Do Real Estate Photographers Need a Virtual Assistant
Many business owners can benefit from hiring a virtual assistant. When running your own company, you tend to wear many hats and have a long list of things to check off daily just to keep your photography business up and running.
From administration, marketing, production, customer satisfaction, after sales, and so on, there are many departments that even the smallest of businesses need to take care of. Because of this, outsourcing someone who you can trust to take on some of the tasks and help lessen the load can really go a long way.
While some may consider this as an expense, just think of all you stand to gain by having more hours open up each day. The more you understand how it helps you run your business faster, smoother, and better overall, the less you see it as an expense but more of an investment.
Whether you have a real estate or wedding photography business, an independent contractor that will help you with business tasks can definitely help increase business growth and help you gain back control over your own schedule.
What is a Virtual Assistant for Photographers?
A virtual assistant is someone who is usually self-employed, and can be hired to perform different kinds of business related tasks. They typically do not focus on just one kind of thing, but are able to help with varying departments.
They work remotely, and may or may not need to adhere to specific work hours or normal business hours if that is not something you require. Their core duties essentially depend on the nature of your agreement, and what you want them to take on.
For instance, some photographers may prefer being more hands on when it comes to speaking with clients because they feel that it is important to directly connect with them. Still others would prefer their virtual assistant narrows down the number of inquiries, concerns, and appointment bookings, and only passes them along when necessary. There is no one size fits all, and your arrangement boils down to what you both are comfortable with.
Benefits of working with a virtual assistant
- Professional virtual assistants are typically paid by the hour and only for the list of tasks they have completed, unlike a full time employee who you will have to pay a fixed monthly salary, regardless of the work they have accomplished.
- You are not obliged to provide virtual assistants with the same benefits that full time employees get, such as health insurance or paid leaves.
- Because they work remotely, there is no need for you to provide any office equipment or space.
- You have more time to focus on the things that need most of your attention such as being able to accept more projects, edit your images, learning your craft, or even spending time with your loved ones.
- You will not need to set aside time to do administrative tasks such as answering emails, engaging on social media, or coming up with your posts. These may seem small, but they take up a bulk of your hours when added up.
- Hiring a virtual assistant can boost business productivity, which helps the business grow. Because there are now two sets of hands getting things done, you not only get to work more efficiently and produce quality results, but you get a lot more done within the same amount of time.
How can a virtual assistant help a photographer?
There are many things that a virtual assistant can take care of. More often than not, they do not need a specific set of skills to accomplish their work either. By having the right mindset, enough motivation, and willingness to learn, your virtual assistant can check off the following tasks regularly.
The tasks that fall under the marketing department may just be some of the most time consuming part of running the business. These may include:
1. Managing the website
In this digital age, it is so much easier to be able to create your own website and manage it without having to hire a web developer. Web providers such as WordPress, Wix, and SquareSPace are just some of the well-known sites that help you run a website at an affordable price and with user-friendly systems.
Despite the fact that it is highly learnable, it does not follow that you have the time to study it.
2. Managing the blog
Writing a blog has many steps to it, like thinking of your relevant topics, doing the research, actually writing the content, scheduling it on your website, and so on. If your virtual assistant has a knack for words, you can save a lot of time by having them take care of the blog and you only need to review and approve before publishing.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO can be tricky and we suggest hiring an SEO expert separately while your brand is still growing. However, once you get a good flow of things, there are tasks that your virtual assistant can help with such as doing keyword research, labeling images, applying a meta-description, and the like.
4. Social Media Strategy
When it comes to social media, it is helpful to plan ahead and strategize the kind of content you want to associate with your brand. By coming up with a monthly schedule, there is no need to think about what you should post every single day anymore. It is incredibly helpful and effective to research, carefully craft content, and schedule them ahead of time.
Your strategy should also include social media advertising and hashtag research.
5. Social Media Management
It’s one thing to strategize your content, it’s a whole other ball game to stay on top of things! Management would include ensuring your posts are publishing right, the messages are answered, and the comments are replied to.
6. Email Newsletters
Email marketing has been around for too long yet it is still highly effective when done right! It is helpful to have automated emails that can cater to clients in varying purchasing levels such as those who are still leads, those who have already purchased, returning clients, and those opting out.
Your VA can help in designing these templates, filling them with content, and scheduling them out – on top of growing your email list. Moreover, they can also help in designing landing pages that increase conversion rates and have more quality leads sign up
Your VA can help you know more about your competition, what kind of strategies are working for them, what keywords you need to rank for on Google, what are the new trends, and so on!
Creative Work Tasks
Apart from marketing, virtual assistants can help with some of the creative tasks, such as
8. Editing your photos
Your real estate photographs need to be enhanced well enough to catch attention. While a lot of photographers want complete control over their editing process, some may want to delegate a few of the repetitive tasks. Things like adding watermarks on the images, resizing images, applying a Lightroom preset that you have programmed yourself.
9. Assisting in photo shoots
Some virtual assistants may be within your area and would be open to doing some physical work. It would be of great help to have someone carry and set up some of your equipment for the shoot.
10. Designing and writing for social media
Beyond the strategy and management, there is also having to design the posts and pair them with a good caption to make your images look even better. Social media is a great way to garner more leads, strengthen brand awareness, connect with your audience, and promote your services. Having someone stay on top of all of this keeps the business growing.
Last, but not the least, there will be a never ending list of administrative tasks to accomplish, such as:
11. Managing your emails
Emails are going in and out of the inbox daily and it can cut a chink of your productivity rate the more you need to be on it. Virtual assistants can help in narrowing down the emails that need your attention, and those that they can take care of themselves.
Moreover, they can even organize your inbox with labels, folders, by priority, what needs follow-ups, and more.
12. Making arrangements
For projects outside of your city, you may need to book hotels, Airbnbs, flights, rent a car, and so on. Your virtual assistant can help make all these arrangements and organize your calendar.
13. Setting up your workflow
Even with someone helping out, you will most likely still have a lot on your plate. Virtual assistants can help you keep track of your daily task list, as well as your weekly and monthly obligations. This way, you won’t have to miss any deadlines or meetings, and can easily stay on top of your projects.
What is the best way to delegate?
The best way you can delegate and make the most out of hiring an assistant is figuring out which tasks take the most time for you to accomplish. From that list, you can further narrow down which ones you are comfortable having someone else take over, or at least which steps they can take off your hands.
While most professionals want to have full control over their work, there are always going to be little tasks that add up and eat a chunk of time. These tasks will have little to no effect over your creative process, so you will not need to worry about your photographs looking differently. Delegating things like replying to emails, adding watermarks, scheduling posts, and so on will help you gain more hours back.
How many hours can a virtual assistant work?
Virtual assistants can work either part-time or full time. This entirely depends on the following factors:
- The availability of the VA
- How much work you need to delegate
- How much of that work they are realistically able to accomplish
- Basically, how many hours the both of you agree on
Where to Find a VA?
In today’s digital age, outsourcing has never been easier. You can find a lot of great virtual assistants who produce quality work in the following:
- Social Media
- Upwork and other freelance websites
- Referrals from colleagues
You’re All Set!
A virtual assistant is a valuable investment to your business and can help you maximize your hours to make your brand grow stronger and at a healthier pace. Hire one today!