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Question: I read the book 4 hour Work Week. Is it for real?

Answer: Not for me.  I think the concept is ridiculous.  I don’t know any successful people who are not committed to working hard – but the idea of virtual staff is powerful!  So let’s address the issue of hiring virtual staff.  This concept has truly made life less complicated!podcast vector icon

The Strategy of Hiring Virtual Staff

Running a business is time-consuming and if the business has limited staff resources, such as a small start-up or entrepreneurial venture, finding the time to deal with day-to-day tasks can seem an impossible struggle.  Like most entrepreneurs, I was working 14-hour days, six days a week, spending very little time with my family and working ‘in’ my business, instead of ‘on’ it way too much. Sure, I loved my business and enjoy working on it, but I was tired.  Although, I have not fully leveraged the virtual assistant possibilities – I am starting to figure it out.  Some of the administrative tasks that was taking up time from my wife and kids – have been outsourced.

In most cases, the business owner or owners will end up taking responsibility for administrative tasks which consumes valuable time that would be better spent on tactical or leadership activities.

When there’s no money in the current budget for additional staff, either full-time, part-time or a temp, what can small business owners or entrepreneurs do to reduce the workload? One option is to hire virtual staff.

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Virtual staff: What they are and why to use them

Don’t be confused by the name, virtual staff are real people. Companies who specialise in providing virtual employees are often based in a country where employee wages are lower, such as India or the Philippines. The lower wage structures allow the companies to provide employee services at costs more feasible to small businesses with limited budgets.

Lower wages in no way suggests a lower level of competence. The virtual staff will be capable of performing a multitude of activities. Consider how many large organizations now employ the services of virtual employees to provide customer support in industries like I.T., finance, and media.

What can virtual staff assist with?

There are many tasks that a small business could outsource to a virtual employee. Laborious and time-consuming activities are a perfect example when hiring a virtual employee would be a great solution.

The most common virtual staff service is a General Virtual Assistant (GVA). A GVA is basically an administrative assistant who can assist with activities such as:

. Database entry
. Proofreading, editing, or transcribing
. Email marketing and mailbox management
. Customer services work e.g. dealing with emails or chat support (virtual chat)
. Receptionist duties, such as: Scheduling, making travel arrangements, liaising with clients.
. Creating and managing spreadsheets, PDFs, presentations, etc.
. Updating content on business blogs or websites and maintaining social networking accounts

Hiring a GVA to deal with the kinds of activities listed above offers a definite advantage with regards to time spent on admin. Virtual staff can also be hired to undertake the following work:

. Database Management
. Website SEO and Internet marketing
. Graphic and web design
. Video editing

Graphic design, web design and video editing would probably require finding a virtual staff provider that specialized in these kinds of services. Admin work is by far the most obvious and requested service that virtual staff provide.  Think book keeper and accounts payable, accounts receivable type activities.

Hiring virtual staff could be a great strategy for a small business with limited financial resources that needs assistance with day-to-day business tasks.   This would free up additional time for high value activities such as creating content and other sales and marketing activities.  There are several resources that I recommend:

  • Chris Ducker.com
  • Elance
  • Odesk
  • Fiverr

If you have specific questions about hiring or finding virtual assistants – please drop me an email at bruce@bruceriggs.com

Lastly – if you find yourself in a dead end, unhappy, life sucking job – reach out to me and let’s develop a plan to find the opportunity that will make you happy long term..

Bruce

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