If you’re an online reseller on Poshmark, eBay, Mercari, and other online resale marketplaces, you may have reached a roadblock: there are only so many hours in the day.
Whether you’re a part-time seller or a full-time business owner, you have realized that as one person, there is only so much that you can get done. To scale and grow your reselling business, you will require outsourcing labor.
Hiring help is a crucial step of growing your business, but legitimately hiring employees poses a set of complications (workspace, trust, hiring, payroll accounts, employee benefits, insurance requirements, tax implications, and liabilities). Before you take this giant step, you might consider a virtual assistant (VA) to help grow and scale your resale business.
Here is everything you need to know about Reseller Virtual Assistants.
What is a VA or Virtual Assistant?
A VA is generally a person that works remotely and performs electronic tasks to help you run your business.
This is very different from hiring a person to come to your home or workspace and photograph items for you. First, you do not necessarily have to host or meet this person. Further, you can pay them for their services as a contractor, rather than a legal employee.
(Disclaimer: We won’t talk much about the legal implications of hiring help, but make sure that you discuss it with a licensed tax professional, financial advisor, or attorney to make sure that you are within the bounds of the law in your state and you are protected from a liability perspective.)
What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?
Reseller virtual assistants commonly do things such as edit images, draft listings, cross-list listings, and do electronic administrative tasks.
Basically, they can do what doesn’t need to be one in person, based upon their training and experience.
You will want a VA that can do what you need: the tasks that you dislike, are not good at, or slow you down but must get done.
Most commonly, I see people hire VAs to draft listings, in a scenario where they send the images to the VA, and the VA edits, uploads, drafts a description, and fills in all of the drop-down fields in the listing form. Thus, the drafts are ready for the reseller to quickly review and list away!
Do You Need a VA?
It depends. If you are a one-person business that has maximized your productivity but is looking to scale, a VA might be the perfect solution for you.
Spending money for labor of any kind is a huge business decision: you must make sure that you achieve an appropriate return on investment (ROI) on the money that you spend for work. That is, the Virtual assistant is making you more than they are costing you.
This can be difficult to determine, and while there is always some level of risk involved, you should really have a firm grasp of your accounting. Ask yourself questions such as this:
- How much are you making now?
- How much will you spend to pay a VA?
- How much time will it take you to train a VA?
- Will the amount and quality of the VA’s work justify the cost?
- How can you measure the return on investment?
While it is important to analyze the numbers, remember that everything is not black and white. If you are hiring a VA to do things that you dread or take you forever, this might be the perfect solution. If you are hiring a VA that only has the ability to perform tasks with half of the efficiency and quality that you can yourself, it might not be worth it at all.
As you get started, it will be important for you to keep a close eye on your revenue and profit to be sure that your analytics support the expense. It is also important to keep in mind that it will not happen overnight, and that it might take you some time to find the right person or work-flow for the job.
Pros and Cons of a VA
There are many pros and cons in hiring a VA to help grow your reselling business.
The benefits of hiring a reseller virtual assistant include:
- More Productivity and Consistency
- More Listings and Cross-Listings
- Enhanced SEO in Listing Titles and Descriptions
- More Time For You to Do Other Things
- Increased Profit and Revenue
- The VA might be faster or better than you!
The cons surrounding hiring a virtual assistant include:
- Trust and Reliability
- Account Security, Especially When Working with VAs who are not based in the U.S.
- Giving Up Some Control in Your Business
- Additional Expenses Which Might Not Be Immediately Fortified
- The Time to Train and Review Work
- The VA might not be as efficient, diligent, or productive as you!
You will have to strategically consider and weigh the pros and cons to make the best decision for your business.
Where Can You Find a VA?
There is no magic source for hiring a reseller virtual assistant.
Some people use a service like SellHound who provides SEO-maximized listing descriptions (we recommend SellHound here at Vendoo, and you can import your SellHound drafts to Vendoo for cross-listing).
You might also consider browsing reseller Facebook Groups or reaching out to trained resellers on social media: you never know who might be looking for a side hustle, and resellers require less training than the average person who has never listed items for sale.
Others have found success seeking a virtual assistant on websites such as Fiverr, a website for freelance workers and remote services. Fiverr is international, and many resellers capitalize on cheap labor as the minimum wage that people are willing to work for varies greatly depending on location. (Remember, it’s not cool to exploit people, and we encourage you to be kind and fair when working with people.)
Finally, and probably the least-risky option is to find someone and train them. You might consider training an acquaintance yourself. Personally, I have worked with many local highschoolers over the years, those who are perhaps too young to obtain viable employment, will work for a bit less, and their parents are thrilled that they are able to learn the value of work and earn some spending money. Another benefit to this method includes that you might be able to work with them occasionally in person, doing live tasks such as photography and inventory.
Whatever you choose, remember that this person will have some level of access to your accounts,which may contain your personal information and banking details.
Be careful what you pay for. While there are plenty of knowledgeable and hard-working people in the world, there is also plenty of scam and fraud. There was a huge reseller scandal a few years back where a well-known “virtual assistant” was simply using automation softwares and “bots” to complete tasks that she claimed to be performing manually. This resulted in thousands of her customers having compromised accounts on reselling websites, all while paying the “VA Service” roughly five times the cost of the bot she was running in lieu of manual work. They could have just used automation software for a small monthly fee and a much lesser risk. Learn more about Poshmark bots here.
How Much are VAs Paid?
VAs are paid what they decide they are willing to work for. Based upon my experience and discussion with other resellers, there are two main pay structures: some pay hourly and others pay per listing.
An hourly structure might be great, but requires you to keep an eye on efficiency as it can be tough to monitor someone who is not working in front of you. Paying per listing or task might be more appropriate, but could encourage rushing or sloppiness as the worker may be eager to crank out as much to maximize profit.
Most people will not work for much less than something comparable to the legal hourly minimum wage in their region. That said, there are many circumstances in which people might work for less: overseas contractors (as noted above), younger people, retired people, or people who are forfeiting some leisurely television time to earn a few extra dollars from home! Alternatively, an experienced, highly-skilled person who is trained in SEO might cost you more as they will require adequate compensation for their skill and craft.
The saying you get what you pay for often holds true. I have seen a large range of numbers: people paying VAs from twenty-five cents to three dollars per listing: It is tough to gauge a going rate and even tougher to determine what range is “worth it.”
My best advice is to review your numbers and have a price in mind that will be profitable to you, and review the credentials (or be prepared to train a person) to be sure that the quality of the work will be acceptable in consideration of the rate.
Do you use a VA or listing service to help scale your reselling business? Share your experience below!