What is a Virtual Assistant and does your business need one?

Okay, so what exactly is a Virtual Assistant?

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a business owner themselves, we provide support to small business owners, freelancers and sole traders.

Remember good old secretaries and PA’s – we’re like that but with additional modern day business skills.

We’re exceptionally organised people and, because we run our own business too, we know how important it is for us to deliver services to the highest standard.

We’ve got your back, basically!

What tasks do VAs help business owners with?

Many VAs offer a variety of services, but often no two VAs are the same. Which might make you think ‘oh great, even more confusing‘ but it’s a good thing. It means we ‘specialise’, or niche if you want to call it that God forsaken overused buzzword.

Anyway, deep intake of breathe, here’s some of what we can help you with…

  • Bookkeeping
  • Newsletter support
  • Marketing
  • Automation
  • Diary management
  • Email management
  • Social media support
  • Recruitment support
  • Data processing
  • Minute taking
  • Transcription
  • WordPress maintenance and support
  • Content writing
  • And so much more.

How do I know what to outsource?

Simple, it’s all those jobs you either can’t, shouldn’t or don’t want to do.

Can’t – but you’re fumbling along and it’s taking you twenty times as long as an expert and costing you a lot of your time and money.

Shouldn’t – is your time really best spent managing the recurring questions in your free Facebook group, or would it be better if you were present in the group upselling and bringing in the money?

Don’t want to – things like bookkeeping are a prime example here. Many business owners don’t like the bookkeeping, so it gets left until the last minute, the tax bill is a surprise and you’re stressed! If you’d have outsourced it, none of that would have happened.

But what’s the ROI?

That’s difficult to quantify, we’re not sales people. However, your hourly rate may be higher than ours so while you’re paying us and you use that spare time to cater to your paying clients you’re quids in.

How do I find the right VA?

What not to do is put a post on Facebook saying ‘I need a VA‘. You’ll be inundated by everyone who is a VA, thinks they’re a VA or considers it a doddle to bring in some extra money when the kids are napping.

What I recommend is; listing what you need help (using the can’t, shouldn’t and don’t want to method) in a post on LinkedIn, with an invitation for people to get in touch if they can help.

You can then sift through the replies, identifying those who have properly read your request and have given you examples of why they’re the one for you.

Check out their testimonials.

Check out their online presence and their website, does it all look professional? Does their tone of voice resonate with you? Do they seem like someone you could work with?

Most VAs offer a free introductory call of 20 minutes, so do take this up before you make any decisions.

Once you have made your decision, and the VA wishes to work with you too, you can choose to work with them on an ad hoc or a retained basis. It’s the same price whichever route you take,  but if you retain the VAs time your work will be guaranteed a quick turnaround – often 24 hours.

If you choose ad hoc, which is like ‘pay as you go’ in effect, you may well wait a little longer (72 hours) as retained clients always get priority.

Ad hoc is definitely the best route initially so you can see if you work well together, and also a great way to manage your budget.

Is there a minimum amount I need to spend with my VA?

We usually say one hour a month minimum. That’s all. So, if you don’t have the work or the budget for your VA one month and you’re using them on an ad hoc basis, you won’t have any expense.

I know! Amazing, isn’t it?

What else do I need to consider?

That we are your equal, we work ‘with’ you, not ‘for’ you. We’re not employees, we’re busy business owners just like you.

Also, we’re virtual, you don’t need someone in your home town, that defeats the object and can limit your choices.

We respect our time and don’t give it away for free. We also don’t negotiate our hourly rate. We encourage communication via email (virtually). Calls and face to face meetings are always chargeable, if we’re working for free we’ll never recoup that time.

We don’t need micro managing, we’re here to free up your time.

How much will a VA cost?

Currently, anything from £30-£40 an hour regardless of location in the UK.

There’s no pension, no holiday pay, no insurance, no human resources issues and no sick pay.

You can do everything if you want, but you know it’s not a good use of your time because not every task brings in the money.

What about sharing passwords, GDPR and insurance?

We have all of this in place to ensure we are compliant to UK law, but do not be afraid to ask. Likewise, if you have a VA do your bookkeeping he / she will ask to see your passport for money laundering purposes.

If you have any more questions, I’ll be here