980s, but the advent of the internet a decade later caused this form of employment to soar. These professionals became known as the first virtual assistants.
Virtual assistants continue to serve as one of the most valuable tools for small business owners and entrepreneurs around the world who want to streamline their operations, improve their bottom line, and improve their success rate with prospective customers. Some people mistakenly assume that virtual assistant services are only useful for large businesses, but a small business can also utilize virtual staff members, whether for general administrative duties or specific tasks like digital marketing or management of social media accounts. A virtual assistant can fulfill all of the same responsibilities as an in-person assistant while saving you time, money, and effort.
Types of Virtual Assistants
Here are some of the most common types of virtual assistants, along with their typical work tasks:
General Administrative Assistants
General virtual administrative assistants are responsible for managing emails and phone calls, scheduling appointments, organizing your to-do list, updating your calendar, organizing important business documents, entering data into your company system, preparing reports, and any other tasks an in-person executive assistant would perform.
Virtual digital marketers focus on increasing brand recognition and awareness, conducting research into your company to determine the most valuable keywords, optimizing your content to increase your SEO rankings, setting up automated processes to improve customer experience, and generating and overseeing campaigns via paid ads, content marketing, email marketing, social media management, and other types of marketing.
Social Media Marketers
Virtual social media marketers create social media accounts, write content to share on social media platforms, schedule these posts to appear at specific times of the day that are most likely to engage customers, promote your brand, manage interactions with customers, monitor competitors, and analyze performance metrics and analytics to determine which content or website shows the most successful results in engaging and converting customers.
Other Types of Virtual Assistants
Virtual assistants can also help small business owners by acting as sales and customer service representatives, executive assistants, business consultants, project and operations managers, advertising specialists, email managers, web designers, graphic designers, branding experts, writers, bloggers, translators, video editors, and much more.
Benefits of Hiring Virtual Staff
Hiring a pre-vetted virtual assistant saves you the time it takes to post job advertisements, complete resume screening, organize and conduct interviews, and train staff members. Because virtual assistants are skilled professionals, you do not need to perform lengthy, expensive training to get them started or involve a middleman in the process. After they are hired, you can focus on the high-priority tasks of running your business rather than wasting your valuable time on mundane tasks like scheduling appointments or monitoring your website’s SEO.
Outsourcing tasks to a virtual professional at an hourly rate or independent contractor saves you the operation costs, training costs, and many of the other expenses required to maintain a full-time employee. Because a VA works from home, you are not responsible for providing office equipment and other tools they need to perform their tasks. If you’re hiring someone who is already an expert in their field, you’ll be saving the cost of training them. Unlike a salaried employee, you only pay a VA for the time they actually perform work for you. Finally, you avoid additional expenses associated with hiring a full-time employee, such as health care, paid leave, disability, and payroll taxes.
Hiring in-person employees is an incredibly time-consuming and complicated process, made even more challenging if you end up with the wrong employee and are forced to start the hiring process all over again. When you hire a virtual assistant, you know they have the experience, training, and skill to effectively perform the tasks you assign to them. If you have issues with your VA, there is no need to involve Human Resources – you simply report your problem to the virtual assistant services company, and they will either resolve it or provide a new assistant.
Grow Your Business
A virtual assistant can help you streamline business operations, maximize revenue, and facilitate growth. By allowing you to delegate tasks like answering emails or monitoring marketing campaigns to virtual assistants, you can focus your attention on the aspects of your business that only you can handle, such as overseeing financial matters and building relationships with new clients. This not only provides an immediate return on investment but also helps you prepare for the future by building a solid foundation to support the long-term, efficient operation of your business.
How Do I Hire a Virtual Assistant?
Step 1: Determine If You Need Help
If any of the following situations apply to you, you should consider hiring a virtual assistant:
- You work longer hours than you would like but you still often feel as if you are not getting enough done.
- You feel stressed out and overwhelmed with the size of your workload.
- You find yourself dedicating a large portion of your time to administrative work or other monotonous tasks that could be delegated to someone else.
- You believe you could use your time more productively and experience less stress by focusing on the most high-priority tasks.
- You want to avoid the time commitment, cost, and hassle of recruiting, hiring, and training an in-person employee.
- You know that you need help, but your budget constraints mean you cannot afford to add another full-time employee to your staff.
Step 2: Select Tasks for Your Virtual Assistant
Professional virtual assistants can perform a wide range of tasks, so it is important that you select specific tasks that allow them to provide the most value for your business. Deciding on which tasks you will delegate in advance is essential for ensuring you choose the right person to fill this role, especially if you work in a field requiring specialized knowledge. Virtual assistants most often help with:
- Administrative tasks. Scheduling meetings, organizing files, communicating with clients
- Marketing tasks. SEO strategies, email marketing, social media marketing
- Budgeting tasks. Bookkeeping, writing invoices, creating financial reports
- Personal tasks. Organizing to-do lists, booking travel arrangements, making purchases
- Content creation. Conducting research, writing content, uploading it online
If you are unsure about which responsibilities to delegate, spend a minimum of three workdays keeping a detailed inventory of every task you complete as part of your regular business duties. Then make a list that includes the following sections:
- Tasks you do not want to perform
- Tasks you do not have time to perform
- Tasks you do not have the skills or knowledge to perform
- Tasks that could be performed better or more efficiently by someone else
- Repetitive tasks that consume a large portion of your time
Ideally, you should hire a virtual assistant to handle the above work so you can focus on fulfilling the responsibilities that only you can do. Prioritize these tasks to decide which ones can be accomplished by a virtual administrative assistant and which ones may require a VA with specialized knowledge or training.
If you run a law firm, health care facility, real estate company, or property management office, Virtual Latinos has virtual assistants with extensive experience in providing general support, sales assistance, customer service and support, marketing, and other tasks specific to that particular industry.
