Welcome, everyone, to Day 6 of "Organizing the Writing Life."
If you're joining us again, welcome back! If you're new to the series, I want to introduce you to guest blogger Sharon Sarmiento, an Online Business Manager whose work "involves managing the daily operations of online businesses and streamlining processes to maximize personal and business productivity." She also writes an inspiring blog, eSoup, and her passion for helping people thrive in their lives through better organization has landed her in the Boston Globe and more than twenty other newspapers.
In addition to running her own e-business, Sharon is a painter and writer who is familiar with the organizational struggles that creatives face. For today, Sharon will generously share her knowledge and insight to benefit us all. Today's topic, based on blog-reader questions, is:
Working with a Virtual Assistant
Reader questions: What does it cost to hire a Virtual Assistant? What is it like working with one?
Regarding cost, isn't this the question everyone wonders? :-)
VA's are in private practice, so they set their fees according to their skills, their experience, their reputation and their niche. In general, you can expect to pay between $30-$75 per hour for a top-notch Virtual Assistant.
Remember that a VA's time is 100% productive. You don't pay for down time, only for the time that the VA spends actively working on your stuff. You also don't have the headache that goes along with having an employee (payroll, worker's comp, health insurance, yada yada).
It's a relationship between equals, not a boss/employee sort of thing, so there's no managing or supervising involved (at least this is the way I and the VA's I know do it). Also, when you're working solo, it's especially helpful to have another person who knows you and your business inside and out who you can bounce ideas off of and brainstorm with. Your VA is there to clink the virtual glass of champagne with you :-) when you've had a milestone or success, and they're also there to console and encourage you when you're going through a hard time. It goes way beyond just completing tasks of the moment.
I approach a VA/Client relationship as a collaborative, long-term partnership, a nurturing relationship where we both join forces to work toward the client's goals. It totally shatters the old fashioned boss-assistant paradigm (in a good way!).
Wrap-up note from Sharon:
It's been a pleasure and a privilege to be able to guest blog on "Write now is good.", and I've enjoyed it. You readers have asked some wonderful questions and made encouraging comments, and I appreciate that!
I hope all of you have gotten something out of the series, and that all this productivity stuff doesn't seem overwhelming or like too much trouble. I know it's easy to get excited about "getting organized," but then when you're in the trenches, it can seem like a lot of work, which can be discouraging.
It doesn't have to be that way, though. Any tiny amount of getting things out of your head and into a list will help with your peace of mind. You can take baby steps at first, and over time work up to the more full throttle stuff. :-)
Any questions or comments for Sharon? We want to hear from you — drop a comment, and let's keep the conversation going.
Thank you so much, Sharon, for teaching us so much about ways to make our writing and creative lives more efficient and productive. I found your words helpful and inspiring.
And thank you, everyone, for reading, asking, commenting and being part of the conversation. We couldn't have done this without you!
All the best,
Kristin (KG) of "Write now is good."
The entire "OWL" series posts, in addition to today's, are:
• Day 1 — The maximum-efficiency desk
• Day 2 — Maximize time AND juggle multiple projects
• Day 2 (update) — iPod as "motivational timer"
• Day 3 — The BEST organizational system ever (Part 1)
• Day 3 (update) — Beware of shiny notebooks
• Day 4 — The BEST organizational system ever (Part 2)
• Day 5 — Delegate tasks to save time
* Next Tuesday, May 15th: "Write now is good." will feature an interview with an author who's broken new ground with his book. Fascinating subject matter. Stay tuned, and we hope to see you then.