Who would work with a VA?
VAs work with smart, successful people of all kinds; authors, sales people, consultants, coaches, executives, professionals, entrepreneurs—anyone who wants to be professionally successful and live a more balanced life with more free time to do the things he/she wants to do!
What's the point? I manage everything on my own!
As you grow a business, sooner or later, you'll find that you can do anything, but you simply can't do everything! And when you give away the stuff that doesn't need your personal attention, you gain space and time in your life for an abundance of other things. Those things might include:
- Growing your business
- More time with family, friends
- Responding to other opportunities
- Balancing home and work responsibilities
If I wanted an assistant, why would I hire one who's potentially hundreds of miles away?
Well, part of the benefit of having a VA is that you haven't hired anyone. When you work with a VA, you get a partner, not an employee. You get someone who chooses to work with you as much as you choose to work with him or her. The VA's decision to work with you will be based on being attracted to your work and on being interested in being your partner for success, rather than because he or she is looking for "some job." People work with VAs because they:
- Don't have the space for someone in the office
- Don't want someone in the office
- Don't have the equipment needed for someone else to use
- Don't want to buy the equipment
- Don't want the associated work and cost of having an employee:
- Paying for someone else to administer payroll, benefits
- Don't want to have to conform to federal standards like OSHA
If what you want and need is the most basic office support, then you might want to work with a secretarial service.
If, on the other hand, you want the benefit of working with someone who really wants to know you, your business, your customers, and who really wants to be deeply involved in your success, you'll want to work with a VA.
Isn't it more expensive than hiring an employee?
No. The cost savings is two-fold: financial and emotional.
When you hire an employee, on top of a salary or hourly wage, you have a ton of things you need to administer (payroll, benefits, etc.), many things to buy or lease (equipment, furniture, etc.), and you have to share space as well. It's expensive and can be grueling.
Depending on the VA, you might pay–as–you–go (giving him or her only the amount of work you actually have during any week or month), or you might have him or her on retainer (buying a certain amount of the VAs time each month for a pre–set and usually lower, hourly rate). Your VA's time is 100% productive time as wel l—you don't pay for a second of downtime or break-time.
No muss, no fuss. Just great support from someone dedicated to your success.
So, how much can I really expect to pay?
Again, VAs are in private practice, and they price their services according to their skills, their desire to do certain kinds of work, their experience, and their reputation. You really need to speak with a VA, share your ideas and the vision for your success, and ask what it might cost to have him or her be a part of that.
Generally speaking, however, you can expect to pay $30—$70 plus, per hour. It depends on your needs, and the VA you work with.
Now wait — you said that working with a VA isn't more expensive than hiring an employee, but I wouldn't pay an employee $30 per hour!
Not in straight time, perhaps. You're more likely to pay someone with this level of skills between $17 and $20 per hour if they were sitting in your office. However, when you add in the cost of administering payroll, your share of payroll taxes, having to pay certain kinds of insurance like worker's compensation and extra liability for having someone in your home or place of business, and the cost of making sure that your location conforms to federal guidelines such as OSHA, you absolutely *do* pay that much per hour. And the more skilled and talented a worker, the more her time is worth, and the higher her fee.
The beauty is this. While you still have the expense, you have absolutely *none* of the hassle. One check per month. Simple. Easy. You can get on with the business of living your life on your terms. Working in partnership with a great VA makes that all possible.
Does Virtual Assistance work better for any particular type of person or professional?
The benefits are enormous to almost anyone who's busy and needs support.
What we've found is that the only people who really aren't in a good position to work with a VA are:
- People who aren't online and who can't understand why this would work;
- People who live in the urgent:
If everything you do is last minute, if your style is to procrastinate and then rush to deadline, if you're not organized and centered, if you're in a high-pressure field where things run you instead of the other way around, if you want someone at your beck and call, you probably need an in-person employee, not a VA;
- People who don't understand the power created in a relationship with a fantastic assistant;
- People who aren't open to learning new ways of working and communicating;
- People who aren't billing their own time at considerably more than $30/hour.
If you aren't, paying a VA could create a hardship for you. But if you are billing at a much higher rate, or if you work on commission and your time is valued in large chunks of cash earned that way, then every hour you spend doing work that takes you off course, is work for which you are paying yourself, in essence, at YOUR HOURLY FEE. It doesn't take a lot to see the smarts behind paying someone to handle administrative work so that you can be out earning more and more!
- People who can't shift to seeing a VA as an equal.
If you're stuck in the traditional boss/assistant paradigm, or if you need to be the boss, you need an employee, not a VA.
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