A Comprehensive Guide to Hiring a Virtual Assistant: Benefits, Tips, and Costs

what is a virtual assistant?

For many businesses today, having a virtual assistant can make a huge difference. With the demand for efficient support on the rise, working with a virtual assistant is your best bet.

The concept of hiring virtual assistants isn’t new—but it is growing in popularity. In fact, the global virtual assistant market has boomed from $9.61 billion in 2022 to $13.64 billion this 2023 alone. This data set alone shows the increasing importance of virtual assistants. After all, when you hire a virtual assistant, you can free up time and resources to focus on core activities and strategic growth.

This comprehensive guide contains information on:

  • the role of virtual assistants
  • the benefits of hiring virtual assistants
  • the tools that they use to deliver outstanding work
  • how to go about hiring your first virtual assistant

If you’re ready to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and enhance your business productivity, let’s get started.

What is a virtual assistant?

A photo of an experienced virtual assistant working from a library or a cafe

A virtual assistant or VA is a highly-skilled individual who offers a variety of services to clients from all over the world. These services can be administrative, creative, and even technical.

Unlike in-house employees, virtual assistants work remotely. A business owner can be based in the United States, and their virtual assistant can be based in Asia. Due to the nature of their work, virtual assistants leverage digital tools and online communication platforms.

Regarding working arrangements, many virtual assistants work part-time for various clients. There are also dedicated VAs who report full-time to only one company or client, while other companies hire virtual assistants for one-time project arrangements. Employee classification can also range from independent contractors to full-time employees with benefits.

Essentially, a virtual assistant is someone who provides support for a business in a different geographical location.

What does a virtual assistant do?

A photo of an experienced virtual assistant working from a library or a cafe

Virtual assistants offer a wide range of services tailored to meet the unique needs of specific businesses in different industries. They are very adept at providing administrative services, but there are also VAs who specialize in creative tasks and technical knowledge. Of course, every virtual assistant job is different, but there are some similar components.

While most virtual assistants work as personal, administrative, or executive assistants, they eventually expanded to other tasks. Here’s a quick list of some examples of what they can do, which we’ll elaborate more on later.

  • Personal email management: answering emails, replying to emails, sorting emails
  • Administrative support: calendar management, travel arrangements, accounting tasks, customer support services, answering phone calls
  • Communications: writing and maintaining records, transcribing meetings, summarizing meeting highlights
  • Digital marketing tasks: website administration, social media management, email marketing, social media ads, community management, web research
  • Creative tasks: video editing, graphic design, copywriting, web design
  • Sales tasks: cold calling, email outreach, pipeline monitoring

While some VAs specialize in specific tasks only, there are also those who do a little bit of everything. It really depends on the company hiring them and their working arrangements.

Benefits of having a virtual assistant

Hiring a virtual assistant brings many advantages that can positively impact your business.

Let’s explore some key benefits:

1. Increased productivity and efficiency

Virtual assistants are skilled at handling various tasks and juggling multiple responsibilities. Plus, research states that remote workers actually take fewer days off and breaks—which results in a 13% increase in productivity.

By delegating time-consuming activities to VAs, business leaders can focus on high-priority tasks instead. By taking on administrative, customer support, or other operational responsibilities, virtual assistants enable you to optimize your productivity and make efficient use of your time.

2. Cost-effectiveness

Hiring full-time and on-site employees have corresponding costs: onboarding, training, overhead, and even equipment.

Hiring remote staff though, will help you save up to 78% of your company’s budget. If the VAs are from foreign countries, businesses are not required to pay their taxes or other government-mandated benefits. What most businesses do is come up with a bonus scheme instead—which still results in savings. Additionally, if the VA is only working part-time as an independent contractor, you will only need to pay an hourly rate or a per-project rate.

Aside from budget, it also takes a lot of time to find, hire, and train virtual assistants. If you choose to hire experienced virtual assistants, you will save a lot of time and resources that would have been spent on training a newbie. Here’s where businesses may want to consider working with a virtual assistant agency or an outsourcing agency like LTVplus that takes care of the hiring and training. When the virtual assistant reports to you, they are ready to hit the ground running.

3. Flexible working arrangements

A virtual assistant has way more flexibility than full-time and on-site employees. Some examples:

  • There can be little to no onboarding processes since most hired VAs are already experts in their own niches.
  • Full-time staff not only need to be trained, but they also need to ease nicely into the company culture. A virtual assistant, on the other hand, can just work on a task behind the scenes.
  • After the project or the short-term contract, there is no need to do a handover or a tedious offboarding process.
  • You can hire a virtual assistant for a short-term gig as needed or when the situation calls for it. For example, an eCommerce store can hire extra VAs during peak seasons for fielding phone calls and handling customer inquiries.

4. Bandwidth to focus on core business

By entrusting administrative and non-core tasks to virtual assistants, you can devote more time and energy to your business. You will have more headspace to focus on product or service development, refining your operations, tweaking your organizational structure, optimizing the customer journey, and building new partnerships.

