Since starting my business as a Virtual Assistant (VA) I have had many people ask what a VA actually is, as it is still a fairly new concept. With the ever changing world of technology lots of professionals are beginning to work on more of a freelance basis as consultants to their industry or setting up brand new businesses and are therefore working more flexibly either from home or from workspaces around the country. However lots of people miss and lack that admin support that they got used to in their careers. And that is where we come along…
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A Virtual Assistant or Virtual PA or VA or to name a few is a person who provides professional business and administrative support remotely. Most VA’s are self-employed and can be hired by the hour or by project.
A VA can help with all manner of tasks from diary management, travel planning, collating and managing contact details, sending out monthly newsletters, email management, event planning and management, transcription, document work including preparing PowerPoint presentations to invoicing and expense recording, however this is not exhaustive and there are many more things a VA can help you with.
Some VAs will specialise in social media management, web development and branding and won’t deal with the more traditional PA side of things.
Then you have VAs who specialise in helping professionals in certain sectors: legal, creative, small businesses, women in business, men in business etc. and then some Vas who help a variety of professionals across the board.
Why do you need a Virtual Assistant?
But why should you consider hiring a VA? Because it is really cost effective and can free up lots of your valuable time. An admin assistant based in London has a salary of around £20,000 and a corporate senior PA can demand a salary of up to £50,000 per annum.
A Virtual Assistant can be hired per hour on a flexible basis. Most VAs are self-employed and so you pay for what you use – no need to pay tax or NI, or any benefits. If you have a busy month and know you need a lot of help, you may hire a VA for say 30 hours that month. However, the following month you know you will be quiet and so won’t need any help, therefore you don’t need to pay for that help.
Some VAs have their clients’ on a retainer basis whereby the client commits to say, 20 hours per month every month for a set time and pays their monthly fees up front. Some clients will get billed at the end of each month for the number of hours a VA has worked for them, and the some clients will pay a VA a fixed price based on a project – for example collating all of a client’s business cards into their outlook contact list, creating a PowerPoint Presentation or organising a business trip.
Some VAs also offer personal lifestyle services such as gift shopping, family holiday arrangements, project managing home renovations, booking cleaners and handymen, arranging home dairies and filing etc.
How to find a VA that is right for you
Ask around, do any of your contacts have a VA they can recommend? Search on LinkedIn, Google and social media platforms for a VA. Decide if you want someone that specialises in your profession or has a background in your profession or if you are happy to use an all round VA. The next step would be to arrange a call, skype or meeting in person with the VA to see if you are the right fit for each other. Just like an employed PA you need to make sure that the VA is someone you feel you could work with. The client VA relationship is just as important as the VAs skill set.
Thank you for reading my latest blog! If you have any questions about how a VA could benefit you and your business please feel free to get in touch and if you would like to arrange a free discovery call with me please just ask.
Joanne Salmon, Virtual Assistant