Your Virtual Assistant Questions Answered!

Q: SO … Just what IS a Virtual Assistant?Virtual Assistant Q & A

A: A virtual assistant (or VA) is someone who performs mostly the same duties as an “in house” assistant, but does so from a remote location.

 

Q: Why would I want a Virtual Assistant (VA)?

A: There are MANY reasons for wanting a Virtual Assistant:

  • So you can have skilled help at a fraction of what it would cost you to hire locally
  • So you can turn over to someone else all the routine, mind-numbing tasks that eat up all your valuable time
  • So you can profitably leverage your skillset, your time and your ideas.
  • So you can get out of the rut of just running your business, and start GROWING your business
  • But most importantly, so you can finally do all of those things you’ve been wanting to do to take your business to the next level!

Q: Why wouldn’t I just hire an employee locally?

A: If you hire locally, it’s going to cost you in wages alone about 4 TIMES what it will cost you to hire one of our virtual assistants! Plus, there’s the cost of purchasing office furniture, office supplies, a phone, and a computer for your employee. In addition, you’ll have the hassle and expense of payroll, withholding taxes, Social Security taxes, health insurance benefits, retirement benefits, worker’s comp, and everything else that goes with hiring a local employee.

 

Q: What are the advantages of hiring a VA?

A: Where do I even begin? Here’s a partial, but by no means exhaustive list:

  • You’ll have skilled help for a mere fraction of what it would cost you to hire locally.
  • If you’re a small business, you may not have the resources to hire help AT ALL! By hiring one of our VAs, you’ll get the help you so desperately need, at a price that you can afford!
  • You’ll be able to outsource, at minimum, 60% of what you’re currently doing yourself.
  • You’ll have a VA who exhibits strong work ethics, is college educated, loyal, hardworking, intelligent, quick to learn, is respectful to a fault, and eager to please his/her employer.
  • You’ll finally be able to use your own time to take better advantage of opportunities.
  • You’ll avoid the hassle of making out payroll.
  • You won’t have to hassle with W-2s and W-4s, or pay an accountant to do it.
  • You won’t have to pay for health care benefits, employee insurance, retirement benefits, worker’s comp, or Social Security taxes.
  • You’ll completely avoid having to deal with inter-office “conflicts” between employees.
  • You’ll be able to concentrate your own time on those tasks that actually earn you more money!
  • You’ll be free to implement all those ideas for your business that you never had time to implement before.
  • You’ll be able to grow your business and take it to new heights in a way you could never have done otherwise!

 

Q: How will hiring a VA SAVE Me Money?

A: Hiring one of our Virutal Assistants will save you:

  • About 75% (or more) of what it would cost you to hire skilled help locally
  • The cost of recruiting and hiring
  • The cost of purchasing:
      • Office space
      • Office furniture
      • Office supplies
      • A phone
      • A computer
  • The cost of hiring an accountant to do payroll
  • The astronomical costs of all the added benefits employees demand
  • The cost of all the payroll expenses associated with a local worker, such as:
      • Health care benefits
      • Employee insurance
      • Retirement benefits
      • Worker’s comp
      • Social Security taxes

But another related and equally important question is: “How is hiring one of your VAs going to MAKE me money?”

If you’re currently assuming all the tasks related to running your business, then those tasks will soon consume all of your available time and energy – if they aren’t doing so already!

When you hire a VA to take over those time consuming, but non-revenue generating tasks, you’ll finally have the time and opportunity to focus on those tasks the will grow your business – and generate more income for your company!

 

Q: How much does this service cost?

A: You can have your own highly skilled and educated virtual assistant for as little as $5.65/hour. That’s 24% below minimum wage.

 

Q: What are the terms of payment?

A: There is a low initial one-time setup fee, followed by a 2 – 4 week training period. Once your VA begins working for you, you will be billed monthly. Please see the “Get Started NOW!” page for rates.

 

Q: Will I have to sign a contract?

A: Yes. Initially, you will sign a 12 month contract. But if you wish to terminate the agreement within those 12 months, you can still do so by giving a 45 day notice and paying an early-termination fee. After the first 12 months, you can retain your VA on a month to month basis.

 

Q: Can I get a refund if I’m not satisfied?

A: The Initial setup fee is non-refundable, as we are unable to recover the costs incurred in the setup and initial training process. Nor can we issue a refund for VA services already rendered, as our VAs expects to be paid for the time they have worked, as would an American employee.

However, as monthly fees are paid in advance, we will pro-rate and refund the fees for any time paid that extends beyond the termination date.

 

Q: How soon can I get started after signing up?

A: We do not just “stick you” with a VA who has no training related to the tasks you will need him/her to perform! While you will still need to train your VA in the specifics of your business, we do provide some preliminary training related to the type of business you’re in.

