There’s a time in every entrepreneur’s life where things start going really well, and whilst this can be an exciting time filled with optimism, it’s also a phase in your business that should be approached with caution. This time of prosperity is somewhat precarious for a fledgling business and the most important thing to consider at this stage is outsourcing key tasks in order to keep you in the position to working “on” the business rather than “in” the business.
See, no man (or woman) is an island and if you feel the need to do everything yourself – you’re robbing your business of the growth it craves and denying yourself any kind of life outside of working.
Today, there’s a plethora of specialist companies you can offload specialist tasks onto, as an example AM 18 Consultancy could help with all your data analysis needs; or if you’re on a together budget you could choose to work with virtual assistants.
The great thing about virtual assistants (VA’s) is that they often live on faraway shores where the price of living is much lower, thus offering you great value, and they can help with a wide variety of time consuming tasks such as content marketing, social media management and business research.
The question, is whether you should hire a virtual assistant (most likely a lot cheaper and an overseas country such as the Philippines or India) or a local based physical assistant?
The answer will most likely boil down to an equation of budgetary constraints, what you require the assistant to do, working hours, and your personal working style.
On the one hand, there’s a feeling of reliability knowing someone is available in the next room, yet this ‘traditional’ way of hiring a personal assistant comes with a substantial administrative and financial burden in the sense of sick pay, holiday pay, taxes, and specialist equipment.
Working with a ‘virtual assistant’ is easy to set up. Essentially, you offer them the job and they are good to go. There’s no set-up cost in terms of supplying equipment and there is a sense of flexibility about the relationship, in that you can have it as on-demand service where you are only charged for the work undertaken each week; whereas with a physical assistant would most likely require a minimum term contract.
Communication can, of course, be much easier when dealing with someone face-to-face and there are social benefits in terms of the camaraderie and friendship that can come from having a live assistant; however, flip this on its head and the social vibe could head toward ‘office politics’ and resentment.
There is a sense of commitment from a physical assistant that you are unlikely to feel with a virtual assistant, in part because you are sharing the same physical space, but that does not mean a virtual assistant cannot be equally, if not more, committed to you and your business.
Your concern is possibly more justified that the virtual assistant may not always be available when you need them, whereas, the live assistant in the next room to you – is reliably going to be around for when you need them, but the fact that someone is local does not in itself mean they are better qualified. Indeed, many virtual assistants in countries like India have Master’s Degree and charge a fraction of the cost of a more local inexperienced assistant.