Feature Article – November 2012 issue – National Military Spouse Network newsletter

You just received an email with the subject line: “Project Completed.” You smile, breathe a sigh of relief and move on to your next sales call, pondering to yourself, “What can I outsource next?”

This email was from your Virtual Assistant having completed a task you had left on the back-burner far too long.

What is a VA?

A virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients from a home office. (Wikipedia). A VA works as an independent contractor using a written agreement to define services, method(s) for accomplishing tasks, rates and other terms of service.

Benefits of working with a VA:

Upon notification, tasks are typically started/completed in a timely manner, often within 24-48 hours.
Confidence in work performed – you are working with an administrative professional.
Save time – your time to utilize toward managing your business.
Receiving quality products at the fraction of the cost of an employee.
How do I connect with a VA?

To work with a VA who is an independent contractor, ask a colleague for a trusted referral or consult your professional network. Contact the local Chamber of Commerce or other business organization(s). If you choose to use a VA agency, you can connect through an online search. If you want to work with a VA who is a military spouse, you can consult the Homefront Business Listings on the National Military Spouse Network website.

How do I work with a VA?

It is paramount to determine what task(s) you are ready to outsource whether it be a short term or long term activity. Examples may be: appointment scheduling, making calls on behalf of your company, data entry, project assistance, etc.

Professional courtesy merits 24-48 hour notification to the VA to assign a task(s) along with clear instructions and access to any pertinent accounts the VA may need to access to conduct business on your behalf. Two-way communication is standard through email, telephone, Skype, or other shared accounts such as Drop Box.

What are typical VA rates?

You can expect a rate of $25.00 to $100.00 per hour or paying for a service bundle or retainer for longer term online office support.

Recap: Determine what task(s) you wish to outsource and define your budget. Connect with an experienced VA. Provide clear, detailed instructions and deadlines. Communicate as needed to complete projects and streamline functions. Establishing rapport with a VA will provide continuity to your work flow and added value to your admin team.

Article was originally posted on the National Military Spouse Network