When I’m out and about in the real world (it happens! I leave the house. Occasionally!) and someone inevitably asks what I do for a living, I’ll say “I’m a Virtual Assistant” or a “VA.” Every so often, someone says “oh cool, what’s your niche?” or something to that effect. But usually, I get a look that says “whatever THAT is” and then they change the subject. 😀
Also, I recently had a comment on my VA blog asking me what a VA is, so maybe it’s time to explain.
In this post, I’ll give you an overview of virtual assistance, show a few examples of the industries VA’s currently work in and explain why YOU might need to bring one onto your team.
What even is a VA?
Broadly, a virtual assistant is a person who provides virtual services to other online businesses. These VAs can be companies of one (self-employed) business owners or work for a larger agency.
Typically, they work with companies and individuals on a contract and are not employees of the company. Done well, this offers benefits to both the person providing the virtual services and to the companies choosing to partner with them rather than bringing on an employee.
Why do I need one?
- Take care of tasks that you either have no desire, expertise, or time to do. Simple as that!
- Help you focus on your “zone of genius” so you can do your best work. If you’re a therapist, for example, working with clients is probably a better use of your time than creating images for Instagram, though social media marketing is important.
- Expand your ability to earn more money in your business and/or grow. With the help of a VA, you can get more done consistently, serve more people, and earn more money.
- When you compare the costs of hiring an employee to partnering with a VA, you will save significant amounts of money (even though your VA will likely have a higher hourly rate than an employee. In fact, if you hire a VA at $35/hr vs an employee at $20, you could save over $60,000 per year. See the full Cost Comparison breakdown here.
*Please note, there are BIG differences between a VA and an employee. Hiring a VA and treating them exactly the same as an employee is actually illegal. See more about business owners vs employees here.
Who hires a VA?
There are MANY small or solo-biz people (as well as larger industries) who bring on virtual assistants to help in their businesses these days. A few of these include:
- Therapists/mental health professionals.
- Life and business coaches.
- Real estate agents.
- Course creators.
- Etsy shop owners and other makers.
The list really could go on for days. There are a TON of different services a VA may offer inside each niche as well.
Some common tasks include:
- Customer service
- Inbox management
- Social media scheduling
- Social media graphics
- Calendar management
- Podcast management
- Newsletters/Email Marketing
- Blog formatting and management
- Website maintenance
For more examples of tasks a VA can help you out with, check out my Work with Me page here.
Do your research and hop on a few discovery calls and you’re bound to find a VA who can meet your needs.
How do I find and hire a VA?
So, you’re ready to explore bringing on a VA? Fantastic. I’ve got some tips.
First, I recommend asking around to see if there’s anyone in your network already working with a VA that they can recommend. Reaching out there is a great first step and if that VA doesn’t have any space, they could have a referral for you.
Once you get a few names, take some time to explore their website and get a sense of their skills. Make sure to read any testimonials available on their site.
At this point, set up a discovery call with a VA or a couple of VAs who seem interesting to you. These calls should take about 20 minutes to a half-hour or so, to see if you are the right fit, if they can offer the kind of help you need and have enough space in their calendar.
I hope you now understand what a virtual assistant is, how one is different from a traditional employee, that it is a very broad industry with a lot of different services and niches, and how one might help you in your business. If you’re interested in BECOMING a VA, read more about that here.
Tell me: What skills would your dream virtual assistant offer and what would you do with your newly available time after your VA takes these tasks off your plate?