Virtual assistant services have been around for a surprisingly long time.
The virtual assistant economy started in 1981, when the Association of Business Support Services International, the first organization that supported work-from-home mothers in the US, was established.
It has been rapidly growing ever since. Virtual Assistants from around the globe have helped numerous companies, entrepreneurs and professionals boost productivity, significantly lower cost and become even more flexible—proving such support is vital to virtually any business.
But there is still plenty of misconceptions about hiring a virtual assistant keeping a lot of businesses from getting such support and reaching new heights. Here are five of the most common, and silliest, that have been debunked:
1) You Will Not Get Much Work Done
Unless you hire her full-time, it is easy to assume the virtual assistant you choose will not be as productive as a regular employee working eight hours per day.
Actually, virtual assistants can be much more productive than office workers. If she does not run into any problems, your virtual assistant can be 100 percent productive every day—something no full-time employee can pull off.
Virtual assistants are usually paid for only the work they get done per shift. To avoid getting deductions, yours will work her entire shift to accomplish all the tasks you give her.
Since they are generally paid a fixed rate, regular employees can take their time without worrying about getting any deductions.
2) You Will Not Be Able to Effectively Communicate
Many think it is practically impossible to effectively communicate with any virtual assistant because you cannot just call out or walk up to one when you need something. But you just need to use the right tools:
- Skype or Viber for regular calling, video calling or chatting
- Dropbox or Google Docs for sharing files
- Asana or Slack for managing projects
By using all these apps and scheduling a few hours each day to discuss work with your virtual assistant, you will hardly have any problems communicating.
3) It Will Be Too Hard to Keep Track of Her Work
Aside from the various online tools out there, you can use to work with your virtual assistant from almost anywhere, there are lots of programs and apps that will let you keep tabs on her, like:
- Time Doctor
You can install one to track your virtual assistant’s hours, alert you when she stops typing for too long or randomly takes screenshots of her desktop while she works, making monitoring her a cinch.
4) It Will Just Be a Big Headache
As one of the world’s top outsourcing destinations, the Philippines is home to many virtual assistants. Some of the best are Filipinos, known for being highly skilled and reliable and having excellent English proficiency.
But many still choose not to hire a virtual assistant—even if they need such support—to avoid the hassles of doing so, like:
- Dealing with an unstable internet connection
- Time zone differential
- Cultural differences
Fortunately, you can easily solve these problems.
Avoid having to deal with an unstable internet connection by hiring a virtual assistant who has a backup.
Set a schedule to make sure your virtual assistant can finish her tasks on time despite your time zone differential.
Resolve your cultural differences by learning as much about her culture as possible.
5) Virtual Assistants Are Just People Who Cannot Get Regular Jobs
Most virtual assistants used to be people who got laid off or could not get regular work. But not anymore.
When the demand for outsourced work exponentially increased, such opportunities became available to regular skilled workers, like accountants and software developers, who wanted to shift to working as virtual assistants.