Insights
6 min read

When Should You Hire a Virtual Assistant?

By Aya De La Cruz

Copywriter, Wing Assistant

Business owners are often overworked and stretched thin. Many of them could use help and would benefit from offloading their more tedious or time-consuming ⏳ tasks to virtual assistants (VA). However, not everyone’s sold on the idea of hiring a VA.

Wondering whether your business is ready to hire a virtual assistant? 🤔 This article will help you figure that out. We’ll walk through things you should note when considering the ROI of getting a virtual assistant, as well as 5 signs that you need a VA!

In this article:

What is the ROI of a virtual assistant?

For most people, their first objection to hiring a VA is cost 💰 — they want to know the ROI of hiring a VA.

If you’re a small business owner, hiring a VA often makes financial sense. Offloading tasks delivers returns on both time and financial investments. According to Payscale, the average salary for U.S. business owners and operators is $64,620 per year, which works out to around $30 per hour.

As the owner, your hours are better spent shaping growth strategies. You shouldn’t be working on administrative tasks 🗂 that you can easily delegate, like scheduling meetings 🗓 or organizing your inbox. 📨

Consider as well those higher-level tasks you work on that are both tedious and necessary, like content creation, social media management, and bookkeeping. 📚 How many hours do you spend on these? Hiring a VA means you get an expert to do these tasks while you save money. Let’s look at the reasons why.

How much is your time worth?

Suppose you are a graphic designer 🎨, and your rate for projects is $30 per hour. Ideally, all 2,000 working hours of your year (provided you work 40-hour weeks) would be devoted to graphic design. However, small business owners know that the reality is far from that — entrepreneurs must take on many tasks that aren’t their forte.

The trouble comes when you’re spending too much time on extraneous to-do’s. For example, if it takes you 20 hours a week to do billing and invoicing, that’s $600 of potential earnings lost. Put another way, you’re spending $600 every week on accounting-related tasks.

How much would it cost a VA to complete?

Suppose you were to delegate these financial tasks to a specialist VA whose hourly rate is $10 per hour. If it takes them the same amount of time you do to maintain your books, you would have still saved $400 by hiring them.

But since virtual accounting assistants are experts at what they do, it wouldn’t take them 20 hours to maintain books! If they do everything in only 10 hours, then the total weekly cost to you would be $100. 

In this scenario, your VA provides a possible ROI of $500 per week. In addition, they free up 20 hours of your time for you to devote to other tasks, making the return on investment potentially greater. 📈

Your assistant’s ROI can also increase depending on their skill level, how affordable their rates are, and the number of hours they agreed to work for you.

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Your VA’s ROI over time

The time you spend training your assistant at the beginning of your working relationship will result in higher returns over time.

For example, if you hire an assistant with the goal of saving 20 hours per week, you’re not getting all of those back in their first few days with you. It’s because onboarding your VA would take up several hours, and as a result, your ROI will be lower while they’re completing their training.

Eventually, your VA will be caught up with their responsibilities, and they’ll start to produce a real return on your time investment. Let’s consider the example below. If your VA saves you 20 hours but takes 40 hours to train, you will have a 0 ROI in their first week with you. By their second week, you still won’t see any returns.

Given 40 training hours and a VA that saves 20 hours/week:

  • Week 1: no hours saved, 0% ROI (first half of training hours)

  • Week 2: no hours saved, 0% ROI (second half of training hours)

  • Week 3: 20 hours saved, 50% ROI

  • Week 4: 40 hours saved, 100% ROI

  • Week 5: 60 hours saved, 150% ROI

  • Week 6: 80 hours saved, 200% ROI

Your investment only pays off by the third week, which is the point at which your assistant would have “paid back” the 40 training hours you spent. If they consistently work on tasks that take you 20 hours to complete, they would give you a 200% ROI by their sixth week with you.

Even better, when your VA gets used to their role, they will need less time to complete tasks. It means even more productivity for you since you can ask them to work on other time-consuming tasks you’d rather not handle.

Note that your ROI will continue to increase as long as you’re working with the same VA. But if they leave, you’ll have to start over. So, hiring from a managed service is your best option. Getting a managed VA means having a vetted and trained professional supported by a team that includes supervisors and customer success managers. ⭐️

Hiring a virtual assistant vs a full-time employee

If we’re talking about return on investment, you might think, isn’t it better to hire a full-time employee? After all, they join you with the intention to be part of your company for the long haul. They’re willing to put in time and effort to help you reach your goals.

While this is generally true, a full-time employee isn’t always the most cost-effective option for your business. For one, they’re more expensive to hire than VAs. The median salary for administrative assistants in the United States is $19.08 per hour. Meanwhile, you can hire a highly skilled VA for half as much.

Besides salaries, you need to provide other benefits like insurance coverage, overtime pay, holiday bonuses, and the like — all of which are conditional in a contract with a VA. Since VAs are independent contractors, you aren’t obligated to pay these benefits.

Finally, if your full-time assistant will be working at the office, you must also spend on office equipment and supplies for them. Although these are small expenses, they certainly add up. With all of these advantages, it’s easy to see why hiring a VA is a sensible move for an up-and-coming business owner, a startup founder or a busy team working within a tight budget.

3 signs you need a VA

The things in this list might not register as signs of needing a helping hand. However, if these things are happening to you, it’s certainly time to get yourself a virtual assistant.

Taking on non-core tasks 🗄

It’s the right time to hire a VA if you find yourself doing plenty of non-core tasks. This one needs a bit of reflection; what, exactly, are a business owner’s “core” tasks? For example, it may be tempting to think of bookkeeping and risk assessment as equally important, especially if you’ve been doing both since you established your business. 

It’s better for executives to spend more time on income-generating activities like overseeing the process of bringing a new product to market. If you’re the CEO of a company and you’re spending a lot of time on tasks like planning trips, creating content for your blog and doing your own books — it’s time to get a virtual assistant.

Free time is nonexistent 🕰

Building and running a successful business takes a lot of energy and time. However, if your loved ones are already complaining that you don’t spend enough time with them, it’s a sign to start delegating to an assistant.

For some people, having no time is just the beginning. Even if they do acknowledge that they need to delegate, the hustle culture has become so ingrained in them. It’s hard for them to decide whether to prioritize work tasks or personal tasks.

Relying on multitasking 🤹🏼

The hidden cost of distractions add up. For instance, in one study, researchers found that on average, employees deliver 11 minutes of focused work on a project before getting distracted. However, they take up to 25 minutes to return to the task — if they manage to get back at all!

Multitasking increases stress levels, which impairs the brain’s cognitive abilities. Instead of helping you do more, it actually slows you down. Instead of multitasking, delegate your non-core tasks to a virtual assistant. When you hire and train the right VA, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your to-do’s are being addressed in a way that meets your expectations.

Timing matters when hiring a virtual assistant

A company can only grow as fast as its owner. If you want yours to meet and exceed milestones, it’s time to start delegating the tedious tasks that are bogging you down. 

When your business is growing, it pays to have a virtual assistant. Combine managed virtual assistant services through platforms like Wing with the capacity of money management platforms like Relay, and you’ll easily take your business to the next level! 🚀