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Thinking that you may need a VA, but don’t know where to start?
- Options Discussed:
- Social Media Templates
- Book covers & Editing
- Social Media Management
I remember when I was first starting my own creative business online, I was grasping for every bit of information that I could find. I was in Jennifer Allwood’s Inner Circle, and Creator’s Roadmap (Not open at this time.)
For the first year or so, every time I heard to “hire someone” or “get a VA”, I thought it did not apply to me. There was no way that I could even think about hiring someone at $15 an hour, which was the going rate. I wasn’t bringing that home myself at the time.
Swing forward to today, and I just queried a recommended VA and they charge $60 per hour. SIXTY DOLLARS PER HOUR. I appreciate what they do and have to learn, in order to do their jobs properly, but $60 per hour???? Eek! That is not a smart business decision for someone that is not pulling in 6 figures in their online business, or on the skyrocket to bigger and greener pastures.
I am, however, at the point that I cannot do it all. I had to learn to let go of some of the control, the responsibility, and the dollars. Just as I did with my brick-and-mortar store, I am reinvesting everything that I am making right now, back into my business.
I hire out a LOT of projects, but have not found a perfect VA (if there is such a thing). Ideally, I would find a local college student that is eager to learn and build her portfolio, but alas, I live in a rural area of LA, and my letters requesting internship information or for my information to be shared with marketing majors at LSU have been largely ignored. (That is still a viable option, if you live near a campus.)
(On a side note here, did you know that the vast majority of marketing programs do not teach online marketing? Are you kidding me? They are still teaching newspaper, radio and billboards. How about that for sending graduates out into the workforce unprepared for the reality of jobs in America? Unbelievable.)
Anyway, the answer for me, the Holy Grail, has been Fiverr. Every gig has not been perfect, and out of dozens, I have only had 2 bad experiences, and they were not a big deal. For the most part, I have found persons who specialize in their field, have a good work ethic, and who are eager to do the job and do it to my satisfaction.
The more I thought about having a Pinterest specialist, an Instagram Specialist, a graphics specialist, an e-commerce specialist, web designer, video editor, video loader, etc., the more confident I felt in each area. I think an actual VA may be in my future one day, but I would still have to hire out a lot of the work. Even VA’s have areas of expertise, you can’t expect them to do everything.
I have not done everything that I decided to delegate on Fiverr, I had one logo designed on Etsy (the Sisterhood one), and I ordered a media kit template there. The logo was awesome, the media kit was trash. I also hired a one-time Etsy description editor, who was recommended by another “famous” furniture artist, but that was also a waste of time and money for me. So, just like anything else, it can be a 50/50 chance. I love Etsy, but Fiverr is more of my “nose to the grindstone-let’s get this job done” style.
What I like better about Fiverr, is the sheer number of potential gigs in each area. Sometimes it is hard to narrow down exactly what you want. There are reviews, and you can ask questions and clarify everything in advance. I have several gigs going right now, 1 of which was customized for me from an offer, and the other where I sent out a request and received offers. I will elaborate a little here, just to make sure that I am sharing enough information to be helpful.
Current gig 1. I wanted to be able to sell DIY paint on my website. I had added it to my Etsy store, found out (after a few sales) that it was not allowed, and did not want to lose the momentum on my online sales.
I had done research on e-commerce in the past, and decided on Woo Commerce. It is supposedly the most widely used, and simple to understand, and integrates with Square, the processor that I use in my brick-and-mortar. I know how to use Square to add items, and everything should have been easy. Should have been…
I added Woo Commerce, which then required I reinstall Jetpack (for shipping and taxes), and I connected my Square (credit card processing) account. (If at any time this gets confusing, a Fiverr gig can help you, lol) Woo Commerce and Square sync with each other hourly to manage inventory for those who also sell offline. I am not using that inventory management at this time, but it is important to have if you do shows and vendor events, or have a brick-and-mortar store.
The setup process was fairly quick and easy, but when it came to setting up the variations and attributes of the products (color, sizes available, prices) I was stumped. Stumped enough to know that this was not my wheelhouse. It was nearly midnight and I had spent the last 2 hours working on something I should have hired out.
I had read that there were some syncing issues with variations and attributes between Woo and Square, and I was really afraid that I was going to wonk something up and, even more important to me, waste my time. Time I could be spending on enjoyable projects for my work, or on money-making projects. So, I went to Fiverr.
There were tons of e-commerce site builders. I did not want a new site. There were a lot of Shopify people, I wanted Woo Commerce, so all of those things helped me narrow it down. Then I saw a gig (from Bangladesh, I believe) that offered to build a Woo Commerce Store, add products, photos, descriptions, integrate through Mailchimp (for receipts and adding buyers to my e-mail list, win-win). Fiverr gigs are allowed and encouraged to add 3 options. There was a $10 option here (crazy, right?) to build a basic store and add 10 items. A $150 option for building a store with 250 items, and then the gold option, around $250 to add 500 items and totally personalize the theme to your store, and build it all from scratch in 7 days.