Step 3: Establish Your Budget
The next step is to establish your budget. Calculating the value of the tasks you want to delegate to a virtual assistant allows you to estimate how much you can expect to spend to hire a virtual assistant, as well as how much you can save in the long term with this service.
Several factors can influence the cost of your VA, primarily the type of service you need, the number of years of experience you would like your VA to have, the country they are located in, and the number of hours you want to hire them for. More experienced virtual assistants with specialized knowledge will generally charge more than professionals who are newer to the industry or offer only general services. Typically, virtual assistant services cost $3-$75 per hour.
We suggest creating a benchmark value and hiring a virtual assistant for any recurring tasks that can be outsourced for less than this amount. Generally, most tasks that can be completed for less than $30 an hour are best suited for virtual assistants.
Step 4: Find Virtual Assistants
Now you are ready to find a virtual assistant. Virtual Latinos offers a comprehensive comparison chart that provides vital information on the differences between our virtual assistant services, and your other main options – a U.S.-based, in-person assistant, a U.S.-based virtual assistant, and a virtual assistant from the Philippines. This comparison chart reviews the following details:
- The amount of time it takes to hire an assistant
- Recruitment fees
- Whether they offer pre-vetted talent
- Average price per hour of services
- Whether they offer a quality guarantee
- The flexibility of their VAs’ schedules
- Whether their VAs are certified professionals
- Their availability in your time zone
- The turnover rate of the company
- The success rate of the virtual assistants
Step 5: Create a Job Posting
Create a job posting on a reputable virtual assistant services website that describes what you are looking for. You must clearly explain the role you want them to fill, define the tasks you need them to perform, and outline your expectations for them as an employee.
Step 6: Interview Virtual Assistants
The last step is to interview these candidates individually to determine who best fits your needs, has the qualities you are looking for, and can accommodate your budget.
How We Help You Hire a Virtual Assistant
Our Clients’ Recruitment Process
To find a virtual assistant from Virtual Latinos, you will complete the following recruitment process:
- Register your business in our website, and select a monthly hours package that covers your needs.
- Fill out a short questionnaire to provide information about yourself, your company, and the services or products you offer. Explain the job or tasks you need help with and share what virtual assistant skills you are looking for, such as location, hourly rate, experience, or specific skills.
- Our team reviews these requirements to find the perfect assistant for you. We select the most promising three or four virtual assistants for you so you can avoid a lengthy selection process, then introduce you to them so you can choose the right fit for your business.
- Interview the pre-selected candidates, select your virtual assistant, and sign our agreement.
- Your virtual assistant will begin working with you based on the hourly package you chose and receive payment on a bi-weekly basis after completing their tasks. You will manage your assistant, but our team will supervise their performance while providing ongoing support. We guarantee the quality of our virtual assistants, but if you decide you want to replace them with someone else, we offer replacements at no additional cost.
Behind the Scenes: Virtual Latinos Recruitment Process
Our Assistant Application process directs candidates along a funnel to narrow down the absolute best virtual assistants for our company. We attract top performers throughout Latin America, perform an initial qualification round to determine their suitability for our company, carefully review every application, interview each candidate, and invite those who qualify to perform a test task to ensure they can successfully complete what will be expected of them. At the end of this process, only 7.5% of the candidates from the original pool are accepted into our community.
Why Hire From Virtual Latinos?
At Virtual Latinos, every one of our staff members has extensive work experience, demonstrates written and verbal proficiency in English and Spanish, and was hand-picked from a large pool of applicants to ensure you always receive the highest quality services. 90% of our professional virtual assistants have earned college degrees in their field, and they all work in your time zone, meaning you never have to worry about a delay affecting your customers and damaging your business. We offer all-inclusive virtual assistant services without charging access fees, setup fees, or other additional expenses required by many other virtual assistant companies.
Tips for Managing Your Virtual Assistant
- Make the training process as easy, simple, and transparent as possible.
- Establish a written agreement outlining job responsibilities and expectations.
- Use a project management system to assign specific tasks and track progress without needing to keep up with endless emails and messages.
- Maintain communication to build trust and establish a positive working relationship.
- Schedule regular meetings to ensure you are on the same page and provide an opportunity for your VA to ask questions or request additional clarification.
- Utilize tools to track performance and productivity.
- Promptly address issues with constructive criticism.
- Familiarize yourself with cultural differences so you can most effectively communicate with your VA.
Top Tools for Outsourcing and Managing Virtual Staff
Our clients primarily use Telegram for instant messaging and Zoom for video calls.
The best document sharing tools are DropBox, Mega, and Google Drive.
Our team uses Infinity, TeamWork, ActiveCollab, and Trello for project management.
SEO and Analytics
Our favorite SEO and analytics tools are Google Analytics, AccuRanker, SE Ranking, Capturly, Oviond, and BrandMentions.
For a complete list of our favorites, visit our webpage on recommended tools and software.
Improve Your Business Today by Hiring a Virtual Assistant
If you are ready to elevate your business to the next level, contact Virtual Latinos today to hire a virtual assistant. We are consistently regarded as one of the best virtual assistant companies in the nation and our expert staff has helped thousands of clients with businesses of all sizes and industries. Hiring a virtual assistant gives you the ultimate freedom and flexibility to most effectively manage your business by delegating responsibilities to skilled, experienced, and dedicated professionals in Latin America.
At Virtual Latinos, our professional virtual assistants work throughout Latin America, including Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Colombia, Ecuador, and Argentina. A virtual assistant can save you time, money, and hassle, allowing you to prioritize your efforts toward growing your business. To learn more about how you can hire a virtual assistant to transform your business, contact Virtual Latinos today.