For many creative entrepreneurs, doing what you do best – what you’re passionate about – comes quite easy, but turning that passion into an actual business is where the headaches begin. Whether it’s an actual lack of the particular knowledge or skills necessary or a simple case of not enough time to do all that needs to be done, the fact is – you need help.
There are many factors to consider when bringing on the help you need for your business but it starts with how you envision this working. Do you have (or want) an actual office where you’ll base your business? If so, then you might not mind finding someone to work with you in that space. But, what if you want to be home-based, as so many entrepreneurs seem to prefer these days? It’s cost effective and who can beat the comforts and convenience of home? It’s not likely that you’ll want an assistant to work in your space at your home with you – so are you out of luck? Fortunately, no – this is just when you’ll want to look getting some virtual assistance.
If you do a quick search on Virtual Assistance, you’ll receive some overwhelming results and probably be even more confused. For now, let’s distinguish between a Virtual Assistant and some one who assists you virtually.
A virtual worker is usually a freelancer who, through using technology, is able to complete work assignments for you by remote – they work virtually. You can find these virtual workers through places like oDesk.com, CraigsList.com, eLance.com, etc. The workers you’ll find are task-minded, meaning they focus on doing the task you ask them to do. In most cases, you must micro-manage meaning you need to be very specific in your instructions and you’ll want to ask for samples of work prior to hiring and progress reports as they go along so you know the job is being done as you wish. These workers will be able to complete work for you as needed and they can typically get the job done at a very good rate.
A Virtual Assistant (now sometimes called a Virtual Business Manager to distinguish from other virtual workers) is someone who you partner with for the maximum support and ultimately, growth of your company. In most cases, a Virtual Assistant is a very skilled worker with a strong administrative/executive support background. They know how to take care of the business of the business so you can focus on what you want to do and what you do best.
Virtual Assistants are service and relationship-minded, proficient (requiring minimal guidance) and a resource for you to utilize to get things done – if they can’t or don’t desire to do it themselves, they can find someone to do it and manage the assignment for you. They are your partner for success – when your business thrives, so does theirs. They provide their own equipment, benefits, vacation, etc and you only pay for the amount of time that you need them (most work on retainer).
Ideally, the relationship you create is ongoing and long-term so you’ll have a partner who sees the big picture and who can strategize with you to help you reach your goals. You can find good Virtual Assistants through many sources including AssistU.com, VirtualAssistantNetworking.com, VANetworking.com, IAVOA.com and IVAA.org.
It can take some time to figure out what kind of help you need and then to find the right person for you and your business but it’s a great investment in your future success (and sanity). If you’re already at the point where you just can’t bear to figure it out on your own, there are people who offer consulting and implementation support in this area to help you get your virtual office set up and running seamlessly saving you wasted time, frustration and unnecessary expense.
Working virtually can give you freedom and flexibility – it truly is an ultimate life as long as you don’t try to do it all alone!