Hire A Virtual Assistant: This Is The Difference It Can Make

If you have been toying with the idea to hire a virtual assistant or a freelancer, just do it. Still need a good reason why? Here are just a few reasons why it’s the best decision you’ll make.

Becoming an entrepreneur can be an exciting, but daunting task. As the CEO of your own company, you often wear multiple hats and fill several (or all) of the roles within your business. Until you feel like you can “afford” to hire someone, you end up doing tasks that you don’t enjoy and maybe even not good at. You possibly fill your days doing tasks that don’t generate any income for the business, which is what productivity coach and bestselling author, Marcey Rader, calls “the $10 tasks.”

Freelancer working on business projects in a coffee shop

Top 3 Business Challenges

There are three main business challenges that small business owners have come to me with, which they need my help to solve.

  1. Improve cash flow/become profitable
  2. Stay in business
  3. Improve work/life balance

Solve these common challenges and you’ll stop feeling overwhelmed, financially stressed, and sleep-deprived by building and hiring a team. Hire freelancers to take on tasks and projects at the exact point that you need in your business, then pay and close the contract when the work is complete.

Hiring Virtual Assistant Services Is Like Requesting An Uber

This is one of my favorite analogies. If you have ever been worried about hiring out virtual assistant services or freelancers, I hope this puts your mind at ease.

How hiring a freelancer is like requesting an Uber ride:

  1. Request – You can browse the freelancer database (my favorites are Upwork and Virtual Valley) to see skill, availability, and rate. When you find one that you like, you can “Invite to a job” and see if he/she responds and accepts.
  2. Comes to you – You don’t have to be located in the same city, state, or even country as your freelancer. They can work virtually with you through a messaging platform, email, or project management tool like Asana. I find many will accommodate and work the hours and timelines that you need if they accept the job.
  3. Pay and Go – Once you’ve received and approved the final output from the freelancer for the project/job, you get automatically charged to the agreement on file.  You usually don’t have to deal with any employment issues or taxes since the freelancers have their own agreement and tax forms that they signed with the freelancing company.

What Is A Virtual Assistant

VA/freelancer working remotely for a business

With so many people working from home, the term “virtual assistant” is used more often than freelancers, but it’s basically the same thing. There are freelance graphic designers and there are virtual assistants that focus on graphic design.

When you are looking for freelance employees, another term you’ll run into is “remote worker.” That is someone that works exclusively from home.

If you want to hire freelance workers, you might run into the term virtual assistant more often. Before you hire a virtual assistant, make sure they have the skills necessary for the jobs they’ll be doing.

Why You Should Hire A Virtual Assistant or Freelance Worker

There are lots of reasons to hire someone remote and pay them as a subcontractor. The biggest one is money.

When you hire virtual work, it’s a better return on investment (ROI) to hire someone that can do it well, quickly; versus you spending hours trying to master a new skill. As a small business owner, time is money. The more time you try to do something that you don’t know how to do, the less money you are making.

Another reason is that it’s easy marketing too. Think about it. The virtual assistant that works for you will have pride in their work and could tell their friends and family about it. This will naturally spread the word about your business.

Plus, if you hire a really experienced freelance worker, their experience will make your projects much more successful. For example, if you hire a ghostwriter to create search-engine-optimized content for your website, you will be more likely to rank in Google than if you try to do it yourself.

Earn More and Work Less

Yes, hiring a VA is a bit of a financial investment. But it can also be a smart strategy for earning more money while keeping your time working down. Find out more strategies for earning more and working less with my free 5-day course!

Virtual Assistant Services

What can you hire freelancers and virtual assistants to do? Almost anything!

Here are six categories where you can hire a freelancerwith examples of common business challenges that I personally have hired freelancers and virtual assistants for.

  1. Administrative – perform data entry of contact information from business cards into Excel and/or a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, download training materials and files from paid sites before canceling a monthly subscription, organize and post document/image files to a cloud-based storage system such as Office 365, and research a list of definitions to create a glossary
  2. Graphics Design – create graphics and promotional material to promote key business events and conference sponsorships, including business cards, bookmarks, print ads, infographics, and holiday cards
  3. Social Media – create images, research articles, and schedule posts to promote and share relevant information with followers to increase social media presence
  4. Technical – create interactive editable pdf forms such as customer intake forms
  5. Web – create landing pages for marketing calls-to-action to build up an email list
  6. Writing – write and edit bios for marketing material and ‘About the Author’ pages

Examples of Things Created By Freelancers

Virtual assistant working in a coffee shop

Here are a few examples that were created by my team of freelancers. It would have taken me much longer to create these since I’m not a graphic designer. I love how they turned out!

