Too few leaders bother to audit their time. They’ll track just about every other metric in their business, but fail to do the same with their time.
How much time per week do you spend on administrative tasks like these?
- Managing and responding to email
- Coordinating schedules
- File management to stay organized
- Invoicing and bookkeeping
- Project management details
- Social media management
- Editing documents
- Customer service tasks
- Meeting notes and agendas
- Making travel arrangements
- Creating agendas for meetings
- Building internal processes
- Writing project proposals
- Designing presentation decks
If you’re anything like most people, you spend 28% of your time managing email alone.
Add that to the pile of tasks above and you’ll quickly find a big problem for most execs: a huge portion of time is spent on everything but revenue-generating activities.
Real productivity means driving growth rather than performing a bunch of tasks. But high-value tasks often can’t get done without the usual back-and-forth emailing, meeting scheduling, and/or expense reports.
In this article, we’ll help you:
- Calculate the ROI to expect by hiring a virtual assistant service.
- How to increase your time spent on high-value activities.
- Understand how to evaluate assistant services to find the best fit for you.
Let’s start by doing that audit of your time.
What Task Is Eating Up Most Of Your Time?
Knowing what work you should delegate to a virtual assistant is tough. To begin, let’s break your workload into two categories: done by you and done by other employees.
Work Done By You
High-value activities generate business growth, drive revenue, promote positive culture, create innovation, and make similar contributions.
Often, these are the things that either got you promoted into your executive role—or allowed you to start and build a thriving business in the first place.
These are the tasks only you can do.
Work Done By An Employee
Next are activities that need to get done, but not by you.
They are still things that need to be accomplished at expert levels, like email management, bookkeeping, making travel arrangements, and other administrative tasks.
The biggest roadblock to handing these kinds of tasks off is trust.
Anxiety over whether you can trust someone to do these things correctly is why many leaders struggle to delegate. Is your schedule correct? Do you know what’s getting done today? Did that important email that disappeared from your inbox get handled correctly or do you need to follow up?
A high-level assistant will give you real-time communication and visibility into what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and what you still need to keep tabs on.
This is where you’ll want to consider the difference between a virtual assistant vs. a remote executive assistant.
So, while the above admin tasks (and many more) don’t contribute directly to organizational growth like sales, delegating them will unlock significant time and mental bandwidth.
They’re things that need to be done competently—but not by you.
Spend Less Time In Meetings And On Content You’ll Post. Focus On High-Value Activities Instead.
Meetings eat up a lot of time, for you and your team, without necessarily producing much.
How do you increase the time you spend on high-value activities?
You probably have a long list of activities that have low-value return that consume much of your time. These are the business tasks that have to be done, but you shouldn’t be wasting your skills and knowledge on them.
Now add to that list the things you hate doing — the energy-draining things that eat up your time simply because you put them off as long as possible and they take twice as long as they should when you finally get around to them.
Your task list might include:
- Writing memos, briefs, newsletters, notes, or transcription
- Audio and video editing, and graphic design
- Content writing, including social media posts
- Content management and online marketing
- Administrative assistant tasks
- Managing your email inbox, including multiple email accounts
- Video calls with clients and vendors
- Scheduling appointments
- Coordinating meeting times for online meetings
- Customer response and handling phone calls
- Bookkeeping and expense reporting
- Web development and maintenance
Now throw in all of the personal tasks that crop in the workday, and you have too much to do with too little time. Yet all of these have to be done.
Here’s the amazing thing: everything in that list can be handled by premium personal assistants.
How To Calculate The ROI You Can Expect From Virtual Assistant Services
One study found business leaders wasted a shocking 21.8 hours per week on activities that either can be delegated or eliminated altogether. They either left more important work undone, or were pushing into the ranges of a 70-hour work week.
That 21.8 of hours were a surprising mix of tasks others could competently do for $60/hour or less. The best virtual assistant services shift the critical details from you but still get it done—and done exceedingly well.
So, what ROI can you expect from a virtual assistant service?
