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What is a virtual assistant (VA)?2017-01-13T12:14:55+01:00

A virtual assistant works remotely to help a client’s business. The term covers a broad range of skills from traditional secretarial support through to website maintenance.

This is a very comprehensive list of tasks a VA can help you with. Most VAs won’t offer all of these services, but it’s a great place to get you thinking about what you might need.

A VA should be an asset to your enterprise. I’m here to support you, streamline the way things work and take fiddly, time-consuming tasks off your hands. It might be something straightforward that you know how to do but can’t afford to spend hours doing (e.g. tidying a contacts database) or something that you don’t know how to do and never get round to learning (e.g. creating a newsletter for members).

Working with a VA completely online may be new to you, but I will support you through the early stages and beyond. If you know you need help but don’t know what with, contact me to book a discovery call and we’ll assess where a VA can help your social enterprise.

What is a social enterprise?2017-01-13T12:14:55+01:00

A social enterprise is a business created to address a social problem. It is a profit-making enterprise, where the profit created is ploughed back into the business, in order to keep doing good. In other words it is a self-sustainable enterprise (in the long term), meeting a need of society.

There are several possible legal structures for social enterprises in the UK, but they are all self-sustaining enterprises addressing a societal need. You might also hear the term ‘Profit with purpose’ about these amazing businesses. Some of the most famous examples are Divine Chocolate, The Big Issue and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant. But the majority of social enterprises are small, and perhaps only known locally, because they have a specifically local purpose.

Social Enterprise UK has some excellent FAQs to find out more about what social enterprises are and how they work.

How do we work together virtually?2017-01-13T12:14:55+01:00

This will depend on you and your circumstances. In our set-up meeting we will decide the best way to work together – which systems to use and how often to communicate. If you have systems in place I can fit in with those. If you have no systems at all I can advise you on what to use. I don’t use systems for the sake of it, but they make storing and sharing information a lot easier (both between you and me, and just for your own purposes).

We will agree a contact method (it doesn’t have to be endless emails!) and will set up fortnightly or monthly Skype catch-ups to make sure everything is on track.

Can we meet in person?2017-01-13T12:14:56+01:00

If you live in the Glasgow area I am happy to carry out our set-up meeting (after an initial discovery call) in person.

For the rest of the UK, any meetings will take place via Skype. It’s a lot easier to get to know someone face-to-face than on the phone, and video is the next best thing.

Can you answer the phones for me?2017-01-13T12:14:56+01:00

Unfortunately not. This is not a service I offer but I may be able to suggest someone who can help with this. I am not available to be on-call, though I can commit to agreed email response times.

Why should I hire you instead of an employee?2017-01-13T12:14:56+01:00

If you only need a few hours of work done each week or month, hiring a virtual assistant is much more cost effective than an employee. Although the hourly rate may be higher (to cover business costs), overall it is a lot cheaper for you.

Additionally, you don’t have to worry about covering insurance or providing office space and equipment.

Why should I hire you instead of finding a volunteer?2017-01-13T12:14:56+01:00

In some cases, you shouldn’t. If you’ve found an experienced volunteer who is able to commit the time you need, this can be a great help to your enterprise. But it’s a tricky combination to find – the expertise, the hours available and the ability to commit over time.

On top of this, you will need to manage your volunteer which takes away from your time. In my business we agree what I will deliver in advance and when, and I’m careful to ask the questions I need without overwhelming you.

If we need several hours up front to get everything set up, I can do this and then follow up with fewer regular hours, as fits your needs. With notice I may also be able to increase my hours to cover new, unforeseen opportunities. It’s rare that a volunteer can be this flexible.

What about confidentiality?2017-01-13T12:14:56+01:00

I take confidentiality very seriously with any client, but especially with access to personal information about vulnerable members of society. My contract includes a confidentiality agreement and I am happy to sign a similar document if you have your own confidentiality agreement.

Can I have more details about how we work together?2019-02-05T15:21:38+01:00

My Business Policies (which are part of my T&Cs) will give you more information about how I work. Have a browse and see if you feel we could work together effectively.

The initial process to begin working together is:

  1. You contact me and we set up a 15-minute Skype video chat.
  2. During the Skype we get to know each other and discuss the tasks you’d like me to do. Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what they are in advance!
  3. After the Skype I’ll send you a quote, along with a form to complete that will help me understand your business a little better.
  4. Once you’re happy with the quote I’ll send you a contract and an invoice for the first payment (50% of the first month, or equivalent if it’s a one-off task).
  5. Once the invoice is paid and the contract signed we’ll have another Skype – this time up to 1 hour. This is when we go through the tasks in detail, set up any logins/access and decide how we will communicate on a regular basis.

Then we’ll be ready to roll!