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What is a "VA" and why you may need one

I tend to use the term "VA" often to people, and then usually get a blank look back because the other person usually has never heard of it - even when I say "I am a Virtual Assistant".


In simple terms, a VA "Virtual Assistant" is a dedicated subcontractor to your business (not an employee) who remotely assists you with your day to day duties or more specialised areas you either do not know how to do or do not have time for.


Hiring a VA means it saves you buying the office equipment and space; the VA does the tasks you both agree to remotely. If you are a business owner and you are constantly feeling overwhelmed, overworked and don't have a work/life balance, a VA may be just what you need - they are simply your fairy godparent of business!


Okay, great - how do I hire a VA?


The first step in hiring a good VA is to do your research. The VA industry is quite broad and flooded; so for someone who may not know what they are quite looking for and how to find may get overwhelmed or in some cases, scammed.


Here are some tips in how to find a good VA:


1. Become a member of VA or Business Groups within your country or State/Territory

There are countless business support groups out there. If you like, become a member of a few and ask questions, advice and when you are ready - put a call out/ job ad. It is important that before you do put out a request for a VA publicly, you know what you are looking for (skills, experience, tasks you need done), the hours you require, and have a rough idea on your budget too. These are the first questions a VA would usually ask to see if they are a good fit for your business. It is important to also know that most VA's have a set rate that is not negotiable.


2. Ensure that when looking at a VA, they have an ABN

This is really important. Do not agree to any VA related work if the VA does not have an ABN or asks for discounts, cash or any other incentives in exchange for work. This is a red flag.


3. Look at the VA's expertise, experience and knowledge

Every VA is different; just like every business is different. There are some VA's with a ton of experience but may not understand your industry; or a VA with lower experience but will have a fantastic working relationship with you because of their way of thinking and attitude.


Some VAs will happily send their CV to you to show you their experience, qualifications, knowledge and skills. It is a bonus if they have a website showcasing reviews and what they can do. Most VA's will not be able to tell you who their existing clients are due to a non-disclosure agreement - so just keep that in mind.


4. Look at the VA's location, available hours and compare that with how you want them to work

While every business is different, it is good to hire a VA who isn't too far behind in time zones. We are lucky in Australia that our time zones are not too far apart from each other - however if you are after a VA who will answer business calls, check with them first that they are happy to do so if the time zones are behind or ahead.


5. Do a video call with the potential VA to get to know them

This is very important. Request a video chat meet and greet with your potential VA(s). This will give you a chance to not only get an idea of their experience, skills and knowledge but also their character. It will help you determine if you both are a right fit for each other and the business.


6. Ensure you have a contract in place before commencing any business work

Contracts are very important. They will contain payment conditions, work to be undertaken, hours per week along with other important conditions. Ensure you read thoroughly before signing any document and if in doubt, ask a qualified lawyer for advice.


7. Make sure you are aware of the limitations the VA has put in place

All VAs will have limitations on what they will, can't and won't do. For example, Top End Virtual will not do anything that requires specialist attention such as legal, health or financial advice unless it has already been prepared by the specialist and just needs typing or action. Top End Virtual also will not charge website or social media work under the VA rate; as it is a specialised service which requires a different rate. Never make a VA do work they are not qualified to do.


What makes Top End Virtual unique to other VAs?

At Top End Virtual, I have over ten years of broad experience in many different areas of business - including Government organisations and private sectors. I have worked in very sensitive roles, legal administration support, domestic violence administration, education sector, childcare, retail (beauty industry) and so much more. This means my mind can easily adapt to new environments as I am very creative, forward thinking and can expand my skills to various needs. In addition to this, I have been running a successful, award winning photography business for five years - and being a business owner means I do understand how business works. I can not only do administration based work; but websites, social media, social media marketing and graphic design. I also have skills in copywriting due to my editing, formatting and proofreading skills from my roles within the Government.


If you hire Top End Virtual, this can mean instead of hiring multiple people and teaching them about your business for a range of different tasks, I can be your go-to person and do a range of those tasks for you under a customised plan.


Contact Top End Virtual today via info@topendvirtual.com.au to schedule a FREE 15 Minute Zoom call to see how Top End Virtual can help you and your business.


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