Why did I hire my Virtual Assistant?

September 12th, 2009 | Author: Kathy Colaiacovo

Recently, I met with one of my clients, one who had started working with me back in January. We have had a lull in work lately mostly because she was trying to make everything perfect before handing it over. Finally at this week’s meeting she realized that this was actually holding her back in all areas of her work.

paper pilesAs we talked about a timeline when I would get the work and what the deadline was for some of it, she then mentioned how she was going to block off two days in a few weeks to go through all her files and sort everything out to give to me. She was also talking about how her workshop was coming up and that she had a conference out of town in 3 weeks as well. Very busy time.

So… I casually asked ” Why did you hire me?”
The answer from her was “To help me get this work done and off my plate”.
I said “Right, but look what you are doing now. You are actually thinking of blocking off two entire working days to sort the work for me; and when I get it I will have to do that to most of it anyhow.”
I paused, “Now think, how many client appointments could you book and what income would you earn from those in the two days?”
“Four clients”, she said. “And about $1,000.00.”
“And…. how much money will you pay me to do the work?” I asked.
“Argh!” was her answer. “You are so right. I will box it up right away!”

I think the stress of all she had going on, finally made her see the light.

Working with a Virtual Assistant (VA) shouldn’t be stressful – it should be the absolute opposite. As long as you have good communication and trust, you can easily give your VA what she (or he) needs and the work will get done. A simple system for assigning and handing over the work and it will get done.

You will gain what you wanted by hiring your VA in the first place… your time back to work on more important tasks and the work not requiring your special skills gets done.

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Are you intrigued with the world of Virtual Assistants and like the idea of getting away from having to commute into work each day? Yet, you still need an income?  I was in that position when I typed “Assistant” under Google search and “accidently” came across  links to virtual assistant websites, so I typed “Virtual Assistants”  under Google and Yahoo search and found several more virtual assistant website along  with a few organizations.  I was pleasantly surprised and it gave me hope.  But I wouldn’t be hasty and quit your job.  In the article written by Carolyn Moncel, “Starting a Virtual Assistant Business, Sharon B. Williams say:

Before packing up the office cubicle and giving notice to your boss, know that becoming a virtual assistant isn’t an easy job that just anyone can do. Sharon B. Williams of The 24-Hour Secretary cautions, “To become successful, you need a good marketing strategy in addition to that phone, PC and Internet connection.” Many virtual assistants work between 14 and 18 hours a day during the startup phase. Even after establishing solid practices, one-third of these business owners admit to working nontraditional hours, including weekends and holidays.

I needed the income, so didn’t quit my job, but I leveraged the time to read and research thereby becoming acquainted with several Virtual Assistant organizations and observe the interactions between the VA’s.  I also checked out several virtual assistant web-sites to get an idea of their niche and how they presented themselves. VA’s are professional and savvy. I was encouraged to give it a try.  I looked at my resume and saw that I could sell myself as a VA, and to be honest, I winged it.  What I know now is: Don’t be hasty. Do your homework and try to get started on the right foot.  I recommend that you join several VA sites.  I recommend the following:

International Virtual Assistant Association (IVAA); Virtual Assistant Association-Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce (VACOC); Virtual Assistant Networking Association (VANA).

There are many more available which I will mention through out my blog. What I want to convey is that it is important that you are clear about your business model and to have a plan. I will blog later this week and provide a few links from VACOC and other VA sites with their own version of recommendations and steps to follow in starting out as a VA.

Even though I “winged it”, I considered myself successful, because I did land a few VA positions and through those experiences, learned what my strengths and weaknesses were, likes and dislikes, and learned to be bold about my rates. Daniel Keister, founder and Chief Virtual Officer of VACOC has been an advocate for Virtual Assistants and has encouraged VA’s to educate clients, family, and friends that Virtual Assistas ADD value to a business owner and are experts in their field. We do not do clerical work, we have brains, style, technique and finesse.

Stay tuned for additional blogs regarding steps to take for your VA business and more stories about my journey!