I don’t know if it’s just me but it seems like Virtual Assistants, or VAs, are all the rage right now. I’ve seen all kinds of creatives on the hunt for a VA, and conversely I’ve seen more and more people market themselves as VAs. But what even is a VA, and why would you hire one?
Here’s the lowdown.
What is a VA?
A VA is a Virtual Assistant. And we’re not talking about Siri or Alexa-- we’re talking about living, breathing human beings. VAs provide administrative, technical, or creative assistance, much like a secretary or in-person assistant would, only they work remotely (hence “virtual”).
Why would you hire a VA?
If you’re feeling swamped and like there aren’t enough hours in the day, you should consider hiring a VA. For example, if you’re spending a good chunk of your time doing repetitive and tedious tasks like data entry or responding to emails or scheduling appointments, a VA can help you with that. It can actually save you money to hire help in a lot of instances. If you charge $75 or $100 per hour for your work, and you can hire a VA to do your tedious micro-tasks for $20 per hour, then you free up more time for yourself to make the big bucks. But I get it-- if you’ve been a freelancer or have an entrepreneur’s mindset, you might feel unwilling to pay other people to do tasks that you’re capable of doing yourself (which is fair) but you should really be spending your time doing work that only you could do, and delegating tasks that anyone could do.
Another instance in which you might hire a VA is when you know you need help, but can’t afford to hire a salaried employee or don’t have enough tasks to keep them busy for a full 20 or 40 hours per week. VAs offer more flexibility-- you can hire them on a per project basis or an hourly basis to suit your needs, even if that means just a few hours per month. During busy seasons you can contract them for more work, then when things slow down you can update your contract to reflect a decrease in work.
What can a VA do?
Not all VAs are equal, but you can generally find one that can competently take on a combination of these tasks:
- Book keeping
- Social media management
- Email management and inbox clean out
- Client relations or customer service
- Research and recruiting
- Data entry
- Landing pages
- Organizing digital file systems
- Cold calling
- Calendar management and appointment scheduling
- Website maintenance
- Content creation
- Preparing slide decks and presentations
- Photo and video editing
Plus more. But that should give you a general idea of how a VA can help you.
How and where can you find a VA?
When it comes to VAs, it’s always a good idea to go with someone who you’ve been referred to by someone you trust or someone with plenty of glowing testimonials. Start by asking around amongst your professional network if they know of any stellar VAs you should consider. You can even put a call out on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. If that doesn’t yield any solid leads, you can look to a reputable VA network like Zirtual, or a broader marketplace like Upwork or Craigslist classified ads.
Creative Community Developer at Snapfluence.
I'm the Oxford comma's biggest fan.