Individuals who’ve freshly set out on their entrepreneurship journey usually must wear different hats throughout the day – a supervisor, manager, HR assistant, or even the administrator. With so many things to manage from the to-do list, one may not be productive all day since they are continuously switching their concentration from one activity to the other.
Usually, entrepreneurs don’t want to waste their energy and time on the less important things that do not contribute to the growth of the business. Rather, they look to utilize the valuable time in the tasks that are super productive.
This evident bottleneck has fueled the need for virtual assistance service, becoming a key factor in the management of the work. Hiring a virtual assistant can most certainly help in managing responsibilities so that growing entrepreneurs can concentrate on more important tasks.
Virtual assistants are known for their versatility and can contribute to the success of your business. With the advancement in technology, the demand for this virtual assistance has increased drastically.
Looking at this demand, Virtudesk, a software solution provider company, started its endeavor. The company specializes in recruiting, training, and managing virtual assistants with its cutting-edge software solution.
Virtudesk was founded in 2016 as a virtual assistant company. It offers highly trained virtual assistants based in the Philippines, specializing in services such as real estate prospecting, marketing, administrative work, customer service, and transaction coordination.
Virtudesk helps real estate agents, entrepreneurs, and small-to-medium sized business owners scale their businesses by teaching them how to delegate certain parts of their business to virtual assistants, so they can focus on the 20% of their business that produces 80% of the results. The company primarily serves the real estate industry right now but is currently expanding into other industries such as Finance, Retail, Healthcare, Insurance, and others.
Virtudesk’s USP is three-fold. What separates it from its competitors is that it offers flexible hiring packages. One can hire a virtual assistant from Virtudesk for full time, part time, or time block.
All Time Block means that a person can hire one of the virtual assistants for special projects – for 20, 40, 60, and 80 hours ‘time blocks’. Virtudesk’s pricing structure also allows its clients to pay on a month-to-month basis, which allows greater flexibility in the hiring process.
Many of its competitors actually don’t do this, and many only offer full time. It can be difficult for other companies to sustain this kind of product and revenue model, as profit margins decrease with lower hourly work per client.
However, it has been a great methodology for the clients to test out the service first. Many of Virtudesk’s new clients transition to full-time after starting with Time Block or part-time, as it’s less scary for them when they immediately try it for the first time.
The Virtudesk Academy
The virtual assistants of Virtudesk are highly trained unlike any company in the industry. Before it even begins the rigorous training, there is a strict screening process. Applicants are selected only if they have Business Process Outsourcing Experience or experience working at larger US based companies.
Once they enter the training program, they are taught by experienced trainers and coaches on the tasks they are expected to perform with their future clients. The company conducts online classes and online discussions, then takes a final exam of everything they learned, including a separate English proficiency exam, and they have access to an abundance of support and learning resources.
For this program, there is an online school, called ‘Virtudesk Academy’, which houses online courses, lectures, and materials for virtual assistants to access during and after training for continuous education and professional development. Even when one of company’s virtual assistants starts working with their client, they have a ‘coach’ that will help the virtual assistant and the client work successfully together, by providing resources and additional training.
Ensuring Security with Timedly
While working with Virtudesk, clients are ensured optimum security. Not only does it give all the virtual assistants FBI-grade background checks, but it also offers clients a VA time-tracking software, called Timedly.
A Virtudesk product, Timedly tracks when a client’s virtual assistant logs in and logs out, and tracks total hours worked for the day. It takes a screenshot every two minutes in order to hold the VA accountable to their work, and honesty.
Additionally, unlike hiring a virtual assistant from the Philippines directly, Virtudesk has cyber security insurance that will mitigate loss against data breaches or stolen information.
Virtudesk provides virtual assistant services in a variety of specialties, including marketing, prospecting, customer service, transaction coordination, and administrative work. The value that clients can gain from Virtudesk and hiring virtual assistants, is operational efficiency in their business and overall business growth.
By delegating tedious, repetitive, and non-essential tasks, clients can have the time back to refocus on new projects and activities that help grow their business. By hiring one or more virtual assistants, they can scale. The company advises its clients that they can experience returns on investment in two ways. The first is if they hire a virtual assistant for reaching out to qualified leads and scheduling appointments.
For every sale they can close from an appointment, company’s VA schedules can be attributed towards ROI. Second, by determining how much their time is worth, clients can take note of how many hours each week they save by hiring a virtual assistant and delegating the work. People tend to forget how time is just as valuable as the money they make, and that is another experienced award of delegation and hiring a virtual assistant.
