Working as a Subcontractor

March 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Feature Articles

What you need to know

Many virtual assistants share that one of the biggest challenges facing their business is getting that “real-life experience” working in a client/VA relationship. Especially for new VA’s, just having the option to work in a client/VA scenario to gain experience would be a great opportunity.

As with any decision, a careful analysis should be conducted. So…keep this information in mind if you are thinking about working as a subcontractor to a multi-VA business.

1. Find the right mix

What are you good at? What skills do you want to market? Searching for a multi-VA business that you can connect with is like finding that perfect pair of jeans; they fit, you feel good in them and the price is right! So do your research:

  • Search the web and online forums to find those businesses that interest you.
  • Find out what niche they serve, or if they specialize in certain skill sets for their clients.
  • Find out how long have they been in business?
  • Inquire for more information by sending them an email or filling out their online application.

2. Hiring – What questions to ask

Let’s say you’ve found a multi-VA business that you’d like to work with. What do you need to know before joining the team?

  • Do they have a contract?
  • What do they pay their subcontractors?
  • How do they pay – will you be paid via PayPal, bank transfer or cheque?
  • When can you expect payment?
  • What happens if the client you are working with does not connect with you or you with them?
  • What type of help can you expect from the multi-VA team environment?  How many hours can you expect?
  • If you wish to dissolve your VA contract – how many days notice do you need?

3. The pros and cons

There are always advantages and disadvantages to any choice you make in life and working as a subcontractor is no different.

Pros:

  • Ability to work in a team environment
  • Free training
  • The chance to work with real clients
  • No marketing needed – resulting in more time to spend on client work
  • No billing to client and negotiating terms and prices with client – your multi-VA business owner is responsible for this

Cons:

  • Possibly making less money that having your own clients (most subcontractors should be making between $20-30/hour)
  • Takes time away from building your own business
  • Possibly experiencing a delay in getting paid (you may get paid only after the multi-VA owner is paid)
  • Possibly having less direct client contact (the multi-VA owner may be responsible for client relationship management)

On a personal note:

To say that I like being part of a VA team is an understatement. Having a group of VA’s that work alongside of you, support your efforts and build you up has been a rewarding experience.

Secondly, the skills I have gained from working with experienced VA’s is insurmountable. I know these skills would have come in time, but I was able to cut that learning curve short by months, maybe years by really plugging in.

Thirdly, my own business is now starting to bloom with the added confidence, skills and enthusiasm that I credit to working as a subcontractor.

In short, do consider the idea of being a VA subcontractor; the obvious and hidden benefits are there for the taking.

About the Author

theresa-retouchTheresa Scholes, B.Com. Certified Virtual Assistant and Owner of “Click Virtual Assistance”, helps busy entrepreneurs manage the demands of a growing online business. Theresa works closely with coaches, consultants and internet marketers to manage the e-commerce, marketing and administrative aspects of their business allowing them time to focus on what they do best. theresa@clickva.com

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