How Hiring a VA Can Improve Your Life
Around a decade ago, efficiency guru and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss published his powerful, life-changing book called The 4-Hour Workweek.
In this book, Ferriss contends that doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater importance, is not laziness. In other words, Ferriss argues that we should focus on our strengths, refuting the idea that busyness is a positive thing and stating that “a lack of time is actually a lack of priorities.”
Let’s face it, most of us fill our days being busy, doing things that don’t bring us any closer to our goals, obsessing over efficiency (doing things faster) rather than effectiveness (doing the right things).
Since the quality of our everyday habits determines the quality of our lives in the long run, setting the right direction daily and making small positive changes to what we do each day is the only sure-fire way to success.
In this article, we’ll dive deep into some ways in which hiring a VA can help you optimize how you spend your valuable time every day and accomplish more of what matters. But first, let’s talk about all of the things that a VA can do for you.
A personal, dedicated VA can help you in a range of ways, some of which include:
1. Email Inbox Management
2. Scheduling & Calendar Management
3. Data Entry and Research
4. Translation and Transcription
5. Social Media Management
6. Restaurant and Travel Booking
7. Event planning
8. Basic Bookkeeping
Now, let’s get down to brass tacks and see how hiring a VA can actually improve your life:
Go from busy to productive
Pareto's Law can be summarized as follows: 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. But here’s the thing: You need to be sure you’re focusing on the 20% input that’s going to lead you to results.
We get it – you simply don’t have the mental energy to read all you want, spend time with your family, focus on business, organize your calendar, read (or reply) to every email you’ve received, and manage the other dozens of overwhelming responsibilities that eat up your time and attention on a day-to-day basis.
That’s where a VA comes in. A dedicated virtual assistant can unshackle you by taking care of the tedious administrative stuff, such as making calls and appointments or filling in a spreadsheet with customer information.
Delegating allows you to do work that’s stimulating, to be productive instead of just being busy, and enables you to focus your energy on what matters most: scaling your business, spending more quality time with your family, and devoting more free time to meaningful hobbies or projects.
Declutter, delegate, and live a balanced life
If you’re a compulsive workaholic like most business leaders and entrepreneurs, striking a good balance between work and home life may seem like a real challenge to you.
But here’s something you need to realize: Work may be important, but there’s no substitute for you being at your kid’s birthday party or your best friend’s wedding.
Finding a balance might be easier than you think, and most of it can be sorted out if you take a step back to view the situation objectively, learn to delegate more, and set your priorities straight.
Slogging away on multiple projects with a disorganized calendar and not knowing what your schedule is going to be like in advance can greatly hamper productivity. Even if you have a general idea about what you want to accomplish and have a haphazard to-do list like most of us, not having a set schedule can sabotage your entire day by sidetracking you with unimportant stuff, leaving you feeling stressed and unaccomplished.
While it is impossible to have perfect and complete information about every hour and every minute, getting into the habit of planning your day can help you accomplish more, take more breaks, and have a stress-free life.
A competent virtual assistant who understands your goals and your priorities can streamline and de-clutter your day for you, preventing you from getting distracted or being bogged down with “urgent” tasks that aren’t really urgent, significantly improving your overall happiness by bringing more balance to your life.
A filter for all your information overload
We live in an age of information overload and nowhere is this more evident than inside our email inbox. If you're an entrepreneur, business owner, or corporate leader, chances are your schedule is already packed, and it might be a serious problem for you to figure out which emails are important and should be replied to, and which ones should go directly to the trash folder.
The solution? A professional VA who understands your preferences, so that you never have to worry about checking your email again. The virtual assistant can act as a filter that screens your daily flood of emails, singling out the ones that need your attention, and responding on your behalf where required.
Think of this as being more present and never missing out on an opportunity as you won’t need to worry about a lack of time.
Be ever-present for your customers
Customers these days expect businesses to respond to them quickly, if not immediately. In a survey by Zingle, the number one indicator of good customer experience was “faster response time.”
Social media platforms like Facebook now award badges such as “Very responsive to messages” if your response rate is more than 90% and if you respond to every message within 15 minutes. If your response rate is slow, customers will leave bad reviews, and ultimately switch to a competitor.
We understand that this puts a lot of pressure on small businesses and startups, as oftentimes there simply aren’t enough hands on deck to respond to the deluge of messages and comments on social media, especially if you’re running several ad campaigns or managing multiple pages for different products.
Hiring an additional full-time employee can be expensive, and startups often run on a tight budget. The alternative? Hiring a virtual assistant at a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee.
The right VA can help you stay on top of your responsiveness game by addressing every incoming query or complaint in a timely fashion, keeping your responsiveness score high, and bringing in more business along with more positive reviews.
If you’re in a country where you do not speak the local language, making a travel or restaurant reservation or an appointment with a doctor can be tricky. But that’s not where it stops, planning a big corporate event, or negotiating with a local vendor can be even more challenging and time-consuming due to the language barrier.
Hiring a bilingual VA can assist you in a range of ways and can help you communicate more effectively, allowing you the convenience of live translation and transcription support on your calls or filling in for you in-person where needed.
If you’re still on the fence about whether hiring a personal VA is a smart move or not, consider the 2-minute rule from productivity consultant David Allen’s highly useful book How To Get Things Done:
Do it: if it takes 2 minutes or less for you to finish the job.
Delegate it: if you’re not the best person for the job.
Delete it: if it is irrelevant to you or your business or adds no value.
File it: for later reference or follow-up, if needed.
Ask yourself this simple question: How much time do I spend every day doing things that would be better delegated, so that I can focus on things that help me grow and scale my business?
If the answer is too many hours, you might need to consider outsourcing the jobs that are eating into your time.
Finally, think of it as a trade-off. The time you’ll be saving by delegating these responsibilities is worth much more than the money you’ll spend on hiring a VA.
Let’s wrap up with a favorite quote:
“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.”
– Andrew Carnegie, American industrialist
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