Virtual Assistant?

Congratulate me! Today, I am officially an LLC (Limited Liability Company). Well, E.Webscapes is.. err.. E.Webscapes Design Studio, LLC, to be official and exact. It doesn’t really change much except some tax issues and, mostly, personal liability issues – – but its done and dusted, and something that has been needed for quite some time.

I’m considering the idea of hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) to assist me with some of the secretarial type tasks that I’m running into with my business. I feel like if I can hire on an assistant to delegate those tasks to, it will free up more of my time to complete projects, provide technical support and write my book – – without feeling like I’m stretched so thin I’m about to split open.

Has anyone ever worked with a VA? If so – – any pros, cons, advice you can offer would be a super help. My issue with it is this — much of the work I do depends on my communication with clients. For instance, with design clients. When new requests come through, I do have a ‘stock’ answer for them, for the most part – – however, some of the details of their order are individual to what they are seeking for their site. “I want this.. can it be done?”… “Are you able to do…this?”… or they seek recommendations… “I’m looking at using either Movable Type or WordPress… can you give me your recommendations and why you recommend one over the other?”

Those types of emails I feel like *I* need to answer – so not really something I can delegate to an assistant… or is it? I”m not sure if its a good idea — but I do spend good deal of my time during any given week processing new requests, answering emails.. administrative stuff. It’s just that administrative stuff that I’m wondering how.. or if.. I could delegate to an assistant.

I guess I couldn’t really employ a generic Virtual Assistant (there are VA services on the web that you can hire and retain)… I feel like the assistant I would hire would need to really know me… my work, my style and a good knowledge of the business I work in. My other issues are ones of trust. Lord knows, I’ve had my fair share of experiences with freelancers and employees that I found out later I couldn’t trust like I had hoped I would be able to – – a few of those experiences enough to really put me off the idea of hiring ever again permanently! I’m also, however, realistic enough to know that I cannot allow the experience with one (or two… or three?) untrustworthy individual color my actions for the rest of all time… though, that is easier said than done, sometimes. I do have to add that it is the experiences I’ve had with certain other folks that have been absolutely wonderful is what keeps my faith and makes me a firm believer in the concept that one bad apple certainly does not spoil the whole darned bunch.

I toss around this same idea every couple of months. Mostly, when the administrative stuff piles up as high, or higher, than the actual work I enjoy doing so much. I wonder if I’ll ever really take the leap and try the assistant route – – or continue to push myself in order to hit those deadlines. I’m just musing out loud here… like I do every once in awhile on this topic.

Have you had experiences with Virtual Assistants at all? Did you find it a good experience? Or one you’d rather never repeat again for the rest of your life?

Of course, a better answer is this: Why did I take this break to write this post when I have piles of stuff to get done? Answer: A break! I needed a break! ๐Ÿ˜€

18 thoughts on “Virtual Assistant?”

  1. I have been looking into becoming a Virtual Assistant. I have worked from home for 6 years and was just recently laid off from the Company I was working for. Needless to say I enjoyed the flexibility of working from home. I have excellent references and would be happy to forward my resume.

  2. Lori Lynn: thanks so much for responding. I would imagine that the VA biz is a bit difficult to break into, only because of the trust that needs to be established between the business owner and the VA… and that’s a real hard commodity to come by on the internet. Business owners really put a lot into the hands of a VA, so it is a really hard choice to make. It’s for that reason that I’m still at the “musing only” stage of actually looking into it, and probably would only consider folks that I am familiar with. I do want to thank you for taking the time to leave me a note, though – that was really nice ๐Ÿ™‚ Best of luck to you.

    Danalynn – I got your email. It gave me good things to think about, so thank you from the bottom of my heart ๐Ÿ˜ก Next time I find myself in a karaoke bar with you, I shall seranade you. Thanks for the info and I’m giving it much thought – – if I have questions maybe I’ll give you a ring… do I still have your number? lol Nite!

  3. Hello Lisa,

    I received notification of your blog post via my google alerts and thought it appropriate to respond to your writings regarding whether or not you think you should a virtual assistant. I am a virtual assistant, which is backed my close to 20 years experience working in various administrative positions. I decided to become a virtual assistant simply to control my own career. Your concerns, questions, and wonderings regarding a virtual assistant are all questions that many clients ponder prior to seeking the services of a virtual assistant. To answer some of those questions succinctly, with the right collaborative working relationship a virtual assistant can handle all of those tasks and more should you so desire.

