What You Need to Know About Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Could hiring a virtual assistant be the right move for your Early Childhood Education business? In the following article, learn about what a virtual assistant does, why you might consider hiring one, and how to find the right virtual assistant for your childcare business. Read on to find out more.

What Is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant is a professional individual who performs a variety of day-to-day tasks for your business from a remote location. There are two types of virtual assistants: general VAs and specialized VAs. A general virtual assistant performs general administrative duties, like managing your calendar, entering data, and replying to emails. A specialized virtual assistant applies a more specific set of skills, such as social media management, graphic design, or bookkeeping.

Virtual assistants are often independent contractors or employees of an agency. This means your business may be one of several clients for whom they work. This is beneficial to them because it allows them to set rates on an hourly or per-project basis that are agreeable to them. And it is beneficial to the business owners who hire them because their rates are usually less expensive than bringing on a full-time or part-time employee to do the same work.

Whether you hire a general virtual assistant or a specialized one, an independent contractor or an individual from an agency, you can greatly benefit from the work they do for your childcare business.

Are you wondering whether it might be time to hire a virtual assistant? Let’s take a look at several reasons you might consider hiring one next.

Why Hire a Virtual Assistant for Your Childcare Business?

No matter what industry an entrepreneur works in, there comes a point in the growth of the business when it just makes sense to hire a virtual assistant. The same is true for Early Childhood Education professionals. Here are three reasons you might want to hire a virtual assistant for your childcare company:

You are spending too much time on low-value administrative work. How many hours per week do you spend doing administrative work for your ECE business? You know it’s a lot, but try spending a week keeping track of how much time you spend on the following: updating your calendar, filling out paperwork, checking and answering emails, posting to your social media pages, entering data, making copies of documents, running to the office supply store, the post office, and the bank, and so on. Once you get an idea of how many hours you spend on these tasks, you will see how much time in your schedule is tied-up by low-value work.

These tasks are important to your business, but that doesn’t mean you are the person who should be doing them. Your time as the business owner is better spent on high-value work that grows your company, creates new opportunities, and allows you to focus on what matters most to you: the families you serve. That’s where a virtual assistant comes in. He or she can take these administrative tasks off your plate, freeing you up to lead your company the way you want.

You are feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. Does it seem like no matter how much time and energy you put into your ECE business, there’s never enough to get everything done you need to and want to do?  Your to-do lists leave you feeling like the only thing that’s done is you, and you can’t help feeling like you’re drowning in responsibilities and tasks. It’s time to delegate!

At some point, you may have to acknowledge that you are only one person and the number of responsibilities on your plate have exceeded your capacity to accomplish them all. Again, a virtual assistant can relieve the burden and help you minimize the overwhelm. You can give many of the day-to-day duties that bog down your schedule over to a capable virtual assistant and rest assured that it’s getting done without you having to do it yourself.

You want to make better use of your expertise and that of your childcare team. In the same way you desire to focus your knowledge and professional skills in your area of expertise, leading your childcare business, you also want your childcare team to do what they do best without getting pulled in all directions by tasks for which you didn’t hire them. That’s where it’s important to keep the main thing the main thing: keep your focus on high-level business operations and the families you serve, keep your employees’ focus on the specific childcare jobs you hired them for, and utilize a virtual assistant to take care of the “extras.”

Not only will you maximize your team’s potential by giving yourself and your staff the opportunity to do what you do best, but you will protect your team from the same overwhelm and burnout you’re trying to avoid. A virtual assistant helps everyone focus on their roles while ensuring the business is running smoothly on a day-to-day basis. That’s a win for everyone.

Okay, so you might be convinced that it’s time for you to hire a virtual assistant, but how do you do it? We’ll discuss everything you need to know to hire a virtual assistant for your childcare business next.

How to Hire a Virtual Assistant for Your Childcare Business

Hiring a virtual assistant for your Early Childhood Education company is similar to hiring any other outsourced role for your business. Here’s what to do:

Evaluate Your Budget – Decide how much money you have to spend on a virtual assistant. Will you hire someone on an hourly or a per-project basis? Will you hire from an agency or work with a freelancer? Do you want to hire a general virtual assistant or a specialized virtual assistant? Choose an option that meets the needs of your business while staying within your budget.

Write a Detailed Job Description – As with any position for which you are hiring, you want to be sure to write a thorough and detailed job description. List all the duties your virtual assistant will be required to complete. Include any specific skillsets you want them to have. Add the professional qualifications and experience level you seek. And be sure to specify the commitments of the job, including the number of hours required per week, communication expectations, reporting, and so on.

Post Your Job Ad – Seek candidates for your virtual assistant position within your own professional network, on job boards, on freelance websites, or reach out to recruiters or agencies for assistance. Where you look for your virtual assistant will depend on what kind of individual you are looking to hire.

Conduct Interviews – Once you narrow down a selection of top candidates, conduct your interviews. Do your best to speak with each candidate over the phone or on a video call. This will give you the best opportunity to get to know them regardless of their location.

Do a Trial Run – Once you hire your top candidate, set up a probationary period of 30, 60, or 90 days to make sure they are a good fit for your company. You can also initially hire for a specific project or set of projects before offering a long-term role. This way, you aren’t locked into something that isn’t working out.

Provide Training and Onboarding – Finally, be sure to provide plenty of training and a period of onboarding for your new virtual assistant. Treat them like you would any new member of your childcare team. Introduce them to your team members, give them access to the phone numbers and emails of everyone on your team with whom you expect they will be in contact with, and walk them through the in’s and out’s of your childcare business. Remember, the tasks and processes that have been second-nature to you are new to them. Give them time to learn your expectations and get accustomed to their new role. Even the most experienced virtual assistants need training, guidance, and time to settle into their position.

With these tips in mind, we are confident you can hire a great virtual assistant who will be an asset to your Early Childhood Education business. You owe it to yourself to delegate tasks, eliminate overwhelm, and free up your time and energy to focus on leading your company. A virtual assistant can help you with all of the above.

Honest Buck Accounting is dedicated to helping Early Childhood Education companies build a healthy financial foundation and create a trajectory for long-term growth with a full range of professional accounting services. Get in touch with us to speak with a member of our team.

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