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Why It Might Be Time for a Virtual Assistant

Why It Might Be Time for a Virtual Assistant Credit: Dreamstime.com

Small-business owners are often caught between a rock and hard place when it comes to adding employees. You've got more work than you can handle, but can you really afford to hire another person?

Temp employees used to be the go-to solution, but virtual assistants have risen in popularity. A virtual assistant (VA) is a person – or sometimes a technology  – contracted through a third-party company to help you get your work done.

Steven Aldrich is chief executive of Outright, a company that allows small-business owners to "outsource" their accounting needs using its cloud-based technology. He  offers five reasons why it might be time for you to take on a VA.

You have better things to do.

As the owner of the business, do you really have time to filter and delete spam emails? How about perform hours of tedious data entry into your accounting ledger? Find the five perfect keywords for your blog post? Of course you don't. But a virtual assistant is happy to do it, freeing you up for other tasks.

Your virtual assistant knows more than you do.

Your business is running a business, not keeping up with the cutting edge of administrative technology. Maybe you're laboring over an antiquated accounting ledger or sending drafts of Word documents back and forth with your team. Your VA will know how to streamline and automate these tedious business tasks, so let him do what he does best: managing administrative tasks as his 24/7 occupation, while you get back to the business of running your business.

Virtual assistants save you time and money.

A recent survey from Outright.com showed that business owners could save five hours per month on bookkeeping simply by outsourcing it. Those are hours you could be billing clients, dreaming up a new product or service, or developing a marketing plan. If you properly utilize a virtual assistant, you'll likely discover you are actually making more money even when paying someone to outsource tedious tasks.

A virtual assistant knows the right people.

The right virtual assistant, one who has experience working in your industry, can actually expand your network. For example, ask people in your industry for VA recommendations and you'll often find that the same few names crop up again and again.

A virtual assistant takes care of her own paperwork  –  a VA will even save you time and money on hiring and paperwork, because they work as contractors rather than employees . And her "virtual" status ensures that she takes care of her own insurance, tax payments and office equipment, meaning she can hit the ground running for you from day one.