Is a virtual personal assistant right for you?

A virtual personal assistant (VPA) helps with tasks like bookkeeping, event planning and marketing. While it may seem strange to hire someone you'll never meet, many virtual assistants are skilled professionals. Read on to see if a VPA might be right for you.

Is a virtual personal assistant right for you?

Advantages of hiring a virtual assistant

  • Unlike many personal assistants, most virtual assistants are happy to be hired on an hourly basis.
  • You can also hire several virtual assistants to complete different tasks or to help you through a busy period.
  • A good virtual assistant will be prepared to complete basic administrative tasks, but many other assistants also have specialized skills such as editing, bookkeeping, transcription, social media management and marketing.
  • Basically, any task that can be completed online or over the phone can be completed by a virtual assistant.

Disadvantages of hiring a virtual assistant

  • Virtual assistants can't help you run errands, make copies or take your dog to a groomer.
  • Most virtual assistants will also juggle several employers, which means that your needs won't always be their sole priority. Sometimes, you may not be able to get extra help when you need it most.

Virtual assistant salary requirements

  • According to Payscale, you should expect to pay an assistant approximately $20 per hour.
  • A virtual assistant who must do bookkeeping, event planning or other specialized tasks will charge more for their expertise.
  • While there are online companies that promise a virtual assistant for $10 per hour, these assistants are often international workers who don't have a firm grasp of English.
  • Therefore, many of the tasks you might assign may not be completed properly. You may also have difficulty communicating your expectations to your assistant.

Finding a virtual personal assistant

  • Many professional virtual assistants have websites that advertise their skills and availability. You can also advertise online for a virtual assistant.
  • If a prospective assistant has a good CV, set up a time to talk on the phone.
  • Be prepared to ask basic interview questions and get a list of references, but also find out your prospective assistant's availability.
  • In-demand assistants may require that you commit to purchasing a certain number of hours per week, or may require that you schedule their time several weeks in advance.
  • These requirements are fair, but make sure they work for your own needs.

If you decide to hire a virtual assistant through an agency, be sure to interview the company thoroughly. Ask how the company hires assistants, how they are trained, and if the agency has a refund policy.

A good virtual assistant can complete a list of administrative tasks and let you focus on your own job. However, if you're not willing to spend the time and money to hire a reputable assistant or agency, you're better off completing these tasks yourself.

Sources:

http://www.ivaa.org/?page=101WaysToUseaVA

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235966

http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Personal_Assistant/Salary

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2013/08/hiring_an_online_personal_assistant_a_potential_time_saver_becomes_a_huge.html

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