A Day in the Life of a Virtual Assistant (VA)

The concept of a “virtual assistant” or “VA” is pretty new to most people. I thought I’d give an example of a day in my life to give a better idea of exactly what we do :)

6:00am
Wake up, get myself and kids ready, start some laundry, etc.

7:30am
The kids are off to school, I’ve had a cup of coffee, and it’s time for my commute – from the kitchen to my office. I get settled at my desk, open about a jillion computer windows, and start my work day.

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As you can see, I kinda’ like Starbucks :) And candles and crafts and pretty colors and twinkle lights. Hey, I’m at this desk around the clock – may as well make it comfortable, right? I do pretty much everything on the computer but I can’t seem to let go of a hard copy day planner and I *live* for sticky notes.

7:30am to noon
I check my e-mail and put out any fires that I or my clients might be having, i.e. deal with anything that’s time-sensitive. Another cup of coffee, say “hi” to the dog through my office window, and it’s time to get into the meat of the day. That might entail any of the following:

– Transcribe medical/psychological notes, podcasts, videos, etc. for clients
– Do tech-y stuff on WordPress sites for myself or clients
– Perform bookkeeping for my VA business
– Network with potential clients and with other VAs via phone or social media
– Write, edit, and schedule posts to my own 6 blogs (yes, 6!) or clients’ blogs
– Make travel plans for a client’s book tour

Noon to 12:30pm
I take a break, eat something, take a quick walk, put some laundry in the dryer . . . Oh, the benefits of working at home! Wait, is doing laundry 24/7 a benefit?

12:30 to 2:30
I continue working as above, especially transcribing as it’s usually due in the afternoon. Other duties might be:
– Make business calls via phone, Skype, etc.
– Research various topics for clients; today it’s graphic designers, pet-related podcasts, and time-tracking software
– Learn new skills with software to serve client needs (e.g., Asana, Hootsuite, Harvest)
– Post to social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) for clients and for my own business

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2:30 to 4:00
Pick up kids from school, run errands while I’m in town, pick up the mail, etc. Any time I’m waiting, my iPhone is in hand and I’m doing social media, responding to e-mails, texting clients, etc.

4:00 to 6:30
Hang with the kids and maybe work some more on the laptop until dinner time.

6:30 to 9:30
Eat dinner, family time, get ready for the day ahead.

9:30 to midnight
Finish my work for the day after everyone else is in bed. I like to have work-related videos or podcasts playing in a window on my computer while I work, to learn new things I can apply to my virtual assistant business, blogging, affiliate marketing, etc. I check e-mail one last time before shutting down the computer.

Okay, truth is . . . I’m a night owl so I often work or blog until 2am (or later, whoops). Midnight is the bedtime goal but it rarely happens. I can’t sleep if I’m thinking about work to be done, things I want to blog about, e-mails to write, etc. It’s a “bad habit” to most but I think it makes me a good VA :) I sleep in on the weekends to make up for it.

So there’s a day in the life of this VA. I hope it’s shed some light on what exactly virtual assistants do.

As you can see, I need to be very organized with my time. I have a wide skill set and enjoy the variety that this line of work provides. I’m deadline-driven while being proactive when time allows. I’m great at communicating and keeping my clients updated on my progress. I spend a lot of my own time and money maintaining a client base, time-tracking / accounting / invoicing, along with buying new programs and learning how to use them. When something goes wrong with my computer or internet, I don’t just call tech support, I AM tech support ;)

I absolutely love my job and feel very blessed to do it. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m very “social” and love to chat – online or otherwise!

Social Media Manager: It’s a HUGE Job . . . But Somebody’s Gotta’ Do It

As a virtual assistant, I do social media management for my clients. So, of course, this infographic from the Magnet Media Labs blog really caught my eye:

{You can click on the 4 arrows in the bottom right to see it better}

Yes, a social media manager sure earns her pay, don’t you think? Because the “Land of Social” is worldwide and literally 24/7, there’s not much time for sleep!

