Does anyone actually use Virtual Assistance anymore? Isn’t the virtual assistant market completely saturated? These are important questions, but they are not meant to discourage you from a rewarding career as a virtual assistant altogether, but rather equip you with the information of why virtual assistants are very relevant to today’s ever changing job market AND give you a creative idea of how to find clients as a VA.
In today’s episode, Emily is talking to boudoir photographer, Alexa Hallberg. Emily and Alexa discuss the pain points Alexa had when first deciding on whether or not to hire her VA, why she ultimately decided to make the investment, and the value she sees from that decision in her boudoir photography business today.
Alexa has been a formally trained and specialized boudoir photographer for nearly a decade. What started as a way for her to connect to other women through an abusive marriage turned into an empire of empowering and inspiring women.
You can connect with Alexa Hallberg here:
#virtualassistantforentrepreneurs #virtualassistantforphotographers #photographyvirtualassistant #photographyva #virtualassistanceservices #virtualassistantforcreatives #boudoirphotographers #virtualassistants #virtualassistantsforhire #boudoirphotography
Transcript to A Boudoir Photographer Hires a Virtual Assistant
Well, hello everyone. And thank you so much for being part of a No Mercy Business podcast. Again, this is your host Emily, A Woodruff and I am excited to share a new guest with you today. I have Alexa Hallberg. She’s actually a local, a local to me. I know her in real life this. So this is kind of exciting. Alexa. Why don’t you go ahead and tell us about yourself and what you do?
Absolutely first. I’ll start off by saying, thank you so much for having me on Emily. So for those of you that don’t know me, my name is Alexa Hallberg. I am a specialized Boudoir photographer located in the middle of the Mitten in Michigan, right. I have a private studio in downtown Bay City.
I own Boudoir by Alexa. I have been a specialized Boudoir photographer for going on eight years. I think it is this year. It’s kind of surreal. It does not feel like it’s been that long. Yeah.
Well, me, well, thank you so much. I’m super excited to have you here. So we started talking, well, we’ve talked over the years about photography in general because that’s kind of something that I used to do and Dabble in. And now, I’m shifting my business to the world of virtual assistant life and specializing in working with photographers. So you came to mind right away knowing that you share, you know, publicly on your social media that you work with one and how much she does for your Enos so, just kind of high-level. What are some tasks that you have offloaded to your virtual assistant?
All the stuff that I don’t want to do long story short. Um no. So their thing. So as photographers, we go into photography because we love the art and we love creating right. Um. The other stuff that kinda came along with owning a business, like emailing and scheduling and all the social media posting and all the things that aren’t fulfilling us and creating the Earth that we want to create it kind of holds us back from doing the creating. But it’s still a necessary part of business. Um. So just a few things that she does for me are she schedules all my clients for me. She handles almost all my emails. Ng um, social media posting here in there as well, um, writing the blogs to help my SEO.
So all that other business feedback and type stuff that I absolutely hate doing, that’s all stuff. I’m like here you do this.
That’s great. So it sounds like she does quite a bit for you. Then yes. Does it make you feel disconnected from your business at all?
Honestly. No. And I personally feel way more connected to my business because I am doing what I love the most and that is shooting and editing in connecting with my clients, all that other stuff, it was pulling me away from connecting with the clients in the way that I Ali love to do so by her taking all that extra crap off of my plate. Basically I’m able to work with clients more so that I like to consider it working in your business not on your business. I’ve heard that phrase like belt around the VA world before.
Ya know I love that. I
I’ve been talking to several photographers just kind of trying to gauge their level of commitment or working with the a is not in like a sales pitchy way, but more for this to kind of understand where people are at and a lot of people are afraid to hire a VA because they feel like it’s going to just change the way their business is ran. And I’m like, I promise you first of all I’m not trying to sell you anything but second of all it’s going to make you feel like you can do so many. Any more things that you wanted to without having to worry, if your emails are sent, or if you’re like, you set your blog post is done the right way. I’m sure that you still check them out, you still have a hand in it, but there’s so many that are just so scared to take that leap and
It blows my mind, because if I would have known when I was doing this more, you know, more in my photography days, I would have jumped on it. Right away. I would of jumped on it. And I think that people are afraid of the financial commitment. Did that scare you at all before you hired it did?
So there was actually two reasons why I didn’t like higher Ave initially. I’ve only had my vga for like two years now. So I didn’t pull the trigger and get my virtual assistant until I was in your six of business. And like you were saying, like, I would have done it so much sooner if I known how much help they actually are. And how much stress they would actually take off of me? So the first reason that I didn’t, um, her the Bay until I was in year six was.
Because our business is our our babies, right? We’re so because that’s what makes our business, our business like us. So handing that off feels like it’s no longer us. So trusting somebody with our baby was is sometimes still really hard so finding somebody that you trust really to step in and take things off your plate is. First off, one of my key points and why you really should hire a VA making sure you trust the person that you do. So, I had very little trust in other people. Taking care of my business and then the second reason like you mentioned was Financial. I didn’t know if it was sustainable like yeah, emailing does that really like
Add to my bottom line. So is my overhead going to be higher because I hired a VA and because I felt like I was in the cycle where social media was one of the very first things that I really wanted to offload because I friggin hate social media to be very blunt. It’s so time-consuming, like the algorithms change all the time, the tools change all the time, I don’t always understand it, like, it’s literally a job in itself. So, It was one of the very first things that I wanted to offload, and like, I really sat down and thought about it, where I was spending approximately five to seven hours a week between emailing blogging social media and I, in 7 hours, it takes me about like one hour to shoot one client. So I was like,
If I could shoe seven more clients a week that would break and say, I charge five hundred dollars for boudoir session. That’s just an easy number to go by. That’s three and a half grand extra a week that I could make. So by pulling out that seven hours of me doing the crappy emailing stuff that I hated doing and spent more time doing what I loved, it makes it so worth so worth it agree.
