While the Virtual Assistant (VA) industry has been growing for many years, the onset of social media and our growing virtual world has made working with a VA ever so prevalent. Virtual Assistants have been around for decades but there are still many questions surrounding this profession. If you are new to the VA world, here are 5 frequently asked questions that might help. Those well-versed with VAs can use these same questions as tips to ask your future VA, when considering one and before making a decision to work together.
1. What exactly does a Virtual Assistant (VA) do?
Most virtual assistants are contract or freelance workers who do their jobs from home or virtually. VAs typically focus on administrative tasks that are similar to those of an executive assistant or secretary; however, this is changing rapidly. This is a growth industry with many talented and skilled individuals. They offer a myriad of skills and expertise in many areas such as social media management, web design and development and email marketing, to name a few. You might also try searching for Virtual Support Professional or Online Business Manager as well and you will see the many virtual services are offered to busy entrepreneurs and small business owners.
You can find a VA anywhere in the world. As with everything, before making a decision to hire a VA do your research. The saying “You get what you pay for” holds true here too. Be mindful of what you are asking your VA to do as well. Consider what you would expect to be paid for that same work given your expertise and knowledge. Pay your VA the same courtesy.
Here are 10 Things to Outsource to a Virtual Assistant to give you a better idea of some of the tasks or projects VAs manage but realize though that in today’s world VAs are skilled in many areas such as Digital Marketing, Coaching Support, setting up Online Events, WordPress Development and much more. You just have to search and I’m positive there is a VA our there that can help.
2. How much does it cost me to work with a VA?
Like many business-related tasks, we like to think that hiring a VA is an investment in your time. Your time is as valuable as ours and the value you receive from working with a VA is what should guide you. Based on your time and expertise, how much are you willing to commit to learning and completing a task? Or rather, will the investment in a VA be more cost-effective than taking the task on yourself?
Rates for VAs vary greatly and this is also affected by the tasks required. You can expect to see rates starting at $25-30/hour for administrative tasks but keep in mind that tasks such as Data Entry, creating a mail merge in Word or, compiling PowerPoint presentations requires a different skill set or expertise in various software. VAs that specialize in Web Design or Development may command $50/hour or more depending on what your project needs are.
Many VAs will offer Retainers (prepaying for time) or Packages depending on your needs. Administrative Generalist often have Retainers with varying number of hours to purchase in advance to secure your time and attention while some specialized tasks such as Social Media Management will often be a fixed charge per month depending on the number of platforms managed.
At Digital Marketing by Design, we will create a package that suits your business needs and budget because we understand that every client and business is unique. You can also read more about our Plans and Policies to gain a better understanding of how we operate.
3. How do I pay my VA?
For international clients, you most likely will be charged in U.S. dollars or your local currency depending on the service provider. Some find it easier to accept a single currency for all clients while others prefer their local currency for ease of accounting. But, that is not to say you can’t pay in your own currency if your VA doesn’t mind. Many VAs use PayPal, Square, or any other third-party payment systems but they also do appreciate online money transfers to offset the high fees that come with credit card payments and online accounting systems like Wave or Quickbooks.
4. Will different time zones enable us to work together?
We are based in Eastern Canada and work in Eastern Standard Time (EST). As a client, you don’t need to share the same time zone as us. If the time differences do not affect your business operations, we can work together. Time differences could also be an advantage when you consider assigning a task at the end of your day and having the task completed before your business reopens. Sometimes, time zone differences can be challenging such as taking care of customer support inquiries within your regular business hours. But, it’s nothing that two VAs from two different time zones can’t fix!!
We typically communicate with each other via email or video chat at a mutually convenient time. Scheduled weekly phone calls can also be a part of your workflow so that you are always up-to-date on your tasks! Discuss that with your VA when you are working on your terms and conditions or agreement. Working with a VA means there is plenty of flexibility to suit everyone’s needs.
5. How can I ensure that I will get what I pay for?
The first thing to remember is that Virtual Assistants are first and foremost, business owners. Their product or service is their expertise. VA often don’t have CVs or resumes because they are no longer employees. It is best to set up a phone call or discovery session when approaching a VA. You can assess their skills and your needs in a phone call or video chat. Many VAs offer a free consultation or discovery call. A good fit is an all-too-important criterion when building a partnership with common goals and aspirations to meet those goals.
Likely, your VA will ask you to sign an agreement of some sort such as a Project Service Agreement or a Retainer Agreement. This is merely a formal agreement outlining what both parties have agreed to before commencing with the collaboration. It is to protect both parties in terms of payment and payment for work completed. It is a sign of trust that both parties will adhere to. If either party is not conforming to this agreement, then you need to give some serious consideration to this partnership.
Also, don’t shy away when your VA asks you to sign a Confidentiality or Nondisclosure Agreement. Depending on the nature of your clients business, they may request that the VA sign one! In reality, protecting privacy and confidentiality is not to be taken lightly in our new online world. With all the content on the internet, we need to ensure that some stay under wraps. After all, your clients are your business and your business cannot succeed without the trust and confidence your client’s place in you.
How do I find a Virtual Assistant or VA?
Well, this is the 6th FAQ … Virtual Assistants can be found very easily through places like Upwork or directories and the like but be discerning about the skills you require and the person you hire to take it on! There are thousands of options and not all of them will meet or fit your needs. If you are still unsure about whether you would like to work with a VA, read more about the advantages and Benefits of Working With a Virtual Support Professional.
Contact Us today to discover more about our services and how we can assist you in meeting your business needs. Or, if this post has not answered your frequently asked questions, please feel free to message us with your question and we’d be happy to answer it.
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