FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS…
By People Thinking About Partnering With Portable Hands

What is Virtual Assistance?

What is a Virtual Assistant (VA)?

Who would work with a VA?

Why bother? I manage everything on my own.

Why would I hire an assistant who’s potentially hundreds of miles away?

Can I get a VA to type just a couple of documents for me, just this one time?

Why wouldn’t I want to give secretarial work to a local company and have a VA working on bigger things?

How long would I work with a VA?

Isn’t working with a VA more expensive than hiring an employee?

What kinds of work might my VA do?

So, how much can I really expect to pay?

You said that working with a VA isn’t more expensive than hiring an employee, but I wouldn’t pay an employee $30 per hour!

Does Virtual Assistance work better for any particular type of person or professional?

And why would I want to partner with Portable Hands?

Q: What is Virtual Assistance?

A: Virtual Assistance is a goal-oriented, administrative profession formalized to meet the needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs, as well as the needs of any busy person who could use great administrative support.

Its base is in traditional administrative support placed on a new foundation. That foundation holds the relationship at its core, with the people (both business owners and equals in the relationship) choosing each other, rather than the traditional norm ~ one person being placed in the role of working for the other. It requires a level of commitment and desire from both people to give the best they have to the relationship ~ to blending talents and strengths that surpasses anything the corporate world could currently imagine. First and foremost, it requires that both the VA and the client fully understand, value, and desire a collaborative partnership.

Once the partnership is established, Virtual Assistance works wonderfully well, skipping over geographical barriers easily with the use and immediacy of information technology and communications media (fax, phone, Internet, PC). Working virtually allows services to be provided remotely and people to be in touch as easily as if they were sitting 20 feet from one another. TOP

Q: What is a Virtual Assistant (VA)?

A: The people who provide Virtual Assistance are called Virtual Assistants or VAs. They are entrepreneurs who provide ongoing administrative support to busy professionals or small business owners. What they do is no less than an art ~ working long-term and closely with successful clients without needing to be physically present in their clients’ office. TOP

Q: Who would work with a VA?

A: VAs work with smart, successful people of all kinds: authors, real estate agents, sole proprietors, coaches, speakers, consultants, small business owners, home-based businesses, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, executives, professionals ~ anyone who wants to be professionally successful and live a more balanced live with more free time to do the things he/she wants to do! TOP

Q: Why bother? I manage everything on my own.

A: As you grow a business, sooner or later, you’ll find that you can do anything, but you simply can’t do everything! When you give away those things that don’t need your personal attention, you gain space and time in your life for an abundance of other things. People work with VAs so they can:

Grow a business
Gain work/life balance
Gain access to a larger talent pool
Spend more time with family and friends
Eliminate work and costs associated with hiring and retaining a full-time employee
- Payroll
- Office Space
- Office Equipment
- Benefits
- Paying for someone to administer payroll/benefits
- Conforming to federal standards like OSHA
Create a reserve of time and energy that will make it possible to consider other professional and personal opportunities. TOP

Q: Why would I hire an assistant who’s potentially hundreds of miles away?

A: Part of the benefit of having a VA is that you haven’t hired anyone. When you work with a VA, you get a partner, not an employee. You get someone who chooses to work with you as much as you choose to work with him/her. A VA’s decision to work with you will be based on being interested in being your partner for success, rather than because he/she is looking for “some job”.

If what you want and need is the most basic office support, then you might want to work with a secretarial service.

If, on the other hand, you want the benefit of working with someone who really wants to know you, your business, your customers, and who really wants to be deeply involved in your success, you’ll want to work with a VA. TOP

Q: Can I get a VA to type just a couple of documents for me, just this one time?

A: Because each Virtual Assistant owns his/her own business, each is going to have very different standards regarding the kind of work he/she is willing to do.

You can certainly contact VAs to see if they’d be willing to do your work, but you’ll probably find that you’ll get your work done more quickly by contacting a local secretarial service. TOP

Q: Why wouldn’t I want to give secretarial work to a local company and have a VA working on bigger things?

A: You might, but you’ll find that it doesn’t really pay to do that.

Yes, secretarial services are a bit less expensive per hour. However, the problem is that the people who work there don’t know you, your business, or your customers. You have to do a lot of work, up front, before giving them the work, so that they know what you want ~ and even then, sometimes you need to speak with them several times before your documents, faxes, messages, etc., represent you in your voice.

A VA can speak for you. A VA can write in your voice. A VA, because he/she has learned you, can listen to you speak just a few words about what you want done and make it happen ~ sometimes, even better than you could have done it yourself.

In addition, the more a VA knows about your needs, the less time it will take him/her to do your work.

So, even for basic secretarial work, where do you really get your best value?

Remember, a VA becomes your success partner; a secretarial service helps you for the short-term. TOP

Q: How long would I work with a VA?

A: The sky is the limit! Just as there are assistants in the corporate world who have worked for the same person for many years, the same is true of Virtual Assistants. TOP

Q: Isn’t working with a VA more expensive than hiring an employee?

A: No. The cost savings are two-fold: financial and emotional.

When you hire an employee, it’s expensive and can be grueling based on associated work and costs.

When you partner with a VA, you may pay-as-you-go, giving him/her only the amount of work you actually have during any given week or month.

OR

You may have your VA on retainer ~ buying a certain amount of his/her time each month for a preset, and usually lower, hourly rate.

