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Good morning all,

 

I was perusing through the new Digital Women digiblog (I'm a DW member) and saw an article I HAD to respond to (you'll see why) by writing an article of my own.

 

Karri's Response to DW blog article

 

Enjoy.

Karri

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Karri,

 

I don't see your response. Was it deleted or something? The only comment I have is the title, we work for peanuts. Actually I am allergic to peanuts. Rebecca is a great woman and someone I highly admire although I don't like her play on words since it makes us sound cheap or something.

 

Tawnya


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That is weird. I was able to go to the page ok. Maybe try just copying and pasting this link into your browser:

 

http://digital-women.com/digiblog/?p=58#comments

 

I didn't like the play on words either ... which is what "inspired" me to write this little article. Let me know what you think.

 

Karri

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I can't see your comments either Karri huh.gif Maybe I'm not looking in the right place. I tried both links you provided and the only thing that comes up is the original post and in the comment section it says "No Comments".

 

 

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Do you see my comments Karri? I still can't see yours. Maybe the comment section is not working. Here was my comment:

 

The only comment I have is in the title, we work for peanuts. Actually I am allergic to peanuts. Virtual Assistants source out between $35-$75 per hour depending on their experience. But you ask how does this save you money? It does, trust me.

 

Although the Virtual Assistant’s hourly rate is more than the employee’s rate in the first place, you save the cost of benefits and overhead that would have to be applied to the new employee’s wage. And, because Virtual Assistant’s are usually more experienced, more efficient, and better connected than the employee, you’ll need to devote far less time to the project to get the same results, only 480 hours a year versus 2,080 for the new employee.

 

**Remember, with a Virtual Assistant, you only pay for the time on task by the minute! No more paying for socializing, hour long lunches or frequent trips to the washroom.

 

Your employee’s 8 hour day can be crunched into 3-4 hours with a Virtual Assistant.

 

Simply put, you should contract with a Virtual Assistant because it’s more cost-effective and Virtual Assistants go above and beyond the normal assistant’s duties to impact your own productivity. No task is too big or small for a Virtual Assistant to handle. Even if you only have 1 hour of work a month for a Virtual Assistant to do, a VA can (and will) do it.

 

And thats my two peanuts wink.gif


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Darn it! Ok, I'll just do the old copy and paste. Here are my "two peanuts" in article format as it was posted on the digiblog:

 

Things You Need to Know When Seeking a Virtual Assistant

 

Unfortunately, the Virtual Assistance industry is overriden with stereotypes, predominantly that of WAHM who will perhaps “work for peanuts.”

 

While there are indeed many Virtual Assistnts (VAs) who are also mothers, let’s be clear about one thing: virtual assistance is not a hobby for moms wanting to earn a little lipstick money. We certainly save clients a great deal of money, but we are independent business women and men providing professional Business-to-Business (B2B) services.

 

We need to be careful when advising the business community how to properly “screen” when looking for a Virtual Assistant. For example, I have yet to have a prospective client actually ask me for a list of references, although if one did, I would happily provide him or her with a name or two IF I thought the request was a valid one from a serious, qualified prospect.

 

“Education” is also a very subjective thing, and there are many highly successful and capable VAs who have no letters behind their name. While formal training certainly lends credibility in a virtual environment where a warm handshake is not a reality, I advise people seeking a VA to evaluate other qualities first such as experience, professionalism, presentation, and honesty.

 

Here are some suggestions as to what you should look for when seeking a Virtual Assistant:

 

-> A professional presentation. When you speak to or correspond with the VA, how does he/she present? What do the VA’s website and marketing materials look like? Is the copy well written and informative? Or is it full of typos and grammatical errors? These types of things say a great deal about a VA’s capabilities as a potential contributor to the success, image, and reputation of your business.

 

-> Inquiry turnaround. When you send an inquiry to a VA asking about his/her services, rates, etc., what is the turnaround? A good VA respects people’s time and will get back to you within at least 48 hours. (My own turnaround time for email inquiries from prospects is 24 hours or less.)

 

-> Price. This is a hot topic but has to be addressed if you are going to get value from virtual assistance. If the VA charges “peanuts,” please run in the other direction. You get what you pay for in this life. A VA who is charging anything less than $25-$30/hour cannot possibly be running a profitable business and may not be the person you want to trust with your own venture and life’s work.

 

-> Quality over quantity. Does the VA offer every possible service under the sun? Or does he/she strategically focus on one or two categories of B2B services? While the VA doesn’t necessarily have to be “niched” into a narrow market, he/she should know who they are talking to in their marketing communications. A good VA does not try to be all things to all people. This doesn’t mean we don’t flex to accomodate a new and exciting request. But if your project is something the VA has minimal skills and experience with, a true professional will either refer you to another VA altogether or strategically partner with a VA who has the requisite expertise. (Yes, VAs use subcontractors too!)

 

-> Here is something that perhaps you haven’t considered. VAs operate, for the most part, in a virtual environment (thus the “V” in VA!). Before approaching a VA, do some research to see if he/she has an online presence anywhere else besides his or her website. (If he/she doesn’t have a website … well, that would make me take pause for a moment. How committed to this whole virtual thing is he/she anyway?) Many VAs are active in various online “communities” such as business blogs, forums, networks, etc. This is great way to get to know your VA’s true colors before committing to a partnership.

 

These are just a few of the many things to consider when surveying the Internet landscape for your new Virtual Assistant.

 

Karri Flatla, B.Mgt.

snap! virtual assistance inc.

Don’t just outsource. Outsmart.

Visit www.snap-va.com to subscribe to Outsmart,

the newsletter for small business with big purpose.

 

Oh, PS: Your comments are right on the money (ha ha) Tawnya. I can't see either of our posts now. It says the "comments section is closed." Odd.

PPS: I should probably clarify that I wrote this little ditty on the fly. Some details I would still like to edit (and a couple typos!!!!!). I should also say that when I said $25-$30/hr minimum charge I was speaking more to the U.S. audience there by stating in terms of US dollars. My understanding is that $30/hr USD is the approx. starting rate for a good VA in the U.S.? In Canada, I would agree that $35/hr should be a minimum.

Edited by Karri

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I wonder why they don't publish the comments. Could it be they don't like them? I read their article too, but can't see any comments. Great response Tawnya! Just wish they would publish it, and Karri's.

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Hmmm...

 

I thought I'd contribute a couple of peanuts too, but... "Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time." ...is posted on there now.

 

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Very good posts ladies. Karri you're last point intrigued me so much that I googled myself. In addition to finding out I have a namesake who is a female body builder, I also found a post I had made at another online organization. Interesting! I guess we should be careful to always portray a professional image in our virtual world.

 

Yvonne

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Thanks Danielle!

 

Have you been able to view our comments / posts on digiblog Danielle? The comments section appears to now be "closed."

 

Karri

 

Oh - I just got a note from the moderator of DW's listserv saying that my article won't get posted. Apparently they don't post comments because of spamming issues. Why do they have a blog then? I sent a reply asking if they can work around this with a login or something.

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In addition to finding out I have a namesake who is a female body builder

For many months whenever I googled my name I came up #1 for Pet Abuse and a dogfight which was dismissed (not great PR LOL!). No this was not me! Finally I come up #1 when someone Googles my name for the VANF Forum applause.gif


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GREAT responses!!

 

thumbup.gif

 

More proof of you ladies upholding the standards of the industry!

 

Too bad I can't see them, though. Dang it! I, too, didn't care much for the title. Now, I don't come little, but I don't think I have a trunk that long either. wink.gif

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