Productivity

The Virtual Advantage

 March 23, 2022

By  Uriah Guilford, MFT

minute read

Hiring a VA can change your life. But it also brings unique challenges. 

How can you hire, train, optimize and evaluate the best VA for you? 

Join me as I share with you the first two strategy-loaded sections of my best-selling course, The Virtual Advantage. 

Click to listen now!

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

  • How to evaluate your budget
  • VA hiring options
  • How to hire the best VA for you

Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

The Virtual Advantage
Productive Therapist Directory
Hiring Your Assistant

⬇️ Click for full episode transcript ⬇️

Hello and welcome to the podcast!
I'm so glad that you're listening. Today, I'm super excited to share with you that I revamped and relaunched my very first online course that I created for Productive Therapist. It's called The Virtual Advantage, and I would love to share with you the first two sections of this course. So this is really your guide to creating an amazing working relationship with a virtual assistant.
For me, hiring a virtual assistant in 2012 was one of the best decisions I ever made. It allowed me to double my business income without feeling like I was losing my mind, actually go on vacation and not be tied to my iPhone the whole time and serve my clients better. It made such a massive difference for me, and it can for you as well.
However, hiring a VA can also cause a huge dip in your productivity and create endless frustration. We don't want that! There are some costly mistakes that you can absolutely avoid. This course walks you through the best practices and tips that will lead to more success and less overwhelmed. Sounds good, right?
Choose the faster route to success working with a Virtual Assistant.
So this course is split up into four main sections: the first one is all about hiring, the second one is about training, the third one is about optimizing, and then the fourth one is about evaluating important steps in the process of starting to delegate and work with the virtual assistant and then progress and make that work better for you.
The first section of the course is called Hire, and the first two lessons are on evaluating your budget and also the hiring options for hiring a virtual assistant. So I'm going to jump in and share this with you.
One of the first things you want to do is evaluate your needs and your budget. So here are a few considerations when evaluating your needs and your budget.
The price range for virtual assistance can vary wildly. You can get a VA from the Philippines for less than $10 an hour, while US-based virtual assistants usually cost between 20 and $60 per hour.
And the pricing depends on a couple of different things: number one, geographic location; number two, skills and abilities with higher pricing for more specialized skills; and number three, an independent VA versus a VA company.
Like most things in life, you definitely get what you pay for. I've had an $18 an hour virtual assistant who was reasonably competent but not amazing. I also had a $55 an hour assistant who was stellar and absolutely worth every penny.
So the question is, how much can you afford? A good rule of thumb is to plan on spending between 5% to 10% of your gross income on admin costs in general. I learned this from Julie Harris at Green Oak Accounting, and it's been a helpful guideline.
So if your practice brings in around $5,000 a month, you can afford a VA that costs between $250 to $500 per month. If your practice brings in closer to $20,000 per month, you can afford a VA that costs between $1000-$2,000.
This is kind of a common sense approach. In my mind, you can afford to pay for more admin support as you grow your practice. A solo practice has a different budget than a large group practice makes sense.
Here's a simple way to make decisions based on stage of growth: number one, for a solo practice, work with an affordable, independent virtual assistant; number two, if you are a small to medium-sized group practice, consider working with a quality VA company: and then if you're a large group practice, most likely you want to hire in house and build your team. Now, this doesn't cover the needs of all practices perfectly, but it's a solid starting point.

Let me take just a quick pause and tell you a bit about our sponsor. This episode has been sponsored by Simple Practice, the leading practice management platform for private practitioners everywhere. More than 75,000 professionals use Simple Practice to power telehealth sessions, schedule appointments, file insurance claims, communicate with clients, and so much more. It truly is an all in one HIPAA compliant platform. Get your first two months of Simple Practice for the price of one when you sign up for an account today, this exclusive offer is valid for new customers only and you can go to SimplePractice.com/ProductiveTherapist to learn more.

And now we can move on to the three hiring options. Here are the three main options for hiring a world class virtual assistant: number one, use a virtual assistant company; number two, hire an independent freelance VA: or number three, do the recruiting and hiring yourself.
Let's take a quick look at each option. Number one, use a virtual assistant company. There are a ton of virtual assistant companies to choose from, which is wonderful, but it also makes it tough to choose. Our recommendation is to use a VA company that specifically supports therapists and has expertise in the mental health field.
There are several benefits to using a VA company, such as Productive Therapist. They manage and support the relationship you have with your virtual assistant. They also have a team of VAs versus an individual. Think about vacation and sick time coverage with that one. And lastly, they are less likely to disappear and leave you hanging. Take a look at the Productive Therapist Business Directory to learn more about VA companies that work specifically with therapists. You can find that at ProductiveTherapist.com.
Option number two is to hire an independent freelance VA. There are also benefits to working with an independent freelance VA. This could be an ideal option especially for solo or small group practices. Independent VAs often have lower pricing per hour. They can also usually accommodate practices that need fewer hours per month, for example around 5 to 10 hours.
The downsides are the exact opposite of the benefits of using a VA company listed above. An independent VA doesn't have a backup for sick or vacation time. If something happens to them, you're back to square one again. You can check out the Productive Therapist Business Directory to learn more about independent VAs that work specifically with therapists.
Number three, do the recruiting and hiring yourself. Lastly, you can do the legwork and find a virtual assistant yourself. You can put up a job posting whether on job sites like Indeed.com or on directories like the International Virtual Assistants Association.
I actually did this one time years ago and it was totally overwhelming! So many applications. However, if you're willing to do the work, this can be a good option. You just have to make sure that you really vet the person and make sure that they're going to meet your needs.
For more support with hiring an assistant, check out our dedicated course on the topic called Hiring Your Assistant.
So what is the difference between a dedicated versus a shared VA? This is an important consideration when making your hiring decisions. Most virtual assistants are shared, meaning they work for several businesses.
If you can afford it and need more hours, a dedicated virtual assistant may make sense.
If your practice grows, you may want to hire someone local or local remote to work for your practice.
Of course, this comes with some definite benefits as well as drawbacks. Make sure that you take into account your current needs and your plans for growing your practice over the next one to three years.
Hiring and retaining excellent admin staff is hard. At the end of the day, you have to trust your intuition and follow a solid hiring process when choosing the best virtual assistant. You may not find the right person the first time, but it's absolutely worth the time to do your homework and choose wisely.
So there you have it! That was the first two lessons in The Virtual Advantage course. I would love for you to check it out and it comes with a bundle of other courses that we're adding and updating over the years. You can visit ProductiveTherapist.com/starter to check it out.
Thanks so much and have a great day!

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Uriah Guilford, MFT


Uriah is a group practice owner and the creator of Productive Therapist. He is a technology nerd, a minimalist travel packer, a rock drummer and business development enthusiast.

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