Great article from Cindy Greenway of the MultipleStreamsTeam.com, enjoy!
Looking for someone to join you in your business isn’t an easy decision to make. Sure, you could use the help … but what kind of help exactly?
Do you need a coach to help you in moving forward in your business goals?
Or is a business manager that you want – someone that takes a lead with your business and makes important decisions?
Or do you prefer to start with someone that can save you time by helping with those administrative tasks that just take you too long to do?
If you want to delegate those administrative tasks so you can spend
your precious time on other business activities, then a Virtual
Assistant (VA) is what you need.
The Virtual Assistant industry is growing quickly around the world
– each VA offering a variety of services and specializing in
various areas. But do you know what a Virtual Assistant really is
and how they fit into your own business?
Firstly, let’s define Virtual Assistant. Essentially, a Virtual
Assistant is an independent contractor that offers administrative
support via his/her own home office. There are many, many benefits
to having a Virtual Assistant join your team, rather than hiring an
employee. They have their own equipment, software, space – just to
name a few benefits.
Because Virtual Assistants offer such a wide range of expertise and
skills, they are quite often able to assist in numerous roles.
However, it’s important to understand what a Virtual Assistant
really IS and what a Virtual Assistant IS NOT.
A Virtual Assistant IS someone who:
- is an independent business owner
- assists you with various administrative tasks
- you can rely on
- can help you boost your profits
- offers expertise in areas that are not the focus of your business
- provides feedback/becomes a sounding board as your relationship
- is genuinely interested in the success of your business
- you communicate with regularly, share your business
strategy and goals with so they can provide you with the support
A Virtual Assistant IS NOT a:
- business coach
- business manager
- decision maker
- expert in every area that you may require assistance in
- responsible for establishing business goals and strategies for
As the Virtual Assistant industry grows and offers more and more
skills and support to small business owners, the more small
business owners seem to expect from their VAs. I’ve heard of
people that want their VAs to make important decisions on their
behalf – decisions like how much to charge for speaking engagements
and even an outline of steps for the business owner to take in
order to increase profits.
A Virtual Assistant can certainly help you in researching these
items and taking on specific tasks involved in these areas, however
they are NOT decision makers nor business coaches and therefore
should not be expected to do this on behalf of any business owner.
It’s also important to note that all Virtual Assistants provide
support in numerous different areas. Some offer expertise in web
design, others know more about bookkeeping/account and others are
more involved with ecommerce and internet marketing etc. There are
even some Virtual Assistants that simply provide traditional
administrative support such as word processing etc.
Therefore, before looking for a Virtual Assistant to help you in your
business, be clear with what kind of expertise you would like your
VA to offer. Also, remember that even though they are proficient
in the areas you have identified, they may not know the answer to
every one of your questions or know exactly what to do in every
situation – especially when it comes to ever changing technology
options on the internet.
What you can expect is that if your VA does not have the answer, that they can research, connect with other VAs and provide you with as much information as possible.
Most Virtual Assistants have a genuine interest in helping their
clients succeed and in building a successful relationship with
their clients. As the relationship with your VA strengthens, you
may find yourself wondering how you ever ran your business without
Take the time to share your business goals and strategies with your
VA and over time it will be obvious how valuable your VA is as part
of your business team.