When we entrepreneurs first have an idea for a business and go for it. We start out all alone taking care of all aspects of our business. And it may remain like that for a long time. However, think about it…can you really do EVERYTHING? Are you an expert at EVERYTHING?
Doing business consists of bookkeeping, social media, blogging, marketing, email lists, product creation, customer support, and much more. Do you have time to perform all of the tasks necessary for these areas in your business? If so you are probably spending way too much time working and not enough time with family and friends. I mean, that is the reason for having our own business, right? To be able to earn more money and have time to do the things we like to do. We want to travel, volunteer and spend time with family and friends.
There are people that can help you with these parts of your business. There are some that focus on a single area of concern, like a social media expert, or a customer support expert. Others can do a bit of everything. Some do outsourcing. Others hire virtual assistants.
Outsourcing is where you hire someone to provide specific services. Usually the person you outsource work to is an expert in that service.
A virtual assistant, or VA, usually provides many services. They know a lot about a lot of things. Consider hiring a VA to give you some of your valuable time back to use in other areas of your business or personal life. Some common things that are given to a VA to do are bookkeeping, research, manage email, social media, scheduling appointments, transcription and social media. But each VA has their own set of skills. You will need to talk to your prospective virtual assistants to see if they are able to do what you need.
The following is taken from a conversation that I had with my friend Ellen Marie. She is a virtual assistant. We talked about how one can find the right virtual assistant.
Pam: In your words, describe what a VA is.
Ellen: A VA is more than just an administrative assistant. They is a collaborative partner in your business. When I say partner, what I mean is they should “show up” for your business and treat it as if it were their own, insuring your success.
Pam: What kinds of services does a VA provide?
Ellen: Virtual Assistants perform a wide array of services for your business. It can be as simple as typing letters or responding to emails, but there are some who do so much more like marketing, social media, graphic design, web design and maintenance or email campaigns. There are some “generalist” and some “niche” VAs. Based on your particular needs you would speak to a VA a couple of times to be sure you are getting exactly what you need.
Pam: What are some questions to ask when hiring a VA?
Ellen: I would ask the VA about her experience, work schedule, fees, how do you organize your work, technology, ask for suggestions on collaboration so you can work smoothly together. Also what are your skills? What skills are you best at?
Pam: What would you recommend not asking a perspective VA?
Ellen:Do not ask “what can you do for me”. That’s too vague. Get specific. Mention the specific platforms you use and ask if she has knowledge of them. Remember, you are looking for a partner, not an employee.
The main things Ellen stresses is that you must be clear on what you need and what the expected outcome is? If you are vague in asking for what you need, you will not get exactly what you want!
Ellen can be reached at: