One of the questions we hear most often is, “How much does it cost to hire a VA?” Many entrepreneurs are hesitant to spend on VA services, and we get it. Running a successful business is about striking the right balance between revenues and expenditures, and smart business owners are cost-conscious.
But just because it costs money to hire a VA doesn’t automatically make it a cost. In fact, I invite you to think of it in another way: as an investment. Because while you do have to pay a virtual assistant, hiring someone to handle mundane tasks frees you up to focus on higher-level stuff that only you are qualified to manage.
And with a recent survey showing that business leaders spend an average of 21.8 hours per week on low-value business activities like scheduling meetings and responding to emails, the value of a VA quickly becomes apparent. If you could get back those 21.8 hours per week, what would you do with them?
Sure, you’re paying a VA to work 21.8 hours, but if you’re paying them half what you can earn in that time, then you’re coming out ahead of the game. Here are just a few of the ways you can leverage a VA to save you money in the long run.
1. Staying on Top of Invoices
You can work as hard as you want; when you run a business, you only make money if your clients pay you. But as any entrepreneur knows, not every client is great about paying their bills on time. And when there are payment delays, it becomes your job to track down those delinquent accounts.
But this is not a one-and-done task. There’s setting alerts to check up on late payments. Then there are the follow-up emails themselves. Sometimes things need to be escalated to another person if your first point of contact is not responsive. All of this takes time. When you’re trying to manage your own tasks and find new clients, you don’t have hours to track down the existing ones.
A virtual assistant can take the entire payment process off your plate. They can send out invoices, follow-up on late payments, and only bring it to your attention when there’s a major issue.
2. Taming the Inbox Beast
According to McKinsey, workers spend 28 percent of their day dealing with emails. Between our personal inbox and work email, things can get scary quick. I’ve seen some truly frightening unread email counts (I’m talking in the tens of thousands). How are you supposed to stay organized when your inbox is filled with thousands of irrelevant and outdated messages? And who has the time to go in and clean up an inbox disaster once it’s already snowballed out of control?
A virtual assistant, that’s who! VAs can do as much or as little on the inbox front as you’re comfortable with. Even if it’s just weeding through that junk or low-value mail, think about how much time that could save you each week. If you’re an average worker spending nearly 30 percent of each day on email, and we assume an eight-hour workday, if your VA reduces your time spent on email by half, you get back six additional hours each week to put toward higher-value work.
3. Managing Client Onboarding
A well-known sales and marketing statistic says it’s five to six times easier to upsell an existing client than it is to go out and find a new one. But you can only talk an existing client into bigger, better services if they’re happy with what they’re getting right now.
That’s where a great client onboarding experience comes in. Dazzle your clients from the first second they start with you, and they’ll be more likely to give you repeat business and even refer you to their friends.
The thing about client onboarding is that it takes time. If you’re selling a product, the client needs to be educated about getting the most out of what you’re selling. That means having onboarding marketing materials, like how-to videos and a welcome email series highlighting the product features. It means having someone on your team available to answer any questions via email, chat, or phone.
If you’re selling a service, there’s a different kind of onboarding process. Whether you’re offering personal or professional services, many service providers rely on onboarding questionnaires to get up-to-speed on a new client’s needs.
No matter what your onboarding process looks like, a VA can be the perfect person to organize, manage, and streamline the onboarding steps. They can be the reliable, friendly face for new clients who have questions or need help. And they can assist you in organizing incoming information and staying on top of the tasks that only you can manage.
4. Handling Planning and Logistics
Planning and logistics can be a major time-suck. Whether it’s booking travel, scheduling and managing a webinar, or setting up the sequence of a new email marketing campaign, getting the details right and checking them twice requires uninterrupted thought.
Unfortunately, many of these tasks are ultimately low-value. As an entrepreneur or business owner, you need to determine what you’re uniquely qualified to do. The secret sauce you bring to the business—whether that’s strategic planning or reeling in big clients—is the kind of work that actually pays the bills and that you can’t possibly delegate.
The planning and logistics tasks are important, too, don’t get me wrong. If you’ve ever booked yourself into a hotel for the wrong week when traveling for work, then you know those details matter! But it’s not the work that only you can do. So why are you doing it?
A VA takes those time-consuming but ultimately delegate-able tasks off your plate to free you up to do your highest-value work.
5. Eliminating FTE Overhead Costs
Hiring a full-time employee is expensive. Beyond regular salary, there’s equipment, healthcare, taxes, vacation days, retirement offerings, and more to consider. According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s Human Capital Report, the average cost of each new hire is $4,129.00.
For many small business owners, that upfront cost is out of the question, and the ongoing cost considerations put full-time hires out of reach. When entrepreneurs are struggling to stay on top of their tasks each day but aren’t quite ready to take on a full-time hire, VAs represent a smart, cost-effective middle ground.
While there may be fears that are holding you back from hiring a virtual assistant, the real question you have to ask is, “What could I achieve if I had more time?” You’ve got big dreams for your business. A VA wants to help you realize them. And by taking on those tasks that eat up hours of your workweek, your VA frees you up to achieve those lofty goals.
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Amanda began her career as an actor and now uses that experience to inform her work as a content creator. Years of analyzing text and building characters mean that adapting to a client's voice, tone, and unique needs comes as second nature. When she's not behind the keyboard blogging, podcasting, or social media managing for clients, you can still find her onstage hosting live corporate events. A proud graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, Amanda lives in New York City.
Work superpower: Finding the perfect synonym in Power Thesaurus.
Favorite cheese: Brie
Go-to karaoke song: Man! I Feel Like a Woman!
Beverage of choice: Blackberry Spindrift.
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