Help, Perfect Virtual Assistant Needed!
Finding a perfect virtual assistant online who has great qualifications that you can trust can be expensive. As a retired teacher, another option I explored was to use local students.
When I started this experiment to self-host a blog, I had no idea how much work I had bitten off. WordPress Blog #1 opened my eyes and heart to blogging. It is morphing into my travel blog. Blog #2 was pure fun with my stuffed animal, Manny and my friends around the world. Blog #3 was a disaster to try to be more professional. Blog #4 is this blog, a self-hosted WordPress.org blog for writers, bloggers, and photographers.
Nine Reasons I Ran Out of Steam with my Self-Hosted Blog
- Longer professional posts take ten to twelve hours to research and write.
- The checklist of SEO requirements for each post adds more preparation time before publication.
- Information needed graphics to portray it instead of charts or descriptive paragraphs, increasing production time.
- Publishing each post once is not enough.
- Scheduling social media requires additional program and applications knowledge.
- Professional blogs have products, advertising space, and or services to create, sell, and market.
- Interacting with bloggers is my primary focus of attention, and I haven’t had as much time to devote to that aspect of blogging which I love.
- Building “reach” on social media takes a lot of time.
- Technology glitches with hosting and plugins obstructed my progress.
Solution Hire a Student as a Perfect Virtual Assistant
Meet David and Isaiah.
I called my friends at the Woodlake High School to see if I could get students to help me with my blog. Since I am not a non-profit organization, students don’t get community service hours for helping me. However, they do have a job shadowing program at the high school.
Each of them can work for 20 hours with no pay and learn the ropes of blogging. At that point, I can hire them or not if we reach an agreement. The biggest part of my agreement involves monetizing the two blogs to create a business that can afford to hire someone to help me.
Training the Perfect Virtual Assistant Is Required
Day one went well. I introduced them to Canva.com. Canva can turn anyone into a graphic artist. They each created their free account. After looking at a few templates, I turned them loose. The assignment was to design a Facebook Cover Page for our Networking Blogger’s group.
Both students already used Google products. That cut the learning curve in less than half. They both blew me away with their initiative and creative talent. They captured the idea behind networking and blogging. They were done an hour earlier than what I anticipated. David asked if he could use a photo from his Google photos and figured out how to do that. Isaiah followed suit.
Knowing how to use Canva.com means that they can resize graphics I’ve already created to post on different social media. I can assign them articles, and they can create appropriate graphics. They can create graphics for banner ads for products. The options are limited only to what our imaginations can conceive. We are a brainstorming team.
How Using High School Students Works
Being a former teacher in a small town has advantages. Having a district that values on-the-job-training makes this project possible, too. We meet at the high school counseling office where the students have access to computers and the internet. Unfortunately, social media is blocked on school accounts. I will have to use my phone as a hot spot for some of the training. All training has to be done after school to count for their hours. We meet from 3:15 to 5:15. The door locks when we leave. I don’t dare leave my car keys inside. 🙂
As my blogs produce some income – they haven’t so far, I will use that income to support hiring and training students. A great business model is forming in my mind. With the insight from their generation teamed up with my experience, I think it will be an exciting service for the community as well as my blogging friends.
Thank you so much to the Woodlake High School counseling staff: Aurora Medina, Natalie Lara, and Cassandra Ledesma, WHS administration, Rick Rodriguez, Mike Burchett, and Carmita Pena, and district superintendent Drew Sorensen for all their support of the students and this brainstorm.
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