Hiring an assistant as a small business owner

Entrepreneur’s as a breed, often feel the need to do everything themselves - perhaps this is through perfectionism, a desire to control everything within their business, or simple frugality. But unfortunately, it’s a limiting way to approach entrepreneurship and consciously create the success you desire, as no man (or woman) is an island.  If you do everything yourself - you’re robbing your business of the fast growth you crave and might be denying yourself any kind of life outside of business.

hiring an assistant as a small business owner

Today, a lot of businesses are choosing to outsource as a way to lighten their load and focus on their core competencies.  There are a number of specialist companies you can outsource tasks to and you could get a personal assistant or even a virtual assistant.  There are many ways to go about this, but if you already employ people you might want to find out how to get employee referral on the basis that if you know someone good that already works for you, there’s a strong chance they’ll have connections with similar people.

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 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.


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