This increased focus enables you to strategize, innovate, and drive the growth of your business. Virtual assistants become an extension of your team, handling the day-to-day operations, while you concentrate on achieving your overarching business objectives.

5. Access to a wider talent pool and diverse skill sets

Making the decision to hire either a full-time or a freelance virtual assistant means you are ready to work with people who are not within your geographical location. This grants you access to a bigger pool of talented individuals with specialized skill sets.

You will no longer be limited to only looking for qualified candidates near you. Instead, you have a global resource to dip into.

All of these are really good answers to why you need a virtual assistant. The benefits of having a virtual assistant extend beyond these points. In fact, they can be tailored to your specific needs, allowing you to optimize your operations and focus on driving your business forward.

What are the main virtual assistant jobs that impact major business functions?

Virtual assistant making phone calls while taking down notes

Back-office support and operations

Virtual assistants can streamline back-office support and operations. Doing so ensures smooth workflows and efficient processes. Here are some examples of virtual assistant skills and jobs related to back-office support:

  • Administrative services. A VA can be hired as an executive assistant. They do tasks like email management, scheduling appointments, reminding their clients of their to-do lists, and basically setting up their bosses for success.
  • Research and data entry. This includes encoding data into sheets, transcribing minutes of meetings, or researching any information the business might need (ex. competitors’ websites and social media accounts, list of CEOs of prospect companies, etc.)
  • Travel arrangements. A VA who is hired to be a personal assistant also assists with purchasing transportation tickets, booking hotels, and creating an organized itinerary for bosses who are going on business or personal trips.
  • Project management. Some are hired to manage teams on a daily basis, facilitate sprints, and oversee all ongoing projects from start to finish.

Sales and marketing

  • CRM management. There are many virtual assistant jobs that revolve around managing CRM tools like HubSpot and Go High Level among others. They can help create workflows, sequences, and pipeline visualization.
  • Outreach assistant. You can also hire VAs who are well-versed in sales and lead-generation strategies. They can conduct cold calling and outreach campaigns via email.
  • Digital marketing. Many VAs can be hired to implement paid campaigns, email marketing campaigns, and even social media marketing strategies.
  • Content creation. These VAs must be content-savvy and up-to-date on recent content creation trends. There are also VAs who specialize per content type—whether it’s copy, graphics, or short-form videos.

Finance and accounting

  • Bookkeeper. Most virtual assistants in other countries actually have bachelor’s degrees—almost 60%. Some accounting graduates prefer to work remotely and offer bookkeeping services to small businesses, entrepreneurs, or individuals.
  • Records management. Filing receipts, expenses, and disbursements are all very important but time-consuming tasks. These can all be done remotely as long as the virtual assistant is kept updated on all transactions.

Customer service and experience

  • Voice support. A virtual assistant can provide exceptional customer service by responding to voice inquiries or phone calls.
  • Multi-lingual customer support. For businesses with customers who speak other languages, hiring a virtual assistant who speaks their language can be a really big help.
  • Omnichannel support. Experienced virtual assistants know how to use help desk software to easily navigate inquiries across different channels, ensuring a smooth customer experience.

The flexibility and scalability of virtual assistants make them invaluable assets for businesses. Whether you’re a solopreneur, a startup, or an established company, virtual assistants can adapt to your specific requirements and offer efficient support.

What programs do virtual assistants use?

Virtual assistant on a laptop using a software for graphic design

Virtual assistants use a variety of programs and tools to effectively carry out their tasks and collaborate with clients. Here are some common programs and software that an experienced virtual assistant frequently uses:

Communication tools

These tools are used to contact the employer whether it’s just an update or a phone call.

Project management software

These tools help keep track of multiple tasks and projects. For VAs who are in charge of project management, these tools help them organize tasks, track progress, facilitate collaborations, and manage workload. Some examples of popular tools:

Hiring a virtual assistant: what you need to know

Business owner interviewing a potential virtual assistant

When it comes to hiring a virtual assistant, there are many important considerations to keep in mind such as where to find them and the associated costs.

Where and how to hire virtual assistants for your business?

Ready to find virtual assistants? Start by identifying reliable sources and platforms where you can connect with qualified professionals. Here are some examples of where to find them:

  • Online freelance platforms: Websites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr provide a vast pool of talent with diverse skill sets. You can browse profiles, review ratings and reviews, and hire virtual assistants based on their expertise and experience.
  • Outsourcing companies: There are companies like LTVplus who take charge of outsourcing depending on your business needs at that moment.
  • Virtual assistant agencies: Virtual assistant agencies specialize in helping businesses in need of virtual assistance. These agencies often have a rigorous selection process to ensure the quality of their talent pool. Then, they can match you with a virtual assistant who aligns with your specific requirements.
  • Referrals and networking: Seek recommendations from social media, peers, colleagues, or business communities. Referrals and networking can help you find reliable VAs with a proven track record.

How much do virtual assistants charge?

