In an ever changing and growing global economy, it should come as no surprise to you that Virtual Assistants (VA) are a thing of the present and the future. Today and Monday’s blogs will comprise a two-part blog wherein I will discuss the benefits of hiring a VA and some of the tasks you can delegate to them to help your firm operate more efficiently.
First things first: What is a VA?
This is a person who works as a part of your team remotely. Rather than have someone in your office, this person can be assigned to tasks that don’t have to be done in the office (Check out Monday’s blog for a list of things to consider delegating to your VA). They are still just as much a part of your team – in fact, you should be sure to work diligently to make sure they feel included and like they are a part of the team – but you don’t have to make space, physically and financially, for another body in your office.
Next Step: Identifying when a VA is your best option
How do you know when a VA is the better option for your newest hire? You may think, “Why wouldn’t I just hire someone local to fill the role I need?” Check out these 5 reasons why a VA may be a better idea:
- No extra space needed. A VA has their own office, which lowers overhead costs for you
- Keep the workflow steady. You VA can work hours that someone in your office cannot (especially if they are in another country), which means projects and tasks can continue to move forward even when you and your on-site team aren’t working.
- You need more help, but don’t have the funds for a full-time person. Because they generally don’t work full-time, a VA is less of an expense to your firm, while still a very valuable part of your team.
- Extend beyond the pool of local talent. Perhaps you’ve searched your local area and haven’t found anyone with the specific skill set you need. Looking for a VA online releases you from the constraints of available candidates within a 30-mile radius.
- Release yourself from non-attorney work. Look at everything you do in a day – how much of that is work that you should be delegating to someone else? Whether it’s something you don’t like doing, something you’re not good at, or work that doesn’t have to be done by you, a VA can step in and take those tasks off your plate.
Finally: Where to find a VA
There are many sites online dedicated to connecting VAs with entrepreneurs in need. At the Academy we use, and highly recommend, Upwork. Many of our long-time employees have come from Upwork (formerly Elance) and we can’t imagine their roles being filled by anyone else!
Upwork, and sites like it, make the process of finding and hiring a VA a simple and easy one. Once you’ve created an account and added payment information, you are able to post a customized ad and job description for the role you need filled and the type of person you’re hoping to hire. Anyone fitting your description and experience requirements can submit a proposal for you to review. You can take your time and interview as many of the candidates as you’d like before you ultimately select one to hire.
After you’ve hired your VA and are ready to start working, Upwork offers a feature called Time Tracker. This plugin is added to the computer of your VA to monitor the work they are doing. In random increments of time, the Time Tracker will take screenshots of what your VA is working on, just to keep them honest. As their employer, you have the ability to review each of these screenshots before you approve their timesheets, which are also logged in Upwork.
Virtual Assistants can be an excellent addition to your already stellar team. Stay tuned for Monday’s blog where I’ll discuss what kinds of things you can assign to a VA that you may not have even considered!
Practice Building Consultant
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555
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