Imagine this. You’ve been building your private practice for a few years, you’re onboarding new clients every week, you’re continuing to educate yourself and become an expert in your field.
The only problem? Time.
As a therapist, you feel there isn’t enough of it to go around. You feel yourself crumbling and you can’t seem to get ahead. If ONLY you could get some help! Ahhh sweet relief. But how?
Surely good help is hard to find AND expensive, right?
You may find the right help at an affordable price if you consider hiring a virtual assistant for your private practice.
‘Virtual Assistants’ are the new “It” girl in the world of therapy and private practice. VA’s, as they are called, provide administrative help, marketing help, calendar help and can even sift through your endless amounts of email. Scheduling and client calls? That too. SERIOUSLY. Sounds like a dream come true right?
Though the idea of having a VA makes any therapist giddy from the toes up, I am generally met with 6 cold, hard pushbacks. I’m going to address these myths and provide you with the fear-crushing information you need to take the leap of faith into ‘letting go’for the sake of your practice.
Myth 1: I can’t afford a virtual assistant in my private practice
I am addressing price first. Usually, this is the number one concern when hiring your private practice support team. Will you be able to afford the overhead? Traditionally, hiring someone to sit with you at the office daily, for 4 to 8 hours a day meant a solid salary, employee taxes, and benefits.
When you hire a VA you’re getting billed by the hour FOR ONLY THE WORK DONE in a day. This is magic! You can hire a VA to do the exact same jobs as an in-house employee for a fraction of the cost.
In my agency, we bill to the minute. We don’t round, so you only pay for what you get. You aren’t paying us to sit around the watercooler or chat with other employees.
Myth 2: Virtual assistants are hard to find
Admittedly, VA’s are kind of like four leaf clovers. We know they exist, are pretty awesome when you find one, but rarely do you physically see them. I’ll give you a tip: ask your therapy colleagues first. Ask the people in your Mastermind groups, and ask the people in your Facebook groups. Our small agency, thus far, has worked entirely on referrals!
So what happens when you Google “find a virtual assistant for my private practice”? I’m willing to bet a big name staffing agency pops up. This agency is perfectly fine to use. But, if you want a more personal, one-on-one relationship with your VA, scroll down a little further in the search and possibly to page two (GASP).
Be cautious, however, of anyone and everyone claiming to be a VA. While this might technically be true, ask to see references, samples of work, and have them fill out a questionnaire that asks specific questions to you and your private practice. This early vetting will save you time, stress and money later on.
Myth 3: They’re hard to communicate with when working remotely
We sometimes think because we’re working in an office with fancy telephones and a conference room we are engaging in productive communication 24/7. You can’t possibly have this type of relationship with your VA right? Not so. Because VA’s work remotely, they tend to be extra sensitive to communication. A properly trained (or experienced) VA attends regular check-ins, utilizes project management software, text messages (at the clients’ discretion), phone calls and zoom meetings.
Here’s a little VA secret: communication and efficiency are our top priorities! We don’t like to waste time, but we do like to ask questions.
Myth 4: Virtual assistants are lazy
If you could see a VA’s project boards in Asana your brain would spin and you might need to lie down. We are the queens and kings of multi-tasking and keeping things in order during an entire workday. The sheer mental compartmentalizing is grueling and frankly makes me kind of sweaty. Generally speaking, VA’s seek remote work for various reasons, but in my experience, they are usually juggling life just like everyone else.
Myth 5: They don’t do specialized private practice tasks or anything outside of administrative tasks
The good news? VA’s are Jacks and Janes of all trades.
There isn’t much we can’t or won’t do for a client. Because we’re also good communicators, you can be assured we will tell you if we’re comfortable doing other tasks for your private practice like social media management, graphic design, blog writing, sales, or therapist website design or management.
The possibilities are endless. Some VA’s specialize in mental health or private practice work! This is even better news.
The bad news? Your VA might not know how to do a specialized task. That’s ok. They will either learn or find someone that can. Either way, you win.
Searching for a VA to support you in your private practice shouldn’t be another task you simply can’t find time for. There is an entire sea of highly efficient, organized and talented VA’s out there ready to help you gain productive hours back into your work or personal life. These amazing individuals will prioritize you and your business. When you succeed, WE succeed.
So if you’re a therapist thinking about hiring a virtual assistant for your private practice, consider these five myths and what the truth means for you. As a therapist, more time means helping more people but it also means helping yourself.
Amanda Jeans, Virtual Assistant