Wow! I Coulda Had A VA!

In this week's issue of my newsletter, I talked about incorporating some new health and fitness strategies into my life, including more exercise and less time sitting in a chair in my home office. But while I want to take better care of myself, I don't want to become less productive, nor do I want my IBN members to suffer or feel as though I am any less accessible.

Ginger Derrickson

Enter Ginger Derrickson, my new Virtual Assistant. I turned to Ginger (who has served previously as my VA) last month, and lo and behold, she had time in her busy calendar to add me!

Ginger joined me to share a little about her profession, and how hiring a VA can keep you from one day hitting yourself upside the head, screaming, Wow! I coulda had a VA! (Geesh, I thought that was funny …)

dM: What is a VA?

Ginger: There are many definitions for the term, but I ascribe to the one taught by AssistU, the organization where I earned my VA certification, a VA is a micro-business owner who provides clients with administrative and personal support in a long term and collaborative relationship, freeing them to do more of what they do best.

dM: How long have you been a VA?

Ginger: 10 years

dM: You mentioned Assist U. What is Assist U?

Ginger: It's the premier VA referral and training program for the industry. Assist U has been in business for over 10 years, and is the only VA training program with a VA certification program.

dM: What are some examples of things a VA does for a client?

Ginger: Basic administrative support, document preparation, event planning, email related activities, scheduling — whatever a support person in a brick and mortar environment can do, a VA can do.

dM: Does engaging the services of a VA have tax benefits that don't come into play with an employed assistant?

Ginger: Yes. With a VA, the client's bottom line is bolstered because they can get the services that would be provided by an employee without having to deal with tax withholding, overhead, equipment, health benefits, worker's compensation and lots of other red tape.

dM: How do you find a VA? (Ahem, get your own — Ginger's dance card is full!)

Ginger: I highly recommend using the search tools at AssistU. You can also use a search engine to find VAs and other organizations that serve and represent them.

dM: What sorts of things should you look for in a VA?

Ginger: Fit in terms of personalty, style, objective. You'll be working very closely with your VA, so you want someone that you connect with personally. Not just someone with the skills.

Skills are important, but a good VA is your partner in success. If there's something you need that he or she cannot do, their job is to find someone who can do it for you.

dM: How much should we expect to pay for VA services?

Ginger: It varies of course, but generally between $30 and $70 an hour, sometimes as much as $100 an hour for VAs with specializations.

What do you think?

Wow! I have a VA! And I'm pretty excited about it. What do you think? Do you have a VA? Want one? Share your resources and experiences with us in the comments section below.

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.