    It takes research, a level of comfortablity with the virtual assistant you choose to collaborate with and, of course, trust. My recommendation to you, is to check out the Virtual Assistant Chamber of Commerce (www.virtualassistantnetworking.com), the website has a load of information that is specific to the client and will likely answer many of the questions you are currently asking. There is even an opportunity to submit and RFP (Request for Partnership) because rather than getting just any one you really are seeking a partnership, a working relationship that is built on all of the necessary components.

    Should you have any other questions I’d be happy to answer any you may have….no obligation ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi Lisa,

    I am a Virtual Assistant based in Australia and relatively new to the VA industry although I have over 10 years administrative experience across a number of industries.

    To answer your question’s generally, to hire a VA I would recommend visiting a number of websites include VANA – http://www.vanetworking.com, A Clayton’s Secretary – http://www.vadirectory.net, IVAA – Each of these websites contain a great deal of information about my industry and how to select a VA, along with a directory of VA’s to enable you to contact them directly.

    I would begin by writing down the admin tasks you don’t like to do and the tasks you can definitely pass over to someone else. Then I would write down the type of person you could see yourself working with. What sort of work ethic do they have? Do they need to be in the same or different time zone? How can using someone in a different time zone work with your needs? How will you communicate? Do you want someone who is creative and/or someone with initiative?

    I would then suggest posting a RFP on each of the above websites. You will receive a number of proposals, so you will need to set aside time to read through them and visit the website of each VA that responds to your RFP. Narrow it down based on your ideal VA profile.

    And when you have narrowed it down to a managable number, why not give some of them a small project to do to see how you would work together? This gives you a great opportunity to ‘try before you buy’. You should be able to get to know your VA during the course of the small project and be able to determine if they are a ‘perfect fit’ for you and your business.

    And finally, I would not use someone who wants to be paid via Western Union. Not only is the money untraceable but I personally have not come across a VA who would use this form of payment. Should something go wrong, there is no way of getting your money back.

    Good luck with your search for a VA and remember, if you don’t find your perfect fit the first time and find someone who is your right hand, keep searching because he/she will be out there.

    Kylie Short
    Virtual Assistant
    Tilda Virtual Services – making virtual personal

  5. Congrats on LLC-ing! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck hiring a VA, I’m one of those “If you want it done right…” kind of people so honestly I’d have no idea where to even start looking or what kind of advice to give *chuckle*

  6. I’m a virtual assistant here in Arizona. Just started in January 2007.
    I’m doing this part time evenings and weekends or whenever I have some free time. I’ve worked for over ten years for state universities here and in Delaware (From where I’m originally from.) Currently work for the State of Arizona. If interested I can provide more details.

    Congrats on your LLC.

    Feel free to contact me.

    Yvonne Miles ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I just launched my Virtual Assistant business please visit my site and if your in need of a VA I would like the opportunity on working with you.

  8. Check out http://www.assistu.com. They are the most professional VA training program around. I was just accepted into their program and will be starting soon, while as I work as an in-office assistant for a virtual assistant. You can fill out a form at AssistU where VAs get the highest quality training so you can be sure you are getting the standards for which you’re paying.

  9. Hi there Lisa. Let’s see if I can help to answer your questions regarding a VA…

    Pros…To give you an example, a VA will answer your phones, provide clerical support, manage your email, coordinate travel plans, manage your database, handle your bookkeeping, post blog articles to your website ;), and most importantly take care of those things that you don’t need to spend your time dealing with. To sum it up, whenever you need something handled, you simply pick up the phone or send an email to your VA and she handles everything. Heck, my VA even found a brand new, regular priced Nintendo Wii for Santa only 3 days before Christmas!!!

    Cons…If you are working with only 1 VA, that VA may not have the knowledge to provide you with every resource you desire. Another con…you no longer get to use the excuse that you ‘didn’t have time.’:d

    Now, to answer your question about delegating emails to your VA…Of course you can do that! It will take a little time before the VA can actually handle every email but, it can be done. This little secret, I will keep to myself for now. :-\”

    You want a VA to ‘know you’?, you want her to be someone you can trust? – no worries! I know just the VA for you and nope, it’s not me!

    Our company, http://www.worldwideofficesupport.com, is made up of an enormous group of VAs – all very talented individuals and each with different areas of expertise, each thoroughly interviewed and tested. I personally use several of our VAs which brings to mind the question…did I actually post this myself or did my VA do it? You decide. ๐Ÿ˜•

    Anyway, give me a call and we can chat – 800.485.1386. Just ask for Ms. VA

    PS – We are currently running an awesome special! Check out our site for more information – http://www.worldwideofficesupport.com.

  10. Pingback: Work Thoughts | Suspension of Disbelief

  11. There are some different ways to get an effective VA. It could be either through outsourcing company or freelancer. But hiring a VA through outsourcing company is more advantageous and you are secured for your personal information’s.

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