Virtual Assistance – The Most Frequently Asked Questions
As a Virtual Assistant (VA), I get many questions. Most people I interact with do not know what a Virtual Assistant is or what one can do for them. I come across very few people that know what we do! So I decided to put together a list of the most frequently asked questions I get.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A Virtual Assistant is a person who helps other business owners with their administrative tasks, but helps the business owner from their home office. Virtual Assistants are business owners who use technology to support their clients. If you are in need of administrative support, but are not able to hire a full-time employee, don’t have the office space or equipment, then using a Virtual Assistant is your answer!
What does a Virtual Assistant do?
There are a myriad of ways a Virtual Assistant can help you. I will list a few of the things a Virtual Assistant can do for you, but in short a Virtual Assistant does all or most of your administrative work that you don’t want to do or don’t have time for. Here are a few specifics:
- Data Entry
- Calendar Management
- Social Media Maintenance
- Meeting & Event Planning
- Internet Research
- Database & Contact Management
Why would I work with a VA, when I can do everything myself?
You simply can’t continue to do it all yourself and enjoy life! Working with a VA will give you back time so that you can concentrate on reaching your goals. Instead of being bogged down with the daily nitty gritty work you can concentrate on parts of the business you love! This new found time will give you space in your life which may include:
- Increasing your revenue and profits
- Increasing your productivity and stability
- Stress is reduced and deadlines are met
Also, what is the monetary value of your time? Got the number? Whatever that is, that’s how much it is costing you to do your administrative tasks. A VA is much more cost-efficient and can probably do those tasks more proficiently.
Hiring a Virtual Assistant looks more expensive than hiring an employee. Is it?
No it’s not. For an employee, not only do you need to pay an hourly wage, but you have to pay for benefits, payroll, taxes, time not worked (vacation, holidays, sick), and administrative costs of recruiting, hiring and training not to mention purchasing equipment and furniture while adhering to mandates such as OSHA. While working with a VA is not intended to be a “cheap” alternative to getting support, it IS intended to be a convenient, cost-effective solution to your needs. A VA, like myself, sets fees based on the value they bring to you. I personally offer clients “ad-hoc” hours which means my clients give me only the amount of work they have for me during a month. I also offer retainer packages where clients can buy a set amount of hours each month for a set fee.
Why should I work with you and not outsource my work to an overseas Virtual Assistant?
Well if you’re looking for a cheap Virtual Assistant, you can find one for a few dollars an hour overseas. If you pay peanuts, you’ll get monkeys! Yes, you can find a Virtual Assistant cheap overseas, but you will have barriers like the ocean for one, as they cannot come to you if needed, communication barriers, and an overseas Virtual Assistant may not understand your U.S. business practices. With an overseas Virtual Assistant, you may spend more time (which equates to money!) managing that person as you try to convey what your business needs are. Also with an overseas assistant, you don’t really know who is working for you. Because most overseas Virtual Assistants work for an outsourcing company, you may very well spend time managing your Virtual Assistant today only to have them be replaced tomorrow. You cannot feel confident knowing where and to whom you are sending your important business information.
Working with a local VA could mean one in your neighborhood or a VA on the same continent as you. If your Virtual Assistant is truly local, he or she may offer to come to your place of business should you have that need. Instead of mailing documents back and forth, your local VA can come to you! With a local Virtual Assistant there will be no language or communication barriers and he or she can be available during your business hours as there shouldn’t be a huge time zone difference. Unlike utilizing an overseas outsourcing company, a local Virtual Assistant is a business owner who invests time in your business to help you reach your goals.
Those are some of the most frequently asked questions I receive. I plan on doing another post for a few questions that pertain more to my particular services. But do you have a question for me? Did I not answer one of your questions? If so, please feel free to send me a message on LinkedIn so we can connect!
Christine Swanson, Virtual Assistant