I Hired a Virtual Assistant
May through November is my busy season. People want photos in the nice weather, so between weddings, branding, and family sessions, my schedule is packed just about every day. This means I have to say goodbye to my free time, miss out on a lot of fun events with friends and family, and hunker down so I can keep up with my business. The idea of this was overwhelming me when it started approaching in April, but a friend suggested hiring a virtual assistant to help me with my workload, and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
As an entrepreneur, I do all the things for my business. Marketing, social media posts, write my blogs (like I’m doing right now), shoot my sessions, edit my work, the list goes on! It’s crazy how much work goes into driving the ship.
After 6 years of business, I’m trying to automate things so I don’t have to do as much as often. I started listening to podcasts and talking to others about scaling. I’m not at a point where I can afford to hand everything over.
Turns out having someone do all your marketing and editing is really expensive… However, I am at a point where I can financially afford to hand over a few things, which is why I hired a virtual assistant.
Virtual assistants, or VAs for short, come in a variety of specialties. I found mine through a referral from a friend. Her name is Erin Shepherd, and she is AWESOME!
At first, I had no idea what to hand over to her. It was like my arms were full at Target, and I didn’t have a cart. We started with a phone call where she told me some areas she could help me out. She asked me my pain points. What did I hate doing? What took me too much time? What would be easy for her to take over?
We decided to have her take on 4 hours of work for me per month, with the open-ended idea that I could add more to her plate if needed.
So what is Erin doing for me 4 hours a month? She isn’t writing my blogs, but she is helping me alt-tag my images. If you don’t know what alt-tagging is, do a Google search. It’s so important as a photographer to alt-tag. But pretty much every image I put onto my blog has to be labeled a specific way. Doing this can take anywhere from 15 minutes with a small blog post, and up to 30-45 for a large wedding post. I do 4 photography blogs/month, so that is saving me anywhere from 2-3 hours/month.
After she does that, she helps turn my blog into a Facebook post and tags all the vendors if it is a wedding post. I also have her creating pins for Pinterest and pinning them to my boards, which is something I never had time to do in the past.
Four hours a month may not seem like much, but I’ll take back all the time I can get. With those 4 extra hours, I’ve been able to focus my efforts on other things I need to do, and even schedule in some free time to get out and smell the flowers.
If you are thinking of hiring a virtual assistant, I highly recommend it. I will warn you that it takes a few weeks to get the flow down. You have to tell them exactly what to do (aka train them in). This makes total sense because if you were taking over for someone, you would need to know the same. But once that is over, it is seriously the best thing ever.
Erin – you are the best! SO GRATEFUL for you every week!
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