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Thaleia Maher from Something2Offer and I have joined forces to co-create a series this month called What it Takes to Be a Virtual Assistant. She and I have had so many valuable discussions about being virtual assistants and working from home that we decided to get serious about this topic and create something that will really help readers understand what a VA is, and move forward in their quest to become one.
These are just a few things we will be covering on Franticmommy, and Thaleia’sSomething2Offer blog:
- What it Takes to Be a Virtual Assistant: The Basics
- What it Takes to Be a Virtual Assistant: Finding Clients
- What it Takes to Be a Virtual Assistant: Picking Your Niche
- What it Takes to Be a Virtual Assistant: Systems and Strategies for Sustainability
- What it Takes to Be a Virtual Assistant: Tools and Skills
- What it Takes to Be a Virtual Assistant: How VA and Regular Employees Differ
- What it Takes to Be a Virtual Assistant: When to Know it’s Time to Hire a VA
- What it Takes to Be a Virtual Assistant: I’ve Hired a VA: NOW WHAT?
This week, I decided to “put the shoe on the other foot” and give people an idea of how VA’s can help, when to determine if you need help in your biz, and how to go about finding and hiring a qualified Virtual Assistant.
Swamped at Work? A Virtual Assistant Could be an Option
In case you haven’t noticed, there are only so many hours in the day. And sometimes that “day” simply flies by leaving you with unfinished tasks, crabby clients, and a ton of stress.
This situation is a double-edged sword. It’s a blessing that your business has grown that much, but the working extreme hours and being consumed by worry? Not-so-much.
Here’s the deal; you need help. All successful business folks didn’t get that way by trying to go it alone. You need a Robin for your Batman, a Cagney to back up your Lacey, a Chewy to your Hans Solo (wow, I really dated myself with that comment).
The bottom line is; you need a virtual assistant to help with the more time-consuming or trivial (but necessary) tasks so you can free yourself up to do what you do best which is; run your biz and make money.
Have you ever considered hiring online help for your additional administrative, technical or creative work but changed your mind because it seemed too daunting? Getting this help for your biz does not mean you need to try to find room for another body in your office or giving yourself one more person to worry about. Most well-trained VA’s not only work from their own home but are “self-propelled.” They know what they need to do for you, and they do it. No babysitting, nagging or hovering necessary.
Wait. I hear you. You are mumbling “so what’s this gonna cost me?” An online virtual assistant is paid an agreed upon rate for the support provided. Virtual assistants can bill by the task, project, hour or month. This is an agreement and contract that you and your VA need to work out together, but it can be tailored for your needs and budget. Basically, for a simple fee, you will get all of the support of a full-time employee, without the additional overhead costs.
When you hire a virtual assistant, you are hiring them as an independent contractor. This means you do not have to deal with payroll, taxes, pensions or benefits such as medical insurance. You also have the added benefit of hiring them just for a particular project or task at hand, paying them at an hourly rate or by the project. This is more cost effective than hiring a full-time employee.
What Kind of Tasks Could I Use A Virtual Assistant for?
Creative: Create company logos, promotional videos, multimedia presentations, web design elements, and even infographics
Technical: Freelance programming, website administration, and even the aptly named technical support service.
Administrative: This includes organizing schedules, appointment making, taking care of the paperwork, data management, and research, all of which take a considerable amount of time.
Marketing: Need help with press releases, ad campaigns, and an overall marketing plan? There’s VAs that can help with that.
Bookkeeping: Bookkeeping and accounting is a necessary, but time-consuming task. There are Virtual Assistants trained and effective in helping you manage your books.
When looking for virtual assistants, you need to consider qualities like good communication skills. Good communication skills are a critical skill in all employees, especially a VA. Your VA needs to understand completely what you want to be accomplished, your processes, and your expectations.
Are There Risks? Hiring a virtual assistant can provide you with a low-cost solution, however, there are risks as well. As with any employee, you need someone with good references, skills, and previous work history. The hiring process for a VA is not all that different than hiring an in-house employee. Sites like IVAA and VirtualAssistants.com offer a place where you can find reputable and well-trained VAs to fit your needs.
At the end of the day, you still need to remember, virtual or not, your VA is human. Despite the fact that you don’t personally see your assistant because they work online, they are still humans beings that get sick and need days off. But unless you plan to clone yourself soon, the growth of your business may depend on you taking the important step of bringing a VA onboard and freeing up some of your precious time.
I’m really pleased with the increasing demand for virtual assistants. I read from http://www.outsourceworkers.com.au/virtual-assistance-one-stop-shop-business-needs/ that VAs are competitive professionals who provide support services with minimal supervision. Upon reading your article, I learned more about what businesses can expect from their VAs, how exactly they work and that the only difference is your connected online which makes it really cost-efficient. Thanks for clearing that VAs are not employees, they are self-employed.
Kathie Thomas says
Thanks Rebecca and feel free to pick away! 🙂
I love this industry and the fact that it’s allowed me to be home for my family all these years.
Kathie Thomas says
I’ve been a VA for 19 years and recommend it as a great way to work and be with family. I have many long-term clients and commend you on sharing our industry with others.
However, I do wish to query your use of the word ’employee’. VAs are not employees and I’d hate for any potential client to get the wrong idea. VAs are self-employed business owner/operators providing a service to clients, just as other businesses do.
All the best with your VA businesses.
You are soooo right Kathie, thanks for pointing that out. Wow 19 years! AWESOME! I would LOVE to pick your brain!