First, understand that not having a reliable virtual assistant may be costing you thousands each month. Add to that you’re likely stuck with activities outside of your wheelhouse like organization, detail-oriented work, or admin.
(Especially for you entrepreneurs of the world.)
By hiring a virtual assistant to manage these tasks for you, you’ll likely save money from day one.
All of those hours that used to be locked up are now yours to do more of what you do best, and what only you can do. These are the “working on the business” actions like:
- Strategic planning and vision
- New product and service development
- Key relationship building
- Leadership development and mentoring
- Culture building
- And more…
Imagine if you brought in just one new client, expanded revenue with existing customers, or found inefficiencies that had been overlooked. How many thousands of dollars might those hours be worth?
Not to mention, the best remote executive assistants can actually pave the way for you to rest. To gain the peace of mind that you can leave without everything falling apart. This in itself is invaluable.
This is about opportunity cost, where you can either pay in dollars or in time. What growth opportunity might you have missed while answering emails or coordinating schedules?
Time spent here is time not invested in what grows your business. These become lost opportunities that compound week after week and, eventually, year after year.
Read more: How Much Does An Executive Assistant Cost?
The Right Virtual Assistant Service: The Secret Software Of Success
If you’re like many leaders, you focus a lot on choosing the right business tools—productivity tools, project management tools, a social media management tool, virtual assistant tools—anything with advanced features and a great review that others swear are a game changer. If you can just find the right piece of software to function in the background, just one more perfect online tool…and you’ll find that productive sweet spot.
The truth is, more software tools, more headaches.
The right virtual assistant service will accomplish even more than all the great productivity and scheduling tools you use to try to regain your time back.
The best virtual assistant companies can give you an assistant with at least three superpowers.
- Communication. They should be proactive in surfacing problems, sharing updates to keep information flowing, and be responsive to customers, vendors, partners, internal team, and anyone else you need to stay in step with.
- Chemistry. They need to be a good fit. They have to work how you work. Personalities have to click. You want to get hand-matched and meet them before you dive in.
- Course of Action. There should be an onboarding process that establishes communication and understanding of expectations. Instead of you designing workflows and training, the best virtual assistant services will come ready-made with the best ways to work with them.
While there are other considerations, these three Cs form the bedrock of productive relationships.
Premium subscription staffing is the model with a growing reputation for excellence. Think of it as taking what your typical virtual assistant company offers, and then elevating it to a level that’s suitable for high-demand business users and companies.
Premium subscription staffing lets you “subscribe” to highly qualified, fully compliant, personally matched virtual assistants—without any of the hassles of recruiting and employment—and at a lower cost.
Choose A Virtual Assistant Service With People You Can Trust
Trust is the big leap for leaders in all of this.
It’s hard to give up a rein or two. You’ve done those things since the start and it’s hard to trust them to a virtual assistant. You don’t know if they’ll represent you well to customers and vendors, or if they understand your brand as well as you do.
It’s not just about finding a list of skill sets, but finding a virtual assistance service you trust enough to do the job to let you step away.
Virtual assistants can become a real part of your core team.
That’s why trusting their skill sets, decision-making abilities, and ability to communicate are non-negotiables.
Subscription staffing gives you access to Fortune-500 trained remote executive assistants you can trust. You’ll find rockstar talent with:
- A minimum of 10–15 years of experience in your industry (or closely related discipline),
- Often Master’s level education, professional certifications, and ongoing career development,
- Deep experience in remote-only roles rather than just learning the technological and logistical ropes,
- Fluent multi-lingual support for U.S.-based companies with multinational clients or locations, or non-U.S.-based organizations,
- W2 employment status within their virtual assistant service (rather than a 1099 contractor), making them legally compliant from day one.
You’re careful with your regular hires. That’s why you don’t go out and find just anyone to be your virtual assistant.
So choose a tenured expert you can trust, and get your focus back on high-value growth-generating activities.
If you’re ready to explore what it can look like for you, let’s talk.
May 2022 Update: Times have changed, and Virtual Assistants with this level of expertise are now typically called Remote Executive Assistants.
Topic: Remote Executive Assistant
Updated on October 12th, 2023