As it works out, I’m connected to my computer and/or iPhone around the clock and don’t sleep much. That’s one reason social media management is a great job for me, and why I’m an asset to my clients. Don’t worry, I don’t cost anywhere near what the chart shows ;)

I’m not one for over-sharing personal information on social media but I *DO* enjoy helping solopreneurs and entrepreneurs use social media to grow their businesses. I love to watch the metrics and see how we can most effectively use all of these free tools at our disposal. It’s like a challenge for me to increase followers, get more engagement, and make sales for clients.

Making Facebook posts here, sharing Instagram pics there, sending out the occasional newsletter with a coupon is one thing. Any business owner can do that, sure. But being a social media manager is much more.

An SMM has only 1 job {not 1,000, like the owner does} and they focus on it wholeheartedly. They’re educated in the various social media platforms, blogging, and e-mail marketing – and know how to use them to their fullest advantage. Social media managers find YOUR “ideal customer”, analyze the data, figure out what engages/sells – and then does more of it.

And that’s why it’s so beneficial to hire virtual assistants like me to manage your social media. We know what we’re doing and are worth our weight in gold.

Social media managers enjoy engaging, sharing, writing, talking, and helping. It’s fun but it’s hard work, too, if you’re doing it right.

Hey, it’s a huge job . . . but somebody’s gotta’ do it ;)

PS: If *you* need a social media manager or would just like to talk about what we could accomplish together, please contact me HERE or on Twitter @VACreatively!

Ask VACreativelycom: “What is a Virtual Assistant (VA) and Why Do I Need One?”

As a virtual assistant (VA), I get asked a lot of questions. So I’m going to start a series here on my blog called “Ask VA Creatively” where you can ask anything you want about virtual assistants . . . and I will answer!

The most common question I get is: “What IS a VA and why do I need one?”

Think of a VA as an online personal or administrative assistant. We can do anything – and I mean ANYTHING – that doesn’t require face-to-face interaction. We can order dog food to be delivered to your house, we just can’t walk your dog, LOL. VA’s are so handy and I personally think everyone needs their own :)

{Did you read “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”. Just don’t get a VA like Manjula Kapoor, LOL}.

Mentally go through your day and think about all the tasks you do, especially the ones you hate, feel are a waste of your time, or annoy you in some way.

– Place Amazon orders for your coffee, toiletries, Kindle books, and batteries
– Make regular, interesting posts to social media to engage your customers
– Order concert tickets for that show you want to see this summer
– Make a website for your business, hobby, club, or non-profit
– Send birthday cards to friends and relatives
– Pretty much anything else you can think of

Now think about all the things you could do if you paid someone else to perform those tasks.

– Spend time with your family
– Exercise (like you always say you’re going to do but you’re “too busy”)
– Work on your product instead of trying to sell it (write that e-book, make crafts, develop your unique idea, etc.)
– Read all those Kindle books :)
– Put your time and effort into the things only YOU can do

Virtual Assistants are here to help you do whatever needs to be done. There are VA’s out there for every possible task, you just need to find the right one for you. Here’s an example of some specialities:

– Real Estate VAs: Maintain listings, take photos, follow-up client calls, etc.
– Social Media VAs: Create and implement your social media strategy, schedule posts, analyze engagement and provide you with reports, etc.
– Admin VAs: Transcribe meeting notes or seminars, typing/editing/proofreading, make business travel arrangements, maintain email inbox, etc.
– Blog Helper VAs: Take or find photos for posts, write copy, find PLR, affiliate links, blog design and maintenance, auto-responders, etc.
– Personal Assistant VAs: Make personal travel arrangements, online shopping, personal mail handling, sit on hold with the electric company, etc.

See what I mean? Virtual Assistants can do anything. Everybody needs one because they free up your time to focus on the things you want and like to do, the things that will move your personal and business life forward.

For example, I can do all of the tasks listed above (although real estate is not in my background, so I wouldn’t be your first choice for that). I’m currently doing social media for one client, helping with a book tour for another, and transcribing for several more. I’m always looking for new clients so please CONTACT ME if I can be of help.

Now it’s your turn: Do you have a question for VA Creatively? It can be about virtual assisting, social media, blogging, etc. I’m happy to answer!