What Is A Virtual Assistant and How Can They Help Me?
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Running a small business is next to impossible. If you run that business entirely alone it feels even more alienating and hard. It’s a daily struggle of wearing a million different hats and not knowing if you are doing anything correctly. There is so much to learn from accounting, advertising, social media marketing, website and e-commerce options and more. It feels daunting and where do you turn when your actual business work picks up and you do not have time for the extra stuff? You find yourself a Virtual Assistant!
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A Virtual Assistant, or VA, is an independently contracted service provider that assists businesses with a variety of tasks on location, remotely or both. Vague right? Let’s break it down… They are specially skilled workers that you hire an you become their client. They help with tasks that are pre-discussed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. At the end of the year you provide a 1099 to them if you pay them over 600$ for the tax year, but they are not your employee - they are an independent contractor. They are basically a remote secretary who does SO MUCH MORE.
What Can They Help Me With?
Typically VAs help with social media management, editing, and client management, but many others have additional skills like graphic and web design, publishing assistance, business consulting, email consolidation, accounting and tax assistance. Before hiring a VA I highly recommend writing a list of all the things you WANT or NEED help with and make sure your VA is proficient in that area or willing to learn.
How Do I Find A VA?
Finding a VA is probably the hardest part of this whole process. You need to know what you need help with before you start looking as not every VA does the same tasks as another. You can take out an ad on a local job board, contact your local community college, alert a job center of your need or reach out online in marketplace, groups or even Honeybook. I would not recommend getting a VA from Fiver or similar sites as each job you get a different worker and you want someone that can grow with your business.
Once you get in touch with someone you need to make sure they are experienced and if not you need to make sure their prices reflect their experience. You should look to pay anywhere from $15-$40 and hour and possibly more for package rates and retainer fees. Remember that pay typically reflects the VA’s local area and also their skill level. A cheaper VA is not normally a good thing unless you are looking for a small amount of simple work. These VA’s should have references and work examples available, however some contracts are strict enough they may not be able to provide these. However a VA MUST have a contract and be able to file the 1099 you give them or they are not at all professional, and you never want someone making your business a side hobby.
I Just Signed With A VA, Now What?
If your VA is experienced keep in mind on-boarding and getting started does take time. It also takes your VA time to learn the way your business works and how to work with it. You do need to keep in mind that although this is your business your VA most likely has tried and true process and procedures you WILL have to abide by for them to work with you. If you don’t like this you need to hire an employee and provide them with employee benefits, file their taxes etc. That’s the big difference of a VA and an employee.
Once your VA is established you most likely will need little to no contact besides a weekly or monthly email or call for them to keep up with the work you’re giving them. They should be taking the mundane, easy or time consuming tasks off your plate so you can focus on the real running of your business. They should be making your life easier and your business run smoothly!
How Do You Know This?
I’ve been a VA for about six years now and have helped a variety of businesses get on their feet, fill a position temporarily or assist with their business until they got to a capacity to bring on someone in house. I absolutely love my clients and the blessing I have if running my own business. If you’re ever in the market for a website, virtual assistant or business graphics shoot me an email at fleekstreetstudio.com or catch up with me on my website at www.melissajoycreative.com