Top 5 myths about Virtual Assistants – BUSTED!

Whenever I tell people what I do, I tend to get one of two different reactions – either an ‘oh, that’s brilliant, I’ve outsourced to a V.A. before and it was great because…’ reaction or a….well, shall we say *less* positive response?

The frustrating thing is that whenever I ask why the ‘no V.A. for me TYVM’ people wouldn’t want to try one, the reasons they give me are such total myths, and easy to disprove, so I thought I’d use this week’s blog space to give you some myth-busting info about us V.A.s.

Ready? Here comes number 1.

1. V.A.s are, like, totally expensive.

Well…some people might say you get what you pay for and they’d be right, but actually, V.A.s aren’t all that expensive.

We tend to charge somewhere between £25-£35 per hour. Now, at first glance, that does sound expensive, but there are a few things you need to take into account.

Firstly, you can use a V.A. on an ‘ad-hoc’ basis, meaning that you only ever pay for the actual work you need done. You don’t pay for me to go and make a brew, have a conversation about Fleabag (oh, that sexy priest), nip to the loo for a break and check my social media while I’m there…

This website says that out of an 8 hour day, office workers are productive for….wait for it…2 hours and 53 minutes. Granted, it’s talking about the U.S. but I don’t see any reason to believe that workers in the U.K. or indeed anywhere else are statistically significantly any better.

When you pay for my time, you ONLY pay for the time in which I am productive.

Also, with me, the price you see is the price you pay. You don’t have to pay tax, insurance, sick pay, maternity pay, pension allowance, professional development…I do all that myself. Looking a bit more of a sensible price now, isn’t it?

2. I wouldn’t want to work with someone I’d never met. How would we collaborate?

This is a biggie, and it’s a fair point.

Business owners want to work with someone that they can trust, and how can you trust someone you’ve never met?

A few years ago, this was a much bigger issue, but the fact is that there are now a whole host of collaboration tools that can be used to make sure that we meet, get to know one another and collaborate just as effectively as if we were in the room together (but without the annoyance of the person opposite you crunching on Polo mints all day and unconsciously singing the theme tune from PJ Masks).

Here are some of the tools that I use at the moment to communicate with my clients:

  • Email – super for communication and collaboration when an instant answer isn’t required.

  • Slack (an online message board) – shows when you are offline or on – so you are able to message each other in real time – a bit like Facebook Messenger but WAY better).

  • Trello (List and project management software allowing both me and the client to collaborate on tasks and see what’s been done and what hasn’t).

  • Harvest (time tracking software that I use to make notes on what I’ve been doing during my allotted hours).

  • Zoom/Google Hangouts/Skype/whatever your preferred video conference tool is.

I might add that if you book a discovery call with me to see if we might be able to work together, I will gladly do it in any format that suits you best.

If you are local enough I’ll even come and meet you though in these odd times it’s not ideal. I like Zoom. I do believe that seeing the other person is a great way of making sure communication is clear and mutual, but phone is fine by me too. Whatever you need.

3. V.A.’s are 'just' mums working from home with screaming toddlers round their feet – the work you get is really low quality.

Someone said this to me once, before COVID put us all in the same boat, but actually – statistically only around 40% of V.A.s have young children.

Now, as it happens, I am one of those 40%, but before COVID I never worked while my children were around.

I only work when I can be productive.

That meant (before the pestilence horseman came and we all had to stay at home) that my work happened while my children were in school and at nursery.

Nowadays it means that my work is done in the two hours before the rest of the household gets up, during nap time in the middle of the afternoon, or after the kids have gone to bed. I have never heard of a good V.A. who worked any differently.

I am proud of my business, and I am proud of the work that I do. I also love the work that I do, and want it to be the best it can be!

4. Anyone can be a V.A.

This kind of follows on from the point above, and it’s SO wrong. When you say that, what you are actually saying is "Aren't you really unskilled and just doing this for a bit of easy money?"

If you want to hire an eighteen year old fresh out of school and pay him minimum wage then go ahead.

Like I said earlier on, you get what you pay for. But that isn’t a good V.A. You can find the ‘anyone can be a V.A.’ people on Guru and other similar sites, offering their services at rock bottom prices.

Me? I am educated to post graduate level, and have worked as a manager in customer services, as a teacher and as a P.A.

I have skills coming out the wazoo, and when you hire me, you hire all my experience, all my previous careers and skill sets, as well as all the professional development that I put myself through as an investment in my business.

And, I’m telling you now, you WILL notice the difference. I’m the Nutella to Aldi’s cheap knock off (Nootella? Not-ella? Dunno – I never buy it because, for some things, quality matters, and one of these things is chocolate spread. Another one is which V.A. you hire).

5. I don’t have enough tasks for a V.A. to do!

I bet I can list thousands.

Actually, they are listed on my website, right on the front page. And that's just 30. I can come up with 30 more no problem.

Here’s how to work out what a V.A. can do for you.

  • Write down down a list of your day to day tasks, and sort all those tasks into £500 tasks (high value, bring your business growth and profit), £100 tasks (less high value but still important in visibility and profitability) and £20 tasks (low value, total time sink but necessary admin-type tasks).

  • I strongly suspect that the £20 tasks take up a lot of your day.

  • I can take on those tasks, as well as the £100 ones which you are willing to let go of (sometimes it's hard to give up ownership of those things!)

  • Now you are free you up to do the £500 tasks and bring more money into your business.

Bingo bango, your business is now more productive, and you are a happier, more productive person.

I hope that today’s blog has given you some food for thought.

What’s stopping you from hiring a V.A.? What myths have you heard as a V.A. that boil your blood? Get in touch, I’d love to hear them!

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