You may have heard some of your colleagues speak of hiring a “VA” or Virtual Assistant and you may have wondered how this works and how you can benefit from it. The key factors of hiring a VA over an employee or just doing the work yourself are: time, money and expertise. These factors are of course very important to all businesses. They always need to be improved upon continuously so that your company can run smoothly, efficiently and profitably. You may think you can do it all yourself, that you can’t afford to hire anyone, or that hiring an “employee” is safer and easier. Let’s look at the three factors in depth.

First, let’s look at time. If you’re doing everything on your own, you are probably often thinking, “I really need to be working on marketing strategies,” or “I really need to be increasing my billable time," or whatever it is that you do best and what your business is really about! Yet, there you are, doing data entry, research or tweeting and facebooking throughout the day. As a company owner or entrepreneur you need to spend your time wisely to get a jump on the competition. Can you do it all? If you work 12 to 18 hours a day – probably. But is that why you decided to own your own business or be self-employed? Probably not.

You may wonder how you can save money by hiring a VA. If we think about what it takes to hire an employee, we can easily add up the savings. When you hire an employee, you pay them salary or on an hourly basis – sometimes just to sit and wait for the phone to ring. You pay them for every bathroom break, personal phone call or co-worker chat that they have. When you hire a Virtual Assistant you pay only for the work that is actually performed, down to the minute. Sometimes you pay a flat rate for a project to be completed; regardless of the time it takes for them to complete it. Of course you also save money on all the extras that go along with hiring an employee, rather than a VA. When you hire a VA there is no Worker’s Compensation or disability insurance to purchase; no lengthy tax paper work to keep track of. No Social Security Tax to pay – and of course no paid benefits like sick days or vacation time!

What is YOUR expertise in? Probably not document formatting or creating calculations in spreadsheets, social networking for your business or updating your website. Your expertise likely lies in what your business is all about. As an entrepreneur or business owner, you may be familiar with Michael Gerber’s book, “The E-Myth Revisited”. Gerber talks about the baker who opens a bakery, but not only has to make the pies and other baked goods that they specialize in, but who also has to market the business, wait on customers, keep the books, clean the shop and just about everything else. The baker’s business is just starting and they feel they can’t afford to hire anyone to help. But do you think the business will make it? Is the baker really happy owning their own business, when they are working long hours and having to rush through what they love to do and what they do best – baking? The whole idea is lost in the logistics of it all. A Virtual Assistant has the expertise to do the things that need to be done to keep your business running, while you do what you are passionate about and what your business is all about!

Hiring a VA will save you time by getting things done quickly and efficiently; giving you your life back. Hiring a VA will save you money by getting paid only for the work actually accomplished and not for “dead air” time, as well as saving on benefits. And lastly, the expertise of a VA will allow you to do what you got into business to do – your passion, your business, and your expertise! Oh, and somewhere in there, you get to have a life outside of work too!

Author's Bio: 

Hilary Brooks, founder of AVirtualEdge, can help position your business for success. AVirtualEdge is a virtual online assistant company that specializes in providing marketing, technical, and administrative support to entrepreneurs and small businesses.