Welcome! While my website has been up and running for a few months now, I must say, it’s been a challenge to squeeze time in for a quick hello! As always, life grabs hold and doesn’t seem to let go. But I’m bucking the trend today and want to touch base and get this blog up and running! It’s time… for sure!
For the most part, you’re going to get to learn more about myself and my business. You’ll learn some tips and tricks, what I find useful in my business, how I like to help my clients reach their goals, and other fun and wacky adventures on my path as a Virtual Assistant!
But today… I want to discuss the most common misconceptions I hear about working with a VA! Trust me… you’re going to want to read this if you’re in the market for a VA. And even if you are already currently working with a Virtual Assistant, it’s never too late to learn a bit more about how we can help your business thrive!
5 Common Misconceptions About Virtual Assistants
When I first started researching this business and the ideas of creating my own VA firm starting tumbling into my head, I definitely had a lot of questions on what exactly a Virtual Assistant was and wasn’t. I have spent a lot of time in the cogs of the educational system to ultimately earn my MBA, and even more time in corporate professional roles that helped me garner much of the experience and skills needed to start a business of my own. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to be selling myself short and wanted to make sure that the experience and expertise I have gained over the years would be something that I could use in my new business. My main reasons for leaving the corporate machine and starting my own business were like most people who do the same… freedom, a sense of building my own brand, working for myself and not “the man”. Did I mention freedom? And as I gained more and more experience and talked to more and more people, particularly networking within the VA community and talking to prospective clients, it became clear pretty quickly what the biggest misconceptions were about working with VA’s.
- We are employees
Wrong! We are partners in your business! We are independent contractors that will help you by using our own business model to create the items that you’re looking for. You are NOT responsible for worrying about paid vacations, offering insurance, or helping to bankroll a retirement plan for your Virtual Assistant… those are all on our lists! What you get by bringing us on is someone who is going to come in completely focused on getting the job done that you need. Ultimately, I prefer working with clients who want to start up a long-term relationship. I enjoy getting involved in a client’s business and as I get more education in it, to offer more and more solutions to free up your time. Because let’s face it. You need someone on the same level who can run with your thoughts, while you run to make more money for your own business! And those long-term client relationships turn into more when I find myself vested in making sure you are ultimately moving your own business in the right direction!
- This Misconception is Two-Fold… We are either dirt cheap or we are way too expensive!
Wrong again! While there are some VA’s that may do business at a very low-rate, there is often a reason for that. Maybe they are new, inexperienced, or don’t have the skill set that is truly needed. There are also price differences between VA’s in the United States, as well as overseas. While this may be worth it for some business owners to use a VA overseas, I’ve found that the time difference, language barrier, and overall confusion in setting up the tasks that need to get completed are definitely not worth the savings.
On the other hand, I have heard many say that the hourly rate for some VA’s is way more than they can stomach. This is honestly something you’re going to have to figure out for yourself and your own business. I have found in this market that you definitely get what you pay for. Those VA’s that you feel may be too expensive have some of the most sought after skills needed! If you have some highly technical pieces in your business that you need help with (website work, financial services, specific software needs, a great ghostwriter that you can count on, a social media guru, etc) you’re going to have to determine if it’s worth it for you to get those items off of your plate so you can focus on growing your business to bring in more money. And don’t forget… While you may see an hourly rate that seems too high, you’re off the hook for insurance, retirement funds, vacation, etc. Those are all overhead costs that every Virtual Assistant manages in-house and are taken care of by what we bring in.
- We only do Administrative work… AKA, we’re “Just Secretaries”
Now don’t get me wrong… during my corporate years, those “just secretaries” were some of my great friends! And to me, they were nothing short of miracle-workers! Finding supplies I desperately needed, scheduling the secret meeting rooms that always seemed to be booked, and keeping me “in-the-know” on the latest and greatest happenings around the company were things that helped me every day! So yes… I never feel that these people were “just secretaries”.
But there is definitely a misconception that this is what a Virtual Assistant specializes in. While some do specialize in and offer only administrative services, I can say emphatically that that is NOT the case for all VA’s! I have gotten to know many wonderful VA’s who specialize in many different aspects of a business, from the down and dirty processes of complicated website developments to the ins and outs of what it takes to help a client pull off a successful product launch. Financial Services is one of the areas that I personally specialize in, while some VA’s I know are absolute geniuses in Real Estate.
- A VA working remotely is never going to work out for your business
Just think… you don’t have to provide office space or supplies, a computer, or any other items that a regular employee would need working in-house. While it may be difficult at first to wrap your mind around the idea that someone who is doing work for your business may actually be on the other side of the country, rest assured that most VA’s I know (along with myself) are MORE productive in our environments. We don’t have the constant distractions that I used to find in the corporate world, and I’m able to plan your business needs around my most productive hours. Most VA’s make themselves available via Instant Message or Skype, so we’re only a click away when something comes up. And with today’s virtual technology environment, sharing files, calendars, applications, and documents has never been easier.
- You’ll never be able to trust your confidential information with a Virtual Assistant
While it may be a bit difficult and intimidating to hand over confidential information to a VA that you may begin working with, there are boundaries that you can establish to help protect your business. I, for example, am a big proponent of making clients feel more at ease by signing Non-Disclosure Agreements, if they prefer. It’s also important to me to let clients know that any confidential information that I may hold of theirs is in password protected areas. You CAN trust your VA!