Have you ever added up those hours that you spend (waste) on mundane work tasks, like sending out invoices, scheduling posts on social media, transcribing interviews or doing online research?
Yes, even in the freedom of freelancing, there are still those dull moments that are unavoidable. And maybe you’ve thought, ‘Oh if only I could trick someone else into doing this for me.’ Well, you can get someone to tackle your business chores–but you’ll have to pay for that service.
A virtual assistant (VA) is also often self-employed and helps you, remotely, with whatever technical or administrative tasks you’d rather not do yourself. And that allows you to focus on the work that matters most—and is way more fun.
Freelance writer Janet Thomson was still working a full time office job while building up her writing business on the side, but realized that with such limited time, her marketing efforts were not yielding enough potential prospects. Enter the VA.
Thomson was referred to a VA from within a marketing organization she had joined, and after initial contact via email and then a phone call, the two reached an agreement. The signed contract that Thomson had with the VA specified the type of work, how much Thomson would pay per hour and how many hours were approved per month. Having that detailed written contract in place allowed for a smooth, trouble-free work relationship.
“The great part was that the contract didn’t obligate me to make a monthly retainer payment. I authorized say 10 hours of work per month at the agreed upon hourly rate, and if she found herself exceeding this amount, she would contact me. Then I’d make the decision to approve her to move forward, save the work for the following month or finish it myself,” Thomson explains.
During the contract period, Thomson asked the VA to create a database of marketing managers and directors at public relations firms, but only those with a certain annual revenue and number of employees. The database included the name, email address, phone number and a LinkedIn profile.
“By outsourcing this particular task to the VA, it allowed me more time to market my services to my targeted clients,” Thomson says.
If you think you can’t afford a VA, calculate how much money you can make in the time saved by having a VA do those unglamorous tasks–it may not necessarily be cost-effective for your business, depending on what stage you are at in your freelance career. But don’t forget that the fees paid to a VA can be written off in your taxes as a business expense.
Ready to offload those boring business chores? Try these resources to start your search for a virtual assistant:
Of course, VA fees will vary widely. Some VAs charge per project, while others charge an hourly rate, and you will come across VAs based abroad who may offer much lower fees, especially on bidding sites. It may not be easy to find someone you can trust with all the details of your business, so it doesn’t hurt to conduct a video Skype interview, and ask for references from a VA’s past clients. In the end, you need to be sure that this person can help you grow your business