Reducing overhead: Virtual Assistants

Your hard work is paying off and customers like what you have to offer. More and more business is coming your way.

To say you’re busy is an understatement. Client meetings, job proposals, handling production…not to mention the bookkeeping, invoicing, marketing and scheduling that is taking up more and more of your time.

It’s not the worst problem in the world to have, right?

Still, you need some help and you need it quick, so let’s hire a hypothetical employee, shall we? An entry level, full time office assistant to help with answering phones, handling social media, managing the company calendar and sending out invoices. They must be flexible, professional, intelligent, multi-talented and willing to work for peanuts. That should be easy, right?

  • 40 hours a week at $15/hour. That’s $31,200 per year.
  • Don’t forget payroll taxes. That’s another $3,080 the employer is responsible for paying. Employee cost is now $34,280.
  • Assuming some bare bones health coverage at a 50/50 split? That’s another $3,000. Bump the employee cost to $37,280.
  • If you’re not a terrible boss, you also offer paid vacation, sick and holiday time off. (But that’s already figured in the original $31,200)
  • Office space, desk, computer, chair, office/breakroom/bathroom supplies. $1,000 per year? Employee cost is now $38,280.

You may find you are having a hard time figuring out how you’re going to afford that $38,000. Additionally, really good candidates are already making more than you are offering. The quality labor pool you’re trying to fish is pretty shallow.

Now what?

The rise of virtual assistants.

Many small businesses need help, but don’t need or want a full time employee. Highly skilled office managers, clerks, receptionists, writers and schedulers are in high demand, but also demand a higher salary. Enter the virtual assistants! Why hire a full time office manager when a skilled virtual assistant can handle your billing, scheduling, emails, social media, marketing, and much more from a remote location? Typically, the virtual assistant bills a higher hourly rate but needs far less hours to accomplish the same tasks. Coupled with the savings realized from not having to outfit an office, add a phone extension, covering benefits and payroll taxes, the virtual assistant becomes an attractive choice.

Fabienne Daniel, owner of Offsite Assistants, knows the value a good virtual assistant can provide. “I’m flexible,” explains Fabienne “I have some clients that use me when they need to bolster their customer service ranks during the busy season or to handle short and long term projects. Lately, many clients have been using my marketing expertise to help manage their advertising campaigns and social media.” Offsite Assistants’ clients love Fabienne’s ability to handle tasks from multiple disciplines and her network of professionals that can fill in the areas outside of her expertise.

It’s always better to work with someone that has an “ownership mentality” like Fabienne. Except for those exceptional few who give 100% of themselves after you hire them, many employees begin to suffer from institutional inertia after they’ve been with the company longer than 90 days. A virtual assistant is a contractor…they don’t get paid if they don’t work. Additionally, they know they will not receive good word-of-mouth referrals if the service they provide isn’t top notch.

Does this all sound a little scary? Are you afraid you might lose control if you don’t have your workers right where you can see them? A modified management style and greater adherence to an agreed upon schedule are necessary to get the most out of your virtual assistant, true. Fortunately, as CEO, the learning curve is not extreme. Aside from the obvious overhead and expense savings, managed correctly, an offiste virtual assistant can become a valuable part of your team and help your company grow.

Next Level Operations can help you find out if a virtual assistant is the right way to help grow your business. Let’s get started!