Have you ever wondered how some small business owners do it all? How they manage to consistently post on social media, write new blog posts, wear all the hats in the business, do yoga, be present, drink green juice, etc.?
Well.. they don’t.
The struggle that many small businesses face is that they can’t do everything they’re supposed to do for their business, earn enough to hopefully make a profit, and do all the things the mental health gurus tell them to do. Still, they also can’t afford to hire someone full—time either.
That’s where a virtual assistant comes in. In other words, me (kind of).
A few years ago, I realized that I am actually really good at admin. Not mine, of course, but for other people, I’ll put the Home Edit to shame. The thing was, I am not a 9-5 kind of person. As my teachers loved to say, I have ants in my pants. I’m also the world’s worst waitress. Honestly, horrible. I sometimes left the restaurant in the minus. But I needed a side hustle while I was pursuing my radio career, so I started digging into VA work.
I initially had only one client who lived down the road from me, and I gave up. Years later, I found out about Upwork and set myself up there. Fast forward to 2020 when the pandemic hit, and I suddenly found myself with tons of clients and not enough time in the day to keep up with the admin… because you know how it goes, you always prioritize the income stream over your own stuff.
In my attempt to find a VA, it hit me. I understand why people struggle so much, and why they are so scared of hiring someone. Firstly, I reached a record high of being ghosted. Secondly, it is scary to give someone access to all of your various things. And thirdly, I didn’t actually know what to outsource to them, I just wanted them to look at my to-do list and play fairy godmother.
The truth is, there is so much information out there about hiring a VA, but you’re a busy person and you wouldn’t be thinking about hiring someone if you had days and days to pour over articles about it.
So, let me answer a few of the frequently asked questions about VAs.
The most obvious likely being when you should hire someone. Here’s how I break down the calculation for clients — if you are being paid hourly, then time is money. By freeing up more time, you can make more money. Eventually, ideally, you’d be able to use that free time to live the life you want, but this is a simple way to look at it. I’ll attempt some quick maths here:
Let’s say you earn $30 per hour and scheduling your social media posts takes you 4 hours – it’s costing you $120 to write that post. If you hire a VA for $10/hour, you save yourself $80. Or on the wellness front, you free up four hours to do whatever you like. That’s 12 episodes of a show, or 12 HIIT workouts, or 80 children’s books.
The next question I get often is “what can you do?” It’s really a tricky one to answer because it varies from VA to VA. I am a journalist by trade, so creative writing is easy for me. I can make pretty things on Canva. What I can’t do is the technical side of things. For example, I can give you consistency on social media, but I don’t handle ad spend.
When you are thinking about hiring a VA, look at your to-do list and highlight all the things you think someone else could do. Then look at the things that stress you out the most, and take the most time. Now, when you interview the person you can find the right fit for YOUR list.
Then, I also get asked how you find a virtual assistant.
Many of my clients are referrals, so you could reach out to other small business owners and see if they have someone they trust. Alternatively, you can use a platform like Upwork or Fivver but I’d recommend checking the freelancer’s reviews and knowing beforehand if time zones matter to you. It is completely acceptable to ask for a video call to vet them beforehand, but where possible, keep it on the platform so that if there are any problems, they can step in.
Finally, set boundaries. Communicate your online times, your expectations, your preferred platforms. At the same time, have boundaries surrounding the information you share. You could ask them to sign an NDA, and use something like LastPass for your passwords.
If you have any other questions, feel free to get in touch with either myself or Tiffany and we will be happy to help!
Until next time,