In 2017, business coaching firm Maui Mastermind investigated how efficiently entrepreneurs use their time. The firm found that 30% of small business owners’ workweeks are spent doing menial tasks, or low- to no-value activities. In total, entrepreneurs waste around 6.8 hours a week attending to menial work. This includes 3.4 hours sorting through low-value emails, 3.2 hours handling interruptions, and 1.8 hours dealing with co-worker requests.

That is a lot of hours worked without actually being productive. Unfortunately, increased office hours don’t mean greater productivity.  Verizon Connect found that working for 70 hours was just as productive as working for 50. This is why working smarter has become a top workplace trend in recent years. One highly impactful way to work smarter and increase productivity is through hiring virtual assistants.

Suffice to say, hiring a virtual assistant is something all small business owners should consider. GVI founder Steve Gerwin did so, and it’s a decision he considers a life-changer. “I was feeling so frustrated that more and more of my time was being spent on business administration, and I had nobody to pass this on to…,” admitted Gerwin. “I knew my time could be better spent elsewhere, but once again the idea of hiring a full-time employee to tackle 30 or 40 hours a week of administration seemed a bit excessive. Now with my virtual assistant, I feel like I can really focus on big-picture stuff for work and my family…”

As his testimony shows, virtual assistants alleviate mundane and time-consuming tasks, particularly in small businesses. This, in turn, lets you to focus on client-facing issues that will actually move your business forward, like creating action plans and negotiating business deals. Consider, for example, scheduling a meeting with a possible business partner. You’ll have to set up appointments, book conference rooms, order food, order refreshments, prepare equipment, send out emails, and confirm everything as the meeting draws near. A virtual assistant would take care of all these tasks for you, so you have more time to prepare for the meeting’s content and goals.

Another point that is important to consider is that hiring a virtual assistant is far more inexpensive than hiring in-house staff. This is because you don’t have to pay them a fixed salary. Instead, you can hire them as needed on an hourly basis, and for generally reasonable rates. First Voice concluded that they range between £15 and £30 an hour. The average rate is £25.34 an hour. This is far more cost-effective in the long run compared to hiring a full-time employee to do the same work.

At the moment there is a thriving virtual assistant industry in the UK, with over 2,500 professionals helping over 13,500 small businesses. With that being said, think about whether yours could benefit from one this year. In that case, make use of companies such as AVirtual. Companies such as these outsource virtual assistants for a better price. Finally, they are infamous for being difficult to be hired by, as they only hire the best and brightest virtual assistants (1 in 200 applicants).

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