Did you know? The average price of a UK-based virtual assistant is £27 an hour. I personally charge £35 an hour. 

What if you can’t afford this?

Well, first of all, please don’t ask us to discount our rates. We’re just trying to make a living like you are and have to make our business viable.

Paying for a VA should be an investment in growing your business and buying back your time. If you are earning well over £27 an hour yourself, this means that you’re probably losing money by doing your own admin instead of outsourcing it! In that case, can you really afford not to outsource?

However, I totally understand that some people genuinely don’t have the money for whatever reasons. So here are some things I’d suggest trying instead…

Doing it yourself

  • Automate processes in your business. This is a good first step anyway as it speeds up your operations, reduces mistakes and can be cheaper than hiring someone to do the same thing manually. For example, you could set up an account in Calendly or TidyCal and send people a link to book into your calendar, instead of spending time going back and forth on emails to arrange appointments. Likewise, you could use a bookkeeping and invoicing software that integrates with your bank account and speeds up your financial processes.
  • Improve your time management. Block time slots into your diary to do your admin work every day, week or whenever suits you to keep on top of it and not let it leak too much into your billable work or free time.

Outsourcing for cheaper

When considering any of the below, please be aware of things like insurance, data protection, cultural and language barriers, and how skilled a professional you need for the job you’re looking for. Please do you due diligence in whoever you use.

  • Find a VA who is willing to do a skill swap with you. It would have to be someone who would like the service that you’re offering, and likewise they would need to be able to do the tasks that you are outsourcing to them. But if you can find a good fit, it can be a great mutually beneficial deal. 
  • Find a student, graduate or young person who needs work experience. You can pay them less than an experienced VA, whilst helping them to gain valuable experience in their career. Please consider that you might need to spend time training them up.
  • If you’re a charity, you could recruit an admin volunteer. There are experienced people out there who are willing to give back, as well as people entering or changing careers who need experience. Just bear in mind that volunteer support may not be as reliable as paid support, especially as these people probably still need to make a living from somewhere.
  • Use a freelancer marketplace like People Per Hour, UpWork or Fiverr, where you can find freelancers from all over the world at all sorts of prices.

Finding more cash for a virtual assistant

  • Many small businesses, social enterprises and charities are eligible for funding from their local governments, councils or other organisations. This might be in the form of grants, loans or investments, which often come with restrictions over who can use them and how they’re spent. For example, I know of some individuals with certain health conditions obtaining Access to Work grants to pay for VA support. And for charities in Scotland, one great place to find funding is Funding Scotland. There are many more possibilities – do your research and see what’s out there to prop up your business.
  • Start a crowdfunder. There are loads of websites where you can put your business or charity out there and ask for people to donate cash to help it along, such as Crowdfunder or GoFundMe.
  • Make more money in your business. Could you do things like increase your prices, do more marketing (such as posting more on LinkedIn), create some passive income, or find more clients? Even, instead of looking for brand new clients, is it suitable to seek repeat business or upsell to your current clients? Once you’re busier, you’ll probably struggle to find time to do all your admin, and you’ll then hopefully have the money to outsource it.
Business woman sitting at a desk, smiling looking at the camera and holding a white bag of money in one hand with a dollar sign written on it. On the desk in front of her, a red piggy bank is standing, coins are in neat piles and there is a calculator. She is glad she can now afford a virtual assistant.
Yay! Time to talk to Toks now! 🙂

To conclude

None of these suggestions are necessarily a long term replacement for using a professional VA, but they may at least help you until you are in a place where you need to hire one. Once you’re at that point – let’s talk about my virtual assistant services!

Any other suggestions you would add?