Bootstrapping Tips: When to Hire a Virtual Assistant

Many of today’s startups should consider taking advantage of on demand services and look into Virtual Assistants (VAs).

Over the span of 20 years I’ve worked and as a solo Entrepreneur, Executive Assistant, Office Manager and a Virtual Assistant. I’ve found that a lot of startups benefit from bringing on an assistant after the first round of financing.  This is the time frame where a new startup needs to “level up”.  At the same time many can’t afford to waste money on any extra in house positions.

Executives might not want to hire an in house position after asking themselves the following:

       • Where would I put them, since I work out of my house?

       • Would I have to supply my assistant with a computer? a cell phone? other equipment?

       • Do I want to pay payroll taxes and keep up with more paperwork?

       • Can I afford to have my labor costs increase?

Most virtual assistants are contract or freelance workers who do their jobs from home and focus on administrative tasks that are similar to those of an executive assistant or secretary. Since they are independent contractors, this means companies who hire them don’t need think about payroll taxes, vacation pay, sick days, worker’s compensation and employee benefits such as health and dental insurance and there are no OSHA regulations to follow. (Note: There are stringent rules around who is considered a contractor and who is considered an employee – which affects benefits and taxes. Know the rules so you can operate accordingly.)

VA’s can do anything that doesn’t require a physical presence.

       • Manage appointments

       • Book a limo

       • Submit purchase orders

       • Coordinate travel plans

       • Plan events

       • Create databases

       • Do research

       • Handle customer relations

       • Plan social media

       • Create Powerpoint presentations

       • Filter e-mails

Besides independent contractors, there are many VA companies such as Virtual Assistant USA, Task Bullet, Zirtual, and Virtual Business Solutions. Some offer 24×7 service. When working with a VA the startup decides how many hours the assistant will be needed per day or per month. VA companies may ask the startup to submit a description of the tasks that need completing then they will assign a VA, or group of VAs called a Pod, who specialize in those tasks. Everything gets completed accurately and in a timely manner.