Considering getting an assistant for your solopreneur business?

Need a helping hand with your solopreneur business? A virtual assistant may be the answer.

By Henry Brown

There’s a time in every solopreneur’s life where things take off to the extent they are inundated with tasks, and while this can be a sign of success, it can also be a sign that you need to extend your team to include a virtual or physically present assistant.

See, no man (or woman) is an island, and just because you’ve decided to go it alone doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself. Today’s business world offers a plethora of options for hiring an assistant, some of whom are located near you and others who live on faraway shores. Such an individual can help you with time consuming tasks such as content marketing, social media management, business research or all of the “administrivia” that only grows as your business grows.

The question, is whether you should hire a virtual assistant (most likely a lot cheaper in an overseas country such as the Philippines or India) or a local based physical assistant?

The answer will most likely boil down to an equation of budgetary constraints, what you require the assistant to do, working hours, and your personal working style.

[amazon_link asins=’1939529743′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingin-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f67feb38-38be-11e8-b381-77d62d90a578′]On the one hand, there’s a feeling of reliability knowing someone is available in the next room, yet this ‘traditional’ way of hiring a personal assistant comes with a substantial administrative and financial burden in the sense of sick pay, holiday pay, taxes, and equipment.

The truth is whether you’ve set up a small creative digital platform selling cute little goods via Etsy and Amazon or are in a more physical business such as making aluminum walkway canopies, a virtual assistant can be an easy, simple, and cost effective way to get the help you require without the additional burden of employing someone locally.

Working with a ‘virtual assistant’ is easy to set up. Essentially, you offer them the job and they are good to go. There’s no set-up cost in terms of supplying equipment and there is a sense of flexibility about the relationship. You can have it as on-demand service where you are only charged for the work undertaken each week, whereas with a physically present assistant would most likely require a minimum term contract.

[amazon_link asins=’1539002195′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingin-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’feff840c-38be-11e8-ae99-fd49ebc9df13′]Communication can, of course, be much easier when dealing with someone face-to-face and there are social benefits in terms of the camaraderie and friendship that can come from having a live assistant; however, flip this on its head and the social vibe could head toward ‘office politics’ and resentment.

There is a sense of commitment from a physically present assistant that you are unlikely to feel with a virtual assistant, in part because you are sharing the same physical space, but that does not mean a virtual assistant cannot be equally, if not more, committed to you and your business.

Your concern is possibly more justified that the virtual assistant may not always be available when you need them, whereas, the live assistant in the next room to you – is reliably going to be around for when you need them.

However, bear in mind the fact that someone is local does not in itself mean they are necessarily better.  Indeed, many virtual assistants in countries like India have Master’s degrees yet charge a fraction of the cost of a more local inexperienced assistant.

In many ways, the answer to the question of whether you should opt for a virtual or physically present assistant all depends on what you require and your preferred working style. That said, virtual assistants seem to offer the flexibility, low hassle and cost saving that many solopreneurs and small business owners would benefit from.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.


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