Tuesday, November 26, 2013
‘Virtual Staff?’ I hear you say ‘Why would I ever need virtual staff? I am perfectly capable of managing my emails, booking appointments and answering enquiry calls myself, thank you.’
But the truth is that the world of virtual staff has grown-up. No longer does hiring a virtual employee mean getting someone in to take care of administration and/or secretarial tasks leaving the ‘real’ in-house talent to crack on with the proper jobs. There is a growing army of smart and experienced staff at your disposal, all looking to combine flexible working with great opportunities across a huge and growing range of disciplines including: social media management, graphic designers, technical project managers and web designers to name just a few!
This global pool of brilliance could offer your business the break it has been looking for; the chance to employ a highly experienced professional for just a few hours each week or month, without any of the risk and costs involved with hiring permanent employees.
But where do you start looking for virtual employees? Surely sourcing and managing these people is a job in itself? The great news is that there are several fantastic virtual services companies, such as Worldwide101 who have experienced team members they can deploy to help your business grow almost immediately. And, because these people have already been vetted they come with the right skills and a quality guarantee.
There are so many businesses that would benefit from this opportunity, but here are seven examples to get your imagination going and give you an idea of how a virtual member of staff could fit into your team:
1. The Solopreneur Accountant
You are so used to working alone, getting things done the right way (i.e. your way) that you couldn’t imagine handing over the reins to anyone else in a million years...or could you?
Did you realise the average person now spends over two and a half hours a day, every day, checking and responding to emails. That’s a lot of your time - and we all know that time equals money.
You are probably starting to think about employing someone to help you out with traditional administration tasks like this for a few hours each week, and that person should be someone you trust to get it right first time every time - after all, you alone are your brand and reputation means everything to you. However, you just don’t have the time or inclination to spend hours going through the recruitment process.
2. The Contact Centre Manager
3. The PR Agency
You started your business three years ago, and after a relatively slow start are now really starting to make waves and attract some big clients. You have employed six dedicated staff who help take care of day to day operations, but a new client has just asked whether you could manage their fledgling Facebook account, helping to build an engaged audience and extend their reach.
It’s not a huge amount of hours initially, but you know that once you have a good case study it’s something you could offer to other clients. However, you know you need someone great, with bags of experience to make the project work, but investing in a permanent employee to manage just this one account is ludicrous.
4. The Life Coach
Setting up this business has been your lifelong ambition and you put every ounce of energy into starting it, along with your heart and soul into making it work. The really great news is that you are doing so well there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, but you know you will never find anyone that can help pick up the slack that is as passionate about your business as you are.
Your clients are bound to suffer as an assistant could never treat them with the love and care that you do on a daily basis, and working with someone that you immediately ‘click’ with is of vital importance to you...and where would you ever find someone like that?
5. The HR Director
You work for a well established, medium sized (but growing) insurance brokerage firm, which is looking to break into Europe, starting slowly but building momentum as the brand gains customers and recognition.
The board have asked you to investigate recruitment opportunities in a number of different locations within the next three months, and you know this means several weeks travelling, and hours of recruitment time ahead, just to find one or multilingual professionals who can help make this happen. You just don’t know where you are going to find the time in your agenda to do this.
6. The Web Design Agency
Your agency has been working flat out for several months now. New commissions are coming in thick and fast and the majority with seriously challenging deadlines. You don’t want to turn any work away, and know you will need to need to recruit another member of the team soon, but there are going to be a couple of big challenges with this:
Firstly, you have pretty much exhausted the pool of web design and CRM talent in your local area - it took three rounds and four long months of interviews last time to find anyone suitable.
Secondly, the latest big order from a long-standing client needs to be completed within the next six weeks. Even if you could get someone new in the door in the next couple of weeks, you’ll never get them trained and up to speed on the project in time.
7. The Online Retailer
There are just so many jobs that need to be done, you would need a small army of people to stand a chance of ever finishing them.
Your site needs updating and moving to Wordpress, your meta tags are all wrong, your product descriptions need re-writing and your blog hasn’t been updated for over a year. You’re having enough trouble keeping on top of suppliers and managing customer orders that you’re just not sure you can continue to keep the ship afloat for very much longer. Whilst you have the budget, there would be no point in recruiting anyone, as the work would only be there for a couple of months.
These examples give you a flavour of the opportunities you are likely to be missing in your business right now. This digital age is opening up opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible five to 10 years ago and the most successful future businesses will be the ones who realise scaling doesn’t necessarily mean employing more people from your local area and expecting them to take your business to the next level.
There is a whole world out there - go and get it.