Short on help? Hire a Cloud-Based Virtual Administrative Assistant!
By Gayle Buske, President and CEO, Team Double-Click®
Is your business short on help? Good help, that is? Did the best administrative assistant you ever had leave because her husband was relocated to Timbuktu? Now what? You’ve been through countless resumes and none of the candidates seem to measure up. Maybe you need extra help once in a while, just to keep your regular assistant’s head above water. Are you a small business owner who can’t afford, or don’t have enough work, for a full-time secretary?
Why not hire a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant? Gaining in popularity among large and small businesses alike, a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant can help bail you out of a rough spot on a temporary basis or even work long-term just like a regular employee.
What does a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant do?
In short, a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant can do just about anything a regular employee can do. You just won’t see his or her face every day. Many assistants are Jack’s or Jill’s of all trades, some are more specialized, but here’s a list of some of the things a virtual can do:
- Human resources
- Concierge services
- Travel arrangements
- Word processing
- Appointment setting
- Meeting arrangements
- Event planning
- Letter preparation
- Proof reading
- Data entry
- Data processing
- Document scanning
- E-mail processing
- Answering phone calls
- Procedure documentation
- Customer support
- Web design
Cloud-based virtual administrative assistants are typically a very intelligent bunch as well. Many are college educated and even more have countless years of excellent business experience to draw upon. This comes in very handy when you’re looking for ideas.
How does a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant work?
Cloud-based virtual administrative assistants come in all shapes and sizes, just as any business does. They’re the savviest of the savvy when it comes to operating on a low budget and using technology to their advantage. Most are equipped with the latest software (and lots of it), multiple phone lines, Internet, e-mail, fax machine, cellular phone, copy machines, scanners, and a great attitude. Many even come with a cat or dog! He or she will use all of the latest technology to communicate with the client and get the work done as quickly as possible. And, possibly best of all, they only “clock in” when they’re on your project, not while they’re sitting at your desk, using your electricity, playing solitaire!
What’s all this going to cost?
All well and good, right? But aren’t cloud-based virtual administrative assistants more expensive than regular employees? Absolutely not! Actually, a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant is far more cost effective than a regular employee. You may pay more per hour than a regular employee, but leave out the FICA, state unemployment taxes, Social Security, health insurance, vacation time, sick time, 401(k), profit sharing, Christmas bonus, holiday pay, and other benefits you need to offer a regular employee, and a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant’s wage comes out far lower than that of a regular employee.
A cloud-based virtual administrative assistant can save money in other areas as well. How much does it cost you to maintain office footage, a computer, a phone line or two, a refrigerator, a microwave, a desk, electricity, heat, air conditioning, and parking for your regular employees? With a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant, you don’t need any of those things either – he or she supplies his or her own.
The fee for a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant usually depends upon the area of the country where he or she is located and their area(s) of expertise. Click here to see Team Double Click’s pricing. Cloud-based virtual administrative assistanst charge between $15 and $75 per hour. But, you only pay for the time he or she actually spends working on your tasks. Some will ask that you pay for a “minimum guaranteed usage” each week or month. Many will also agree to work for varying hourly rates depending on the task. For example, if they’re to perform basic word processing, the fee might be $18 per hour, but if they’re expected to research the legalities of transforming your LLC into a Corporation, they may charge $45 per hour. Yet, others may agree to a flat fee based upon individual project requirements. Either way, you come out ahead.
Why should I trust someone I’ve never met?
Cloud-based virtual administrative assistants are as concerned with your business success as they are with their own. In fact, their success depends on your success. So, a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant can become one of the best assistants and business partners you’ve ever had. Just like you, they are very interested in helping their clients.
Virtual versus temp or temp agency
Cloud-based virtual administrative assistants tend to work harder than the average person issued to you by a temporary agency. Keep in mind that the temp agency is charging you as much as 20% more than the worker is actually getting paid. This practice often leads to the use of unskilled or unacceptable laborers. Hiring a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant allows you to choose who works with you. You’ll also need to provide all of the temp’s supplies like paper, toner, pens, computer, electricity, etc, whereas, the cloud-based virtual administrative assistant comes with his or her own supplies.
