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Virtual Assistants: The Secret Weapon to Scaling Your Ecommerce Business

online-sellerVirtual Assistants: The Secret Weapon to Scaling Your Ecommerce Business

Guest blogpost by David De Souza from Ecommerce Guider

A good Virtual Assistant can be a game changer; he or she can transform the operation of your business and free up your time, making you feel like you’ve added a super hero to your team! A bad virtual assistant, on the other hand, can double your workload and leave you feeling unbelievably frustrated.
 
So what is a virtual assistant or (“VA”), why you should hire one, and how?
 

What is a Virtual Assistant?

 
Virtual Assistants are generally self-employed and provide professional, administrative, technical, creative or social assistance to clients remotely from a home office.
 
They are generally digitally based workers, who can be found anywhere in the world and with the steady rise of people working from home or remotely, they’re more available than ever. They are workers that can perform just about any business task in the world. Especially those tasks that you’d rather not do yourself!
 
In fact, you can hire all manner of experts ranging from:
 
➤ Arbitrage product locators;
➤ Product researchers – private label;
➤ Audio / Video Editors;
➤ SEO / Web Marketers;
➤ Social media managers;
➤ Admin assistants;
➤ Content Writers;
➤ Graphic / Web Designers; and
➤ Web Developers.
 
However, it’s important to acknowledge and appreciate that no one person can handle all these different roles. A common mistake often made by businesses looking for their first assistant is to hire someone to take on a too varied role with poor results rather than someone who is an expert in their field and will help you in a specific area.
 

Why hire a Virtual Assistant?

 
A VA is typically a more manageable expense than hiring a full-time staff member and usually just as qualified and trained for the job. VA’s can help both businesses built on bricks and businesses built on clicks.
 
As human beings AND entrepreneurs, your most precious resource isn’t money; it’s your time and energy.
 
When your whole business starts and stops with you, you cannot afford to be wasting your time or energy on things that don’t demand your attention. Especially as your business begins to grow!
 
As you become more and more seasoned as an entrepreneur you will know what many younger entrepreneurs will sometimes struggle to understand: Sometimes you just can’t do it all!
 
In fact as your business continues to grow this tends to result in two outcomes:
 
  1. You have to keep on sacrificing your personal time until any semblance of a work-life balance has gone out the window
  1. You end up spending too much time working in your business instead of growing your business.
 
Either way, you end up feeling frustrated, exhausted and burnt out. The end result ultimately being your business and your sanity suffers! So your choices end up being to either bring someone onboard and help alleviate your workload or keep working yourself until the point of collapse.
   
Often hiring these professionals will lead to a better outcome (time wise and money wise) than you trying to self-teach yourself a whole new skillset such as website development, marketing, copywriting or listing optimisation every time you wish to take your business in a new direction.
 
But before you madly dash off to hire the first person you find online, you should take a step back and consider why you want a virtual assistant in the first place. While virtual assistants can be very flexible and just as well-trained as any other employee, you also have to consider the challenges of working with someone remotely.
 
FIRST, figure out what specific tasks you actually need completed BEFORE you start hiring. Ask yourself, do you need a technical or creative virtual assistant?
 
I cannot stress this enough: It’s important to dispel the myth of there being some kind of Super VA. I have no doubt that many Virtual Assistants are extremely good at their jobs, but they’re still human AND just like you or I, they don’t know and can’t do everything!
  
It’s the same in the outside world: You wouldn’t hire a social media marketer to design your website or photoshop your listing images!
 
After all, you wouldn’t trust an Accountant to clean your teeth!
 

Finding a virtual assistant

 
Now, the first choice you have to make is between hiring yourself or using a professional recruitment service who will find you a virtual assistant for a fee.
 
When it comes to recruitment services premium services like Virtual Staff Finder, you can generally expect a certain level of quality when it comes to the talent pool.
 
Applicants are put through a rigorous review and vetting process to gauge their literacy, typing speed and other elements.
 
However, recruitment services can be pricey and might not be the right solution, unless you’re looking for someone to work with you for the long term or your business is already making money. So choose carefully!
 

Virtual Assistant Job Boards & Marketplaces

 
The alternative to hiring a recruitment service to find a Virtual Assistant for you, is to just do it yourself. Simply place an ad, interview the applicant by Skype and hire. That’s all there is to it.
 
For me personally, I have hired all of my full-time virtual assistants from Onlinejobs.ph which is an easy to use Filipino job board where you will find lots of highly qualifies applicants.
 
I tend to use Freelancer for more complex tasks, like website design and development (I have also dabbled with sites like Fiverr where people will literally complete jobs for $5 but tend to find the quality of output fairly poor).
 

Recap

 
  • Hiring a VA can transform your business, free up your time and help you keep your sanity!
  • However before hiring a VA it’s important to be clear on the role you are hiring for, as there is no kind of Super VA who can do everything unless you want everything done badly!
  • When you’re finally ready to hire you have two options: Either do it yourself by posting on a job boards like Onlinejobs.ph.
  • Or alternatively, you can use a recruitment agencies like Virtual Staff Finder to hire for you.
 
 
About David De Souza
 
I’m a blogger and podcaster dedicated to helping Amazon sellers and e-commerce entrepreneurs gain knowledge and understand the key components of e-commerce business success. If you’ve enjoyed this article and want to learn more ways to improve running your business then feel free to join my Facebook Group: Ecommerce Guider or listen to the Business Hacker Podcast, where I interview and uncover the secrets of successful ecommerce entrepreneurs for your benefit.
 
 

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