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In our recent blog post, Executive Assistants: 5 Signs You Need One, we covered some signs that help you see if you can benefit from having an Executive Assistant. Now, you have decided you need one—now what?

When you are looking for an Executive Assistant, there are a few crucial factors to consider. An Executive Assistant is responsible for many things ranging from offering high-level administrative support, including preparing reports, scheduling meetings, and dealing with most inquiries to arranging travel and many times, handling your personal tasks.

While characteristics such as technical aptitude, communication and organization skills, and integrity are of vital importance; there are a few more decisions that you need to make.

1. Will you hire someone in your office or hire a virtual assistant?

A factor that plays into this decision is costs. A virtual assistant provides significant cost savings. As more and more offices move to a virtual office, hiring an executive assistant who is offsite is a viable option. Once you decide to take advantage of the cost savings and convenience of a virtual assistant, you have one more decision.

2. Will you hire a freelance virtual assistant or hire through a BPO outsourcing company?

Here are some advantages of hiring a virtual assistant through a BPO outsourcing company compared to using a freelancer.

1. Recruitment, hiring, and training of your virtual assistant

Freelancer Virtual Assistant

If you hire a freelancer, you will have to find candidates on your own. While there are some aggregated sites to find assistants, you will still have to contact potential candidates, which is costly and time-consuming. Once you have narrowed the list of candidates down to the one you want to hire, you not only have to negotiate to hire this person on your own but manage the background checks to ensure this person is a good fit.

Outsourced Virtual Assistant

An outsourcing company will source, hire, and ensure your virtual assistant is fully vetted so you can have the confidence you need. They will also train your assistant. The training required for a virtual assistant is different from other positions you may have hired in the past. They need a lot of information and well-established processes to be able to help you. An outsourcing company should have the proper training that allows their virtual assistants be proactive, follow a system to get up to speed, and start providing you value quickly.

2. Systems and oversight for your virtual assistant

Freelance Virtual Assistant

When hiring a freelance virtual assistant, the responsibility for getting them up to speed is up to you. If you don’t have systems or oversight, you don’t know how much your assistant is getting done, if they are focused on the right tasks, or if they are working at all.

Your assistant may also have other clients or may not be disciplined to work remotely without oversight. Working remotely without any support or other team members can be difficult for some people. While working remotely can be great for some, other people can struggle with the amount of discipline required to be effective.

Outsourced Virtual Assistant

With an outsourcing company, they will help manage and have oversight of your virtual assistant. They also communicate with you directly to ensure you are happy and address any concerns you have. With an outsourcing company, your virtual assistant can be dedicated, so they only focus on your projects.

Most outsourcing companies have an office, so their virtual assistants can get the help they need from an onsite supervisor and other virtual assistants. This also helps to develop a sense of camaraderie and a sense of belonging for your virtual assistant. Look for an outsourcing company that has an office. They also have policies and systems in place to manage time, projects, and KPIs so you can focus on your business. Then, you can be assured that your assistant is focused on the right things to help you be successful.

3. Back-Up Plans for your Virtual Assistant

Freelance Virtual Assistant

If your freelance assistant is sick or takes a vacation, you have to go it alone while they are out. If they have technical problems, lose power or internet due to weather, there will be a gap in your support. Alternatively, if your business has seasonal fluctuations or slow times, you have to end your agreement with your assistant and hope they will be available when business picks back up.

Outsourced Virtual Assistant

With a reputable outsourcing company, their offices will have backup power to deal with weather issues as well as additional staff to cover vacations and other types of leave. That means there will be no disruption in service. Outsourcing will also help you deal with seasonal fluctuations. They can redeploy your virtual assistant when your needs change. Outsourcing companies also ensure support during your business hours.

4. Support System for your Virtual Executive Assistant

Freelance Virtual Assistant

Freelance Virtual Assistants do not always have the support they need to help them be successful. They are typically on their own and need to find their own benefits and support. They can be isolated from the rest of your team, which can make it difficult for them to stay in step with your business. It takes a lot of dedication and discipline to be a freelance assistant.

Outsourced Virtual Assistant

When you use an outsourced virtual assistant, you get to take advantage of the fact that they are with a company who is there to support them. This typically means an office, a manager, and a team. Outsourcing companies also offer benefits, time off, and events to keep staff happy and engaged. Reputable outsourcing companies ensure they have a great team environment focused on providing an optimal experience for your virtual assistant. Happy staff means more productivity and longevity.

5. Scale your staff all in one place

Freelance Virtual Assistant

Typically, freelance assistants work from home, so there are no synergies in adding staff.

Outsourced Virtual Assistant

Another significant advantage is that when you need to scale and add staff, you can add staff through your outsourcing company. This means you can have an extended team working together, all in one office. Many times, your virtual assistant can manage these people onsite for you and provide a consistent flow of communication. They can also help interview new people.

Putting it all together

With a reputable outsourcing company, they have offices with backup power as well as additional staff to assist for vacations or leave. That means there will be no disruption in service. Outsourcing will also help you deal with seasonal fluctuations. They can redeploy your virtual assistant and have them able to be back on your account when your needs change. They also can support you during your business hours whenever they are.

There are several advantages to hiring an executive assistant through a reputable outsourcing company. It can save you money and time, but more importantly, it can save you the headaches and alleviate most of the risk with hiring an assistant. While there are many excellent freelance virtual assistants, the process for you can be lengthy, costly, and time-consuming.

Freelance vs. Outsourced Virtual Executive Assistants

FGC+ provides you with Executive Assistants that have industry experience, interpersonal skills, and a proven history of success, all backed by the support of a state-of-the-art office and a team of people to help ensure your assistant is truly an asset to your company.