I looked at the gig, the reviews, the descriptions, and it was not exactly what I needed, but I felt good about it, and it was the closest that I had seen. He even said that he could take the products and info off of an old site to add to new, so that I did not have to provide all of that info. Amazing, right? So, I sent a request, told him I had a website, already had Woo, Jetpack and Square loaded, and that all of my items would be coming off of the manufacturer’s websites and my Etsy store, about 150 items total. Fiverr has you input your budget here, and I added $100. It was well worth $100 to me to get this done and off of my back, and to have my online store up and running. (I had planned on adding e-commerce in 2020, but the paint issue moved it to 2019). Wasimw (gig name) is working on it now, and I should be up and running in 7 days. Very few headaches for me, and I will update this post when it is complete.
Current Gig 2. Faizferoz, from Pakistan, is working on my 4th project this month with him. I record furniture painting tutorials, step-by-step, and they can sometimes be hours long (current is over 6 hours off of 25 videos) With this gig, Faizferoz takes my numbered videos from a private Facebook group, and splices them together, adding my new intro at the beginning, and placing a colored slide with the video number and description as each video moves into the next. He then loads them to a private You Tube link on my channel, so that I can share the link to anyone who purchases the tutorial. We go 2 hours per video, so some of the canvas tutorials are just one video, while furniture can be 2 or even 3. (This month’s project, Southwest Bohemian Patina is 3 videos long.) I paid $15 plus tip for the first video, I raised him to $20 for the next 2, and this one he still asked $20, but I will make it $40 with tip.
Faizferoz and I plan to work long-term together on my video projects. He will continue to edit my videos and has given me pointers for better videos. He will next move all of my Facebook live videos to You Tube and add my custom Thumbnails, and add Thumbnails to my current videos. He will work on SEO and descriptions and growing my channel, as well.
I found Faizferoz through a ”wanted” type of listing, called a Request. You fill out a form and description, outlining exactly what you are seeking to have done. When you wake up the next morning, your message center is full of offers. You do set an initial budget, and most are right at that budget, or well below, and occasionally a few will be over. They all send an appeal for your business, explaining what they will offer to you to get the job.
I weed through these, dropping those with grammatical errors or obvious issues speaking English, my preferred language, because I want to assure good communication. I then remove ones that are out of my budget range, and when I have it narrowed down to a half dozen or so, I look at their portfolios. I can usually spot a couple that have done similar work, and a couple that are nothing like the work that I need, even though they are good at what they do. Then, when it is down to two, I base it on gut feeling or price, and contact them for any clarifications. You can contact more than one at this point, if you are having trouble deciding. Once you decide on the gig, you accept the offer.
After you accept an offer, you have to provide your details, login information, etc. to the gig, so that they can do the work. I create secondary administrator positions for everything, and share them with the gig, and save that information in my notes. I delete them after the job is complete. I have never had a trust issue broken or make me uncomfortable.
I currently have a novel (last year’s NaNoWriMo) being edited, a new pop-up and freebie with Mailchimp integration being created, and am looking for a designer for the supply lists that will mail out with my affiliate links and video links for the tutorials.
Others worthy of mention are Millysa, who created branded templates for my Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest posts, as well as You Tube thumbnail templates, and You Tube and Facebook cover templates. I love her work and she did project after project for me so that I would be consistent across all platforms. I paid $25 plus tip for each set, and every template is done in 3 different colors, teal, pink and green, to differentiate between my painting posts, travel posts and business posts. She works fast and offers several options each time. She creates them on Canva, so that I have easy access to create graphics with them whenever I am ready.
Farjukbd updated the SEO on my You Tube channel, and on my top performing video. $25 plus tip. Orialmehmeti optimized the SEO on my website, and optimized the size of every photo for faster loading, and added my https certificate. $25 plus tip. Barry087 created numerous graphics for me to use on Udemy Courses. $30. Melgraphics created an e-book cover and an audio book cover for $20.
Daphne_myrthe corrected the bugs in my Google Analytics. $20. Mrfaraz has done multiple wordpress gigs for me, including rearranging menus and categories, $15-$20. Boyy1993x uploaded 65 Facebook live videos for me to You Tube, and placed descriptions and put them in correct playlists. $17 plus tip. (I found out here that Fiverr allows a maximum $25 tip. I wish I could have tipped more.)
My entire “day job” website www.doctnd.com was created from scratch for $200, and I paid $50 for the custom logo that goes with it. (Atiqbd4ever and Didesign_studio)
My one disappointing gig was Pinterest management. I was looking for someone to set up my Tailwind pins/Tribes and Pinterest group boards, as well as design my board covers. The gig I hired just pinned for a week. I can pin myself, and with Mylissa’s templates, it was easy to design my board covers. I have not given up on Pinterest help, I am just going to search for a Tailwind expert next time. (This week.) That issue reflected on the gig herself, not Fiverr.
Fiverr is a great platform, and has to make money, too. They charge the gig 20% of the offer and tip, they charge $2-$5 per transaction to the buyer. They charge you the fee when you place the order, and another fee when you leave the tip. So, you pay them twice. They are, however, your protector, as well. They provide the platform, and a means for all communication and delivery. They provide the opportunity for gigs. The gig does not get paid by Fiverr until the gig is done and accepted by the buyer. Only then is the money released to them. It is a great opportunity for all of us, and they deserve to make money, too.
I hope that you are able to delegate some of the more mundane tasks of your business so that you, too, can spend more time creating! Other creative videos that you may find helpful include a video comparison of tabletop camera mounts, and how to create your own You Tube intro video.