The training process will take from 2 – 4 weeks, after which your VA will be available. Needless to say, you will not be charged a monthly fee until your VA begins working for you.

 

Q: Do I get to select my VA?

A: After our initial review with you on your needs, we will select a VA that we believe has the greatest potential to fulfill your specific needs and that of your business, and you will then be given the opportunity to interview your potential VA.

Should you be dissatisfied with the interview, we will select another VA and arrange another interview.

 

Q: Will I get to interview my VA?

A: Some clients do while others don’t – It’s your choice.

 

Q: How does the VA-client relationship work?

A: Your VA is your own personal assistant. You will be able to communicate directly, in real time, with your VA, as you would with an employee working in the next room. You will instruct and supervise your VA as you would any employee.

 

Q: Will my VA work the hours and/or days that I specify?

A: Yes! Your VA will be available during your working hours.

 

Q: How will I communicate with my VA?

A: Any way you like! You and your VA can communicate in real time using Skype, Yahoo! IM, or ICQ (all free services, downloadable over the Internet). You can communicate by typing, or audibly (using a headset), or even visually using a webcam.

While you have the option of using a traditional phone line, it can be expensive, and modern Internet services render it completely unnecessary! Using an inexpensive headset, you can speak directly with your VA through the services listed above.

Of course email is always available in case you need to send your VA files, information, or instructions after working hours.

 

Q: How many hours will my VA work?

A: Depending on the plan you select, you VA will work for you, on average, 86 hours/month (part time) or 173 hours/month (full time). We average the hours over a full year since some months are longer than others. Typically there are 4.33 weeks average per month. Please see the “Get Started NOW!” page for more information.

 

Q: Can I hire a VA part-time?

A: Yes! We now offer a part-time VA service at an hourly rate comparable to that of our full time VA service. Please see the “Get Started NOW!” page for more information.

 

Q: If I’m dissatisfied can I get a different VA?

A: Absolutely! Although it rarely happens, there are those few instances when a particular employer/VA combination just doesn’t work out. When that happens, we will find you another VA. In addition we will have your current VA train the new assistant so as to reduce your burden in retraining.

 

Q: What types of work can my VA perform?

A: A VA can perform virtually any task that does not require a physical presence in your office building, including (but not limited to):

  • Bookkeeping
  • Human resources
  • Concierge services
  • Past due Invoices follow-up
  • Marketing
  • Travel arrangements
  • Research
  • Word processing
  • Setting appointments
  • Arranging meetings
  • Planning events
  • Letter preparation
  • Transcription
  • Reports & Spreadsheet
  • Format and send Newsletters
  • Mailings
  • Data entry
  • Data processing
  • E-mail processing
  • Answering phone calls
  • Procedure documentation
  • Live IM support
  • Telephone Support
  • eMail Support
  • Order taking and Processing
  • Administrative tasks
  • Managing your email Inbox
  • Client Follow-up
  • Manage freelancers
  • Managing your calendar
  • Placing orders on your behalf
  • Personal assistant duties

 

Q: Will I have to train my VA?

A: We do provide some preliminary training of our VAs, that relates to the type of business you’re in. However, neither we nor our VAs are familiar with the specifics of your business.

Since the advent of Social Media and it’s popularity, we do provide our VAs with Social Media and light SEO (Search Engine Optimization) training to assist you with your online marketing efforts.

You will need to provide some training, just like you would with any new employee. We can help you with some specific tools and techniques that will make this training go more smoothly.

 

Q: How do I go about training my VA?

A: There are a number of ways to train your VA. One of the best is a free and very easy-to-use software program called “Jing” that enables you to create “how-to” videos using your computer and an inexpensive headset.

You can also communicate in real time with your VA using free software programs like Yahoo! IM, Skype, or ICQ. These programs allow you to communicate by typing, by speaking (with the aid of a headset) and even visually using a webcam. You can also email instructions to your VA.

 

Q: Do you offer any special tools for training?

A: You can get all the tools you need for free over the Internet. We will provide you with the information on how to download and use these tools.

 

Q: How long will I be working with my VA?

A: This is the same as asking “How long will my new employee be with my company” if that employee were hired to work in your physical office building. The business relationship will continue for a long as the both of you are satisfied with the arrangement, which could be for years, or even decades – again, the same as any employee who was coming to work in your physical office building.

 

Q: What if this just doesn’t work out?

A: Although that’s rarely the case, we will find you another VA, or you can terminate the service by giving 45 days notice (if you terminate within the first 12 months you will need to pay an early-termination fee).

But in all likelihood, you’ll be so pleased with your VA that you’ll wonder how you ever managed to operate your business without one!

 

Q: But doesn’t this service take jobs away from US workers?

A: For many small business owners, it’s not a choice between hiring American workers or those offshore. The only choice is whether to hire affordable help, or no help at all! For them, hiring American workers is just NOT an option — because the revenue needed to pay American wages (not to mention Social Security taxes, health benefits, workers comp etc.) just isn’t there!

