Working with a remote virtual assistant (VA) can take your business to the next level. Contracting the services of a VAwill not only reduce cost, it will also increase productivity, improve quality of work and enhance business flexibility.
But why do some businesses remain wary of contracting virtual assistance services?
Here are 10 myths about working with a remote virtual assistant that have been debunked:
1. You’ll Get More Work Done with an Office Assistant.
Did you know the average office-based worker in the most powerful nation in the world only supplies 90 minutes of productive work per day?
On an eight-hour work shift, that translates to a productivity rating of only 18 percent. Yet the United States of America remains one of the most productive economies in the world.
A virtual assistant’s schedule is set based on the number of tasks that need to be accomplished every day. If the VA allocates 90 minutes per day per client, you can be assured a series of tasks or projects will be accomplished within the period.
This is because VAs are paid either via per productive hour or per project. They are productive because they have to be. You don’t waste money with VA work.
That office assistant? You pay him or her even when he or she goes to the bathroom, engages in water cooler chatter, checks social media or takes extended coffee breaks.
2. Virtual Collaboration Doesn’t Compare with Shared Space Collaboration.
It will take some time to get used to working with someone from a remote location. But technology has evolved to the point that it seems they’re breathing the same air with you.
Video images are clear and have impressive resolution. The best part is, you can see everyone face-to-face. Your virtual assistants will think twice about yawning or taking a glance through their Smartphones.
There are software programs such as Time Doctor, Veriato and TeraMind that allow you to track time and work. It’s no different than the Bundy clock in an office or taking a peek over the shoulder of your office employee.
3. A Remote Virtual Assistant Offers More Problems than Solutions.
If you want to reduce costs further, an available option is to hire a remote virtual assistant from another country such as the Philippines or India.
These are the top two destinations for outsourced work and they offer lower rates compared to virtual assistants from other countries.
But a prevailing myth is that contracting work from these far off regions offers more headache than relief. Issues such as dealing with cultural differences, language barriers and political unrest are commonly brought up as potential red flags.
These situations exist in every country even the most developed ones. Just read what has been happening in the US after the 2016 elections if you believe political unrest only transpires in remote locations.
Cultural differences and the language barrier can be overcome with a bit of research, patience and understanding. This is certainly time worth spending because remote virtual assistants from the Philippines and India consistently rank No. 1 and No. 2 in outsourcing.
4. Talent Has Been Diluted in the Virtual Assistance Industry.
Demand for virtual assistance work has consistently increased over the last five years.
Not only are VAs contracted but many are hired as part of a company’s remote workforce. It is estimated that by 2020, more than 50 percent of workforces will be composed of virtual assistants.
As such, more people are crossing over to the virtual world to capitalize on the available opportunities. As more players enter a particular industry, the greater the probability of talent or quality becoming diluted.
But in the virtual assistance industry, instead of being diluted, it has become more diversified. You have virtual assistants who cater to specific niches or requirements. In fact, the growth of the virtual assistance industry has helped improve the level of talent because more experienced people are entering the profession.
5. A Virtual Assistant Will Only Be Effective if Full-Time.
VAs work based on productivity. Productivity and efficiency go hand-in-hand. You don’t need eight hours a day to get things done at work.
VAs seek to accomplish their tasks within a specific time period. On average, a VA allocates two to four hours per day per client and they work five days per week.
That’s only 10 hours per week but they can accomplish more tasks than an office worker who spends eight hours on his or her desk.
6. You Won’t Save as Much Money as You Think.
Those who say contracting VAs won’t save you money allude to the extra time and resources spent reviewing and re-doing their work.
The argument holds little weight because it can be applied even to office-based workers. Regardless of the venue, quality assurance is the ultimate responsibility of the business owner. Either you run the QA tiers yourself or you hire people who can do it for you.
But no one can refute the mathematics on how VAs can save you money simply because the cost of contracting them is much lower than hiring full-time office workers.
A VA is only paid per productive hour and without benefits. He or she is responsible for expenses.
Office employees must be paid full compensation including benefits. Every unit of work they do will add incrementally to your cost of business from power to Internet to contingencies.
It is estimated that the cost of hiring a full time employee is 1.5 to twice the cost of hiring a remote virtual assistant.
7. Virtual Assistants Have Limited Skills.
Virtual assistants are no longer just limited to secretarial or personal assistance work. The industry has grown and become highly diversified. There is a VA for every task or project you want done:
The list goes on. There are virtual assistants who can provide highly technical and job specific work.
8. You’ll Run Out of Things to Assign to Your VA.
If you want to maximize the full power of the virtual assistant, refer to him or her not just as a service provider but a strategic partner.
Don’t limit yourself by just assigning tasks to your VA. Frequently consult and allow them to share experiences and valuable input.
9. VAs are Over- Rated; Anyone Can Be a VA.
Working from home without having to deal with the inconveniences of traffic and office politics seems like a dream job. Wouldn’t you like to wake up and work in your pajamas?
But the truth is the best virtual assistants do not take their work for granted. If you want to succeed in your field, you must approach it like a professional.
They could be working in their pajamas but it’s because they want to become more productive. After a cup of coffee, they hit the ground running. There are clients to be attended to; a multitude of tasks to be accomplished.
Do you believe anyone can develop the organizational skills it takes to be an efficient VA? Can you shift your competence from managing a client in real estate to a client in IT then end the day working for a client that works in the fitness industry?
If you can then drop whatever you’re doing and become a virtual assistant. You have a flourishing career waiting in the wings.
10. Impossible to Build Trust with a Virtual Assistant.
Trying to build a trust with a VA is in many ways similar to maintaining a long distance relationship.
There must be constant communication between both parties. With the available technology today, all you need to do is establish regular days for communication:
The bottom line is, trust in any medium takes time to build. You need to consistently work on it to make it happen.
Virtual Assistants are not just faceless people behind the computer screen. Contracting their services is not just an opportunity to reduce costs and hike productivity. More than that, it is an effective avenue for building strong business alliances and partnerships.
Felix Tarcomnicu works with the outsourcing company called Small Virtual Assistant. He enjoys writing about entrepreneurship, outsourcing and marketing.
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