Hiring a virtual assistant is an important business decision. All virtual assistance is not equal because the industry is actually very diverse— here is a quick primer on the major differences between virtual assistance offerings and what they mean for you as a business owner:
Foreign vs. Domestic
A foreign virtual assistant will be cheaper but there will be cheaper but the language barrier makes it difficult to get complex tasks completed precisely and slows down efficiency as misunderstandings are worked out. If you need ongoing communication on constantly changing assignments, it may be best to overlook foreign assistants.
By working with an American virtual assistant, you are able to bypass these difficulties. The cost difference may be easily justified by the increase in productivity.
Company vs. Individual
Another way that the virtual assistant industry is split is between companies providing virtual assistance and individuals working alone. Working with someone alone, you have the benefit of being one of very few clients but you may invest many hours into training only to find that the individual that you are working with moves on to other things. Also, they may not be able to support you during, for instance, vacations or emergencies.
A virtual assistant company such as Golean Health is set up in such a way that there is backup and redundancy because we work as a team. If your virtual assistant goes on vacation, your tasks will be covered by another employee till they get back.
Skills and Resources
Many people are drawn to virtual assistants because it is an extremely flexible service — this is actually one of the defining characteristics — you are essentially purchasing blocks of man hours that can be used almost any way you wish, on whatever your business needs.
It’s probably not important that your virtual assistant have prior training in your industry (though it might be). Rather, you should be looking for someone that is organized, quick learning, and with a “can do” attitude.
Where specific skills are needed, such as experience with a particular piece of software, you may find that a virtual assistant company is better suited than an individual simply because they have more people on hand and so a wider variety of skills, talents, and resources are available to you.
Hours of Availability
While 24/7 support is the ideal, most small businesses do not need constant support. We are available during business hours and we have very few problems with working hours. If a client has a task after hours, they are able to send us an email and we pick it up the next morning.
If you are working with a foreign company, you may want to be sure that they are fully staffed during your hours of operation and not running on skeleton staff while the brunt of the work is done later.