The Ins and Outs of Using a Virtual Assistant For Photographers
Why does a photographer need a Virtual Assistant?
This week we answer that question and follow up our blog from last week which showed you 19 things you could outsource to a virtual assistant.
Amanda from Girl Boss Virtual Services is on the blog today to talk about it.
You as a photographer have a busy life with taking care of your family, working another full time job possibly, and running your photography business all at the same time. Maybe you are even going to school or a have a homelife while still trying to do everything on your own all at once. Plus you are still keeping up with emails, bookkeeping, managing social media, and meeting up with clients and shooting sessions.
Most small business owners wonder, “How can I ever get this all done while doing my business?” It's hard to ask for help.
Well newsflash everyone needs help! Maybe the idea of handing over some business tasks to someone scares you or gets you upset. Just know it's okay to ask for help.
“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”
– John C. Maxwell, American author
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is an independent worker who assists with administrative, business development, social media, marketing or other tasks. By taking on recurring tasks and administrative work, they free up time for small business owners, entrepreneurs and managers.
The virtual assistant works remotely, often from a home office. Virtual assistants may be US-based but may also be located in another country.
How many hours can a Virtual Assistant work?
As a Virtual Assistant we can work part-time or full time hours. It just depends on the assistant and their contract with you and your needs.
Is the pay for a Virtual Assistant expensive and how do they get paid?
Rates may vary depending on if you are hiring one to work an hourly schedule or a fixed rate for a month. The rates may also depend on their level of experience and how much they need to survive where they live.
Payments are usually made once a month. Hourly rate you can be charged by how many minutes your virtual assistant works on your work not for bathroom breaks or other breaks they give themselves.
“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.”
– Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. President
How long can I work with a Virtual Assistant?
It all depends on you and your needs. Some people only need help just one time, whereas most need ongoing help.
The longer the working relationship the better. As your virtual assistant will be able to learn your business and the things you need and as the relationship progreses will rely on you less.
Do virtual assistants work for a company or for themselves?
Most are probably independent freelancers, however there are some companies out there.
Personally an independent freelancer would be the best route to go; as it will be easier to negotiate a deal and a more personal approach to what your needs are. It's like the difference between hiring a chain (where you don't know who will be working) vs. a mom and pop shop (with customized service).
Can this really benefit me as a photographer?
Virtual Assistants are ultimately here to help boost your business productivity. How you as a photographer spend time on your business is a big deal with finding success. In order to spend time on high-priority tasks, it is important to spend less time on less important tasks.
Have you ever sat down to create and album, or plan a styled shoot, or been on your way to a session with a client and not been able to concentrate because you are thinking about your to-do list? Having a Virtual Assistant lets you concentrate on creating and doing the tasks you love.
Also a Virtual Assistant can help you be timelier in reaching your potential clients. Many photographers find it hard to check there inbox and respond to emails let alone clearing your inbox. This is a very big deal for you and your business, and it can hurt your business growth. The longer you take to respond to a potential clients email, the less likely you will be booking a photo session for them. If you take longer than an hour or even a day to get a hold of them chances are they have moved on to another photographer who can accommodate them better. Your virtual assistant can go through your emails instead of you being a slave to your smart phone waiting for a client to email you.
As a photographer you can give access to your virtual assistant for your email that you use to check customer emails. Or you can set up a whole new email for just your virtual assistant to use to respond to clients. All you have to do is let your Virtual Assistant notify you about clients that are interested in your work.
Plus a virtual assistant can help you increase business growth and productivity. Imagine not having to worry about posting on Instagram, search for relevant content to write for your blog, or search for businesses to network with. With a virtual assistant they can take care of all these business related tasks for you and save you more hours in your week. You will be able to devote more of your time and focus to doing those tasks which only you can do, and getting them done more quickly. On the plus side you will be able to grow your business and be more productive.
As a photographer you do not need to provide your assistant with an office they work from home; they can even work when weather is bad and are not late. No need to provide benefits to your assistant and there are no labor laws or employment taxes to look out for since a VA is an independent contractor. Virtual Assistants are more likely to work outside of normal business hours, because they are able to set their own schedule. Just know if they do not want to work weekends or late night please understand as some may have families, another job, or are going to school.
“If you really want to grow as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to learn to delegate.”
– Richard Branson, British entrepreneur
Will I have to train my Virtual Assistant?
Yes you will have to train your Virtual Assistant or at least explain what you need.
The best way to train your virtual assistant is by zoom, google voice, or just talking on the phone. Mainly to let them know your expectations and vice versa.
You need to go over everything that the VA will be helping you with. Having pre-written documentation for your business procedures or manuals that you can share with your VA would be helpful. If you do not have these documents maybe this is something your new VA can help you with as well.
Where can I find a Virtual Assistant?
Such as Facebook groups, Instagram, Pinterest, photography Facebook groups Virtual Assistant Facebook groups. (Iincluding The Outsourcing Resource for Photographers, sponsored by Cracked Egg Design.)
Ask for a referral:
Maybe you know someone who has a Virtual Assistant who can work with you as well or someone who can recommend you were to find a Virtual Assistant.
Google Virtual Assistant companies:
Many times by just typing in looking for a Virtual Assistant in google you can find many companies that will help you find an assistant that is right for you.
About Amanda Mendez
Amanda is a Virtual Assistant for female wedding and family photographers with her own business Girl Boss Virtual Services She helps female photographers relieve the stress of handling business tasks in the photography business and let her clients focus on just being the creative people that they are.
Amanda resides in Arizona with her husband, her mom, son, and little dog cinnamon. She loves Jesus, family, friends, photography, Mexican food, shopping, watching movies, and traveling.
Find her on Facebook and Instagram.