There’s no denying it… the Credit Crunch is hitting small businesses in the UK — along with some established names. With companies such as JCB (a firm located not so far away from this Staffordshire VA) having to lay-off employees, it’s not difficult to imagine that new start-up businesses may have to look at alternatives to employing full-time staff for the time being. That’s where outsourcing comes in.
Not all jobs can be outsourced to a freelancer or virtual assistant, but a lot of admin related, marketing, PR, and web-based work can be carried out by a remote self-employed worker. The benefits of hiring a virtual assistant include not having to pay tax or National Insurance, as well as the basics of providing office space, furniture, a computer, etc — and, of course, you don’t have to tempt us with pension or private health schemes, or even discounted rates at a gym! [Although, the odd bottle of bubbly does go down well if we’ve done an exceptional job in supporting your business. Thanks, Graham! Ed-in-Chief].
Most virtual assistants will provide their services either on a monthly retainer package or on a per hour basis. Fees range from £15 per hour to £30 per hour depending on the skills and experience of your virtual assistant and the particular task required.
You may only need to outsource when you have a big project coming up or a conference stand to arrange or you could use your VA in a customer support role, getting to know your customers and offering them a familiar, friendly voice at the end of the phone. As an individual hiring a virtual PA, you can delegate the little jobs that make life easier — like remembering to buy flowers for your mother-in-law’s birthday!
There are many names for a virtual assistant — not to be confused with non-human virtual assistants — virtual secretary, virtual personal assistant (PA), virtual temp — and we perform a variety of admin tasks to support start-ups, SMEs, and larger businesses. These include: wordprocessing, spreadsheets, presentations, desktop publishing, calendar / diary management, call answering, checking your email, bookkeeping, audio transcription.
But we’re not restricted to secretarial services alone. Depending on their backgrounds, your remote worker (or freelancer) will be able to provide specialist services in the areas of publishing (proofreading and copy-editing, for example), real estate (typing inventories), law (audio transcription), and health care, marketing (web design, blog writing, monitoring your Facebook or MySpace pages), public relations (writing press releases)… and many more.
Of course, you’re also doing your bit to reduce your company’s carbon footprint! A virtual assistant does not need to commute as they tend to work from their home office. At Freelancealot.co.uk we try to keep a paperless office (uh hum… that is to say, where practical) by using email for most communications. We use a Virtual VoIP PBX for our phone communications, and even our faxes are delivered by email as PDF documents.
If you’re now pondering the benefits of outsourcing for your business — or you’re thinking, yes, I’d like a virtual PA to research the best deal and book the ski holiday this year, hire a venue for Aunt Velda’s cake-making competition, and scan in my hundreds of photos to put on a DVD — then don’t delay, hire a VA!
For more information on hiring a virtual assistant, please read our post ‘Finding Your Virtual Assistant—It’s Not Rocket Science‘.
[WARNING – Blatant Horn-blowing Ahead: Please visit the main Freelancealot.co.uk website to see what services we have to offer. Of course, we don’t list all the tasks we can help with, so please feel free to contact us to discuss your exact requirements.]