But if the business owner can get help that IS affordable, it will enable him to finally GROW his business. And as his business grows, he will need to purchase more and more American goods and services (i.e. supplies, inventory, utilities, office space, equipment, etc.) to continue to operate. In addition to the extra taxes you are generating, these expenditures all benefit the American economy and American workers.

 

Q: Will I receive a daily report on my VA’s activities?

A: Yes. Your VA will send you a detailed report for your review at the end of each day.

 

Q: You claim your VAs are highly motivated. Why?

A: Filipinos in general have a very strong work ethic – it’s part of their culture. In addition, our VAs in particular consider it a privilege to be able to work in their hometown of Mati, where they can remain close to the families, while others must move to the larger cities to find employment.

For that reason, our VAs are very eager to please their employers, by performing their duties to the very best of their ability.

 

Q: Does my VA take holidays?

A: Yes, just like any employee, our VAs do observe holidays. Some of the holidays in the Philippines are the same as in the US, and some are unique to the Philippines. For instance, they don’t observe Independence Day on July 4, but they have a similar holiday (also called “Independence Day”) that’s observed sometime in July.

 

Q: What will happen if my VA is out sick?

A: Just like with any employee, there may be times when your VA will be unable to work due to illness. However, if your VA is out more than a couple of days, we have “floating VAs” who can step in temporarily and cover the basic duties for him/her. Because our VAs are highly dedicated, you will find that they will make up their time (It’s is not our policy, rather their strong work ethic dictates it)

 

Q: Will my VA be supervised?

A: Yes. We have company supervisors dedicated to overseeing your VA.

 

Q: Do you provide references?

A: Yes. Just ask, and we can put you in contact with some of our satisfied clients. You can also view our testimonials, all of which were freely given by our clients.

 

Q: Can I get a VA who has specific knowledge and/or skills?

A: Yes! When you register for our VA service, let us know what skills you require. We will then choose a suitable VA and spend the next 2 – 4 weeks training him/her.

When your VA is ready to begin, he/she will have the basic skills you require. Of course you will still need to do some training in the specifics of the tasks you need him/her to perform, just like you would any new employee. Needless to say, you are not charged the monthly fee until your VA begins working for you.

If you require highly specialized VAs (such as a Para-legal), it may take a little longer to recruit. There are additional monthly costs associated with highly specialized VAs, but still no where NEAR what you would pay for a local employee.

 

Q: What is the time difference between the Philippines and the USA?

A: If you’re on Eastern Daylight Time, the time in the Philippines is exactly 12 hours ahead (i.e. later). So if it’s 10:00 AM on a Monday morning, it’s 10:00 PM on Monday evening in Mati. When the time changes to Standard time here, the Philippines will be 13 hours ahead. When it’s 10:00 AM Monday morning, it’s 11:00 PM Monday evening in the Philippines.

But whatever the time difference, your VA will be working YOUR hours.

 

Q: Why do you claim that your VA’s have a “personal stake” in the success of my business?

A: For starters, our VAs depend not only on our company, but on our company’s clients for their livelihood! And by contributing to the success of your business, he/she helps to insure continued employment.

But it goes way beyond just monetary issues.

Filipinos are, by nature, conscientious workers with a strong work ethic. And any such worker – whether American, Filipino, or whatever – wants more from his/her job than just a paycheck! On some personal level, he wants to “make a difference” – to know that his hard work and time spent has added a deeper meaning to his life than just enabling him to “pay the bills.”

Our VAs take pride in their work, and by contributing to the success of your company, they feel successful as well.

Our VAs have EVERY REASON to WORK VERY HARD for our clients!

 

Q: Can I (the client) be involved in the training process upfront once the VA is hired?

A: Yes! We welcome clients to provide training to their new VAs during their initial training period. In fact, we encourage it! This way a VA can start for a client with certain knowledge of the client’s tasks

 

Q: What does the set-up/training/”ramp up” entail?

A: I guess the best way to look at this is as a training, recruiting, and equipping fee. It’s not unlike hiring an employee where you have start up costs, including hardware and software, although overall, hiring an employee is MUCH more costly.

 

Q: Can they do follow up phone calls from a script – not sales calls, but to follow up on a quote being sent out to see if they have any questions – this could be a 3-part series of calls, but this can be negotiated?

A: Yes, in fact this is a great use of the VA because it’s repetitive and time consuming. Over time, the VA will also learn how to go off script, if you wished to dig for more details and ask additional questions.

 

Q: Do you offer any help with design services?

A: Yes! Actually we can provide you a Designer, Software Developer, or Webmaster on an hourly basis. Please see our “Add-on” Page for more information.

We also do provide writing packages for your online marketing efforts. Call 1 800-591-4764 for more information about our specialized virtual assistant services.