Pros and Cons of Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Are you thinking about hiring a virtual assistant?

More and more people today, no matter the scale of their organization or the industry they work on, are now caving in and hiring virtual assistants, thanks to a now globally-accepted trend. After all, hiring a VA can help cut costs and offer a host of benefits. 

However, as with everything else in the business world, there are pros and cons to consider.

pros and cons of hiring a virtual assistant
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

What is a virtual assistant, and what do they do?

Before we dive into the advantages and disadvantages of using a virtual assistant, we should clarify what they are and what they can do.

A virtual assistant is someone who remotely provides various services to businesses and individuals.  

The list of things they can do is endless:

  • Book flights, hotels, and other personal tasks
  • Manage your schedule
  • Compile reports
  • Post on social media
  • Basic digital marketing and SEO
  • Sales outreach

It’s a list that never ends.  

For many, a virtual assistant is the Alfred to their Batman.  

Pros 

1.) It is a low-cost solution:   Typically, you pay permanent, full-time staff members on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, with additional auxiliary expenses such as health and life insurance benefits, paid leaves, and other company perks.  

Virtual assistants, on the other hand, are paid only for the duration they have worked – while companies still get the desired output that’s required. This is particularly useful when you need specific tasks done once.

As a bonus, having an already trained worker eliminates training costs. According to a 2018 report, training costs over $900 for each employee per year.  

Virtual assistants are a great alternative, especially for small or medium-sized businesses with limited resources or those just starting. 

2.) Frees up more time for you:  Bearing so much company responsibility, including front desk and customer service-related responsibilities, can really take its toll on you. Booking flights, follow up emails, and other menial tasks derail you from focusing on big picture items.  

By hiring a VA, you can delegate all this burden to a trained and experienced professional, so that you have more time to focus on business and non-business tasks.

This is one of the most common reasons business owners hire an experienced virtual assistant rather than paying a full-time front desk person or doing it themselves.  

3.) The time difference can potentially be an advantage: Frequently, the VA you hire may be from a different timezone. India and the Philippines have booming VA industries due to a large number of English speakers there. 

 While this can be a disadvantage for some businesses, it can be an advantage as well – because this means you can have someone working with you while you catch up on much-needed sleep. 

You’ll always have someone to address service and admin-related issues or take customer complaints when no one else is in the office. This can translate to around-the-clock productivity. 

Cons 

1.) Communication issues: While communicating with your VA through call, video call, email or chat may not be a primary concern now, it might be in the future. Certain factors such as natural calamities, network connection breakdowns or power outages – whether it be on your side or the VA’s – means that you will have no way to communicate until those issues are resolved. 

Furthermore, things can sometimes get lost in translation as a result of remotely communicating with someone. But this shouldn’t have to be a problem for all businesses, as many manage to hire highly experienced VA’s who can communicate and articulate things very well electronically. 

2.) Lack of personal supervision: Many business owners are perfectly okay with delegating work to someone halfway across the world and manage to build a certain degree of trust.  

On the other hand, some can find it challenging to get things done, primarily if the VA has undertaken tasks that require personal supervision (such as how to respond to specific customer service related problems). If you go through a shady broker, there’s also the chance that someone may be overcharging you for the work they’re doing.  

3.) Possible data security risks:  Despite your best efforts to hire a professional and trustworthy virtual assistant, things like hackers intercepting the information you’re sending cannot be avoided – although they can be minimized a great deal. To avoid this, make sure that your VA is using antivirus software and that you both encrypt sensitive data before sending.

Alan Behrens
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