Our services are a mix of implementation and consultation--sometimes you need a productivity strategist, sometimes you need someone to carry out the task itself. Tasks we've done include (but are not limited to):
- Updating calendars/setting appointments
- Basic proofreading/editing
- Email management (hands-on and consultations)
- Customer service
- Rewrites/refreshes of blog posts for guest posting
- Scheduling social media posts
- Basic image design
- Coordination of projects/communication
- Strategy sessions for projects
- Updating email marketing sequences
- Basic and intermediate WordPress tasks
- Updating descriptions/keywords for YouTube videos
- Other things you would want to give an assistant!
A virtual specialist is someone who focuses on a particular type of support as opposed to the assorted tasks of an Administrative Assistant. Our clients sometimes need "go deeper" assistance with projects such as graphic design, bookkeeping, extensive editing, and more. We are happy to have contractors in our collective who are ready to help with these specialized needs.
These types of services are handled via invoicing, in some cases requiring an initial deposit upfront.
Probably the key "thing to know" is that a virtual assistant is different from an employee. You contract a virtual assistant to help with projects, but the VA generally determines some of the terms (such as fees, services offered and availability) and provides his/her own equipment and work space--saving you those headaches! And, while a VA may occasionally work onsite or meet with local clients, their base of operation is primarily their own office or mobile work space.
It’s also quite likely a VA will be serving more than one client and will need to budget his/her time to serve each client well. This makes the dynamic a bit different than if you had a dedicated assistant on location with you. You should be aware that a contract VA retains control over the hours she/he can offer and the locations where he/she works. If you are looking for someone to follow a schedule that you determine, to be on-call during all business hours, or work in a location you specify, you may need an employee. (Check the laws in your location about the difference between employees and contractors.)
H.O.P.E. is set-up to work on projects in a batched and timely way rather than immediately “on-demand," although we are also easily reached and committed to being responsive ... and our clients would verify that.
When a client determines that a Virtual Administrative Assistant is a fit for him/her, he or she begins a working relationship with Beth Beutler. Beth is always the primary VA for our clients. As rapport develops, and Beth identifies tasks that a team member can assist with, she will begin to incorporate that VA into your workflow and train them to be additional help. You'll be made aware of when collaborators begin to help, and if appropriate, even be introduced to them. But Beth retains the communication with you (or is cc'd) and time is deducted from your retainer, in the same way, no matter which VA does what part of the task. Reasonable coordination and training time is deducted from your retainer as well. This is usually not excessive as we use video clips to train when applicable and the team is familiar with several processes that are used by more than one client.
No. H.O.P.E. Unlimited offers a unique model that provides flexibility for clients without requiring a long-term commitment. Most of our services are offered in a Pre-paid Service Account model, meaning that clients purchase only what they anticipate needing, in small blocks at a time, prior to service, usually after our Easy Start trial period. Clients are considered active as long as we have interaction with them regularly, either through recurring weekly/monthly tasks or coaching meetings at least once a month.
Your initial conversation with Beth will help you strategize how to take your support to the next level! The first meeting is free!
Our 10-hour package has an expiration date of 90 days and our 20-hour package has an expiration date of 120 days, from the day of purchase. As long as you provide us up to an hour of work most weeks, you should not have a problem using your retainer before the deadline.
You'll be notified when your retainer falls below three hours, so you'll have plenty of time to renew. The expiration date is changed and based on the date of the most recent purchase. These deadlines are somewhat fluid for clients that are providing us consistent, weekly work, but are used to help ensure that we are actively engaging in projects and tasks to keep your business flowing!
Our Executive Assistant On-Call membership automatically renews monthly at a more affordable cost. This is a great option for those who want guaranteed fast, professional service but don't think they have enough regular work yet for a larger retainer.
We prefer only one package be purchased at a time. However, in special circumstances we will allow stacking.
Provided that your bank maintains a positive balance to cover your needs, we can work on your projects. From this point, all time spent on projects, by ANY team member involved with the project will be deducted from your retainer. This includes hands-on tasks as well as conversations held with the client during a meeting/phone call even if some of the conversation is casual/personal. We deduct from retainers in 15-minute increments. When responding "here and there" to keep work flowing, we often record those interactions of up to three minutes as "snippets" saving the deduction until we have five snippets.
When a team VA is brought on to help, we do not charge the client for basic training if Beth has already been trained and is delegating the task. However we do charge if you want both of us to attend meetings. Beth will often not charge you for time she spends coordinating with the collaborating VA.
Bottom line ... we aim to be ethical and fair, and believe our clients are pleased with the quality and speed of our work.
We do not refund unused hours unless we feel it is an emergency situation. We communicate in a way to help you take full advantage of your retainer, but it is ultimately up to you to be sure to use your allotted hours.
