Guest column: Is a Virtual Assistant Right for You?

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By Julie Broad

Sitting in the coffee shop with a cooling cup of tea in front of me, I was waiting for my two o’clock meeting to show up. It was 2:15.

I tried calling. No answer.

At 2:30 I decided to head back to my office. Forty-five minutes of my time wasted.

As I walked out, I was mentally kicking myself for not taking a few minutes to confirm the meeting that morning. There were just so many other things to do that confirming the meeting didn’t take priority.

Has that happened to you?

Do you find that scheduling meetings, answering the phone, replying to standard email questions, updating your Facebook Business Page, following up with people, and other admin level tasks are taking up half your day? Forget about the other things you want to do to keep in touch with your clients like sending birthday cards and thank you cards.

That’s where I was three years ago. These are all important things. They need to get done, but it didn’t need to be me that did them. The problem was that I didn’t have space in my office to bring someone in and I couldn’t afford to pay someone full time or even part time.

That’s when I hired Krish in the Philippines.

She has a phone with Vonage so my calls are forwarded to her and she has a local number to return clients calls. Everything else she does for me is via the internet, including sending birthday cards.

It’s been the perfect solution for me. For $1,500 a month I have a full time assistant who handles almost all of my admin tasks for me. She’s now moved to India so when you call my office, you are actually speaking with her in India. Very few people know she is not in my office unless they ask.  And, because she typically works from 6am-10am and 5pm-9pm my time, my clients feel like they are getting 24 hour a day service.

Not sure if a virtual assistant is right for you? Here are five questions to ask yourself:
  1. Are there tasks I do every day that I don’t add value to?
    If you answer the same questions from clients, lenders, or prospects on a regular basis and a template answer could be created, that is something that you don’t need to be involved in. Additionally, things like booking appointments, updating the CRM system, following up on documents you need, and organizing online files are all things someone else could do just as well as (or better than) you.
  2. Am I becoming the bottleneck?
    Could you be growing your business if you spent more time meeting people, speaking at local events, or getting to know the lenders better, but you find you don’t have time to get out there as much as you should? Could you be helping more clients if someone else was helping with the day to day tasks?
  3. Are there tasks I have to do that I really dislike?
    Besides bookkeeping, I don’t like answering the phone when I am in the middle of something. It interrupts my thought and takes me several minutes to get back into the flow of what I was doing. I also really dislike the back and forth that is involved in setting up appointments.

    I want my clients to feel like I am there for them without having to actually be the one they reach out to all the time. If that is you, or there are things like social media that you dislike managing, then having someone help with that could be a great relief.

    If you answer yes to the above questions, a virtual assistant is potentially a good solution, but you must also consider the following two points before jumping on the virtual assistant train.
  4. Do I need someone physically in my office?
    This is an important question to ask. If you need someone who can be face to face with clients, handle your paperwork, physically take parcels to the post for you and do other tasks that can’t be done over the internet, then you will not want a virtual assistant.  My assistant sends cards and small gifts for me via Send Out Cards so no trip to the post office is required, but other marketing tasks like mailing copies of my book require me to get out there and get it done. I also have to do my own paper filing.
  5. Do I have enough of the same kind of work to justify spending at least $800/month on help?
    You might write articles, post them on your blog, set appointments, and email with clients but your virtual assistant is unlikely to have the same skills as you. Typically you’ll find someone who is a writer, or an admin assistant or a website person – not all three. Before you hire a virtual assistant make sure you really have enough admin work for that person to do to make it worth your investment in their time. Make a list of ongoing duties as well as project work that can be done by someone virtually. Often you think there is a lot for someone to do but until you actually write down your list, you may find there just isn’t enough ongoing work to justify hiring someone else.
If you’ve decided that hiring a virtual assistant could be a good solution for your business, then check back next week because we’ll discuss what you should do before you hire one and what to look for when you do.

Julie Broad can help you get more done in a day and have more influence in everyday conversations.  She’s an Amazon #1 Best Selling author, has published over 400 articles online and offline and is a sought after speaker on real estate investing and having more influence. For monthly webinar training and more impact and influence tips visit

  • Jeaneane on 2015-02-11 4:47:37 PM

    Virtual Tele Assist, LLC
    Virtual Telephone Answering Services for Small Businesses and Solo Entrepreneurs.
    We provide Live Answering for Every Customer.

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