With the “gig” economy well underway, it’s a given that freelancing and other forms of entrepreneurship are the future of employment everywhere. Never has it been so obvious than now that the traditional J.O.B. is about to die a quick death over the coming next few decades. As machines take over most labor and many desk-based jobs, all of us mortal humans need to find ways to provide value to the marketplace and make money all on our lonesome.
Though current numbers are hard to find, this study from four years ago showed close to 40% of America’s workforce was freelancers at the time. Obviously, those numbers have grown since and will continue to grow, until freelancers and other entrepreneurs make up the vast majority of the global workforce.
This shift is due to the entrepreneurial mindset that you (millennials) and Gen Y have been forced to adopt after realizing the “American Dream” your parents and grandparents grew up with was no more. In other words, no more: Get an education, then a good job — stay there for 40 years and retire to Florida, after selling the house in the suburbs you just spend a lifetime paying off!
Thank goodness! Freelancing millennials have the freedom to do whatever they want, from wherever in the world they want to do it. And, lucky for you, virtual assistant services can help you in doing the jobs that take up the most of your time, so you can laser focus on growing your brand indefinitely.
The Biggest benefit to hiring a VA: Cost savings
This should be obvious, but freelance businesses suffer major financial losses every year, even to the point of having to close, because they spend too much money outsourcing projects.
Whether you’re in a bind and can’t finish all the work in your queue, or require skills you do not have to complete a project, the last thing you want to do is hire another expensive freelancer like yourself! VAs are inexpensive, multi-faceted, and can be terminated quickly if they aren’t working out.
Word processing & editing
Freelancers need to value every minute of their work day. The more time you spend sitting around your desk messing about writing and editing documents, transcribing notes and collating research, the less time you have for the creative aspects of your business.
A virtual assistant will be well-versed in the use of word processors, and can help format and edit all your written documents. This includes the ability to draft and submit content to websites and content directories.
Travel planning and booking
Travel planning, booking and confirmations take up a lot of valuable time before you actually hit the road. Of course, not all freelancers need to travel in order to maintain their business. However, many do.
If traveling is a big, or even small part of your business, a VA can take care of all the details for you, including sourcing the best prices, booking transportation, reserving accommodations, and putting together a travel planner so your day-to-day work schedule isn’t interrupted.
Customer service support
Customer service is the cornerstone of any successful business. When you’re operating as a freelancer, it can be hard to keep up with inquiries, questions, and demands from prospects and clients.
A VA can make this process easier by filtering emails, responding to FAQs on your behalf, and making and taking calls (if they offer that service). This can speed up the ordering and delivery process, not to mention reducing the wait times customers need to suffer through when waiting for replies.
Design (all kinds)
If design is a big part of your business, it should be obvious how a virtual assistant with design experience can help with mockups, design tweaks, etc. Imagine the time savings that come from outsourcing design projects such as web and graphic design elements for clients.
You still get to do the final edits, but they can do all the legwork upfront. If you’re not in the design space, yet frequently need design elements such as logos, gifs, animations, photo edits, etc., having a VA on hand will make your client projects go much more smoothly.
Accounting / bookkeeping
Going from one project to the next throughout the year can make it difficult to keep numbers and paperwork in order for when the tax man comes calling at the end of the year.
Virtual assistants are real human professionals, coming in all shapes and sizes, and with a variety of useful skills like accounting and bookkeeping knowledge. I’d suggest that you get what you pay for when it comes to who you employ to manage your finances, so make sure to vet all applicants thoroughly.
Social media and Internet marketing (SEO/PPC)
Aside from a perfectly constructed and transparent website promoting your services, social media and other online marketing is the best way to find new clients. Social media posting can take up a lot of a busy freelancer’s time including sourcing and producing content, scheduling, and replying to comments.
SEO and paid advertising is another time sink altogether and requires even more specialized skills to pull off. There are VAs everywhere with experience in social media management and online advertising of all kinds.
VAs do the stuff you don’t want/can’t do
There’s no shame in realizing you can’t do everything required to run your business. No business, freelance or otherwise, can grow and thrive only using the skills of one individual to get things done. As the old saying goes “It takes a village to raise a child.”
Your freelance business is a baby that can one day grow into a self-sustaining and thriving adult if you give it all the nourishment and guidance it needs. Think of a team of VAs as a group of elders in your village that can feed, advise, and help your baby become the best they can and dominate the world!