Pavel Stepanov is the Founder of Virtudesk. He established Virtudesk in 2016, because he saw that virtual assistants are an integral part of small businesses. Prior to creating Virtudesk, Pavel was selling real estate full time and operated a real estate brokerage. He saw how much time was spent on tasks that do not generate revenue directly, but still must be done in order to run a successful business.
He first hired a virtual assistant in the Philippines to help him with prospecting and admin tasks and focused only on work that directly generated income. He saw not only amazing growth of the business, but also better quality of life as he was finally able to get out of the daily hamster wheel grind and spend more time with his family. After all, time is the only commodity that is available equally to everybody and one cannot buy more of it.
Virtudesk started out with only a couple of virtual assistants and a dream to make the world a better place for busy professionals and now the company is proud to be at the forefront of the industry, providing jobs for hundreds of employees.
Pavel strongly believes that virtual assistants are becoming more involved in the day-to-day operations of small and medium sized enterprises and is becoming a driving force for business owners. He is looking forward to expanding the company and doubling the output for this year and providing more jobs to aspiring virtual assistants.
“At Virtudesk, hiring a virtual assistant is not like hiring elsewhere, because of the relationship that clients can develop while working with their VAs. Hiring a Virtudesk VA is like adding to the company family, you are gaining an asset who will only have you and the company’s best interests in mind. Plus, they are extremely fun to work with, who doesn’t love that!” Pavel expressed.
Broadening Horizons with Technology
Looking at the past, it is visible that only big companies used to be able to outsource labor to other countries. This was for Fortune 500 companies and those who could afford expensive technology in call centers in other countries. This is no longer the case. Now, with the flexibility and easily available technology, any small business owner or a solo-preneur can outsource their tasks. Anybody with a smartphone and internet can run their business and hire people across the globe to run a business, assist and ultimately scale.
This is truly fascinating because it broadens the horizon and makes the world smaller and workforce available literally at fingertips. There will be more and more adoption of work-from-home model and also the use of virtual assistants. The industry is growing and with high-speed broadband, easy-to-access technology allow people in other countries to be able to work as virtual assistants and business owners to truly leverage their time.
One of the major challenges Virtudesk faced during the pandemic was getting a lot of cancellations. Pavel acted on it as soon as possible by talking to the clients and explained the importance of maintaining their VAs during the pandemic. Usually, when a crisis happens, the first response of a business owner falls to laying off employees. They do this without even realizing the consequences. Their first reaction is to cut, cut, and cut. They believe if they cut the expenses of the business, then they will stay afloat. But in reality, if any business owner lays off employees, he/she may cut their business as well.
Everyone understands cutting the fat off the business, but don’t cut the muscle which pertains to their virtual assistants. Pavel believes that the people of Virtudesk are major assets to the company and treats them like family. When COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, Virtudesk did not lay off a single employee and made sure that all employees had jobs and income to support their families during these unprecedented times.
Bequeathing Keys to Excellence
When asked for his advice to the budding entrepreneurs on venturing into the virtual assistance business, Pavel advises, “Treat the employees with respect and dignity. These people are not robots, and they have feelings, they have their fears, and they also have their shortcomings. Learn to understand and feel the people you work with. You can choose to be a boss or to be a leader. Build the relationship as an inspiring leader, so that people show up to work for you every day not because they need a paycheck, but because they want to work WITH you.”
“Reward when it’s due – but be fair. Make sure you have established a set of rules equally applicable to everybody. That way it is fair, and nobody can accuse you of favoritism or bias,” he added.
What Lies on the Next Page?
Ever since the start of the company, every year, team Virtudesk has been able to double the growth from the previous year. Of course, with bigger achievements, come bigger, and more ambitious goals. Pavel believes that growth should be bold and sets higher goals for 2022. The corporate team has already started working to implement strategies and setting the playbook for achieving the goals for 2022. “There is a lot in production now, and it will be revealed in due time,” adds Pavel.
Besides that, the management wants to connect with other industry influencers and establish short-term or long-term partnerships. This will help the company achieve its initial goal of more sign-ups while simultaneously connecting it to networks in different industries, which will lead to the next goal.
Fully expanding and establishing Virtudesk’s presence in other industries is a must for its team in the next 12 months. For the last four years, the company has largely served the real estate industry. However, Pavel thinks that his company can gain a much larger market share through advertising and exploration of new channels that can get them into other industries.
Appreciation of Excellence
“I’ll rate Virtudesk 5/5. My experience with Virtudesk was fantastic. I like your follow-ups and consistency is very refreshing and it makes me feel very confident in hiring Virtudesk.” – Rick Garza, Bright and Early Productions
“We hired a VA because we needed help on recruiting for agents and I am very satisfied with my Virtual Assistant. The experience with Virtudesk is really good and I am really really happy.” – Misti Bruton, AVO Realty