First steps to working with a VA
If you’ve heard the term Virtual Assistant but are not quite sure what that actually means, then read on!
Virtual Assistants can help with anything from marketing to accounts; social media or blog writing; diary management to website design. Virtual Assistants can ease some of your business worries and take care of all those time-wasting jobs for you.
What is a VA?
A virtual assistant (VA) works on a casual or freelance basis. They usually work from home, but might work from an office, and might charge per hour or per project. Each VA will have their own skill set and will specialise in certain tasks.
A simple way to think of it is it’s like having a personal assistant/marketing manager/accountant/designer/administration manager… except we don’t need to be in the same office as you!
We usually have qualifications plus extensive training in our specialised area. For example, I offer writing, proofreading and general admin services, and I have a degree in Journalism and Marketing plus experience working as Personal Assistant, so you can see where my skills have grown and developed. Other VAs might have worked for years as an accountant and now they offer freelance account services.
How to work with a VA
First, identify what it is that you want to outsource. It might be one specific task, such as “you want them to write blogs for you” or “manage your email account”. Or it might be that you want someone to manage your whole business, and this often needs a VA that has a team of other VAs to call on.
Next, spend time thinking about the investment. Yes, it will cost you on average $50p/h for an Australian VA, but think about all the time you’ll free up to go and make money doing what you are good at. If you’re a plumber, you are better off paying someone for 10 hours a week to manage all your appointments and coordinate your social media, then spending those same 10 hours a week actually working for whatever your rate is.
Plus, the VA rate is covering everything: you don’t need to pay superannuation, ongoing training, computer/desk, or insurances on top of that rate.
Also, identify how you will communicate with the VA. Do you prefer to email, or will you be wanting to have a skype meeting once a week? Good communication is crucial. When delegating any task, ensure you let the VA know the deadline you have in your mind, what outcome you expect, what systems you use and any other relevant information.
Where to find a good VA
There are freelancer sites with mostly offshore VAs who are considerably cheaper than a local, Aussie VA. But you get what you pay for in this world. For very repetitive or basic tasks then an offshore VA could certainly be a good option. If you are looking for a higher level of support and expertise then you will need to recognise that need, and be willing to pay Australian rates. For example, an offshore VA might be really good at data entry, but not so good at managing your events or social media accounts, as they just do not understand the local market.
I am part of an Australian VA network called Virtually Yours, where you can put a call out for a VA, you simply state the task or tasks you would like help with. https://www.virtuallyyours.com.au/submit-a-job-request/
We are all self-employed, business owners running our own VA businesses. So, we understand how to run a business and also the local regulations, business opportunities and so on.
Building the relationship
Working with a VA is slightly different to working with an employee. Yes, we often complete the exact same work as someone in your office might do, but we love working virtually and it’s a win-win because you only pay for the work agreed. So rather than paying a wage, and superannuation and providing a computer, your VA will complete all tasks and then invoice you for the time or perhaps agree on a package rate beforehand.
VAs work with multiple clients and this means we are constantly practicing our skills and learning something new. I do more training and up-skilling as a VA than I ever did as an employee. Each VA has a different way of charging – I usually charge by an hourly rate but some may charge a package fee or outcomes-based fee. As an independent contractor, I cover all my own taxes, superannuation, equipment upkeep and training, so when I quote my price, you know the value you are getting.
If you would like to chat more about what a VA does, then feel free to contact me at https://www.sbcreations.com.au/