Common Myths about Virtual Assistants

Posted on 11th July 2023

Two cups of tea with the heading 'facts' and 'myths' - establishing the facts and the myths about hiring a virtual assistant.

Let's take a moment to explore some misleading discussions you may have heard about the virtual assistant industry. 

Myth 1 - Expense  

It’s very misleading to simply compare the hourly rate of a virtual assistant with that of an employee. When comparing like with like, it can be very cost-effective to hire a VA.

Factor in ‘hidden’ costs such as:

  • Office/desk space
  • Computer equipment and associated licences
  • Phone
  • Stationery
  • Employment costs such as holiday and sick pay, National Insurance and pension contributions

Then consider what a flexible model a virtual assistant offers, with no commitment needed on your part. Add in that most virtual assistants are experienced, professional administrators and organisers.

Suddenly, it looks a lot more cost-effective, doesn’t it?

Myth 2 - Security of Data and Information
As business owners themselves, virtual assistants understand the importance of maintaining privacy and keeping data secure. They should be familiar with data protection principles. They act as both data controllers (of their own data) and data processors (of their clients’ data).

A good VA will ask you to sign Ts and Cs and a DPA (Data Processor Agreement), if applicable, before starting work which will set out the standards expected from both parties and how data will be treated after the work has finished. They may also be prepared to sign a separate NDA if the client wishes.

Check that your virtual assistant ticks the following boxes:

ICO registered
Professional Ts and Cs and DPA
Professional indemnity insurance
Encrypted hard drive
Professional standard anti-virus
Off-site back-ups running several times daily
IT support agreement (ideally)

Myth 3 - Training
Your new VA will need time to familiarise themselves with your business, protocols and processes – yes. However, many virtual assistants have been established for a number of years and their career path prior to this has provided them with experience and knowledge. As business owners, they are conscious of the need for CPD and recognise that failure to continually seek new learning opportunities means going backwards.

There’s no need for hand-holding or on-the-job training as you would expect with an employee.

They will have the right skillset to soon become a proactive member of your team.

Myth 4 - Virtual Assistants just do Admin
VAs are a very diverse breed with a variety of skillsets, therefore offering a wide range of services. Some are traditional; others are very techie, and many sit somewhere in the middle.

No matter what, they are an experienced business support partner.

Services offered range from project management, content writing, editing and proofreading, email and diary management, online event management/Zoom hosting support, bookkeeping, social media management, and so on.

I hope that’s busted a few myths and demonstrated the value that partnering with a VA can add to your business.

A point to consider is this: if your virtual assistant’s charging rate is lower than your own, it makes perfect sense to outsource the back-office tasks that are keeping you from your fee-earning work. After all, how a business owner spends their time may well be one of the single most important factors in the success of the business.

If you’d like to explore further how working with a virtual assistant might work for you, please feel free to contact me. Let’s just have a chat and see where it takes us!

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