The number one question I get asked by my family, friends, and inquiries is this: What is a virtual assistant? And most importantly, what does a virtual assistant do? When I got started, I had no idea what a virtual assistant was. I’ll be honest: I had never even heard of the term! But I had wedding vendor friends looking to hire a virtual assistant and started hearing that term. It turns out, that my years of experience in the wedding industry translated into becoming a virtual assistant for wedding professionals! And while I call myself a creative virtual assistant, there are so many different terms for what we do. This includes social media manager, Pinterest expert, digital marketing expert, and so many more!
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant 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.
Is a virtual assistant the same as an employee?
A few common misconceptions are that we are employees. However, we are actually independent contractors. So we provide our own benefits, computer, health insurance etc. However, that doesn’t mean we are just a temporary staffing position! While some clients may be project-based, and you work with them for 1-3 months, most will be clients year round.
There are a few benefits to hiring a virtual assistant over an employee:
- There are no hidden costs. Employees, whether they are paid hourly or salary, have a lot of additional fees that you are responsible for as a business owner. This can include payroll taxes, employment insurance, workers compensation, vacation days, sick days, holidays, benefits and other deductions. When you hire a virtual assistant, you are not responsible for any of these! As a contractor, I provide my own insurance, days off, and benefits.
- It can be incredibly cost saving. Hiring a social media manager or community advisor will cost $30,000+ per year. A social media manager will cost $500-$1200/month. (Keep in mind, this will vary! Some may cost more depending on how many channels they manage, or how much content they create. The average rate is $500+ per social media outlet) Even if you pay someone $1,000/month, that is only $12,000! Thousands less than a full-time employee.
- No paying for my time off. One of the great benefits is that By hiring a VA, you are only charged for the time and projects worked. When I take lunch, you don’t pay me. If I am running late that day, it doesn’t affect you. This is a huge benefit over an employee!
Does a virtual assistant provide services hourly or with packages?
Most virtual assistants have an hourly rate, as well as packages. Most will have hourly packages or retainers, meaning you can hire them for 10 hours a month, or maybe 10 hours a week. Keep in mind that most virtual assistants will have a minimum requirement of 10 hours per month. This is to ensure that they are learning your company, and can offer you the best service.
I personally work on packages, since I have fine-tuned my packages over the last year! Packages also allow you to get similar services, at one price. For example, my Pinterest packages also include using the Pinterest management service, Tailwind. You pay a monthly fee for different services, which can allow your virtual assistant to offer better, and more customized services!
10 hours per month goes by VERY quickly, so packages can allow you to get more work outsourced per month. For reference, when I first started, I had hourly retainers of 10 hours per month. Most clients used those hours by week two! Packages allow me to offer more services to my clients, without the worry about going over hours.
What are the duties of a virtual assistant?
This varies so much depending on the VA’s specialties! Some will be more admin focused, who work on excel, QuickBooks or admin tasks. Others will be workflow focused, who are all about implementing workflows and organizing your business. Others are more graphic design focused.
There isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to what we offer. Which is why it is so important to really look at your business and see what exactly needs to be outsourced before finding your virtual assistant. You might need to hire someone with multiple team members, or maybe a few virtual assistants if there are specific tasks. For example, you might need someone who specializes in social media and another who does accounting and Quickbooks, since those are two very tasks.
However, our overall duty is to help you get organized, and get work done! By outsourcing to a virtual assistant, you are allowing yourself to free up your time and energy, and put that back into your business, or your personal life. Our job is to tackle your to-do list and help you run your business more efficiently. So our #1 job as a virtual assistant is to help you get your work crossed off your to-do list.
Can a virtual assistant help me get more free time?
One of the top reasons to outsource your work to a virtual assistant? You need more time! As a business owner, I know how valuable your time is. Imagine all of the things you can accomplish if you outsourced even just 5 hours of work a week. That’s 20 hours a month, 240 hours a year.
Imagine all of the things you can do with an extra 20 hours a month! You could spend more time on that dream project, or spend time catching up on much-needed sleep. Do you feel like you should be getting more done, but don’t have enough time? When you start hitting your capacity, it is a good idea to start looking for help.