When you go into business for yourself, one of your biggest expenses is going to be paying your employees. Between salary, insurance and other benefits, the amount you spend could end up eating up most, if not all, of your profits. So what’s a small-business owner to do?
What is a Virtual Assistant
Have you considered hiring a virtual assistant or VA instead of bringing someone on staff full time or part time? VAs are generally self-employed people who provide administrative, technical or creative assistance to clients remotely from a home office. You pay them by the hour or by the job, and don’t have to worry about payroll taxes or benefits. As independent contractors, they are responsible for paying taxes themselves. With a legitimate place in today's business world, there is a wealth of knowledge on the web from platforms like virtualassistants.com to dedicated VA forums and associations trade like The International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA
Though a virtual assistant sounds good in theory, how do you know if it is the right solution for you? If you answer yes to the following questions, you may want to try one out:
Are you finding that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done?
Do you want to take your insurance business to the next level but are finding yourself unable to do so because you are constantly juggling?
Are you having trouble finding time to network and market your business properly?
Are you always understaffed during peak periods?
Has working long hours and weekends become a necessity?
If you would like more freedom and to get more out of life than working all the time, you obviously need some help around the office to get all the work you have in the pipeline done. Don’t think of hiring a virtual assistant as another cost, it's an investment in YOU!
Tips for getting the most out of your virtual assistant
Give your assistant every task that drains your energy. These may include such things as answering e-mail inquiries, sending out insurance quote information to prospects, handling billing and preparing your monthly newsletter. These are all very important marketing functions that must get done every month, but don’t necessarily require your expertise. You can certainly direct someone else on how to do them.
Assign tasks you’d like to get done but never had the time for before, such as transcribing meeting notes, trolling the Internet for leads, or creating a database with contact information for all clients and prospects you have had contact with in the past.
Don't overlook the assistant's background in other areas. You could end up finding the next superstar if your assistant has an insurance background or a marketng degree. Offer them more critical tasks as your confort level increases. Allowing these assistants to follow up on leads may prove beneficial and clients may perceive your insurance agency as more organized and professional than your competition.
For those struggling with the idea of spending some of their hard-earned money on a person who will be doing tasks they are certainly capable of handling, look at your assistant as an investment, not as an expense. Handing off the recurring tasks that take a lot of time to a virtual assistant will free you up to work on business-building activities, like hosting group meetings, writing an article, or visiting with a few more prospective clients a week.
Spending a little bit of money to free up your time could pay huge dividends in the long run.