VAs time is 100% productive time so you are not paying for a second of downtime or break time. No hassles. Just great support from someone dedicated to your success! TOP

Q: What kind of work might my VA do?

A: The beauty of Virtual Assistance is that the only things that can’t be done are things which actually need to be physically touched in your office, such as paper filing (and even that’s possible if you’re creative). Otherwise, you and your VA are only bound by imagination, need, skills, and desire.

Types of work VAs do:

Handle email or US mail; handling most and forwarding to you just those that need you attention
Make appointments ~ keep a schedule
Make/receive phone calls/inquires
Send/receive faxes
Research of all sorts
Plan meetings and events
Plan parties (business and personal), weddings, reunions
Make travel arrangements (business and personal)
Handle registrations for seminars given by clients
Writing
Proof Reading
Copy Editing
Desktop Publishing
Newsletter publishing (print and online)
Mailings
Buy gifts/cards for client’s customers
List Managing (majordomo, listserv)
Reminder Service
Transcription and Dictation
Bill Paying
Bookkeeping (business and personal)
Manage vendor relations
Create/maintain databases
Remote Computer Assistance
Supporting busy professionals, executives, or families with scheduling, arrangement of services, etc.

VAs vary, in terms of the types of work they do…and some of them offer more specialized services, such as:

Corporate Intelligence
Virtual Office Management
Marketing
Advertising
Personnel Management
Business Planning
Quality Control
Space Planning
Safety Consulting
Ghost Writing
Web Design
Publicity – Position clients as experts in a given field
Coordination of Web Design & Hosting

Because these are premium services, requiring specialized skills, they are billed at a rate that is separate from and higher than the rate generally billed for assisting.

It’s not so important that your VA knows how to do it all. What’s important is that he/she knows how to get it all done. AssistU trained VAs know how and have the resources to do that. All of the AssistU trained VAs are able to make just about anything happen for you. Plus, when you work with an AssistU trained VA, you get the benefit of all the expertise in their community ~ that’s how committed AssistU is to the success of every one of the AssistU trained VAs and their relationships with their clients. TOP

Q: So, how much can I really expect to pay?

A: VAs are in private practice and they price their services according to their skills, their desire to do certain kinds of work, their experience, and their reputation. You really need to speak with a VA, share your ideas and the vision for your success, and ask what it might cost to have him/her be a part of that.

Generally speaking, you can expect to pay $30-$70+ per hour. It depends on your needs and the VA you work with. TOP

Q: You said that working with a VA isn’t more expensive than hiring an employee, but I wouldn’t pay an employee $30 per hour!

A: No, not in straight time. You’re more likely to pay someone with this level of skills between $17 and $20 per hour if they were sitting in you office. However, when you add in the cost of administering payroll, your share of payroll taxes, having to pay certain kinds of insurance like worker’s compensation and extra liability for having someone in your home or place of business, and the cost of making sure that your location conforms to federal guidelines such as OSHA, you absolutely DO pay that much per hour. Also, the more skilled and talented the worker, the more his/her time is worth and the higher his/her fee.

The beauty of Virtual Assistance is that while you still have the expense, you have absolutely NONE of the hassle. One check per month. Simple. Easy. You can get on with the business of living your life on your terms. Working in partnership with a great VA makes all that possible. TOP

Q: Does Virtual Assistance work better for any particular type of person or professional?

A:The benefits are enormous to almost anyone who’s busy and need support.

People who don’t work easily with VAs:

Aren’t online and can’t understand why this would work
Big egos,, controlling, arrogant
Can’t let go; have to micromanage
Commitment Phobic
Don’t understand the power created in a relationship with a fantastic assistant
Aren’t open to learning new ways of working and communicating

Live in the urgent ~ (Drama Queen/King). If everything you do is last minute, if your style is to procrastinate and then rush to deadline, if you’re not organized and centered, if you’re in a high-pressure field where things run you instead of the other way around, if you want someone at your beck and call, you probably need and in-house employee; not a VA.

Can’t shift to seeing a VA as an equal. If you’re stuck in the traditional boss/assistant paradigm, or if you need to be the boss, you need an employee, not a VA.

Aren’t billing their own time at considerably more than $30 an hour. If you aren’t, then paying a VA would create a hardship for you. But if you’re billing at a much higher rate, or if you work on commission and your time is valued in large chunks of cash earned that way, then every hour spent doing work that takes you off course is work for which you are paying yourself in essence, at YOUR HOURLY FEE. It doesn’t take a lot to see the smarts behind paying someone to handle the administrative work so that you can be out earning more and more! TOP

Q: And why would I want to partner with Portable Hands?

A: Here are just a few good reasons.

For self-employed professionals and very small businesses, the most precious asset is time. Whether at the office or on the road, business people need tools and technology that help them focus on what’s important and avoid wasting time and energy better spent on growing or managing their businesses and professional careers. Portable Hands help clients who struggle with getting everything done! Our services allow them to stay focused on the BIG picture (profit generating activities, billing out more of their time, and increasing revenue) while we work behind the scenes! It’s where business becomes pleasure!

Owner and President, Katrina Chesney, is a seasoned Executive Assistant, certified micro-computer specialist, degreed computer programmer, and Senior Virtual Assistant. Her unique background adds tremendous value and a true WOW factor to all of her VA partnerships!

Portable Hands provides superior Virtual Assistance services helping self-employed professionals and very small businesses who struggle with getting everything done. Our experience and commitment to excellence have earned us the reputation as one of the top Virtual Assistance practices in the country. TOP

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