Friday, October 2, 2015

Why a Virtual Assistant is Valuable

Virtual assistance is something that is not a new concept. It’s been around for some time, especially in the age of everything being tied in some way to electronics or gadgets, it has become easier and easier to farm out more of your work to those more experienced or qualified to do a task, or who just plain have the time you don’t.

But what exactly is a virtual assistant to an author and why is it valuable to consider hiring one? Doesn’t it just take more time to get them set up and tell them what to do, than to just do the work yourself?

If you hire the right VA, this should hardly ever be the case.

A virtual assistant’s main goal is to maximize what little time you have, so you can spend that time doing what you do best: creating story.

*In two weeks I’ll talk about how to be your own best virtual assistant if you’re in a season of inability to afford hiring one.*

For a broad overview:

A VA can help you:

·         Manage your calendar
·         Manage your social media output and interaction.
·         Help with research
·         Track sales numbers
·         Book mailings
·         Book and blog tour coordination
·         Communicate with bloggers for PR opportunities
·         Work with your influencers and team that heavily promote your book(s) (Also known as a dream or street team)
·         Brainstorm social media strategies with you
·         Purchase promotional materials and/or prizes in giveaways

This is really just the tip of what a VA might be able to do for you and each VA is going to have a better or stronger skill set than another, allowing you to give them free reign in projects you don’t want to touch with a ten foot pole.

But let’s look into these projects a bit further shall we? A broad paintbrush view doesn’t really tell you all that a VA could potentially do for you in one area or another.

Managing your calendar:

·         The first email will never take you a lot of time to answer. However, all of the follow up that result from that first email is a complete time suck. Let your VA set up these appointments and blog interview dates.

·         Keep your VA abreast of your time restrictions and deadlines so if something conflicts, they can cancel or reschedule for you.

·         Never miss another deadline again! Have your VA keep track of when posts due dates and submit your material promptly and on time.

So that’s your calendar.

If someone were to ask you what’s the #1 thing on your to-do list that you’d like to get rid of, what would you say? I think 85% of us would say social media. This is probably the #1 reason most authors hire a VA.

Social media management:

·         Give your VA access to all of your social media platforms.

·         Provide them with a list of blogs they can follow and tweet for you, keeping relevant content in your Twitter stream and also promoting other bloggers to build their platform. (A win-win)

·         Give your VA a baseline of content to share on Facebook. Questions, comments, pictures, etc. Brainstorm this with your VA as well. You’ll have to remain involved on social media to a point so the posts continue to sound like your voice, but most of the grunt work can be done by your VA.

·         Make sure your VA understands your brand and presence you want to convey on social media, but don’t baulk from talking through ideas and strategies with your VA either.

These are just two major areas that your VA can help you in. And trust me, if you think long about anything you do as a writer, I’m sure you’d find many other areas you could use a second set of arms.

Hiring a VA gives you the white space that you need to do what you do best: write. And the time you gain back is often worth the money you’ve spend.

But I realize that not everyone is able to hire a VA. So next time, I’ll be sharing about ways you can put white space back into your life by being your best VA.

What about you? Have you ever hired or considered hiring a VA?

Casey Herringshaw is a homeschool graduate and has been writing since high school. She lives in colorful Colorado where she gets to live her dream stalking--er--visiting with her favorite CO authors. 


Krista Phillips said...

LOVE this!!!!

I definitely see huge value in this!!

*dreaming of the day....*

Mary Vee Writer said...

Great post Casey.
Perhaps the people who need this most are very busy working on these things!
Having a VA would be an expense that could easily be justified.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Great post, Casey! Was just talking about this with a published author friend this week.