The following is a guest post by Tina Marie Hilton of Clerical Advantage
Often when I first speak with attorneys about their need for a virtual assistant it becomes apparent that they, like so many other business people, have pigeon-holed us in two ways. The first is on price and the second is regarding what we might be capable of doing for them. In most cases, simply sending them my intro packet or having a short conversation with them blows their pre-conceived ideas out of the water, clearing the way to kick their practice up a notch or two.
Just what is it that I share to make such a big change in their attitude?
To begin with, when I share my intro packet it opens their eyes to the fact that virtual assistants are for so much more than answering phone calls and handling their calendar. In fact, if some of us were to change our titles to better fit the services we provide, we’d more likely be considered online business managers, technology specialists and/or website developers. In fact, I recently compared my own services to how they would fit conventional job descriptions and to get the broad spectrum of my services chances are you’d have to hire up to twelve employees with job descriptions like presentation specialist, website security manager, and online business development manager. Sadly, because we’ve used the word ‘assistant’ in our title, attorneys and other business professionals tend to minimize the value of what we can bring to the table.
I suppose the term assistant also helps propagate the myth that they can work with a highly skilled virtual professional for peanuts. While it’s true you may be able to get low cost virtual assistants either by hiring offshore or using a service, you’ll never realize the same commitment to the success of your practice from them. The same way you’ll never get true concern for your business from a temp service placement. If you focus only on getting the cheapest virtual assistant you can find, you will never get the results you really need in order to make your business run more smoothly and free up your time to focus on the things most important to you and your business.
That certainly doesn’t mean that working with a true fit for your business won’t save you money, because it does. When you compare the yearly salaries for positions like online business development managers ($8631.00 mo. median) or social media managers ($8687.00 mo. median) the cost of a virtual assistant with similar skills and services is extremely cost effective. Especially when you consider you have no office equipment costs either.
The truth is, when you stop seeking the 4 hour work week myth and start looking at the reality of finding a virtual professional the same way you might look at adding an employee, only then will you discover just how profound a change can be made in your practice. And your life.
Tina Marie Hilton has been providing virtual business services to clients since 2007 and shared her knowledge regarding successful business/virtual assistant partnerships in her eBook, The No Bullsh– Guide to Virtual Assistants for Businesses , in the book “Social Media for Lawyers” by Carolyn Elefant Esq. and Nicole Black Esq. and as a faculty member at Solo Practice University.
Wow Tina, you nailed it right on the head, especially when you discussed the value of working with a professional Virtual Assistant who brings extensive skills and services to a relationship (and should be compensated accordingly) vs. minimizing our value or shopping for “cheap”. Plus, professional VAs bring more than their skills to a relationship; they bring the experience of being business owners — who face or have faced and resolved some of the same issues potential clients face. This insider knowledge alone can be priceless because VAs can act as a sounding board – a confidante – as well as the go-to resource. Like I said – PRICELESS!
Excellent article, Tina! You make a great case for the true value of a good, experienced, highly-skilled virtual assistant. One thing I’ve noticed from potential clients is they’re sometimes surprised I have a college degree. Yep, a Bachelor’s in English and over 20 years administrative experience! Thanks for having our backs 🙂
Well said Tina – buy the way, loved the book. If every administrator/assistant was the same there would be no reason for companies to interview candidates when posting for a position. The same is true for virtual assistants.