A Virtual Assistant is Not an Employee

Recently I have been noticing several people who are looking for virtual assistants asking for information as if they were hiring an employee. Such as resumes, required times, date they are available to start work etc. Unfortunately, because virtual assistants provide services that an administrative employee would provide, there is a misconception that virtual assistants are employees. They are not.
Virtual assistants are independent contractors who provide services to small businesses, much like a mechanic and a doctor do for individuals and a web designer does for small businesses. Virtual assistants do use the terms administrative assistant and secretary to describe their similarities but they are not employees.
While virtual assistants do not provide a resume to their potential clients, they do provide certifications that they have received as well as portfolios (depending on project and confidentiality) and references from past clients. They also will give you detailed information about what services they provide as well as experience that they have with those services. When you go to a doctor, mechanic or web designer, you don’t ask for their resume. You do want to see what certifications, awards etc they may have but you wouldn’t dream of going in and asking them for their resume.
Virtual assistants are small business owners and while some will agree to be available to you during normal business hours, it is not always feasible for others. Some virtual assistants work full-time and do their virtual assistant business part-time in the evening and weekends. Some virtual assistants may have events and errands that need to be done for their business during the day, etc. While a virtual assistant may not be available to you during “normal” business hours they will work in the evening (late if need be) and on the weekends if the need is there.
Virtual assistants do not respond to requests for a virtual assistant unless they have the time available immediately to help serve your needs. They need to put their processes and procedures in place for best serving your needs. They need to get their contracts signed and get to know what your needs and expectations are before they can start providing services for you but those can be in place within a matter of hours. As small business owners, they do not need to give a two weeks notice, clear their schedule or anything to that effect so you begin receiving services almost immediately.
Several people that place RFP’s advertise a “salary” that they will pay. This is something that you would do with an employee not a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants have pricing structures in place so they can have a sustainable business. Some virtual assistants may be willing to barter with you but for the most part, the pricing that they have in place is what they charge. Would you go in and tell a doctor, that you need surgery but you are only willing to pay them $1000? Chances are, you will be laughed right out of the office.
Understanding the differences between a virtual assistant and an employee are extremely important to having a successful business relationship. For a long time we have had the mentality that people who work for us are employees but times have changed and having an employee is not always a necessity anymore. You can get several types of services provided for your business without ever having to hire an employee.
While it is quite reasonable to expect a virtual assistant to treat your business as if they were an employee and always be professional, portray your business in the best possible light they can and help your business succeed, it is not reasonable to treat your virtual assistant like an employee by micromanaging them.
Once you start to realize that a virtual assistant has a vested interest in your success, and as such, they are more of a PARTNER with you, and a resource you can depend on, you will find that hiring a virtual assistant can be one of the best decisions you have made in running your business.

You can also visit us at http://www.a1adminsupport.com/virtual.php for more info on how we can help you grow your business.

About A1AdminSupport.com
We provide a wide range of back-office operations, administrative support and virtual assistant services from secretarial, typing and clerical tasks, to social media marketing, SEO, PPC campaigns, translation/interpretation, mobile notary services, transcription, bookkeeping, graphic design, résumé writing, career coaching and more. If you can think of something to delegate – we can do it. We serve businesses and individuals worldwide, helping them to MODERNIZE, ORGANIZE, SIMPLFY©.

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