*gasp* I hired a man as my virtual assistant? You’re darn right I did!
Realizing I Needed a Virtual Assistant
Back in February, after weeks of being totally stressed out, I knew that it was time to go for it. It was finally time to hire myself a virtual assistant.
Honestly, I actually do love doing things like scheduling out Twitter and Pinterest posts, but it didn’t take long for me to be way too busy dealing with actual clients for me to have time to do work like that for myself.
Actually, I wish that I’d hired someone sooner! Indigo Colton has written a great blog post on The Freelance to Freedom Project blog about why you should hire a VA before you think you’re ready. I really wish I’d listened to her! Luckily, I didn’t wait too much longer after I was ready, but hiring my fiancé Brent a few weeks earlier would have been the right choice.
Deciding on a Virtual Assistant
At the time, the main reason why I was struggling to hire a virtual assistant is because I didn’t want to spend the money.
I hate saying that, because virtual assistants are so worth the money! But, at the time, my business was in this awkward stage where I both really needed a virtual assistant, but also wasn’t making enough money to hire one.
Now, only a few short months later, I’m in a better place with my business financially, in that I can (almost) support the business and myself full time. But two months ago, I wasn’t there yet.
So I made the only choice that I had available to me. I hired my fiancé.
Hiring My Fiancé
I am going to go on record here and say that I am SO lucky to have an amazing man in my life who both supports me and my business whole-heartedly and isn’t also working a full-time job himself.
Right now, Brent is in grad school working on his Master’s in Child Psychology. He also works part-time as a mechanic, but because he does have a bit of extra time, he was more than willing to sign up as a part-time helper for Miranda Nahmias.
Since we share are getting married in less than two months and already share finances, paying him wasn’t really an issue. Basically, we just split up our money a little differently now, so that he gets a little extra spending money for himself.
When I do my monthly income reports, I account for his time spent as if I’d paid him minimum wage. This is much less than a typical virtual assistant would get paid, but I see Brent a little differently than that.
For example, I don’t pay myself wages for time spent working on the business! And I see Brent more or less as an extension of myself… He’s benefitting from the business as my fiancé, since it will someday be able to support our family, so I don’t think he really “counts” as a separate employee from myself. He and I run the business together.
The Positives and Negatives of Hiring Your Fiancé
Beyond just the technical aspects of “hiring” a family member, there are plenty of other things that are a little different about this arrangement!
Most importantly, I love that it connects us in a totally new way. What started out being something only for myself turned into an amazing venture that we’re taking on together. We talk about the future of the company and brainstorm ideas together. He knows when I need extra love and support or someone to yell at me to take a break!
On the other hand, though, there is definitely a learning curve. He knew nothing about blogging or any of my processes when we started out, and was completely inexperienced as a virtual assistant.
I trained him from the ground up, and even to this day, always double-check his work to make sure he is doing things the correct way.
Normally when you hire a virtual assistant, you’re also getting a ton of experience and expertise. But Brent had to learn everything from the very beginning.
Some of it was so funny!
At first, he capitalized all the hashtags in my tweets. And he didn’t know that starting a tweet with someone’s handle would only send the tweet to them! We had lots of laughs, but also quite a few frustrating moments because of that.
But at the same time, it’s also so much easier to teach someone something when they are sitting right next to you, rather than on the other side of the country.
For example, we were able to sit down together and come up with a way for him to organize my email for me. I’m not sure that I ever would’ve handed a task like that off to a “real” virtual assistant if Brent hadn’t convinced me that he could help me handle my inbox stress.
The Business’ Growth Since Hiring My Fiancé
Since I hired Brent back in February, the business has really taken off. And a huge part of that is because I have more time to dedicate to my clients!
Instead of spending 5 hours a week doing things like scheduling pins, tweets, and Facebook posts, I can focus all of that time on doing the things that I am the very best at — like opt-in freebie design — for my clients.
Hiring Brent is actually what really inspired me to take my business a step further! Last month, I ended up hiring another assistant, because I liked working with Brent so much!
Now, I am able to almost solely work on the graphic design aspects of my projects, which is what I’m best at and is my favorite thing to do, while my team handles all of the other things (like social media scheduling) that don’t necessarily need to be done by me personally.