Businesses hire virtual assistants primarily to streamline their costs of business. Compared to hiring regular Full Time Employees or FTE’s, hiring virtual assistants are cheaper because you only pay them per productive hour, you don’t incur additional costs of business and VA’s are not paid benefits. It is estimated that by hiring virtual assistants you can save up to 40% in business costs.
But the irony of it is there are virtual assistants who cannot seem to streamline their own business costs.
Virtual assistants are also entrepreneurs. They are proprietors of a business that provides virtual assistance services to interested parties. As such, the Virtual Assistant entrepreneur also has costs of business. If not managed properly, these costs will eat into your profits.
Some of these business costs include:
- Maintenance Costs
Here are tips on how to streamline your costs and improve profitability of your virtual assistance business:
Calculate your Rent per Square Meter – If you are working from home, calculate the cost of rent based on the size of space you have allocated for your business. There are 2 reasons for this:
- Helps you assess profitability of your business. Remember, you are still using real estate space to generate income. It should be treated as a cost of doing business.
- Give you a basis for comparing costs if you work from home or lease a space. Some rental agreements have already factored in Internet costs.
Generally, it will be cheaper to work from home. But if conditions are not conducive for productivity, it would be good to have other options as a place of work.
Calculate the Required Bandwidth – Review the projects you are handling and determine the ideal bandwidth size needed to support your work. For example, if your projects require extensive outbound calling you should have at least 85kb.
Next, look at your other projects and determine how much bandwidth they need to ensure smooth conduct of work. It is possible you may not need a 50mb subscription if 10mb would suffice.
You could even split ISP costs by having a primary carrier for 5mb and back up for another 5mb. This way you are assured of smoother operations without worrying about down time.
Do Everything Online – As much as possible, conduct 100% business using online tools. For example if you have other virtual assistants onboard, communicate using Skype, Viber or Messenger.
Limit the need for paperwork. There are some clients that will request for hard copies of documents.
It could be that they are not aware e-mail is accepted as legal means of communication as long as it originates from the web address of the sender. Suggest scanning then sending signed legal documents via e-mail.
Stick to Free Subscriptions- There are many valuable services you can find online. Some of them offer free subscriptions; no monthly fees but with limited features.
Services such as DropBox, Asana, Skype and social media networks like LinkedIn do not charge monthly fees on their basic package. You can run your operations just fine using the standard features. Unless your business absolutely needs the extra features, stick to free subscriptions.
Keep your home-based business lean and efficient. Like other businesses, you will experience dry periods in virtual assistance. By doing some well- thought of cost cuts, you can build up your savings and prepare for the months when business is slow.