A Virtual Assistant is NOT the answer to all your business problems

In Corporate America, every busy executive has an Executive Assistant (EA). As the business world has moved online, Virtual Assistants (VA) have taken on the role that an EA once did. Naturally, when an entrepreneur feels overwhelmed by everything they need to get done, they assume that a Virtual Assistant (VA) will be the answer. What they fail to realize, is that the EA they hired in their corporate position is not the same individual they need for their solo venture.

Why hiring a VA is not the same as an EA

1. Traditionally, an EA has a largely administrative role.

2. EAs are put in place to take the tasks like calendar management and managing inquires. They may also make travel arrangements among other responsibilities.

3. EAs are typically vetted by HR so they have already been screened by the time the manager meets them.

4. An EA is rarely the first hire for a company. There is typically some sort of process or system already in place. The EA may improve those processes or even create some new ones; however, they are not likely to start from scratch.

5. Because the EA is being hired into a larger company, there are other employees that they may turn to with questions before they turn to the manager they are supporting.

6. An EA is usually one of many support people in an organization. IT supports the tech, HR the onboarding, and the financial department manages the books.

The term Virtual Assistant is used in many contexts. Originally it might have referred to a largely administrative role, but today that’s no longer the case.

1. A VA may have many skills or be focused on one skill.

2. VA does not only do administrative work, they are also often qualified to do project management, implement automation, manage your social media, virtually (pun intended) any aspect of your business can be handled by the right VA.

3. A VA typically works alone, virtually so they don’t have anyone to ask for help besides you.

4. A VA may be great at doing what you tell her/him to do, but they aren’t in your head imagining all the other tasks that need to get done. If you don’t tell them, they won’t know to do it.

5. A VA needs marching orders from you. That means that you will need to spend time with them for them to be successful. No new hire will be ready to roll right out of the gate.

6. A VA cannot run your business, that’s your job. A really good one can help make it easier for you, but they won’t solve all your problems.

Being a Solopreneur or small business owner involves wearing many hats. No one individual can fill all the roles that you currently do. Before you hire anyone, make sure you know exactly what you’re hiring them for and what you want them to do. Finally, be very clear in telling them exactly what you expect. They can’t read your mind!

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