What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Virtual Assistant

What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Virtual Assistant

“I need an assistant” or “I wish someone else could do this so I can focus on (insert task/project)” are two thoughts people have when they’re overwhelmed or overbooked. A virtual assistant is an expert in their field who contracts work to answer the thoughts mentioned above. Virtual assistants come with many expertise so whatever your needs you can find one with no issue!

Need a social media manager? Email or calendar management? Travel management and reservations? Project manager? Think of all the tasks you NEED to do but are so time consuming that you wish someone else would do so you can focus on the “nuts and bolts” of your business. That is when you contact a virtual assistant to help you out.

Why a virtual assistant instead of a full- or part-time employee?

  • You do not provide benefits or pay employee taxes.
  • You do not incur high costs associated with the staffing process.
  • Minimal on-boarding and training are necessary.
  • You only pay for hours worked or contracted projects.
  • You do not pay for coffee breaks, inefficient use of time, etc. that employees cost you.

What do you need to know before hiring a virtual assistant:

  • Hourly rates & project fees cover employee’s salary, company costs and taxes so at first glance prices may be a little steeper than you initially thought you should or would want to pay for whatever service you are looking to contract to a Virtual Assistant (VA).
  • VAs work on retainer hours paid upfront or project fees usually paid half upfront and half at completion.
  • Compatibility is important-expertise and personality must be a match.
  • The VA is NOT your employee; this is a working relationship that relies on trust and communication.
  • VAs often have multiple clients, and more often than not, they will not be available at the drop of a hat.

What are the costs involved?

It depends on the tasks needed and whether you pay a project fee or retainer fees. You are paying for expertise, which is the most important thing to keep in mind. Below is a chart that illustrates the difference between a full-time employee and a VA. The numbers can be changed or part-time and less for the VA depending on your needs.

*Sample Hourly VA Costs Compared to a FT Employee (rates and hours may vary)


Full-time Employee

Virtual Assistant

Hourly Rate of Pay



Overhead: 50% Office Space, Equipment & Supplies, Worker’s Comp, OT Pay, etc.


Benefits Package: 35%, Medical Insurance, 401K, etc.


Total Effective Rate of Pay


Annual Hours


Annual Labor Cost


There are many software programs and online resources you may or may not use, would like to be more proficient in, or would like someone to just do for you to ensure the main aspects of your business are being taken care of first and foremost. This is why a virtual assistant is an investment for your business!

I am not a techie virtual assistant, so I do not build or maintain websites, manage social media, or offer graphic design services. Those are services I have actually paid for and it was a great investment for my company!

I offer executive administrative, project management, and human resource management services. I feel confident offering services I have expertise and education to back up my credentials. I have three post-secondary degrees: MBA, MS in Human Resource Management, and a BS in Business Administration. I taught general business high school courses for seven years, served as an adjunct instructor for three years, and facilitated a federal education grant for two years. I am your right hand lady to do those tasks so you can focus on the heartbeat of your business!

Don’t waste time or money! Hiring a virtual assistant will relieve stress and free up time to focus on growing your business. Check out my website, www.yourvirtualhq.com and Facebook page, www.facebook.com/yourvirtualhq for more information. A consultation or a “Try Us Out” 2 hour deal may just be what you need to jump in and save yourself time, money, and energy to give more to your business or to your personal life! I can help bring balance to your business and life!


Contact Information:
Jackie Oehlschlager, Virtual Assistant
Your Virtual HQ

Jackie is a lifelong learner with a servant’s heart who loves challenges! Life happened and led her to starting her business, Your Virtual HQ. She’s a wife of an aircraft electrician/former active duty Marine “Oorah!” and a mother of a (step)son and daughter, ages 13 years and 14.5 months respectively. She loves running; she and her daughter have over 500 miles together including racing in two 10Ks, two half-marathons, a 20K, and a 10-miler race as of October 2016. Along with running, she loves traveling, scrapbooking and volunteering. Fun fact: She lived in Okinawa, Japan for a year and would move back if the opportunity presented itself. Before starting her business, she worked in the education industry and obtained three post-secondary degrees including an MBA, a MS in Human Resource Management, and a BS in Business Administration with a minor in Speech Communications. She also possess a Texas Teaching Certificate for Business and Speech classes, grades 6-12.

Featured Business: Sincerely Yours FL

Featured Business: Sincerely Yours FL


Check out Sincerely Yours FL at: 
 Etsy  |  Facebook    |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest


etsyLets get personal. Tell us about you.
Do you have kids? Where are you from? What is your career history? What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?  

Hello! My name is Leanne Jacob. I am the owner and creator of an Etsy.com store called Sincerely Yours, FL. My Etsy store sells hand painted ornaments, signs and personalized wedding invitations. Originally from England, I now live in Florida with my wonderful husband Bryan, our newborn daughter, Charlotte, two fur-babies (dogs) and two horses. (Fun fact: My accent has faded away. I don’t have an accent unless I speak to someone British. Then my accent tends to sneak back.)

In addition to my Etsy store, I am also a teacher. My goal is to become a stay at home mom (SAHM) with the income from my Etsy store.


What inspired you to go into your line of business?
Is there an interesting story behind how you ended up where you are?

