We all know how soul draining doing office chores can be. Well, I do. Things like spreadsheets, social media management, and emails (OH GOD, emails) are some of the necessary evils that append themselves to actual, productive work. Founder Ibukun Akinnawo, and her team at Independent Personal Assistant (iPA) will take all that soul draining stuff off your hands for cheaper than an actual PA would.
Founded in January 2016, iPA provides personal assistants who take on routine tasks on behalf of working people without the need to be physically present.
While the concept of having a personal assistant is not new, having one that works remotely without the need to be physically present is gradually taking root. Engaging a virtual assistant takes away the need to hire a full-time employee, and one can take on the service as and when they need it.
Why not a physical assistant on site? “It’s more expensive to hire a competent physical assistant than a competent virtual assistant at iPA”, Ibukun notes. “Virtual assistants are a lot cheaper in the long run.”
“Executives pay for specific tasks to be completed in a set number of hours”, she adds. “Using iPA means that they don’t have to worry about overhead costs such as insurance, bonuses, vacation pay and training. Additionally, the clients don’t pay for the software, hardware and internet connection needed for the virtual assistants to get their work done.”
iPA is positioning itself to provide assistants on demand, and it is looking to assist busy execs looking to offload some of their work for a fee.
“We are targeting entrepreneurs, executives and professionals; working-class individuals who need assistants but don’t want to commit to a ‘real-life’ full time PA”, Ibukun explains.
“Our virtual assistants also add value to the companies they work for. Executives can bounce business ideas off iPA assistants to get relevant second opinions on important business decisions”, Ibukun continues. “Helping executives make wise business decisions is more important to us at iPA than just ticking stuff off our task lists.”
An hour-long one-off request with iPA costs N3,000 (US$15). For recurring requests, the rate is N1500 (US$ 7.50) per hour. One can also get a full-time assistant for N120,000-N150,000 (US$ 600-750) per month.
iPA currently has one rolling month client, and they have had four other clients who made one-off requests since they launched in January.
The biggest challenge for Ibukun and her team is finding competent hands to work with full time. “We’re recruiting at the moment, and people who see our ad tend to think being an assistant is something they can do for some extra cash”, she adds. “It’s a lot of work, and there’s a lot of skill needed to be an assistant.”
iPA’s value proposition is simple. “When there are a thousand and one things on executives’ plates”, Ibukun adds, “it’s more productive to outsource the time-consuming and repetitive tasks and instead focus more on growing their business the best way they can.
Update 5-May-2016: iPA new subscription plan for individuals and small teams