Should you hire a Virtual Assistant?

Know the difference between an
Employee & Virtual Assistant.virtual assistant vs employee

Virtual Assistants are not employees. Yes, it’s true. There are a lot of misconceptions about what a virtual assistant is and the term “VA” or “Virtual Assistant” is often times used incorrectly and the skills and definition may vary.  Virtual assistants are often confused with remote employees.

I can (and will) only speak for myself and my own personal experiences. A virtual assistant is an independent contractor who is hired on by a blogger or business to help solve a problem. The problem can be big or small, long term or short term or by the project. There are many different tasks that a virtual assistant can take care of for its client. For instance, I am a business woman who has a degree in marketing, but I also have an extensive background in public relations, press release writing, social media management, wordpress installations & set up, blog transfers, content creation, blogging, and my list goes on. I have also been an entrepreneur for almost 10 years so I have a lot of business experience both on the customer service side and behind the entrepreneurial scenes. I have also worked with celebrities, set up trade shows, and so on. My skills are endless. I can bring a great deal of experience to my client and that will overall be an asset them and their business. I consider myself a general virtual assistant.  There are more specific virtual assistants who specialize in one area of expertise such as a Content Writer, Web Developer, Graphic Designer, App Developer, Video VA, or SEO Marketer.

There is a big difference between an employee {or remote employee} and a virtual assistant. An employee goes into their workplace and is there hired for part time or full time work and that employee brings with them a handful of expenses. Your employee can also be hired as a remote employee which typically means they can do their job from home or the office, usually meeting in the office one or two days a week.  To hire your employee, either in house or remote,  you’ll have to take out an ad in your local paper or place it on a job board. You’ll have to take time out of your day (unless you have an HR department to which you are paying for) to interview people. You’ll have to have equipment for your current employees so that they can do their jobs. When you hire your employee (either in house or remote), you’ll have to make sure that you have a desk, computer, supplies and a variety of equipment for him/her to work with. You may have to take the time to train your remote employee or have another employee train your new employee. You will have overhead expenses to pay. You may have to pay for medical insurance, employment taxes and so on. Pretty soon your $50K a year employee might end up costing your company up to $70K a year! The benefit to hiring a virtual assistant is so that you don’t have to worry about any of that. Your VA has his/her own supplies, equipment, home/business office, can do their job from anywhere and do not go into their clients office, however they may schedule a Skype or face-time call on occasion. They already have the skills and knowledge necessary to handle their contracted tasks. They are there for you to make your life easier, not harder.  They are there to assist with tasks not create additional ones.

So what do you pay a virtual assistant?

Depending on your virtual assistants experience and credibility, they can charge anywhere from $15 to $75 or more an hour. The virtual assistant will share their rates with you.  Remember, they are not being hired as a paid  employee so don’t be shocked when they aren’t charging you $8-$10 per hour.  You will also issue your virtual assistant a 1099 at the end of the year and it is the responsibility of the virtual assistant to pay taxes on wages earned.

Sometimes it all comes down to getting what you pay for, so my best advice is to really do your homework on who ever it is you decide to hire. Know where they are located. Are they in another country or are they here in the States and does that even matter to you?  Do they have references that you can talk to in efforts to get to know their character and their work ethics?  What are their hours of operation?  All of these questions can play a role into determining if your potential virtual assistant is right for you and your business.

For me personally, when I look to work with a potential client, I offer them my trust and have an open line of communication with them.  I have built my business on the theory that you treat every client like they are your only client.  I am always there for my client and it is my job to make sure that they are comfortable trusting me to act on their behalf.

Before sending a request out looking for a virtual assistant, remember, virtual assistants are independent contractors working for themselves.  They are not being hired by you as an employee because a virtual assistant is not an employee.

I hope that has helped to clarify what a virtual assistant is and is not.  I am open to hearing your comments and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.  Please note again that I am only speaking based upon my own individual experiences not the entire virtual assistant field.



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