I get asked a lot of questions about what I do and for a long time, I couldn’t really answer. I would bounce between content creator, blogger, writer and lately photographer and in all honesty, I do all of those things. I’m paid for all of those things under the umbrella term of being a VA (Virtual Assistant).
Blogging is Both a Business and a Hobby.
I know a lot of bloggers/influencers make a living from blogging and let me assure you it is a lot of work. They aren’t just swanning around having photoshoots (a lot of work goes into a photo shoot!) or going to PR events. Running a blog as a business requires you to run it as a business! You have invoices, an editorial calendar, you have to know the latest changes to advertising, copywriting and disclosure in your country. You have to abide by the terms & conditions of the media platforms you use which means knowing them and knowing when they update.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you running a blog is a full-time job (and I mean this from a revenue point of view, full-time bloggers) there is also working on your website, keeping broken links up to date, learning about SEO and rankings, doing A/B testing to find out if your followers prefer the button on the left or right of the screen etc. You have to go out and find sponsorship, find a way to grow your audience which means collaborations, guest blogging and actually being social on social media. Which you guessed it means knowing your audience an deciding if you are creating for you or for them. (Hint: You can create for both!)
What is a VA or Virtual Assistant?
I have been laughed at a number of times when I said my role is as a VA or been met with the confused stare of incomprehension. Just in case you are confused, let me tell you what I do. I help small/medium businesses when their workload becomes too much for them. This can be anything from drafting posts, running their social channels, photography, coming up with an editorial plan or being the emergency staff member you need on a laptop at the end of a phone. Have you ever sat back and gone “I don’t have time to post/engage/write a press release/take images.” That is where a VA comes in.
My working day is vastly different. I can be writing nothing but blog posts and newsletters for a day when the next day requires me to juggle between drafting press releases, doing photoshoots, or managing a calendar all outside of my own blog and podcast. My own blog has become somewhat of an online portfolio of a skillset I didn’t realise I was building. I constantly undervalued myself as a blogger because I didn’t sit back and list all the skills I needed to do it on a professional level until quite recently.
When you are a small business you often have to make the choice between hiring more staff or growing your business or you are trying desperately to walk that line that either means taking a pay cut and hiring more staff in order to grow your business. This is where I usually come in as a VA. I ease the pressure of deadlines by taking some of the workload as a freelancer. Have you ever considered hiring a photographer for your blog? To take lots of professional images of you or products so that you have a backlog for Instagram/media/posts? How much of your workload would that reduce while allowing you to build an aesthetic?
Blogging is Storytelling for Business.
I always see blogging as storytelling for business, it’s your window to allow your followers/customers get to you know. You have made this beautiful artisan product and here is your chance to tell them why it makes your heart sing, why you chose those materials along with all the necessary information regarding purchasing, etc. Sometimes you have to get creative about it and it takes real time and skill to build both a brand and a blog but trust me in saying that there are some wonderful VA’s out there who can help too.
Different VA’s do different roles and mine is a bit of a Venn diagram of skills that have grown out of necessity. You may not need a VA you may just need a writer or you may just need a photographer to help with images. I know VA’s who only work on databases and SQL, I know some who won’t do any photography and I know some that are amazing photographers but charge separately. If you are looking for a VA then you can try We Are VA’s which is a great site full of resources about hiring or becoming a VA. You never know it might be that second person you need for bouncing ideas off and developing those storytelling skills you never knew you had.
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