CLICK HERE to view the presentation on “The World of Virtual Assistance.”
Additional Q&A with Anastacia Brice, Founder of AssistU
The max hours to work with a VA, and the whole employee vs contractor – how to classify correctly thing
The US Department of Labor oversees employment. And they have some guidelines for classifying workers. It’s important to get that right, because there can be hefty fines if they decide you have, as a practical matter, an employee, but are paying her as a contractor.
The most important thing they take into consideration is how much control you exert in the relationship. If you tell your VA when to be available, how to do her work for you, when she can/can’t take vacation, or anything else that is “boss” like, there’s a good chance that if the DOL looked at the relationship, they’d say you misclassified your worker.
In the same way that you, as a business owner, control your own work, so must a VA in order to not be seen as an employee.
Another thing the DOL looks at is how integral to your business this person is. For a VA to not be your employee, she cannot give you all her hours. She has to have multiple clients. On her side of things, it’s smart to not give a single client more than 1/3 of her available billable hours, and a good way for you to think about it is that if you need more than 20-30 hours/month of help, you might want to create a team and get your needs handled by more than one VA.
Bonding for VAs
VAs are business owners. They may have E&O insurance, but I don’t know anyone who’s bonded.
I absolutely understand the concerns raised around how to protect yourself from malfeasance on the part of the VA, but this is really where choosing well matters. You want to work with someone who is running a professional practice (not doing a side gig while her baby sleeps), someone who can tell you how she keeps your information private and secure, someone who has worked with other clients who provide glowing testimonials, someone who fits with you, and someone you believe you can trust.
Even with all of that present, trust takes time to build between two people. You might consider not having her dive into more sensitive work immediately, choosing, instead, to give her other things to do so you can see how she works, and have time to learn that you can actually trust her.
It’s true that we never know what anyone else is capable of, and even after years together, your VA could steal from you. Anyone who lived through the financial debacle of 2008 knows that banks and financial pros can, too. 😉 But if we all went around focusing on what *could* happen, we’d never move forward in our lives and work.
Choose slowly and wisely, let trust build, and give your VA only what you’re comfortable trusting her with.
The gradual growth of Judy’s practice (which was slow for AU grads, but not unusual for business owners, in general)
Judy mentioned that it took almost five years for her practice to be “full.” Studies show, time after time, that five years is about the time that a new business owner starts to feel that her business is successful in ways that have meaning to her. So, Judy was right on track for that.
I think it’s important to note that most of our graduates do it in half that time (or less). What really spells how long it takes is how much time you have to put toward growing your business. If you have 100% of your work time to focus on this business, it should happen faster. If you’re working a job full-time and doing this part-time, it will likely happen slower. Like with everything else, you really are in control of your own destiny!
Insurance for VAs
Fees – should they be different depending on the work being done? (The answer is no, btw!!)