What is a creative virtual assistant?

September 11, 2020

Business Tips

The number one question I get asked by my family, friends, and inquiries is this: What is a virtual assistant? And most importantly, what does a virtual assistant do? When I got started, I had no idea what a virtual assistant was. I’ll be honest: I had never even heard of the term! But I had wedding vendor friends looking to hire a virtual assistant and started hearing that term. It turns out, that my years of experience in the wedding industry translated into becoming a virtual assistant for wedding professionals!

And while I used to call myself a creative virtual assistant, there are so many different terms for what we do. This includes social media manager, Pinterest expert, digital marketing expert, and so many more!

What is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant is a self-employed worker, usually remote, who offers various services to clients. This can also include social media managers, Pinterest managers, bloggers, online business managers, image editors and other freelancers. A virtual assistant most likely will have a specialty, something they are really awesome at – for some that might more administrative or QuickBooks and account, for another they might be focused on social media and marketing.

You will often be working as a sub-contractor and will have a 1099. This means the person who contracts you does not pay taxes or medical insurance. You can do remote work on the side, outside of your 9-5 job. When I started, I worked a regular job Monday – Friday, and did my remote work in the evenings and on the weekends. Working remotely means you are not an employee. You are a contracted worker, who runs your own business. This is very important to keep in mind, as some businesses can think of us as their employees. We are contracted independently, and therefore set our own pricing, rates, and turnaround time.


Is a virtual assistant the same as an employee?

A big misconception is that a virtual assistant is an employee. However, we are actually independent contractors. So we provide our own benefits, computer, health insurance etc. However, that doesn’t mean we are just a temporary staffing position! While some clients may be project-based, and you work with them for 1-3 months, most will be clients year-round.

There are a few benefits to hiring a virtual assistant over an employee:

  1. There are no hidden costs. Employees, whether they are paid hourly or salary, have a lot of additional fees that you are responsible for as a business owner. This can include payroll taxes, employment insurance, workers’ compensation, vacation days, sick days, holidays, benefits and other deductions. When you hire a virtual assistant, you are not responsible for any of these! As a contractor, I provide my own insurance, days off, and benefits.
  2. It can be incredibly cost-saving. Hiring a social media manager or community advisor will cost $30,000+ per year. A social media manager will cost $500-$1200/month. (Keep in mind, this will vary! Some may cost more depending on how many channels they manage, or how much content they create. The average rate is $500+ per social media outlet) Even if you pay someone $1,000/month, that is only $12,000! Thousands less than a full-time employee.
  3. No paying for my time off. One of the great benefits is that By hiring a VA, you are only charged for the time and projects worked. When I take lunch, you don’t pay me. If I am running late that day, it doesn’t affect you. This is a huge benefit over an employee!


Online course teaching you how to start your creative virtual assistant business - The Creative VA School


Does a virtual assistant provide services hourly or with packages?

Most virtual assistants have an hourly rate, as well as packages. Some will have hourly packages or retainers, meaning they can be hired for 10 hours a month, or maybe 10 hours a week. Most virtual assistants will have a minimum requirement of x hours per month – usually 10. This is to ensure that they are learning the company, and can offer the best service.

In my company, we personally work on packages, since we have fine-tuned my packages over the last few years. Packages also allow you to get similar services, at one price. For example, my Pinterest packages also include using the Pinterest management service, Tailwind. 


How much can I charge as a creative virtual assistant?

While I cover this a lot in my signature course, The Creative VA Masterclass – I want to touch on the basics. I teach my students to start at $30/hour. I know most courses teach you less, but let me just tell you this:

You can, and you will. If you offer a discount rate, you will be treated as a discount service. And you are not a discount service. You are a professional who deserves a premium rate. If you got a new job, and changed industries, but did similar tasks, you wouldn’t take a pay cut, would you? Even if you are brand new to being a virtual assistant, you still have years of job experience and work experience – so you shouldn’t be taking a huge pay cut!


How do you make money as a creative virtual assistant?

You don’t need a ton of clients to make money! You can start making money right away – without a lot of clients. I personally was able to replace my full-time job with just 4 clients. You don’t need thousands of Instagram followers or an email list to get started. I didn’t even have a website for the first 4 months of my business!

A VA is not an MLM. If you take home $500/month in services, you keep that. There is no one you pay just for starting. Now, you’ll have to pay taxes on it, but that’s a completely different topic for another day! There isn’t a hierarchy of people making money through you – this is YOU owning a business!

Being a freelance worker means that you decide what you want to do. There are no bosses giving you a title that doesn’t feel right or assigning you projects you hate. You can focus on what makes you happy, and what makes you the best profit.

What services can I offer as a creative virtual assistant?

The tasks you can provide as a virtual assistant are endless: from social media, to admin, to website design, to graphic design. You can do ANYTHING you want! Some virtual assistants are more admin focused, who work on excel, QuickBooks, or admin tasks. Others will be workflow focused, who are all about implementing workflows and organizing a business. Others are more graphic design-focused. These services come from the skill sets of each person – and these skills are acquired through life experiences, education, and work experiences. Every job you currently do, and every service you will offer to your clients, will be based on your skillset. Your skills, combined with your interests and values, are keys to a successful VA career. 

There isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to what you can offer as a virtual assistant! I’ve seen some people only offer Pinterest – yes, just Pinterest – and make a huge profit. I’ve seen others who offer only day rates, where someone books them for one day, at a premium price. What you offer is completely up to you. While there are many types of virtual assistants, the two common industries are Creative VA’s and Administrative VA’s. This list below goes over some of the common services that each can offer. Note that you can offer services from both sides! In my business, we offer graphic design, website design, SEO, Pinterest, Blogging, and some analytics. Which are from both boxes below – you can offer both admin and creative services, my friend!

Remember: This is YOUR BUSINESS! You chose what you want to offer!

Services you can offer as a creative virtual assistantServices you can offer as a creative virtual assistant

Here is my favorite part about being a creative virtual assistant:

Being a freelance worker means that you decide what you want to do. There are no bosses giving you a title that doesn’t feel right or assigning you projects you hate. You can focus on what makes you happy, and what makes you the best profit. I mean… how awesome is that?!