How many times have you hired a temp who you spent time training, only to have her stick around for three weeks, then you had to train yet another temp? A cloud-based virtual administrative assistant, as we mentioned, is in this to succeed and help you succeed. You’ll have to train him or her too, but only once!
Oh, yes, and you still need to pay the temp while she sits there and waits for another assignment from you. Not with a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant. While she’s waiting for the next assignment from you, you can bet she’ll be working on something for another client.
Choosing a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant
Now that you’ve decided to hire a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant, how do you go about choosing one? There are several things you need to know before you start looking:
- What exactly do I need help with?
- What expertise does the cloud-based virtual administrative assistant need?
- How much do I have to spend?
- How quickly do I need this project done?
- How long will I need virtual assistance?
- How often will I need my cloud-based virtual administrative assistant to work?
- What hours should he or she be available?
- What days of the week?
- Is there any specific software he or she needs to have?
- Is what I need accomplished so specific that I’ll need to incorporate some training time?
- How will I pay him or her? Visa, MasterCard, Check, Paypal?
- How do I want to communicate with my cloud-based virtual administrative assistant? Phone, e-mail, snail mail, or a combination?
- Does my cloud-based virtual administrative assistant really need to be located in a particular time zone, country, part of the country, city?
- Any other particular qualities you’d like your cloud-based virtual administrative assistant to have?
- Just as you would screen someone who would apply to work in your office, you’ll still need to spend a little time screening your cloud-based virtual administrative assistant. You’ll need to tell him or her what you need and want, and what is and isn’t acceptable. You’ll also need to negotiate pricing and terms with the virtual.
The best thing you can do to ensure you receive the help you need, is behave as though you’re choosing a new car. Push the buttons, turn on the stereo, kick the tires, and ask, ask, ask. Listen to what the potential VA has to offer you as well. He or she may even be able to do several other tasks, which you hadn’t counted on, or even offer some very sound business advice.
Who benefits by using a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant?
- Large corporations
- Small businesses
- Home based businesses
- Busy executives or managers
- Even individuals who just need a little extra help
What happens if I don’t like the cloud-based virtual administrative assistant I’ve hired, or s/he doesn’t work out?
Unless you’ve signed a contract guaranteeing a particular amount of time or pay, the answer is rather simple: you just don’t offer any more assignments. If you do happen to have a bad experience with one cloud-based virtual administrative assistant, however, don’t let is sour you from finding another. Treat it as though you simply had a bad date. Bad dates to happen and some people just aren’t compatible. Get back out there and look for another cloud-based virtual administrative assistant that better suits your needs or personality.
A win-win for everyone
The use of cloud-based virtual administrative assistants truly is a win-win for everyone involved. For the employee-challenged business, cloud-based virtual administrative assistants dramatically increase your labor pool. And, for the cash-strapped entrepreneur, cloud-based virtual administrative assistants save money – lots of money. What’s more, it’s better for the environment to hire a cloud-based virtual administrative assistant. Just think of all the vehicle emissions you’ll be saving by having one or two workers telecommute.
About the author:
Gayle Buske is the co-founder, president and CEO of Team Double-Click®. As the head of a virtual staffing agency, Ms. Buske is uniquely qualified to aid small business owners in their growth and development through cloud-based cloud-based virtual administrative assistant outsourcing. Clients across the country look to Ms. Buske and her organization to supply quality cloud-based cloud-based cloud-based virtual administrative assistants.
Team Double-Click®, the country’s foremost staffing agency for trained cloud-based cloud-based cloud-based virtual administrative assistants – Matching Top Virtual Workers with Top Companies! Visit www.teamdoubleclick.com or phone 888.827.9129 for a variety of full-service virtual staffing options.
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