Virtual Assistants: What they are and why you should hire one
OUTSOURCING. It’s a buzz word around here, because outsourcing is what we do for so many amazing photographers. Our clients trust us enough to hand over their catalogs for us to edit, and in return they gain valuable time that they can invest back into their business and their personal life. So I am a HUGE fan of outsourcing… I see the benefits of it every day.
After the chaos that was 2021 for the wedding industry on top of becoming a mom, I knew I needed to find someone who can help me in my business because I just can’t do it all! It was my turn to outsource. Thankfully one of my clients shared about someone she knew who was a virtual assistant, so I reached out to find out more. Before I go into more detail about that, you may be wondering, “what in the world is a virtual assistant?” Trust me, I thought the same thing, you’re not alone!
According to The Virtual Savvy, a virtual assistant (commonly abbreviated “VA”) is “any type of remote assistant who provides administrative, creative, or technical support services for online or brick and mortar business owners.” I like to think of a VA as someone who acts as an administrative assistant or secretary such as in a traditional office setting, but they can do it all remotely! They can handle basic tasks like research or data entry, but also handle more niche services like SEO, social media management, and email marketing. Believe it or not, virtual assisting was a thing before the pandemic, when a majority of jobs became remote. It has, however, gained a lot of popularity in the last few years. The CEO of Rocket Station told Forbes Magazine that his site saw a 300% increase for virtual assistance during the pandemic. Businesses (big or small) are realizing they can benefit from hiring a VA, which will inevitably provide a huge return on investment for them and their business.
Last fall was the busiest of my life, and my health really suffered. Not only that, but my time spent with my daughter was greatly impacted – I knew something had to change. Over the last few years, I’ve thought about hiring a virtual assistant, but I kept telling myself I couldn’t afford it. This year, I decided I needed to finally take the leap because I was on the verge of total burnout. Hiring my VA (shout out to my girl Jess with Jess Goes Virtual) was hands-down one of the most profitable business decisions I’ve ever made.
I now have more time to focus on other areas of my business and spend more time with my family. Not only that, but my business saw its most profitable January ever (by 4X), and I have no doubt that having Jess on my side was a huge contributor to that. I could go on and on about how having a VA has benefited me and my business, but let’s get down to some of the reasons you should hire one.
With the help of a rockstar virtual assistant, you can:
Take a hands-off approach with your social media
It used to take me hours to do one social media post, but she has scheduled 4 months of social media content in just a few short weeks. She has mapped out my Instagram feed in an aesthetic way that matches my brand, writes the captions for each post, and schedules them for me (currently, we are good to go until June… like, what?! That’s just incredible!)
Have an email inbox that feels organized and not so overwhelming
Do you have instant anxiety when you log into your inbox? With access to your inbox, a VA can set up systems that work for you and help you focus on the emails that need your attention. They can do things like manage subscriptions, create folders and filters, monitor your inbox daily and give you a short list of what is top priority, to name a few things. You can finally take your inbox from chaos to well managed.
Start being consistent with your blogs and newsletters
If you’re anything like me, you have so many visions and ideas to reach your audience in the way of blogs and newsletters, but have so little time to commit to it. It may have been months since your last blog post, and you are craving consistency. With some guidance from you regarding your brand and how you typically “talk” with your audience, your VA can do a lot of copywriting for you, meaning you can finally make your blog and newsletter dreams come true!
Hand off those “this will just take a second” tasks that add up to hours of your time
Do you get a lot of requests from your clients or colleagues that only take a moment, but when you add them all together take a ton of your time? The good news is VAs are happy and willing to take those tasks off your plate! For example, if you are a stationer and need to find out If a company you typically purchase envelopes from offers a certain size envelope in a certain color, you would take a few minutes to send an email to figure this out. Of course a few minutes of your time is no issue, but when you have several small tasks like this, it can add up! Let a VA handle these tasks for you and you’ll be surprised how much time it frees up for you.
Get assistance with client onboarding and support
Whether you have a handful of clients or hundreds, a VA can help with the onboarding process from start to finish. Maybe they can set up automated emails for you that trigger at certain dates that get sent to each client throughout their time of working with you, or maybe they help answer client emails (within the parameters that you set). With a VAs assistance, you can be rest assured you are not dropping the ball with the clients you value so much.
Have an extra set of hands for data entry
Does sitting in front of your accounting software entering company expenses make you want to pull your hair out? How about having to spend time moving loads of data (such as client information) from one platform to another, which can take hours if the system you’re using doesn’t have great integration features? These are tedious tasks that aren’t very glamorous, and you can think of about a million other things you’d rather be doing – so let your VA handle the “boring” stuff so you can work on what you’re passionate about.
Give your calendar over to your very own scheduling concierge
If you’re not using a CRM (customer relationship management) program for your scheduling, you can hand this task off to a VA. They can help with setting up meetings, calls, etc. so you don’t have to be bogged down with the back and forth with communication. Another way people like for VAs to help with schedule management is having them give a bullet point list to you each morning (maybe in a text or in a group messaging app like Slack) before your day begins with a quick snapshot of what’s on their schedule for the day. This ensures you don’t miss a single thing!
Be reassured all written items are proof read before going live
You can use your VA as your own personal editor. Having a second set of eyes before hitting publish on your blog, newsletter, or any other document, may save you some embarrassing mistakes. It never hurts to pay extra attention to your punctuation and spelling!
Maximize your productivity
This is the bottom line of why hiring a VA can be so valuable to you and your business. Imagine you get 5, 10, 15 hours back in your week (while important tasks are still being tended to behind the scenes), what could you do with that time to invest back into your business? Perhaps you’re able to book more clients or you can finally launch that industry specific course you’ve been thinking about. The end result of having a VA is essentially to give you more TIME, which in many instances, can translate into more money. Who doesn’t want that?
I hope this was a helpful post! Since using a virtual assistant myself, I have seen how it has transformed my business and eased a lot of my stress. Our motto for our clients has always been, “take back your life”. Well I also want to be able to do the same thing, and having Jess on my side has helped me to do just that.