The virtual assistant salary typically changes based on different pricing structures, including:

  • Hourly Rates: VAs may charge an hourly rate, which varies depending on factors such as experience, expertise, and the complexity of tasks. The average hourly rate can range from $15 to $50 or more, depending on the virtual assistant’s location and skill level.
  • Project-based Rates: For specific projects with well-defined scopes, virtual assistants may provide a fixed price for the entire project. The project rate is determined based on the estimated time and effort required to complete the tasks.
  • Retainer Agreements: Some VAs offer retainer Agreements where you pay a fixed monthly fee for a predetermined number of hours or a specific set of tasks. Retainer agreements provide consistency and ongoing support for your business needs.

It’s important to discuss pricing expectations and reach a mutual agreement with the virtual assistant before starting the working relationship. Factors such as task complexity, turnaround time, and the virtual assistant’s expertise can also influence the pricing.

What are the office arrangements when hiring virtual assistants?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions. Since virtual assistants work remotely, this eliminates the need for a physical office.

However, a virtual office is a great and cost-effective alternative to having a traditional physical office space. A virtual office essentially allows businesses to operate remotely while maintaining other essential services.

if you opt for a virtual office, it can provide additional benefits such as a professional business address, mail-handling services, and access to meeting spaces when needed. Virtual offices can also enhance your business’s professionalism and credibility, even if your virtual assistants work remotely.

8 tips for finding the ideal virtual assistant

  1. Clearly define your requirements. Before starting your search, do outline the tasks, skills, and qualifications you expect from a virtual assistant. This will help you find a candidate who aligns with your needs specifically instead of sifting through too many resumes that do not qualify.
  2. Consider expertise and experience. Look for virtual assistants with relevant experience and expertise in your industry or the specific tasks you need assistance with. For example, if you’re looking for someone to focus on social media management, a candidate with ten years of experience will stand out more than a newbie.
  3. Conduct interviews. Schedule interviews with potential virtual assistants to assess their communication skills, professionalism, and cultural fit. Discuss their work style, availability, and ability to meet deadlines to ensure a good working relationship.
  4. Review portfolios and samples. Request portfolios or samples of work to evaluate the quality of a virtual assistant’s previous projects. This will also help you gauge their capabilities and determine if their work meets your expectations.
  5. Discuss availability and time zones. Consider the availability and time zone differences of virtual assistants, especially if you require real-time collaboration or support during specific hours.
  6. Clarify which communication channels to use. Discuss and establish the preferred communication channels with your virtual assistant. Whether it’s email, instant messaging, video calls, or project management tools, make sure you both agree on the most effective means of communication.
  7. Test with small tasks. Start with a trial period or assign small tasks initially to evaluate the virtual assistant’s performance and compatibility. This allows you to assess their skills and work style before committing to a long-term engagement.
  8. Establish clear expectations. Communicate your expectations regarding task deadlines, quality standards, and communication responsiveness. At the same time, give the potential virtual assistant a space to express their expectations too. This will help promote a productive working relationship right from the get-go.

Case Study: How Abstrakt Marketing closed 500+ website audits in 9 months with a dedicated virtual assistant

“LTVplus has done a great job understanding our goals, aligning with those goals, and delivering at a high level.”

Abstrakt Marketing Group is a business growth agency that offers both inbound and outbound solutions to ensure their clients’ pipelines are always full of quality leads. To attract new clients, they offer free website audits to showcase their expertise.

However, in 2022, Abstrakt Marketing needed help in delivering the audits faster and they knew they needed a virtual assistant for this task. Through LTVplus, Abstrakt Marketing was able to work with a dedicated virtual assistant guided by a customer success team.

Within nine months, the company generated 90 sales or a 16% conversion rate contributed by LTVplus. Before the virtual assistant came along, the sales team was swamped doing the audits and couldn’t focus on their core competencies of interacting with prospects, following up on leads, and closing actual sales.

Other results included:

  • 556 total audits closed
  • 90 sales generated
  • The target of 8 audits per day has been surpassed
  • Generated $191,172 monthly recurring revenue
  • CSAT of 5/5

To learn more about how LTVplus approached the tailored solution for Abstrakt Marketing, you can check out the full case study here.

Embrace virtual assistant services and invest in the growth of your business

There’s no doubt about it. VAs have become indispensable assets for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a sole entrepreneur, a small business owner, or a multi-national one, hiring virtual assistants will set you up for future success.

Their ability to provide remote support, flexible services, and diverse skill sets make them valuable partners. Whether it’s administrative tasks, sales and marketing support, financial management, or customer service, virtual assistants offer a cost-effective solution to offload non-core responsibilities and free up valuable time for business owners and their teams.

By leveraging virtual assistants, you can tap into a global talent pool, access specialized expertise, and experience the numerous benefits that come with remote collaboration.

Make the move now. Witness how they can revolutionize your business operations, drive growth, and help you stay ahead in today’s dynamic business landscape. Not sure where to start? Learn more about LTVplus Virtual Assistant Services and schedule a time when we can talk about your very own custom strategy for success.

Need a dedicated customer experience team ready to support your brand?

Book a consultation with us and we’ll get you set up.

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