If you are a freelancer that is managing a heavy workload, you may consider working with a virtual assistant or VA to manage tasks. Effectively freeing up your time to dedicate to other areas of your business.
A VA is similar to a traditional office assistant but so much more versatile, with knowledge and skillsets that can be applied across many different areas of business.
A virtual assistant doesn’t have to be physically present, which can be a bonus for home-based freelancers. Similarly, many VA’s operate from their home on a freelance basis.
Some freelancers work extensively with their virtual assistants and never meet face to face. Communicating via emails, messages, or Zoom calls.
Why would a freelancer need a virtual assistant or VA?
Freelancers tend to seek the services of a VA when their workload gets too much, or to outsource repetitive or time-consuming tasks.
This gives the freelancer the freedom to focus on the areas of business that require their full attention.
For example, you may be a freelance copywriter that handles content creation for clients and maintains a website and blog of your own to promote your services.
A VA can manage tech tasks or maintain your company website when you don’t have time to do it. They can also take over administrative tasks like emailing clients or sending monthly invoices.
How Can a Virtual Assistant Support You?
VAs specialize in various aspects of business management. No matter what help you need, there will be a VA that has the skills and talents to support you.
Tasks VAs can do include:
- maintaining your website
- updating your social networking profiles
- responding to emails
- setting up appointments
- tracking and sending invoices
- communicatingwith prospects
- setting up meetings
- doing research
- organizing and digital files
- writing press releases
- managing email campaigns
- keyword research
- building backlinks to your website
How to Find a Good VA
Hiring for any position and finding a ‘good fit’ can take a bit of time, but when you get the right person the benefits are large.
Ask for recommendations from other freelancers, they may be able to suggest a suitable VA for your needs.
Other business owners will be able to confirm appropriate skill sets before you go to the trouble of interviewing potential applicants.
Look for past examples of work and ask for references. Determine if the VA’s work experience fits the kind of tasks that you want them to do.
Be objective. Just because you like a VA that is a spreadsheet expert, it won’t help if you need help with the technical elements of your WordPress website.
Have a video meeting/interview where possible and make a list of questions that will reveal work ethic, experience, and strengths.
If you think you have found the right person with the appropriate skills to support your freelancing business then it’s always worth arranging a trial period to determine suitability.
Sometimes, even people with the best credentials just don’t suit your way of working. In these cases, it is best to part company and take a look elsewhere.
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Working with Your Virtual Assistant
Now you have located your ideal VA and you’re the one employing a freelancer for a change. Spend some time identifying what your new VA’s tasks and duties should be and be clear about expectations and deliverables.
Think about some of your own frustrations with past clients that may have been vague or unclear about what they wanted. Attempt to avoid causing the same sort of confusion for your VA.
Determine schedules, hours, timelines, availability and rates of pay upfront so there are no surprises later on. If tasks need to be submitted on a schedule layout the requirements clearly.
Provided feedback and ask for the same in return to encourage open communication and a positive working relationship.
If there are areas for improvement then explain those constructively and ensure your VA fully understands what is needed.
While most people work for the money, there are non-monetary rewards you can offer. Testimonials that your VA can use on their own website, reviews and recommendations are always welcome.
If you have a good business network you may offer to promote their services on your social media accounts to connect your VA with other business users.
Make working together easier by using technological tools to facilitate your communication.
Tools like Zoom for business calls, Dropbox or Google Docs for file sharing, and project management tools like Trello are an easy way to keep things visible and on track.
Most freelancers and business owners wonder how they managed without their VA once they have used their services. While there is a cost associated with paying for a virtual assistant, the time they free up can be used for more profitable activities.
Essentially meaning that the cost of a VA is recouped by the extra work that you can manage.
If you are a freelancer with a growing business that is buckling under the strain, then it might be time to consider hiring a VA of your own.