Hey there, I’m Sarah, and I’m here today to tell you a bit about what I do as a Virtual Assistant (VA). First of all I’m wording it like that (rather than “what a VA does”) because this will vary immensely depending on what your skills are and what your employer needs!
I’m a VA for Frenchie at Aroha Knits, and I’ll tell you a little bit about my day.
First of all, I’m a work-at-home-mom – that means I start with getting the lunches made and my kids out the door! My kids are in kindergarten and grade 2, and my youngest has been diagnosed with autism. He does half days at school, then goes to a specialized program after lunch. Being a VA is a dream job for someone like me – I can work while the kids are in school, and if I don’t manage to finish up in that time, I can always find time either after my husband comes home, or after the kids are in bed!
Flexible hours are such a blessing when it comes to sick kids and school holidays (though I have fantasized about having a *real* job so I could call in sick!).
My role at Aroha Knits involves mostly customer service. I’m probably the one you’ve talked to if you reach out via email. My standard daily tasks include engagement on Instagram (liking and commenting on photos), responding to emails, and checking in on Ravelry. Those three tasks can take between 10 minutes on a really slow day, to over an hour on a really busy day.
Just like an in-person assistant, I pretty much chip in wherever I can help!
My job varies greatly depending on what else Aroha Knits has going on. When we run challenges my email duties increase exponentially. I also keep lists of everyone who is eligible for prizes, and lists of people who donated prizes. I send out emails with tracking numbers when a shipment for the Fibre Muse Alchemy Kits goes out. I upload files to Teachable, and answer comments on Facebook. And I deal with all the emails that pop up when someone tries to download a pattern or sign up for a challenge and the technology decides to be contrary.
That pretty much sums it up. I average about 1-2 hours of work per day (more during challenges, and less when business is quiet). I use an app called Toggl (toggl.com) to track my time, which has been invaluable.
You know when you think you probably worked on something for 10 minutes, but it really took you an hour?
Or you start working on something, then get distracted by Facebook?
This lets me track exactly how long I work on something, and it also keeps me focused because I’m “on the clock” – I’m less likely to get sucked into Facebook or the Ravelry forums. Toggl also makes it easy to see, for instance, that Mondays tend to be my busiest day (answering emails and queries from over the weekend), and it tapers off until Friday which is my quietest day. This observation allows me to schedule myself around how much work I’ll have for Aroha Knits and how much time I’ll have for my own stuff.
There are several advantages to doing VA work in my “spare” time. The most obvious is the steady paycheque. As a beginning designer, pattern sales aren’t bringing in much yet, so this is a good way to supplement my non-existent income! I’m also a stay-at-home mom, and this job has allowed me to bring in some extra money while working from home – and I can work around naptimes, or school drop-offs, or whatever else comes up.
This has been pretty great!