Exciting news coming up this week. Look for our new site -- http://www.publicity-va.com . It will feature all the latest in getting PR and getting press releases and will be an avenue especially for virtual assistants to get the word out about what they can offer.
Do you how what a virtual assistant is?
A Virtual Assistant (VA), like many of their clients, is a highly skilled professional working as an independent contractor from their own home. VAs use leading edge technology to communicate work assignments via the Internet, e-mail or disk transfer. Traditional methods such as regular mail and overnight shipping are also used. While most VAs will never meet their clients, it is not unusual to find a VA providing pickup and delivery service in their local area. Many have found success in a combination of the two, local and virtual clients.
A VA’s duties are also similar to a word processor, however, they offer a broader range of areas of expertise and a majority of their work is done via the Internet. In the early 1990s when virtual assistants got their start, that was the big difference from word processors. In the 80’s most of the work being done was done locally for clients and it required the word processor to either pick it up or have it delivered to their home. Each of these had its disadvantages as delivering it required time spent away from the office working and the other meant time spent cleaning up the office and getting ready.
Well once the Internet became so popular and so easy to use, VAs began to realize that they could take their skills globally and work throughout the world. Wow!! For many of you this seems like as routine as peanut butter, and are already acccustomed to talking with people in different parts of the world via e-mail everyday. But for word processors who were used to spending their days dropping off work to their clients, this was HUGE!!! I can personally recall my first experiences and my utter amazement. No more packing up two kids and driving them to drop off work or taking valuable typing time during my day. It was just too good to be true.
Then the realization came that not only did I not have to drop off the work, but I could get clients in other parts of the country. It started getting better all the time. My first out-of -state client was a book publisher in Arizona who was just starting an online bookstore. It took a short time to figure out the workings of the Internet, but many more clients came quickly. However, it wasn’t until I met Kelly Poelker in 2000 and we teamed up that the true power of the virtual word become known. She seemed to know it all so I took my experience with word processing and her Internet and virtual experience and we teamed up. We know have written several books together--all virtually.
How does a VA benefit their clients?
The ultimate goal of virtual assistants is to partner with their clients. By partnering the VA learns all they can about their clients business to become a trusted and valued member of the team —an extension of their organization. At the same time, the VA only charges for time on tasks so it ultimately saves the client in overhead expenses while affording them the necessary time to take care of more business.
A perfect example of a Client/VA partnership is the sole proprietor; let’s say a consultant who charges $400 an hour for his consulting services. Mr. Consultant is spending two hours a week generating mailings, preparing presentations, rummaging through paperwork, and sorting through the tons of email he gets on a weekly basis. Since Mr. Consultant is doing this work himself he is paying $400 an hour for these services when, in reality, it would benefit him to partner with a VA at a rate of $40 an hour and save tons of money a year. Plus, he could be generating more revenue because he would have more time available for doing what he does best—consulting. See how it works? It’s not rocket science but it can feel that way when trying to convince clients that they need you. As evidenced in this example they can’t afford NOT to have you on their team.
In addition to the financial rewards for the client, the following list reinforces to the client what they get in return for their investment. This list is just a sample and not meant to be all-inclusive. You need to customize your benefits and features list for clients to reflect your service offering, ethics, and level of expertise in addition to your business goals and objectives.
Experience in the latest technology
A colleague to brainstorm ideas with
No benefits/no equipment/no office space
Knowledge of the latest equipment
Freedom to allow you to grow you business
Pride in our profession
An interest in helping them achieve growth in their business
I highly recommend you getting our book, Virtual Assistant: The Series, How to Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA which I co-authored with her for additional information on this industry. It provides a great deal of detail into the specifics in all the areas you can go into specific to this industry, training, pricing, and other detailed information you will find beneficial.
Here are just some of the specialties that a Virtual Assistant can do.
· Transcription -- Medical/Legal/General (Usually digitally)
· Word Processing
· Business Start-up Consultation
· Internet Research
· E-mail Handling
· Web Design/Development/Maintenance
· Desktop Publishing
· Meeting and Event Planning
· Concierge Services
A growing number of real estate professionals are finding Virtual Assistants to be a good middle ground between working solo and hiring full-time assistants who need desks, benefits, steady paychecks and sick days. Working virtually with the assistance of technology, these independent contractors handle a myriad of tasks for busy professionals, including virtual-tour assembly and posting, e-mail campaign creation, e-mail inquiry filtering, administrative tasks and website maintenance.
“Literally anything can be done from a distance,” says Michael Russer, CEO of REVA Teams, a Pleasanton, California-based VA organization for the real estate industry, and president of Russer Communications. He says agents generally pay either $250 - $350 per transaction or $25 - $45 an hour, depending on the scope of the project.
The following business associations will help you determine how to pursue a VA career:
Here is a list of recommended resources for getting started:
· Virtual Assistance U ( www.virtualassistanceu.com )
· International Association of Virtual Office Assistants, or IAVOA ( www.iavoa.com )
· Virtual Networking Forum ( www.vanetworking.com )
· Work-the-Web ( www.work-the-web.com )
· Alliance for Virtual Business ( www.AllianceForVirtualBiz.com )
· RYZE network (under Virtual Assistants United)
· VACertification ( www.VACertification.com )
· Canadian VA Network ( www.canadianva.net )
· Canadian Virtual Assistants ( www.cvasuccess.com )
· Alliance of UK Virtual Assistants ( www.allianceofukvirtualassistants.org.uk/ )
· Executary Network ( www.executary.com )
· Executive Virtual Professionals Association ( www.evpa.net )
· Virtual Professionals (http://www.virtual-professionals.com/)
This is from my book, Words From Home -- Start, Profit, and Run a Home-Based Word Processing Business available at Virtual Word Publishing, Inc. for only $10.95 for the e-book.