Startup Business Idea #14 Virtual Assistance Platform: The Future Is Online
You know how important it is to handle your time if you are an entrepreneur. Regardless of the size of their company, almost every entrepreneur is far too acquainted with filling up their valuable time with mailbox and calendar management.
While you would typically employ a full-time personal assistant (PA) to handle these duties, a somewhat more versatile and effective approach to the problem has arisen over the past few years.
Of course, we’re talking to robotic assistants. Due to their versatility, quality, and growing experience across verticals, virtual assistants are skilled remote freelancers who execute PA tasks. They are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, it is expected that 24pc of digital employees will use a VA on a regular basis by 2021. In 2019, this will be up from less than 2pc.
An employee, freelancer, or independent contractor who works online and executes a range of tasks to support individuals or companies is generally referred to as a virtual assistant (VA). A lot of the things that an in-house secretary will usually perform can be provided by automated assistants: data entry, documentation, arranging, copywriting, scripting, architecture, and other resources. They usually work at home, and might never ever see their customers in person.
Due to the rise of virtual assistants, it’s no surprise that there are many firms that have started offering these services.
The Market Potential
Most individuals would give you confused looks if you said the words “freelancer,” “virtual employees” or “outsourcing” years ago. But remote employees are increasingly becoming common knowledge in all industries. The outsourcing market has risen to $105 billion, according to Outsourced Data. It was just $45 billion 20 years earlier.
Best of Budgets states that it can be up to three times easier to recruit a virtual employee than to have an office-based full-time job.
This can be a perfect choice for start-ups and small firms in first-world countries that struggle to pay local wages. Corporations can also continue to sell, develop and expand with overseas employees without sacrificing a large portion of their cash inflow.
A significant number of VAs have joined freelance networks. On Upwork, more than 5,000 virtual assistants, 74,000 on Guru, 26,000 on Freelancer, and 5,000 on PeoplePerHour are mentioned. And VAs that have their own websites or provide their services by other means do not involve freelancing channels.
Data indicates that there is more productivity for remote employees. Research reviewed by the Harvard Business Review showed that relative to workers who served in the workplace, employees who worked from home completed 13.5 percent more calls at the Ctrip contact centre. A TINYpulse study showed that 91 percent of remote employees believe that at home they are more active.
Gartner estimates that 25% of employee experiences with smartphones will be by voice by 2023, up from under 3% in 2019. While most chatbots and VAs are still text-based, speech-to-text and text-to-speech hosted services that are AI-enabled are rapidly growing. As a result, voice-based applications will expand in production.
The collaboration between Amazon and Marriott is a recent example of the introduction of VPA speakers into the business. Alexa-powered Echo VAs are used by the hotel operator to help with checkout procedures and room amenity control.
One development in the corporate world that reaps multiple advantages for business owners is recruiting a virtual staff. Without the extra expense of recruitment, preparation, and compensation needed for hiring a new employee, it gives you the ability and skills.
While it’s obviously advantageous to recruit and operate with virtual staff, it doesn’t come without its difficulties. Some of the challenges posed by virtual teams derive from the unique regional structure, and some others arise from the participants of the team themselves.
For its participants, the internationally distributed setup of virtual teams is both a blessing and a curse. Since elevated currency exchange means greater compensation, it is a blessing. It also includes little or no likelihood, though, of face-to-face contact with other participants with whom they are employed.
For any virtual team, communication is significant. Therefore, emails and group messages are usually sent to ensure that instructions are properly disseminated to all their members. But are any of the above enough? The sad truth is that; not always. More often than not, the message is usually lost in translation, resulting in unnecessary chaos.
For example, a badly constructed message may easily be viewed as inconsiderate or aggressive in a simulated environment. Such a situation could, needless to mention, lead to misunderstandings and problems within the team.
Also, the routine is a massive obstacle for any virtual squad. Members of virtual teams may quickly get lost in their daily routine, which is counterproductive to innovation among members, with the pile of work and the lack of good contact habits.
Moreover, for any team whose participants operate from distinct areas of the world, cultural variations are still a probability.
Members may sometimes be faced with circumstances where their success would depend on the job of the other participant. This condition also leads to sluggish change at work and inefficiency on the part of all employees.
These problems often cause people to refrain from indulging in this niche, despite the huge demand for these services. However, after careful analysis, we’ve identified that the challenges mentioned above are easily solvable with just a few considerations.
Hence, with immense demand and low competition, there’s no doubt that a virtual assistance platform is definitely a billion-dollar idea when executed well.
There’s no doubt that there is a huge demand for virtual assistants. However, due to the multiple challenges stated above, many entrepreneurs don’t prefer going down this route. What they don’t realise is that all of these challenges have quick and easy solutions that are simple to execute and reap long-term benefits as well.
When it comes to starting an effective virtual assistant business that doesn’t succumb to the common challenges that this industry faces, here are some solutions you must execute:
# Solution 1: In order to encourage collaboration, it is a good choice for a team that is online-based to use any contact medium possible. Members of the virtual team may opt to arrange live chat calls more regularly. They can also opt to create a new message thread where participants can address non-work – related matters freely. When they interact outside work, the “stranger” treatment among members is easier to remove.
# Solution 2: Simulated team leaders should formulate a strategy to ensure that each team member follows all the instructions well. Each participant can have a one on one conversation, whether via Facebook, emails or live calls. To ensure that everyone is on the same page, leaders should even raise questions.
# Solution 3: Typically a dull environment is a “all-work-no-play” environment. Do not let the simulated staff get trapped in a position where only work-related problems are discussed. Gather everybody in one chat room (if possible) and play games where everyone is expected to join, a few minutes before work. Ask about their preparations for their weekends. Speak about topics that are not work-related. It might help to foster a partnership outside of work.
# Solution 4: Communication standards for participants to abide by must be defined in order to discourage misinterpretation and miscommunication. Following those rules would facilitate proper coordination and eliminate conflicts that could happen because of it.
# Solution 5: Split assignments in a manner where participants can make their own progress independently. Ignore practices that would involve two persons from other areas of the globe to operate together as time difference could potentially be a barrier to their success.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur and are looking for a niche that doesn’t have any or many challenges, you will never succeed. Being a problem-solver is synonymous to being a successful entrepreneur. By venturing into the virtual assistant industry, at least you won’t have to face immense competition and already know that there is a lot of demand.
So, join the future and launch your startup in this industry and if you do face challenges, don’t be afraid to put on your thinking cap and find a solution.
For more business ideas and tips on how to be a successful entrepreneur, keep reading The Money Gig.0