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Your complete guide to working with a VA (Virtual Assistant)

Updated: Jan 12, 2019

If you’ve heard the term Virtual Assistant but are not quite sure what that actually means, then pour yourself a cuppa, and read on!

Virtual Assistants can help another business with anything from marketing to accounts; social media or blog writing. Virtual Assistants can ease some of your business worries and remove time wasting jobs for you.

Think of it like this: if someone says they are a Doctor or a Lawyer, you might then ask, “what area do you specialise in?” ‘Doctor’ is a term to describe a vast group of skills and expertise, as is ‘Lawyer’. There is family law, criminal law etc. And with medicine, a Doctor might have specialist skills around Pediatrics or heart health, or work as a general practitioner.

In the VA world it’s the same.

We all specialise in a certain area, whether that be website design, typing, social media, virtual reception, copywriting or general admin.

Tangible benefits

Just like you might outsource your cleaning at home to a professional cleaner, you can outsource most business or marketing tasks.

And while it's true that we save you time, that's not the main benefit or reason why you would engage a VA. That's like a car salesman saying "If you buy this car, you'll save time. You can get from A to B in less time than before."

Well, duh yeah that's kind of obvious!

When you hire a VA, what you are really doing is saving yourself the stress or embarrassment of doing a bad graphic design job, sending out a poorly written report, or getting bogged down doing all your data entry rather than actually growing your business.

You are also adding a valuable resource to your team, in the form of another set of skills and ideas.

How to work with a VA

A virtual assistant works on a casual or freelance basis. They usually work from home, but might work from an office, and might charge per hour or per project.

A simple way to think of it is it’s like having a personal assistant/marketing manager/accountant/designer/administration manager… except we don’t need to be in the same office as you!

/// A word on freelance working: Do we really spend all day working in just our PJ's, watching day-time TV and drinking coffee...?

Simple answer is no! We wouldn't get very far if we did! Okay, most of us will admit to doing that occasionally, but we are professional business owners who are passionate about what we do, and therefore we set ourselves up accordingly!

We usually have qualifications plus extensive training in our specialised area.

For example, I offer writing, proof reading and general admin services, and I have a degree in Journalism and Marketing plus experience working as a Personal Assistant, so you can see where my skills have grown and developed.

Other VAs might have worked for years as an accountant and now they offer freelance accounting services.

Top 3 tips for a great professional relationship

To ensure a great professional relationship between VA and client there are a few things to think about.

First, identify what it is that you want to outsource. It might be one specific task, such as 'write blogs each month', or 'manage your email account'. Or it might be that you want someone to manage your whole business, and this often needs a VA that has a team of other VAs to call on.

Next, spend time thinking about the investment. Yes, it will often cost you more for an Australian VA than offshore, but an Australian VA will understand local regulation, local law, the local lingo and business trends. Also think about all the time you’ll free up to go and make money doing what you are good at. If you’re a plumber, you are better off paying someone for 10 hours a week to manage all your appointments and coordinate your social media, leaving you free to spend those same 10 hours a week actually working (earning money!) and do what you are good at.

Also, identify how you will communicate with the VA. Do you prefer to email, or will you be wanting to have a skype meeting once a week? Good communication is crucial. When delegating any task, ensure you let the VA know the deadline you have in your mind, what outcome you expect, what systems you use and any other relevant information.

Build the relationship

Working with a VA is slightly different to an employee. Yes, we often complete the exact same work as someone in your office might do, but we love working virtually and it’s a win-win because you only pay for the work agreed.

Rather than paying a wage, and superannuation and providing a computer, your VA will complete all tasks and then invoice you for the time/project completed. This is usually quoted before starting any work (either on a hourly rate or package rate) so there is no 'bill shock' and you know what the cost will be.

VAs work with multiple clients and this means we are constantly practicing our skills and learning something new. I do more training and up-skilling as a VA than I ever did as an employee.

As already mentioned, each VA has a different way of charging – I usually charge by an hourly rate but some may charge a package fee or outcomes-based fee. As an independent contractor, I cover all my own taxes, superannuation, equipment upkeep and training, so when I quote my price, you know the value you are getting.


/// If you would like to chat more about what a VA does, then feel free to contact me at

/// To see more tips on working with a VA, as well as marketing resources, take a quick look at the Blog section on my website:


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