It is amazing, the way technology simplifies life for us, isn’t it? The dowdy old lady sitting at the front desk and hurriedly answering phone calls, or the hassled-looking youth running around with the mail, were all familiar sights in an office just a decade ago. And now, you have sleek offices with well-groomed young men and women strolling off to finish their work; and then, there is the virtual assistant – that more or less unknown soul who sits in some corner of the world and gets your job done, more often flawlessly than not.
What Virtual Assistants Offer
All but invisible, the virtual assistant is pretty much a wondrous concept that saves time and money. Administrative work, mundane clerical tasks, marketing assignments, or the complicated social media business that nobody seems to be able to get right – you name it, he (or she) will do it, and it will be done fantastically well; after all, he needs you to spread the good word about him so that he might get more jobs, doesn’t he? And he will happily take on your seasonal jobs as well.
In many ways, the paradigm of the virtual assistant is the complete package. Virtual assistants are happy contract workers, with practically any sort of skill set you might want. They work from their own office, which means that you don’t have to get the office supplies, or go through the long-winded mess of hiring a full-time employee. Then there are the tax benefits and the no-need-to-pay-sick-leave-and-health-care-and-every-other-thing-under-the-sun bits – really, there is no other option that is quite as attractive to an employer (especially the ones who don’t really have wads of money to throw around), both in terms of financial and temporal savings, as the virtual assistant.
As mentioned before, virtual assistants work on a contractual basis. This automatically translates to your work getting done within the stipulated amount of time, without you nagging your subordinates – after all, if the work doesn’t get done on time, the virtual assistant doesn’t get paid (simply put, there is strong motivation to get work done here). Also, there is no monitoring of sick leaves or holidays required, since the virtual assistant works in his own time – there are no fixed hours – so, that headache is taken care of, as well. Finally, since there are fewer people through whom your work goes through – with the hiring of a virtual assistant, you have successfully eliminated a whole horde of bureaucratic middlemen between you and your work – there are fewer (read, vanishingly small) chances of the work being accessed by unauthorized personnel.
Need more? Well, here goes. Virtual assistants are freakishly good at what they do – after all, if someone decides to live by cashing on a particular skill set of theirs, without opting for a permanent job, then they have to be at the top of their game; no one would hire them otherwise. This basically means that you save a lot of time that you might otherwise have had to spend on a new recruit so that he may be well-trained in the nuances of the job.
With a virtual assistant, you get someone with expertise and experience, without going to half the trouble you would have had to in locating a generic employee. Besides, since they are freelancers, virtual assistants make it a point to stay on top of any new developments in their field, which means that you will get the latest and the best in the business.
Great employer-employee relationships are pretty much ensured with a virtual assistant, since he (or she) relies primarily on good reviews from previous employers to land more jobs. They also come at significantly lower wages than the average permanent employee (you know, if all the other bits were not good enough to win you over). Basically, you end up getting a great deal, whichever way you look.
I cannot stress enough how so very small-business-friendly the virtual office route is. As they say, for every successful new business, there are a hundred that go down, most often as a result of the phenomenal expenses that go into starting a venture, sticking to it, and consolidating it. There is a huge toll on the entrepreneur’s finances – buying supplies, setting up an office, hiring personnel, advertising, and managing to sustain on a very-often-meager income till a trusted customer base is built, all takes money, and lots of it; but, perhaps more importantly, the amount of time spent trying to get the business to flourish, and the gargantuan amount of worrying that comes along with having to navigate the treacherous world of business and finance, can bring both the ambitious entrepreneur as well as his business, crumbling down.
This is a particularly important situation where the virtual assistant becomes nothing less than a savior. By hiring a team virtual assistants – who come with specialized sets of skills, and at lower wages than the standard, permanent employee – in the initial phases of starting a business, significant amount of resources can be saved. The necessity of coming up with the financial clout for elaborate offices and office supplies is redundant now; and the resources that you save can be put to much better use. It doesn’t matter where you are – for all that it matters, your virtual assistant could be at the other point of the globe, and things would still go without a glitch (let us thank the gods of IT for that).
However, this is not to say that established businesses do not stand to benefit much from hiring a virtual assistant. There are often times when companies outsource their work, in times of overflow. Turning this work over to virtual assistants will get the work done on time, and at considerably lower prices as compared to outsourcing the work. In the same vein, hiring virtual assistants is also helpful in getting larger volumes of work done than otherwise.
It has to be mentioned here that the concept of virtual assistants first came into existence with smaller businesses, and has only very recently moved into the higher echelons of business. And it is as much a success story of the next-generation communication facilities of the day as that of the group of freelancers who decided to strike out on their own in the world.