6 Things Your Creative Virtual Assistant Wants you to Know

If you’re a crochet designer with a growing business, you may find that you don’t have enough time in the day to do all the things. You’re responsible for marketing, social media, creating blog content, listing products on Etsy and Ravelry … It doesn’t leave a lot of time for designing. Or maybe there are tasks you simply don’t enjoy doing, that are holding your business back, or that are taking time away from your family. That’s where a creative virtual assistant can help!

But wait! Before you hire your first VA, here are a few things to consider to get the most from this collaboration.

What Your Creative Virtual Assistant Wants You to Know

What Creative Virtual Assistants Want You to Know (But May Not Say)

These points are based on my own observations as a VA serving crochet designers, as well as things I’ve heard from other VAs in the industry. I do not claim to represent the opinions of every creative virtual assistant. Also, the examples given are general, anecdotal, and do not refer to any specific person unless specified.

1. Our time and work are valuable, too.

I have worked with business owners (not necessarily in the crochet industry) that say things like “this job is simple” or “it shouldn’t take too long,” when referring to the work I do for them. More often than not, those same people expected to pay less-than-market virtual assistant rates. On the other hand, it’s a beautiful thing when designers are happy to pay well for my time and are appreciative of the support they receive.

Your VA is not here to take advantage of you. We understand where you are in your business and will work out a rate that’s reasonable for both parties. And yes, we love to serve you. But like you, we’re ultimately in business to earn a living.

We would never say, “I could just buy a hat at Walmart,” or, “$5 for a crochet pattern? That’s ridiculous!” In the same way, content creation, social media support, setting up systems, and the myriad other tasks that virtual assistants do are all valuable skills and should be treated as such.

2. We love when you give us specific expectations.

Crochet business owners, like many creatives, can struggle with telling people what to do. Sometimes it feels mean or bossy. But your service providers want you to be happy and get a good return on your investment. The best way to achieve that is to tell them exactly what you want and when you want it! That means setting clear expectations, processes, and deadlines.

Rose Hudd from Hookfully has a unique perspective, as a designer who offers VA services. She understands how it can be both a relief and a worry to outsource some of your business tasks. That’s why she emphasizes the importance of setting specific expectations around how much independence you want your VA to have. For example, do you just want them to schedule content that you have written? Or do you want them to create an entire blog post or social media strategy? Let them know!

Not sure exactly what you want? That’s normal when you’re just starting to work with a VA for the first time. Schedule a Zoom call, have a discussion, and iron out these things together. It may take a few months to find your flow. But once you do, it’s well worth it for both parties!

And what if your VA gets something wrong? It’s normal to have kinks as you’re building a professional relationship. Don’t be afraid to speak up. That way we can learn and grow together!

3. Communicate with your creative virtual assistant!

For me personally, if a client gives me a deadline, I’m going to do everything in my power to meet it. Sometimes that may mean losing a little sleep or (gasp!) sacrificing my own crochet time. So it can be super disheartening to push hard for a deadline, only to find out that there was a change in plans.

If you need to change a deadline, take the business in a different direction, or take a break from your normal schedule, please let your VA know so that they can adjust their expectations, processes, etc. Just a quick message is all it takes and it will prevent the anxiety that can result from a lack of direction.

An added plus is that if you do need to take a break, your VA may have ideas about how they can keep your business ticking along, even when you’re not creating any new products.

4. Give us everything we need to get the job done.

If we’re billing by the hour, spending time chasing down specific images, resources, links, or passwords costs you time that could be better spent helping you improve your business! So before you ask us to do a job, make sure all of the resources are available. Here are some ways you can equip your VA with the right tools:

  • If your VA is creating graphics in Canva, take advantage of the Brand Kit in Canva Pro to share all of your brand colors, fonts, and logos in one place. As a habit, share all of those templates with everyone on your team who may need them.
  • Make folders for product photos or social media images in Google Drive or Dropbox.
  • Create spreadsheets to organize needed resources like roundup links, SEO keywords, or affiliate links.
  • Name (or rename) images appropriately so that they’re easily searchable. This makes them searchable by Google and Pinterest, too!

Organizing your assets saves both of us time. Rather than having to ask you, interrupt your workflow, and wait for an answer, we have what we need at our fingertips.

5. We want a collaborative, business-to-business relationship.

My favorite client relationships are the ones where I’m treated as a collaborator, rather than an employee. Yes, you are ultimately the CEO of your business so you will have the final say. But see your VA (or each of your VAs) as a creative business owner who brings distinct skills to the table. Ask yourself (and them!) how their business can serve your business.

That means you should also expect your VA to show up as a professional and hold them accountable. Good VAs will appreciate this and live up to your expectations. But when that business relationship is reciprocal, you will really see people’s talents shine!

6. Sometimes we’re a little star struck.

This is just a little bonus point I thought you might like to know. Not every crochet service provider crochets but most of us have some kind of creative outlet and can admire your craft. Crochet designers, especially those who we’ve followed online, can seem like celebrities to us.

I have ended up working for some favorite crochet designers who I have been following for years (and also picked up some new favorites!). Then one day, they just handed me the passwords to their blogs. It can be a bit overwhelming at first. But I love being surrounded by creative energy, beautiful designs, and exciting projects. Also, I want to make more of your patterns than I will ever have time for.

7. We care as much about your business as you do.

To be fair, I can’t speak for every single creative virtual assistant. But as for me and the VAs in my network, we love our clients and want to be a positive factor in helping their businesses grow. We want to see an impact from our work. Your success is our success, after all.

If you respect our time and talents, set specific expectations, and communicate well, you can build collaborative professional relationships with VAs that will take your crochet business to new heights! And we hope that the Crochet Professionals Network will serve as a resource for forming and nurturing those relationships.

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