#1 – Business Card

pic of SMI business card

#2 – Print Ad

Book ad

#3 – Infographic

21 steps to profitable business

Where to Hire a Virtual Assistant

Now that you know why it’s great to have a virtual assistant and what they can do for you, let’s talk about how to find one. For someone who is hiring an assistant for the first time, the Uber-like concept works great. This is because there’s no major commitment involved—just give them a try for a project and see how it goes.

For someone who is looking to grow their business and add additional income streams (i.e. launch a new product, online course, etc.), it might make more sense to have consistent support and someone to train that can take on a variety of support tasks and get to know your business.

For example, when I knew that I needed someone on a more consistent basis when I was launching my first online course, I looked for someone who could do 10 – 15 hours per week (and was willing to do more hours as needed). It was great to have one person who could learn my business and take on tasks as needed, and not have to hire out for each different task. I hired a VA directly from the Philippines based on a colleague’s referral. 

One source that I found that can help match you with overseas (Philippines-based) VA candidates to interview is Virtual Staff Finder.

If you prefer US-based workers, another source I found is Belay. This is a good way to find someone who acts more like an executive assistant.

Lessons Learned From Hiring Freelancers

When you hire virtual assistants and freelancers, you free up time to focus on running your business. Don’t try to do it all. Hire help, and use the Uber-like concept by hiring freelancers and virtual assistants only when you need them.

If you’ve never hired a freelancer before, what will be the first task/project that you want to accomplish that will save you time, money, and stress? If you’ve hired a freelancer before, do you have a success story or lessons learned to share with other entrepreneurs?


My current virtual assistant started with me in January and has given me back over 700 hours to-date!  I just gave her a token of my appreciation (work-related item that she wanted) for all the hours she’s given back to me.  She was recommended to me by Productivity Expert Marcey Rader, who has an excellent un-webinar Secrets to Hiring a Virtual Assistant: Breaking the myths of outsourcing

Hire A Virtual Assistant: Final Thoughts

Are you convinced now that you need to hire a freelancer or virtual assistant? Do yourself a favor and take one task/project that you’ve been meaning to do, but never seem to find the time to start and finish.

Create a simple job description and post it to a freelancing site like Upwork. Then, search for freelancers and invite them to the job or just sit back and wait for them to apply.

Either way, you will be amazed at how quickly your business can change just by implementing this simple, Uber-like concept to building your team and maintaining your business!

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • This is spot on. Business owners spend way too much time learning tasks that are one-offs, or that aren’t in their line of genius, only to save a few bucks. Figure out what your time is worth and outsource when you are going to be losing money in the process. Some people thought I hired a VA too soon, but then I became profitable and tripled my gross in year three of my business. Great article, Sylvia!

    • Wow, tripling your gross income is amazing, Marcey! More business owners need to hear your story and lessons learned on how you effectively use a virtual assistant (VA). Please feel free to share any relevant articles or posts on how someone can best work with a VA, especially if they are worried that it won’t be as effective as working with someone in-person, which we both know can cost almost 2-3x more.

  • As a full-time freelance writer it’s always refreshing to hear businesses advocating the use of skilled independent workers. I also like that this post covers a broad scope of independent work – from admin to design and writing. Glad you’re championing the freelance world. Part of what I love about my work is that it comes full circle, helping other businesses grow in turn does the same for mine.

    • Thanks Tara for the positive feedback! I am definitely a supporter of the freelancer world and actually encourage many of my clients to become part-time freelancers to make extra income and pay-off debt.

      Feel free to send me an email with more info on your ideal customer and type of work that you enjoy, and I will keep that in mind to share with my small business clients and colleagues who could benefit from your services. Many of my colleagues and clients didn’t know how to find freelancers to help them with their businesses before working with me.

      Free free to share this post with your social and professional network…thanks!


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