This article is a part of series of interviews we conducted with different virtual assistants who work for Shopify store owners. We finally selected 3 interviews to publish them on our blog.
The reason is simple, we noticed that many small/medium business owners require some help - at some point - running their online business, at the very least with customer support inquires.
If you're interested in hiring a virtual assistant or wondering how could a VA be of help, this series of articles is for you.
Disclaimer: The answers provided by the interviewee represent his/her opinions and we don't take responsibility for them.
Hey K.S, can you start by telling us where do you usually get hired from? And what are your rates?
I learned quickly that Upwork.com is one of the easiest places to find small and mid-size clients who are looking for a new VA.
I’m not going to lie about my rates, when it comes to hiring a VA to assist with your business, you get what you pay for. On average, I will charge from $15 to $22 per hour depending on what services are needed. The more specific and demanding the tasks, the higher the charge.
What skills do you offer for your Shopify Clients?
Personally, I offer customer facing support:
- Customer email and chat support
- Refunds and Returns
- Social Media posting and communication
In addition, I also provide other services:
- Blogging - content creation.
- Product listing creation including SEO
- Photo editing and Graphic Design
- Basic Shop design and edits to maintain a fresh look and appeal
How many clients have you worked with in the past?
I have had 6 clients over the last 3 years, of these I still currently provide support for 3. I prefer to work with clients who are looking for a long term working relationship rather than a short term project based position.
What applications from the Shopify App store do you use most often?
We normally use many applications that can be categorized as:
Automation related applications:
- Shippingeasy - Shopify Integration App that allows for automation of shipping purchases, tracking recording and sending shipping details to the customer
- Conversio (previously Reciptful) – Great Shopify app for increasing upsell, marketing, and automated communications.
Sales and marketing:
- Pinterest – Marketing integration that allows customers to purchase straight from Pinterest
- Infinite Options by ShopPad – allows for unlimited customization options vs the normal 3
- Oberlo – Increase store inventory options using this app for locating and promoting items from drop shippers worldwide.
Yes of course, we use a wide range of applications:
Do you usually use applications outside of the Shopify App store?
Customer support and communication
- Livechat – integration that can be placed on any website to allow for live chat customer support
- Mailchimp – email automation software
- Hootesuite – Social media posting software
- Tailwind – Social media posting software dedicated to Pinterest
- HotJar – allows you to view where your customers are clicking and visiting your shop
- Google Analytics – allows you to see where your customers are coming from, what they are looking at, when they are on your site and what items are most frequently purchased.
Client communication and file sharing
- Dropbox – best for sharing graphics files between yourself and your client
- Google Drive- best for document and spreadsheet sharing
- Google Hangouts- used for communication with my clients quickly and easily any time of day or night.
How do you prefer to communicate with your clients?
I usually prefer to work in Google Hangouts , this allows me to have my client’s communication with me at all times and provides a place to quickly reference previous communication and instructions, even when the client is not available.
How often I speak with the client really depends on their needs. Most often I have weekly check ins on Hangouts, along with email or chat messages as needed to ensure that the business needs are always my first priority. On occasion I have used skype, google video chat, or zoom chat rooms when this fit the client’s needs.
Usually, how many hours does your client(s) require from you? and how does your normal day as a Shopify VA looks like?
Personally, I suggest an 8 hour per week minimum for clients who require customer chat and email services. These hours are spend primarily responding to customer emails, social media posts and live chat requests. These communications can be anything from product detail requests, shipping inquiries, or refund and return requests. Once these communications have been handled I follow up on any delayed shipments with the client or their supplier.
After this has been completed, I will follow up on any other requests the client may have, image creation, blog topic sourcing, and social media posting. Lastly, I send an follow up email to my client with what has been done and checking for any special instructions for later that day or later in the week.
When working for clients that require on call support for new product listings only, I check my email or Google hangouts first thing in the morning to see if there are any new requests to list or source products. I prefer to maintain a Google Sheet that tracks these requests. Information is then readily viewable for both myself and my client. Details of what products were listed, along with how long it took, what information was posted and what if any scheduling has been done for social media. Most often this can be done in 1-2 hours per day depending on the quantity of new items to be listed.
What VA tasks do you perform that can be automated?
I would have to say that this is social media ad services using apps such as Kit or Conversio to find the best marketing opportunities and keep you apprised of what marketing options are available to increase sales. Kit is probably the most robust app for this type of service, it allows for integration with Instagram and Facebook to develop ads for retargeting, as well as increased sales. It has the ability to suggest new ads, build them, and post them all for you using analytics to determine the best time to post along with pinpointing your ads to appear to your target demographic.
How much does a shop really make on Shopify?
I can’t speak for all my clients, most of them have no shared their financial details with me as it was not necessary for me to complete my job. However, I do have one client who consistently make a 6000 to 7000 profit from their store monthly. This number has actually doubled in the time I have worked for them, and we expect to see another 50% increase this year as well.
What is your worst experience working with a Shopify store owner?
Lack of communication and failure to provide the information needed to successfully assist them in their business. If you want your VA to update the product details for your items, they NEED the details to do so, do not expect them to just know what material your T Shirts are made of, or what weight of paper you print on.
This is also true of communicating your expectations. If you want a VA who lists 5 items per day, and makes 3 Social media posts per product: You must let them know that this is the expectation, or you may find that everything is listed on day one and you get 1 daily social media post. This is a very real experience that I had with a Shopify client, who surprisingly is no longer selling their items online.
What advice would you offer Shopify store owners who are looking to hire a VA?
The best advice I can give when looking for a VA is to be very clear on what skills you require, what your expectations are, and ensure that your VA has the ability to do these tasks as you would do them.
If you interview a VA who does not feel that your business is just as important to them as it is to you…run the other way!
What advice to you have for shop owners who are already working with a VA?
Allow your VA to feel as if they have a personal investment in your business. Acknowledge what they have done well, and ensure that you are compensating them well for their skills. Bonuses, raises and a kind and positive word will go a long way to ensure that your VA is happy working with you and continues to give you the very best they have.
On the other hand, if a VA is not doing what you need, talk to them about it, don’t just vanish or fire them without giving them the chance to fix what is wrong.
We hope this interview uncovered some of the information you were looking for or assisted you in any way. If you're interested in reading the other 2 interviews we conducted then here are the links:
And here is our conclusion.