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Virtual assistants are win-win for all

My friend Jessica collected hundreds of business cards at a recent networking event. She started stressing about how she was going to find time to sort them and scan them into her database. But at that event, she met a virtual personal assistant and decided to hire her to do the task. She says the experience was life changing. She went on to hire the VA, Toma Rusk, to do all kinds of other to-dos.

Some days, I wish I could take all the small, pesky chores off my to-do list and give them to someone else to handle. While hiring a virtual assistant is great for busy business owners trying to do it all, it also is a great career for anyone who wants flexibility and income. 

One of the best websites I found to learn about the industry is virtualassistantassistant.com. A quick pulse of the industry shows independent VAs charge from $20 to $40 an hour. One woman I interviewed told me she charges a four-hour minimum upfront before she will take on any work.

Here's my column from today's Miami Herald with more info on the topic:

 


The Miami Herald

At your virtual service: a great balance solution

By Cindy Krischer Goodman
balancegal@gmail.com

   Virtual assistant Amanda Haynes has clients from around the world.  Haynes picks up mail for one of her clients on Monday in Miami.
Carl Juste / MIAMI HERALD STAFF
Virtual assistant Amanda Haynes has clients from around the world. Haynes picks up mail for one of her clients on Monday in Miami.
When Amanda Haynes started her Miami business four years ago, she had no idea whether she could make a living as a virtual personal assistant. “I wanted flexible hours. At the time the job situation was not good, and working from home seemed appealing.”

Haynes’ husband, a website designer, created a site for her and sent a few customers her way. Within weeks Haynes had a full schedule — making bank deposits for an attorney, scanning business cards into a database for a small business owner and uploading digital photos onto websites for an artist. “There are people who don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done so they use me,” says Haynes, owner of My Task Handler.

Today’s working professionals are busy juggling work, chores, kids and growing to-do lists, sending them on a perpetual search for better work/life balance. More often, they are turning to virtual personal assistants like Haynes to unload tasks they are pressed to complete.

Nell Merlino, founder of Count Me In, a nonprofit organization that supports the growth of women’s businesses, says virtual assistants are the behind-the scenes contributors to the success of women entrepreneurs: “I think women business owners are starting to see how much more money you generate by having someone take care of your administrative tasks.”

Indeed, according to a 2009 survey by the Alliance for Virtual Businesses, a global consortium of virtual assistant trade organizations, the profession tripled over the previous five years.

Sharon Williams, owner of the24hoursecretary.com, says the profession has attracted career changers and employees downsized during the recession: “It’s an opportunity to generate their own income on their terms.”

Most virtual assistants work from home offices and receive their instructions by phone, e-mail or text messages. The average full-time virtual assistant in the United States bills hourly ($20 to $40 an hour), by project or on retainer and grossed $45,000 in income in 2009, according to the Alliance for Virtual Businesses survey. The popularity of the concept also has lured dozens of administrative outsourcing firms such as Rent a Smile or Red Butler that provide remote assistants, most located in India or the Philippines.

 



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Comments

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Arelis Jones

I hired once a virtual assistant and needed to prepay $495.00, her area of expertise was in the real estate and I just lost my money.
When I complained to the company she represent for the work so poorly performed, she proof I was wrong altering emails we interchanged.
It will take a while for me to trust any virtual assistant unless is recommended by a personal friend.

Cindy Goodman

That's a good point, a recommendation or at least references would be nice to have in advance.

Cindy

SME BackOffice

@Arelis
It is advisable to first try out the service provided by the VA and then actually decide if the service provide does meet your requirement.

We always provide our client with few hours of FREE trial for them to check out the Quality of the service we offer and how it add value for their business.

In case you are looking for a VA service, please visit our site http://smebackoffice.com to avail of our FREE trial.

vastaffing

Try out Virtual Assistant staffing...

We believe in our service so much, that we will 100% Guarantee* you that we’ll do a fantastic job for you, or you can discontinue our service, with absolutely NO PENALTY, and we’ll even refund your last pay period IN FULL (pay periods are every two weeks). You may, at your discretion, choose to have us simply replace the assistant who was not a great fit for your team with one who is, AND WE’LL STILL REFUND 100% OF YOUR MONEY for the last pay period for the “not so terrific fit”!! You have absolutely NO RISK!! That’s how confident we are that you will LOVE our service! To take it even a GIANT step further, when you refer other people to us, we will PAY YOU 10% of every dollar we collect from them when they hire a virtual assistant from us!

No other virtual assistant staffing company guarantee comes even close! AND, we are the ONLY virtual assistant staffing company that we know of who will actually PAY YOU for referring us to others!

check out the site http://www.virtualassistantstaffing.com

kvinnor

Thanks for such an informative article, it's been very useful.

Harry Crook

Having a VA is the easiest way to get your job done. She can help you with your daily tasks that need to be accomplished in order to grow your business successfully.. If you have room for some help, but not for a larger step, having a VA is the best option. Here are some of the best free VA tools to help VAs do their virtual job better: http://www.timedoctor.com/blog/2011/01/19/virtual-office-software

Blake Mitchell

Having a virtual office or virtual assistants is very handy and convenient for home-based businesses. With a virtual assistants, you don’t have to rent or provide additional office space, and you can minimize your expenditures since you hire them to work for a specific number of hours only and not on a daily basis.

Cindy Goodman

I can tell you how many days I feel like I need a virtual assistant. I may give it a try.

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