I have always loved kids and I consider myself creative. Teaching is my creative outlet and I believe creativity helps me be a great teacher. My online business, Sincerely Yours FL is where I sell my custom pieces for weddings, events or personalized gifts.


Tell us about your business.
How long have you been in business? What do you sell/offer? What makes you unique?

I offer custom hand written or painted pieces. With Sincerely Yours FL I have done everything from a chalkboard sign at a wedding to custom pet ornaments. The custom pet ornaments are one of my best sellers. What makes me unique is, I enjoy creating custom, one-of-a-kind pieces that capture something special in another person’s life.

My online shop opened on Etsy.com in 2013. Etsy is a global community where artists and crafters sell their homemade or vintage goods online. Originally, I was only a buyer on Etsy. It was the first place I would look for items for birthdays, my wedding and other special occasions. I like to support small businesses and I have purchased great products from different Etsy stores. My thought was; if I shop on Etsy consistently, there must be more people like me who do the same and like to support small businesses.

In addition to already giving crafters a large market to sell to, Etsy is extremely user-friendly. The website will walk you through how to set things up and maintain your listings. It only costs 0.20 cents every four months to post a listing plus a small transaction fee is deducted when you sell an item (3.5%).


etsyTell us about your product.

What excites you the most about your item? What are the benefits of your product? What makes it unique? What is your favorite feature?

I love the process when a client first tells me their vision and then how they react when I bring that vision to life; it surprises and excites them. The number one benefit of my product is they will last for years. A sign from a wedding can later double as a piece of décor in the newlywed’s home.

Every piece I create is unique, making no two pieces the same. My favorite product is my ornaments. I am a dog lover and originally started giving the ornaments as gifts to my dog loving friends. Once I posted them to Etsy, they took off!

How do you market your products?

Do you use any Social Media Platforms? Do you promote your products on Etsy?

I market my products on every social media outlet possible (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). I join groups that I think my products appeal to and then post listings on the page. For example on Instagram, I am in a variety of different dog breed groups. I will post a listing for my custom dog ornaments and they are always a hit!

You can promote on Etsy, but you must be present and show your support for other shops in order for these promotions to be successful. There are many different teams on Etsy that you can join to promote your products. I am a member of wedding, baby and Christmas teams which offer support.

Describe what your brand stands for.
Ex: honesty, quirky, adaptable, smart …

Sincerely Yours, FL stands for being unique and creative. The item was made specifically for you – it’s sincerely yours.


What is your mission statement?
Why does your business exist? And for whom?

My business exists as a place for me to share my creative talents and to help others bring their idea to life.


Did you have any doubts when you started your business?
How did you overcome them?

As with any new business venture, I had my doubts when I first began. “Are people going to find my items as awesome as I think they are?” “Am I wasting my time?” What is nice about Etsy.com is that it is not expensive to feature a product, so there is room for trial and error when posting a new product. If the product didn’t do well for fourth months, I only paid 0.20 cents to post it.

Learn to celebrate the small successes to overcome your doubts. Even if you make one small sale, that person thought your product was awesome enough to buy it!


If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?

What advice can you offer to others?

I would do more research on pricing than I originally did. When I first opened my shop I was so excited to get my products listed that I didn’t factor cost or time into my prices. Make sure you take into account not just how much your materials cost to make your item, but the amount of time, labor and love you put into creating it.

she sells studios


Our goal is to help inspire, teach and learn from other entrepreneurs. If you feel you can share some insights that have made you successful and are interested in your business being featured, please fill out our Feature Business Questionnaire.  

It will be up to our discretion if we use your business in a post.

The Secret to Creating a Styled Stock Photo

The Secret to Creating a Styled Stock Photo


Hello Everyone! I’m Krista and I’m taking over the She Sells Studios blog and Facebook page today as part of the Stock Photo Challenge. Please check out my introduction video below and don’t forget to “vote” for my stock photo by liking my posts! -Krista
How to make and use a DIY Lightbox

Creating your own light box for still or stock photography is very easy and inexpensive. For less than $5.00, you can light your products like a pro. Check out my How To video below.



Now that you have created a light box, you need to know how to use it. This tutorial by Tuts+ gives a great explanation of how to use a light box properly.
Natural Lighting
You don’t have to have a light box to create great images. Using natural light and some resources from around your house, you can easily create a great image.
Arranging a Stock Photograph

When it comes time to arrange a stock photograph, you have to play around with your objects. I found various office supplies from around my own office to use for this challenge. Since I happen to love aqua and mint, most my objects grouped nicely. I’ve created a video of how I grouped and layered objects to create a stylized stock photo.
Finalizing the Image
When I was in college, I would use my school’s Adobe Photoshop resources. When I got older, I realized that owning a full version of the software didn’t make fiscal sense, so I went to the next best option, Photoshop Elements. There are many resources available to learn how to use the program and most of the introductory information translates well over to Adobe Photoshop Elements. I would highly recommend Scott Kelby’s books if you need a way to start learning how to use the software.
Stock Photo
photoHere is my final image I created using the information I posted today. It was my first try creating a stock photo, and I’m glad She Sells Studios gave me the motivation to give it a go. Thank you to Rae and Jenny for the opportunity to talk with you today, and don’t forget to “vote” for my image by liking my picture! Thank you!


Check out more of Krista’s projects on her blog: The Dabbling Crafter.

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