Q: What is a Virtual Assistant?
A: A Virtual Assistant (VA) is someone who partners with entrepreneurs and businesses to perform tasks that are administrative in nature, freeing the entrepreneur or business to devote more time to growing their business. The term “virtual assistant” is used because the entrepreneur and the assistant can be located anywhere, not requiring to be in the same physical location.
Q: What kind of tasks does a VA take care of?
A: The list can be as long or short as you like. Things like bookkeeping, social media management, email list/database management, blogging, ghostwriting, real estate paperwork, even simple IT support… anything you would hand off to an administrative assistant if you were in a traditional office.
Q: How much does a VA cost?
A: The short answer is anywhere from $40-$100 per hour. The more accurate answer is that some partnerships are based on an hourly rate, some are set prices based on individual projects the entrepreneur need the VA to complete, and some partnerships are for a predetermined number of hours the VA will work (more commonly known as a retainer). The more complex the need, the higher the rate.
Q: Most admins in the corporate world don’t make that kind of money. Why is a VA different?
A: Large businesses have restraints you don’t have in the entrepreneurial world – “industry standard” (translation: what everyone else does), taxes (employers must pay 6.2% of an admin’s salary in payroll taxes, so it’s in the company’s best interest to pay the admin $20 an hour instead of $40, lowering that tax burden), and most notably, perception. Large companies generally aren’t aware of how skilled an admin must be in this day and age to get everything done. While a tax attorney or a nuclear engineer is easily recognized (and compensated) as highly skilled, admins are often viewed as “unskilled labor” or “a dime a dozen” and are compensated accordingly. Most entrepreneurs don’t have that hang-up and are willing to pay more for a great VA, because even what seems like crazy rates are a bargain compared to what they could earn by handing these tasks over to a VA.
For example, let’s say you are a successful business owner that brings in $150,000 of revenue a year, working 2,000 hours. You are essentially making $75 an hour. If you hire a VA at $50 an hour for 10 hours a week, you’re going to pay that VA $25,000 in a year. But that 500 hours you save by having your VA take care of those admin tasks can now be devoted to growing your business. If you earn business at the same rate, you can earn $37,500 without working any longer hours. Subtract the $25,000 you paid your VA, and your business has taken in an extra $12,500 – more than a $1,000 per month increase – without working any longer than you did previously. It’s a win-win – the entrepreneur saves time and can realize greater revenue with freed-up time, and the VA earns a payday. The VA can partner with multiple clients and earn a sizable income, and all his/her clients are satisfied as their business is run more effectively.
Q: What about the job sites that advertise admin / VA jobs for $5-$10 an hour? Why wouldn’t I just hire one of them?
A: If the one and only concern a business owner has is spending the lowest amount of money on an assistant as humanly possible, then yes, those sites and workers are what you want. But there are trade-offs. Most of those candidates are at the entry level – no shame in that, everyone has to start sometime and somewhere. But if you want a successful, high-performance business, you will want a VA that has been in the administrative world for a while, has a vast range of experience – especially in the “soft skills” like listening, problem-solving and communication – and who will be your PARTNER. A good VA is not just a commodity, he/she is a partner. You work together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. A partner will be able to accomplish what you need to have accomplished and will be able to proactively identify other areas where he/she can help your business thrive even more. So while it can be fine in some situations to simply work with a low-cost option, the best way to ensure your business thrives is to partner with a high-performing VA. It’s an investment you will be glad you made.
Q: OK, so it’s good to hire a VA. Why should I hire you?
A: I can give you what you need. You want to spend more time promoting your business and generating more revenue. You want to take some of the administrative tasks off your to-do list so you can do so. As a 25-year veteran of administrative support roles, you can be assured those tasks will be completed. Let’s connect and see what great things we can accomplish as business partners!