As a new freelancer, there are typically more than enough hours in the day to manage your administrative tasks since your schedule isn’t yet full of client work. The goal, though, for that to change so you have plenty of well-paying client work on your plate. When that does happen, the administrative chores become annoying burdens holding back your growth.
If you’re tired of clocking too many hours with admin work, it might be time to hire a virtual assistant, or VA for short. Virtual assistants are similar to administrative assistants, but they work remotely.
VAs the perfect people to pass along your operations chores to, but are their services worth the cost?
Broad Strokes: Is Hiring a Virtual Assistant Worth It?
Ultimately, yes, a VA’s help is absolutely worth the cost and effort of hiring one…under the right circumstances. As with business owners hiring administrative assistants, you need to find a VA who does their job well and works well with your system. You also need them to stick around so you aren’t onboarding a new VA every few months.
If you can meet those criteria, your VA could be the best new asset for your growing business. Of course, every solopreneur needs to make their own choice, though. Let’s weigh some pros and cons.
Pros of Hiring a VA
There’s a reason why VAs are so common: because they bring a lot to the table. Start with these benefits.
Customize Your Help
When hiring a VA, you choose how much work you need and when. You might need a full time assistant or maybe you just need 10 hours of help each week. Create a clear contract about how often and when the virtual assistant works for you.
Many VAs are freelancers too. That makes it easy to scale up and add more time each week to your contract if the VA is available.
More Time to Grow Your Business
Quite frankly, time spent on administrative tasks is time wasted for a freelancer. You could be spending time on tasks that bring in revenue, like connecting with potential clients or taking on more client work.
A VA can take on all those time consuming tasks that take you away from business development. That includes invoicing, schedule management, email management, customer service, and more. With all that time open in your schedule, you could invest it into business growth or even *gasp* improving your work life balance.
Variety of Skill Sets Available
Each VA has their own set of skills, and many of them extend their skills beyond administrative duties. Some can manage your social media accounts, while others can provide bookkeeping, copywriting, or graphic design services. Shop around and see who has the skills that fit your needs best.
Cons of Hiring a VA
We don’t live in a fantasy world so of course, there are downsides to hiring a VA too. Consider these disadvantages and whether they’re enough to counteract the positives.
Added Business Expense
Clearly, when you hire a VA, you have to pay them. In the US, an average virtual assistant earns $19 per hour. If they’re working 40 hours per week, it totals $760 per week – that’s a pretty penny. Of course, reducing those hours will cut back on your bill so the cost is more manageable.
Onboarding a new VA isn’t easy. You need to familiarize them with all your systems, protocols, needs, and expectations. During the first few weeks, it could feel like you’re spending more time than you’re saving.
Be patient, though; give them at least a few months to get into the groove. Then you’ll really be able to see if this VA is the right fit for the long term.
Doing Your Own Cost-Benefit Analysis
Virtual assistant services can be a tremendous way to grow your business or simply reduce your stress level and workload. Still, every freelancer or business’s circumstances are unique, and you need to do your own pros and cons list to decide if this is the right path for you.