What even IS a virtual assistant?

And how could a VA work with artists and arts organisations?

I suspect lots of people in the arts sector are not totally sure what a virtual assistant is. And are wondering, more to the point, how likely is it that you (an artist, maker or someone who works for a cash-strapped arts organisation) could afford a VA?

Number one: a VA is someone who can take on tasks remotely. Think about that funding application that’s been languishing on your desk for the last 2 months – how great would it be if someone could spend a couple of hours on getting it moving. Maybe your files are a mess and you need someone to set you up on Google Drive. Or you know that you REALLY need to dedicate some time to promoting your work on social media – if people can’t see your beautiful jewellery / ceramics / screenprints they won’t buy them, right?

Ideally, the person taking on these tasks for you would know your industry. Would know that time is tight and cash is tighter, that funder deadlines ARE NOT flexible, that finding fantastic new board members is like finding needles in haystacks and that sometimes you just want the admin to GO AWAY for a couple of hours so you can get back to what you wanted to do in the first place i.e. be an artist/director/dancer/filmmaker (delete as appropriate). My journey began as an art student, then I was an art teacher, then an arts administrator, grants manager, event manager and I’ve been doing that stuff for over 20 years now, so I’m confident I know the not-for-profit arts sector pretty well. Have a look at my ABOUT page to see some of the organisations I’ve worked for.

Another concern people have about using a virtual assistant is more intangible: it’s about TRUST. Do you really trust this person with your passwords, your inbox, your files? My advice is to start really small. Let’s have a try-out. What small, but extremely annoying admin task could you hand over to me as a trial run while we get to know each other? Let’s talk on the phone first, or even meet for coffee if you’re in the Leeds area. (NB meeting potential new clients is not something I charge for,  I work from home and never see ANYONE so I’ll probably end up buying YOU the coffee).

And here’s the other big one. Number two: CostI charge by the hour for my work – £22.50 per hour to be exact (the VA industry is big in the UK and the average cost per hour is £27.50 but I know that most arts organisations are run on finely balanced shoestrings so I’ve taken a pragmatic approach and adopted a lower price per hour) and I am totally OK with taking on something that might literally only take ONE HOUR. Have a look at the services I offer. Maybe we can work together and I can help you shift that admin so you have more good days at the office.