Getting Started with Virtual Assistants: Exploring the Basics of Hiring Virtual Assistants

When business is going great, you’re feeling invincible. It’s you against the world, and, for the time being, it feels like you’re winning. Soon, however, you’re bound to face a reality check. There’s only so much that a single person can do. No matter how capable you are, your day doesn’t have 25 hours.


  • There are only so many emails you can send.
  • There is only so much time you can spend looking at your schedule.
  • If you spend four hours today on data entry, your absence will be felt elsewhere.


It’s a problem that you need to solve, and the solution usually involves hiring an assistant. In the 21st century, more often than not, this will be a virtual assistant. Here’s how you can get started. 

1. What are virtual assistants? 


The simplest definition would be that a virtual assistant is a private assistant who works remotely for you. They have diverse skill sets and often receive cross-training so that they can handle a wide variety of tasks. All the perks of hiring an assistant and a remote worker apply in their case – you have a global talent pool, some quick help, and a scalable solution for most of your administrative problems.


There are many reasons why one would want to become a virtual assistant. First of all, this flexible job provides you with a great work-life balance. Since some of these assistants live in areas with lower purchasing power parity, their compensation for their services can be far above what they could earn back at home.


On the other hand, some hope to become professionals in this field. For instance, a person hoping to become an agent or a realtor may choose to work as an assistant to one such professional to get some inside knowledge and experience in the field.

2. What are the benefits of hiring virtual assistants?


There are many reasons to hire a virtual assistant and to understand them all, you must research the numerous benefits behind this decision. For instance:


  • Saving costs: A virtual assistant is one of the least expensive employees, and the value they provide is immense. This alone makes them quite cost-effective. 


  • Better work-life balance: Once you hire a virtual assistant, you’ll have to waste less time and energy on menial tasks. You can use this time and energy to balance your personal life.


  • Increased productivity: A virtual assistant handles all the boring administrative tasks and lets you focus on what matters.


  • 24/7 support: A virtual assistant is often in a different time zone, meaning their work hours may coincide with the middle of the night.


  • Scalability: A virtual assistant is not a full-time employee, which means that firing them or hiring another is much simpler.


At the end of the day, even if you can handle the current workload, it’s just a matter of time before you’re overworked. It’s better to find help before you need it and avoid creating this bottleneck. As it happens, a virtual assistant may be the best way. 

3. What are some of the fields where virtual assistants are used the most?


While virtual assistants are useful in virtually every field, there are some areas in which virtual assistants are seeing the most use. These are the fields like:


  • Real estate: Real estate businesses use virtual assistants for administrative tasks, lead generation, document management, and, most importantly, appointment coordination. This is a heavily client-centric field, and clients want a human touch.


  • Legal firms: Virtual assistants can save lawyers time on legal research, document preparation, and rudimentary client communication. Sure, a lawyer will handle case management, but there are many steps before this one.


  • Authors and publishers: Proofreading, research, and manuscript formatting are just some things every author and publisher needs to do. This is a service that a virtual assistant can provide.


  • Nonprofits and NGOs: Since nonprofits and NGOs are already aiming to minimize their spending, hiring virtual assistants can be a cost-effective alternative to hiring full-time staff.


  • Human resources: While an HR specialist is irreplaceable, you can always enhance your HR team with a virtual administrative assistant. You would be surprised by the amount of paperwork needed in HR, which might help alleviate the burden.


While these are not the only fields where the use of virtual assistants is high, they are a perfect example of all the benefits we’ve discussed in the previous segment. As the trend becomes more common, other fields may join the suit.

4. What does the hiring process of a virtual assistant look like?


Hiring a virtual assistant mostly depends on how you decide to proceed. Find an independent virtual assistant or contact an agency that assists you.


Then, you should define needs, set a budget, and choose how you want to do it (an agency or an individual). In a way, this doesn’t differ from the standard hiring practice – you figure out who you need and how much you’re willing to pay them.


Even further down the line, you just follow the normal hiring process. It usually consists of:


  • Screening candidates

  • Conducting interviews

  • Testing and assessing applicants


Then again, if you go via an agency, they’ll probably handle all of this in your stead and manage the staff in the future. 

5. How do you integrate virtual assistants into your enterprise?


The most important question is, how do you integrate virtual assistants into your enterprise? The task is not easy, and it requires careful consideration. Even if they have previous experience in the industry, every firm is different. This is why you must prepare the onboarding process as best as possible. Still, this is completely up to you and your company’s work dynamic

Wrap up

At the end of the day, a virtual assistant is a specialist whose job it is to help you with the simplest administrative tasks and free you up for those responsibilities that no one else can do. They help you out, speed you up, and allow you to focus on growing your business. 


While hiring an assistant may seem like a big step, in reality, it’s simpler than you think. All you need to do is make up your mind. 



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