One of the struggles of any startup or small business is taking care of the mundane and day to day tasks which can suck a lot of time, but brings in little to no revenue. The list of these tasks is countless, from replying to messages on social media to handling a deluge of customer emails or designing a new website logo. These tasks normally bring in very little revenue and are not extremely complex, but are none the less extremely important. Most business owners are not bringing in enough revenue to hire a full time employee, especially if they live in the developed world where labor costs are very high. What if these businesses could outsource some of these tasks to a highly skilled English speaking assistant, but who was located in low labor cost country, enabling a significant reduction in costs?
With the spread of high speed internet across the much of the world, countries such as the Philippines, India, and Pakistan now have a cottage industry of so called “virtual assistants”. These highly skilled individuals are hugely popular with digital businesses for services such as answering customer support emails and social media customer interactions. Tasks which are quite simple, but hard to automate with software and can be done quite easily remotely.
How do small businesses find any virtual assistant services? There are countless platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr, where for as little as $5/day a highly skilled English speaking virtual assistant can be hired. Businesses or individuals can post a job opening and interview a number of applicants or conversely find profiles of skilled individuals with their work history and skills along with their expected salaries. The platforms also provide an easy and fool-proof way to pay the VAs without having to figure out international bank transfers. On top of that the rating system can provide an excellent history of previous work by the assistant so that employers know what they are getting and taking very little risk.
One of the industries which has been a big proponent of virtual assistants is drop shipping e-commerce. These small businesses are very lean and small operations, and as they have a low profit margins and are almost completely digital focused, they rely heavily on VAs for tasks such as boosting the activity on their social media channels and replying to customer emails in a timely manner from their thousands of customers. Other business such as large Instagram pages also rely on VAs to provide real human interaction with their followers, by replying to comments and sending DMs, actions which boost their ranking in the social media algorithm and boosting their exposure in various feeds.
One of the hidden advantages of these virtual assistants also is that many of them reside in Asian countries such as India, Pakistan and Philippines. As they are on opposite sides of the globe from Europe and North America, then can provide customer service during night time as it is daytime in their home countries. Every business owner knows that time is their most valuable resource and hiring VAs is one easy and foolproof way to boost productivity.