When I first got started as a virtual assistant in 2018, I had never heard of the term. To me, it sounded like an online personal assistant! But I soon realized that the term virtual assistant covers so many types of services. There are so many different types of virtual assistants! One of the biggest perks of working as a freelancer is that you get to choose what services you offer.
For example, I started as a general VA in 2018 at $30/hour. Now, my business is a marketing agency. We have a team of three writers and two Pinterest experts, and I am Google Analytics certified. So we cost more, but that is because we are experts at what we do, so our clients can just hand off marketing needs and we create the strategy and implement it.
What is a virtual assistant?
Before I dive into the different titles a virtual assistant might have, let me cover what a virtual assistant is real quick, in case you are thinking, “Adrienna, what is a VA?”
A virtual assistant (or VA) is a self-employed worker, usually remote, who offers various services to clients. This can also include social media managers, Pinterest managers, bloggers, online business managers, image editors, and other freelancers. A virtual assistant most likely will have a specialty, something they are really awesome at – for some that might more administrative or QuickBooks and account, for another they might be focused on social media and marketing.
They are independent contractors, which means they provide their own benefits, computer, health insurance etc. This also means they set their own hours, pay structure, and rules for working together. Unlike an employee, you will have a contract with your VA or marketing team, and there will be contractual obligations between the two of you.The biggest difference is that a VA or independent contractor has their own skillset and does not need to be trained. They will need to be shown how your business works, but they are not someone you bring on to train and grow their skills.
Some tasks might need a marketing team, vs a general virtual assistant.
Often, a general hourly virtual assistant is someone who is newer in the field. And while this is amazing, and where most people start, it also means they might not have the right background for certain items.
If you have a lower budget, say around $300-$500/month, finding a newer Creative VA, who charges around $30/hour, will be the best bet! You might need to train them on some items, but you are also helping a small business, and they can grow with you as your business grows!
While Ava And The Bee focusus on working with wedding professionals, a VA can help with any industry! From real estate agents, and local small businesses to law firms, a VA can help them all.
The Different types of virtual assistants
While the term virtual assistant can cover a variety of services, here are some of the most common titles, and what they offer!
Creative Virtual Assistant: This is normally someone with a design background or design skillset. This can include graphic design, PDF creation, website design, album design, etc.
Administrative Virtual Assistant: These are more admin focused, including Quickbooks, bookkeeping, data entry, lead generation, appointment scheduling, database management. They can also help with billing or basic HR duties. Some might offer travel and booking services, for you and your team.
Social Media Manager: This is someone who creates and schedules content for your social media channels — Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. This can include graphics, writing content, or engagement. The goal of a social media manager is to ensure growth, more engagement, and more sales.
Customer Service Virtual Assistant: This is a person who manages your customer service. This can include customer/client/student emails and communication, like responding to inquiries.
Research Assitant: This assistant focuses on online research for a business. This can include compiling data, presenting this data in an easy-to-read layout, and searching for relevant statistics. They can also help you identify potential areas for growth within your business, as well as help you find guest blogging or Podcast opportunities.
Community Manager: If you have an online community for your business, this is someone who can hang out in there and answer questions, point people to the answers to their problems, etc. This can also include courses you might have created or other education platforms you offer.
Data Marketing Assistant: Some virtual assistants focus on website updates, doing SEO, or creating a digital marketing strategy.
Keep in mind, many virtual assistants will cover multiple areas! This means they might be an expert on creative tasks, social media, and community management.
Online Business Manager vs. Virtual Assistant
One of the biggest misconceptions is that a virtual assistant is the same as an OBM, or online business manager. While some VA’s might also offer OBM services, they are two separate types of jobs. Simply put, an OBM helps manage and delegate tasks among employees, while a virtual assistant is usually hired to complete tasks that a business owner is not able to do themselves.
VAs are the implementers: they take the tasks you need to get done. are accountable for their own tasks, and complete their part of the project.
On the other hand, OBMs are not implementers. They are a strategic role and big-picture thinkers. OBMs disperse orders, are accountable for their tasks, as well as the team tasks, and ensure that those tasks are being completed and followed up.
Virtual Assistant vs. Intern
An intern is a student. They are learning. You have to teach them. They are students of your business as well and are there to learn. There will be a lot more hand-holding, a lot of training, and a lot of oversight. And contrary to popular belief, you often have to pay them OR track hours for credit. Some internships require a lot of backend tasks from the person hiring them, so even if you don’t have to pay them, you are spending hours of your time training instead of getting tasks done.
Outsourcing is hiring a professional. There is no teaching, no hand-holding, and no fixing. You are paying someone because you are expecting it to be done.
Know what you should outsource (and what should stay in-house!)
While it might sound amazing to outsource #allthethings, you also need to consider what is best kept in-house, and what is best outsourced.
- Social Media:
- One of the most requested services to outsource is Instagram. But here is the thing…Wedding pros to still be the “face” of their Instagram. That means doing videos, stories, Reels, engagement, etc. So that means hiring someone to do social media, but not forgetting about it completely.
- A lot of wedding pros want to be 100% hands-off, but I think that actually hurts a business. Couples go to Instagram looking for a connection. They will notice if it’s inauthentic, or never has any behind the scenes, stories, or real videos of you working.
- Calls + Emails:
- While you can have a VA easily handle most emails, some items, like sales calls and sales emails, still need to be handled in-house.