And I think too. It makes you it translates into that little saying that, you know, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Well that doesn’t mean that you have to do everything.
That relates to your business and means you get to do the things that you love and you get to hire somebody who loves the things that they love to do.
They can probably do those tasks that you hate faster because they don’t hate them. They enjoy learning about social media trends, and that’s not true for every VA I hate social media myself, I’m not a social media VA, I’ll do it, but you’re going to pay me for it because I hate it, but there’s different and you can do that to.
You can kind of Niche down.
Down and have a social media person. You can have a Blog writer.
You can have 15 different ones if you want people, who are truly passionate about every area of your business, or you can get kind of general va’s, who can do, you know, they can move you to the next level in these different areas and it’s just really exciting to see people who are able to offload that and be able to really live in the fullness of their business.
I think is a good way to say it.
Yes for sure. I mean look at doctors, they’re not scheduling their own appointments or lawyers, they’re not doing all the paperwork to send into the courts and stuff. They have people for that because they want to actively work with their clients and practice law. Like same as it’s the same for the creative industry, I think it’s just a little bit more taboo because you’re self-employed. You’re supposed to be Wonder Woman or being able to do it all. And I think It’s a really big misconception, I agree completely.
And even if you were a photographer that had, I mean I know that you have a storefront but if you were somebody who had, you know, people on a revolving basis, you would have somebody sitting at your front door If This Were a traditional setting. That’s not uncommon. If you if you go into like Hicks Studio or so maybe I shouldn’t name drop but if you go into, you know, a big Studio that’s like that, that do
Hundreds of hundreds of thousands of portraits every year. You know, they have people who answer their phone. I used to do that sort of thing. Um. Why is it acceptable for them to have somebody answer their calls and make their meetings and take their notes for them? And yeah, it’s the same exact thing. It’s just a different different scale of the Bill business.
Oh. For sure. And I think there’s something to be said about that, too is it just adds to your client experience. So it doesn’t take away from your client experience, because if you had to do all the things, then you have to do the shooting the editing, the social media, the blog writing and you haven’t even touched your emails. Yeah.
So when are you going to add in time for emails? So two days from now when you finally have a free hour you can sit down and email your clients or potential clients back or sending them available dates that detracts from your client experience in the long run. Whereas if you were to have somebody on your team that checks your emails, every day clients are being responded to in a timely manner. That’s the way I like to look at it to agree.
100% And it’s like we said, it’s not always just email, it’s not just phone calls. There’s so many different things. You can Outsource your photo editing. You can Outsource, I know, photographers, let hate editing their photos, which is kind of funny to me, because that’s the other half of the gig. But yeah, there’s just so many different avenues that you can get help with.
And something else that’s me is that it doesn’t always have to be a long term thing when you first hired did you hire with the intent for her to stay on permanently, or was it just for a task?
So the idea was for her just to do my emailing. So I did want it to be more of a long-term thing but then I realize like how much my work life balance changed when I added her just on one task? And then I was like, how do you feel about blog writing Jews? Like happy to do it. Give it to me. So I Outsource blog writing and then that opened me up even more for work-life balance. And doing the things that I actually wanted to do,
And I found initially the thing that really held me back with social media, because I found myself in this cycle, where I would be really on top of social media posting every day. And it’s no secret that social media drives inquiries, right? So I would be posting on social media law. And so I get a ton of inquiries and bookings. And when when all those booking started to happen, then I wasn’t spending as much time on social media. So then my inquiries and my bookings would start to drop off. And then I would have to spend more time on social media. So it became this really rough cycle of of um, business. And that was directly alleviated by hiring somebody to do my social media.
So by hiring my social media one, I didn’t have to spend the time doing it, my inquiries and my bookings were continually coming in and stead of cyclically coming in and it just made the biggest difference not only in my business, but in my personal life because I had so much more of a balance and the people that I hired to do that, loved what they did, I hated doing all the facts so it just worked out really.
Well, well, that’s Great. Well, that is awesome. Thank you so much for your time. I want to give you an opportunity to be able to share with our listeners. If there’s anywhere that they can connect with you or kind of tell about your podcast, you’ve got something coming out soon.
Yeah. Absolutely. So you can find all of my Boudoir work, both on Instagram and on Facebook at Boudoir by Alexa. I also coach and speak in a different realm. On abusive relationships, I’m going to be Survivor myself. So I created a community of abuse survivors on Facebook, Facebook called the, what comes next community. So I actively involved in that realm as well. Well, and you can find my speaking page at Alexa Hallberg, right on Facebook. Awesome! Well, thank you so much for your time. I hope you have a great day. Thank you. You too.