Virtual assistance has become more popular in the past decade and especially due to the sophistication of technology. We now have our variety of needs being met by processes or applications but not all needs will be met hence still the need of an assistant. A virtual assistant no less. Having
being a PA for over 30 years now and my dream was to one-day work for myself, be in control of my own time, spend
less time travelling to and from work – time which could definitely be used more productively and yet earn a living doing what I love to do. After being retrenched at the end of 2015, I felt that this was the gentle push I needed to go into doing what I enjoy doing and what brings a smile to my face every day. One of the areas I on as my own business is virtual assistance. Once I started researching how to go about getting started as a Virtual Assistant (VA) and how it worked, the more I like the idea of doing it.
So what is a VA? Simply put, a VA is a highly skilled, independent professional who provides administrative, technical and/or creative business support services. They are your off-site administrative professional. If you need an administrative assistant but don’t have the office space or don’t want to pay the fringe benefits for a full time employee or you don’t have office software /equipment needed to run your business or for whatever reason – a VA is your answer. There are many websites one can join to be a part of the VA network worldwide and where a range of services is offered. On many of these websites you need to put in your bid where you are bidding against 100s of other people all over the world for work.
You register on these sites and your key words on the type of work you are wanting to do.
When you search it brings up only those jobs that match your key words. And then you bid. The bids are usually priced and you can either adjust or accept the bidding price inserted for you. The websites to look at are Upwork, Freelancer, VA Networking and People Per Hour to name a few. There are many websites one can join to be a part of the VA network worldwide and where a range of services is offered. On many of these websites you need to put in your bid where you are bidding against 100s of other people all over the world for work. You register on these sites and your key words on the type of work. When you search it brings up only those jobs that match your key words. And then you bid. The bids are usually priced and you can either adjust or accept the bidding price inserted for you. The websites to look at are Upwork, Freelancer, VA Networking and People Per Hour to name a few.
Another way is to promote yourself as a VA. Even if you are still working and want to get started, just do it. Create a website for yourself – there are so many online do-it-yourself websites where you can get one set up. Make use of your social media and your support network to help get you started. I was fortunate to
have built a good support network over the years that I worked as a PA. I got involved in PA forums, training, facilitating and speaking engagements. I did a coaching course to help me enhance my speaking and interaction with people and of course to help others empower themselves. Do whatever you can to help yourself get on track. I have created my website Empowered 4 Success and it definitely helps – business is booming. According to TAB Virtual Business Support, here are 5 advantages to hiring a VA:
1. No overhead
Virtual employees require no additional overhead including office space, computers, hardware, etc. Research shows that a traditional employee’s overhead can cost up to 30% of their actual salary.
2. Increased efficiency and productivity
Outsourcing to virtual employees allows you to concentrate on the most important aspects of your business – thus increasing efficiency and productivity. Because your virtual employee is already trained in their skillset, you do not have to invest money or time in their training.
3. Additional help for your existing workforce
A VA can be an extra set of hands for a busy workforce. When your current employee is overloaded, simply delegate to your virtual employee and only pay them for the time used.
4. Cost effective
Instead of having a fixed schedule, a VA is only paid for the hours you use. In addition, these are also “productive” hours meaning you aren’t paying for procrastination! The average traditional employee has 2 – 3 “unproductive” hours per day.
5. No traditional responsibilities
When you have VAs, you free yourself of certain employer responsibilities such as paying for taxes, vacations, sick leave, holidays, insurance benefits, training, etc. So what services can a VA offer you?
According to Tawnya Sutherland, founder of VA Networking, here are 10 things a VA can offer:
1. A VA can assist with marketing support, increasing clientele and freeing up valuable time to service customers. They also can handle all marketing and publicity helping to spread the word about product or
2. Many virtual assistants specialise in web design and search engine optimisation.
3. A VA can make presentations shine by giving it that polished professional presentation which is sure to capture audiences and promote all products and services.
4. A VA can be instrumental in proofing, editing, and typing all correspondence, pleadings, manuscripts, etc., thus allowing a more professional edge to all business communications.
5. A VA can take over all bookkeeping, bills and accounts payable.
6. A VA can plan company events or outings providing for an enjoyable and memorable time for all.
7. Because VAs work on an “as needed basis” and only when have work, hiring a VA can save money. Clients only pay for the work done, and don’t have to pay for benefits, equipment, or supplies. What a cost savings that can be.
8. A VA can save space because s/he works from his/her office as an independent contractor.
9. Hiring a VA can save time as will not have to spend time hiring an employee or temporary help, as well as training the new staff.
10. A VA can schedule appointments, manage calendars, organise desks, and make running a business so much smoother. Tawnya Sutherland is the founder of The Virtual Assistant Networking Forum, the largest member based virtual assistant global networking community for aspiring and successful virtual assistants online. I waited until I was retrenched to get my wakeup call and to get on with doing what I have always wanted to do. You don’t have to wait that long – start now so that if and when you do get to the point where you are either retrenched, retired or simply can’t find work – VA is the answer. It takes a lot of work and marketing yourself up front but in the end it is worth it.