What is a virtual assistant?Dejan Dundjerski/Shutterstock
Ah, the wonders of technology: A virtual assistant (VA) is someone who offers a variety of business services from a remote location—it’s one of the ways people can make money working from home. A VA can be useful to entrepreneurs, online businesses, bloggers, authors, or anyone that wants help without physically staffing an office. When you’re a busy entrepreneur working solo—a solo-preneur—time management is essential for success. Thomas Vargeletis, author of Your First Year in Real Estate, and founder of LAER3D, runs a real estate photography business and relies on two to three VAs on a regular basis. He partnered with an entire real estate brokerage with more than 400 agents and, in order to handle that load, he needed to enlist VAs. “I am leveraging my time with VA’s working on video editing, adding audio, photo editing, processing my virtual tours, and website development,” says Vargeletis. “Without the VA’s, I would not have been able to work such a fast and competitive business model.” The tasks a VA run the gamut from calendar management,
How much will a virtual assistant cost me?racorn/Shutterstock
“Per job, I typically pay between $10-$25 for video and photo editing, depending on the size and speed of delivery. Per hour ranges from $5 to $8.50 for more complicated tasks like web development and processing my virtual tours,” says Vargeletis.
Sharon Garofalow, a life and style blogger at Cupcakes and Cutlery, found her VA by asking other bloggers. Her VA performs tasks specific to the blog. “I know that the tasks I ask her to do are around $5 each, so each week is different depending on how much content I’m putting out or Pinterest updates I’m doing. But there may come a time, shortly, where I pay her a monthly fee and she has a regular set of things that she does for me.”
For a VA, the income isn’t always dependable. It’s feast or famine for some. “I’ve made as little as $15 an hour and as much as $50,000 a year,” says Louise DiCarlo of Stony Brook, New York, who has been a virtual assistant since 2000, working for a handful of companies at one time, including mega ones like Oxygen Media. A VA with a specific skill set will fetch a higher hourly/per job rate.
Melissa St. Clair, owner of Paper Chaser, utilizes her degree in management to provide communications, Internet research, and project and event support for $45 an hour.