Because HOPE is a sole proprietor business at this time, you will likely be required to send a 1099 if you pay us $600 or more in a calendar year. Please check with your accountant for rules that apply to your state and situation. We do record your payments as income and pay taxes whether or not you send a 1099 but we want you to be in line with whatever laws apply to you! If you need a W9, we can provide one.
Any collaborative VA or VA specialist who does work with you through H.O.P.E. is paid by H.O.P.E. ... you will not need to send a 1099 to any of them.
We believe in responsive turnaround, as well as work-life balance.
The bulk of client work is done during daytime business hours Monday through Thursday, EST. As a general rule, Beth "closes shop" at noon on Fridays for the weekend. However, since she tends to monitor email regularly, she may choose to do some work or respond off-hours if she deems it helpful.
As well, each contractor has their own preference for when to work on your projects, so there may be times that you would see progress on a project on evenings or weekends by others on the team.
We tend to practice the following holidays: New Years Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, April 8 (Beth’s birthday), Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve Day. When a holiday falls on a weekend, we may take a separate week day off.
There may be times that Beth is booked for a business trip to support a client or for a speaking engagement, and she likes to take vacation days a few times a year!
She always communicates to the client family well in advance, and will monitor messages and respond in a timely way to the best of her ability unless specifically saying she will be "off the grid."
If they want to be, YES! HOPE Unlimited is considered a family so we enjoy the interaction on social media and seeing other layers of one another's lives. It is not at all required though, and each subcontractor operates with their own preference on this.
From time to time, we like to spotlight a client and brag on them to our widespread, multi-channel network. It is also beneficial for the public to know that HOPE supports some wonderful organizations and entrepreneurs. However, if a client would prefer we keep our working relationship confidential, we will certainly honor that (just let us know) and we do not guarantee publicity to any client.
Creative work that we do on your behalf (i.e. social media images) become YOUR property. If you do not renew with us, we are happy to send them to you in a Drop Box folder for your future use.
We recommend you use LastPass to provide access to what we will need to support you. We discuss arrangements with each client separately when the need arises.
We know that can happen! We will work with you as best we can to help you get past that emergency, especially if it’s the exception to our normal routine with you. If it is a pattern that develops, we may have a conversation with you to facilitate better planning. In some rare cases, we may deem it fair to deduct time-and-a-half from your bank, but we would tell you this up front so you can decide accordingly if you want to proceed.
We use a variety of communication tools based on the client's needs. Email is the preferred method of communication, but as applicable, we'll exchange cell numbers or join a tool such as Asana that you may use for project management. (We ask that you cover the cost for any specific tool on which you want us to have a distinct presence.)
If appropriate, we are fine with having a designated email address/signature in your system to do our work on your behalf so that you can retain branding consistency. Otherwise, we'll use a signature indicating we are "providing virtual assistance to..."
We are also happy to use Facebook messenger and Zoom video as means to communicate.
We try to be streamlined and not get involved in other third-party tools that haven't been mentioned here. So far, we've always been able to implement a plan that works for everyone!
The Give HOPE Fund is an initiative to help us give back to the community, give paid time to assist non-profits without charging them, participate in healthy initiatives, commission a special project, give donations, and more.
There are two ways you can participate.
- Some clients opt, in their order, to defer a portion of their retainer to the fund.
- A small portion of every redeemed hour (once we do the work) is deferred into the fund automatically.
On occasion, especially in the early stages of the working relationship with local clients, we will have in-person meetings, sometimes without cost to the client. However, once the relationship is established, if further onsite meetings are required, we will revert to our flat rate for half and full day pricing. It is to the client's benefit to delegate some on-site tasks to us as well so that we can work a half or full day, if they want us to come to their location. Otherwise, a video Zoom meeting is more cost effective for them.
On a limited basis, we are available for local (Upstate, SC) onsite work and/or out-of-town event and conference support, on a flat rate basis. Currently the rates are:
Local (Upstate SC)
$150 for a half-day (up to 4 hours of work time)
$300 for a full day (between 4 and 8 hours of work time)
Out-of-Town Event Support or Meetings
$200 for a half-day (up to 4 hours of responsibilities)
$400 for a full day (between 4 and 8 hours of responsibilities)
Client is also expected to cover travel and lodging expenses. This will be discussed on a case-by-case basis due to variables in type of travel, length of stay, etc.
If WE choose to attend an event of yours for the purpose of relationship development or networking, you will not be charged.
The Breath of Hope Training Center is a library of multi-format on-demand or live resources to help overwhelmed professionals excel and exhale. Many of the resources are offered via a Pay-What-You-Like approach so that a professional of any income level, employed, unemployed, or underemployed can make progress in their professional development. We will consider granting free access to those for whom it would be a financial hardship to pay, and we also appreciate those who choose to sponsor the center.