What is a Virtual Speaker’s Assistant?
A speaker’s assistant is a certified professional who makes the professional speaker’s life easier. The speaker’s assistant plays many of the roles and takes on many of the responsibilities that fall to the speaker, but which the speaker may not have the time or expertise to take on.
We have identified the critical services that speakers need and that can be handled by a trained professional, the speaker’s assistant.
What Kind of Work Does a Speaker’s Assistant Do?
The speaker’s assistant does a wide variety of work, and may specialize in one or more aspects of the speaker’s workload. Many, if not most, speaker’s assistants work virtually and spend the bulk of their time on their computers and on the telephone.
The speaker’s assistant spends time on the phone setting appointments, doing research and fact checking, helping speakers obtain any permissions required, answering speaker bureau and meeting planner questions and explaining the steps in the event process, finding high-value service providers copywriters, publicists and more, following up with individuals who will be deciding whether to hire the speaker, setting speaking engagements, social media and more.
What Kinds of People Use Virtual Speaker’s Assistants?
A professional speaker who has books, CDs, DVDs and more that you need to be ready to sell at the back-of-the-room where you are, no matter where that is. Who has time to prepare keynotes and ship books?
A busy entrepreneur writing a book to market her company and who and your needs to get some research done and also needs to get permission for everyone you quoted in handouts and for your the information that came from business research firms.
A business consultant who doesn’t have time to organize all the client proposals, emails, articles, blog posts.
A life coach who is very busy with clients and needs help managing his calendar and travel plans.
What Do Speaker’s Assistants Get Paid?
What speaker’s assistants are paid varies widely, both by geography and on skill level. Most speaker’s assistants bill by the hour, but others work by the project. Because it is so often asked, speaker’s assistants are paid, generally, anywhere between $35 and $80 per hour.
In order to create a speaking career, there are certain tasks that must be done. The speaker can choose to do these himself or herself, but the cost of the speaker’s time is often much more effectively spent on revenue-generating activities. It is also the cost of learning what to do that can be bypassed by using a speaker’s assistant.
What is the Typical Background of a Speaker’s Assistant?
A speaker’s assistant may have worked for a long time in a corporate career or may have been an executive or virtual assistant for some time. Many speaker’s assistants do this work as a second income and may work primarily as social media experts or researchers.
Speaker’s assistants typically love working with creative and busy people and they have a real passion for making speakers successful.
How Does a Speaker’s Assistant Become Professionally Certified?
There is only one international training program to professionally certify speaker’s assistants. The certification is the Professional Virtual speaker’s Assistant (PVSA). To become a PVSA, an individual must take many hours of instruction with put in additional hours required for practice in the skills required and then complete a rigorous final examination. This assures you that a PVSA is ready to do the work the speaker needs in a competent and professional manner.
How Can I Best Use this Directory to Find the Right Speaker’s Assistant for me?
The main purpose of this site is to provide the speaker with a directory of certified professional speaker’s assistants who we know are both ready to help you and who will provide you with a great value for their services.
To find a good fit for you, click on the Members link at the top of this page. You will find all professionals who have met the requirements of certification as Professional Virtual Speaker’s Assistants.
The contact information for each individual listed is provided on their individual profile pages. Click on individuals’ names and you will find more descriptive information about who they are, where they are and what their specialties are in the speaker world.
What Kinds of Interview Questions Should I Ask Potential Assistants?
You should always interview any speaker’s assistant you are considering working with to make sure you are comfortable with his or her level of skills and that the working chemistry will be right between you. You might consider questions like this:
* What kind of training have you received as an speaker’s assistant?
* Have you been certified as a Professional Virtual Speaker’s Assistant (PVSA)?
* Will you be able to handle my eBook and my CD development as well?
* Do you like working on tight deadlines?
* Tell me about the other speakers you have worked with.
* What kind of progress reporting can I expect?
Do I Really Need a Speaker’s Assistant?
Every big-time speaker has an speaker’s assistant – someone the speaker can call on to do the amazing number of tasks that surround writing the successful speech, keeping time and the intellectual property organized and creatively and profitably market the speaker’s expertise.. But newer speakers are lucky – they can have speaker’s assistants, too – virtually.
If you haven’t worked virtually before, talk to someone who has. Most people who start are hooked. One of the keys to success to have clarity about the tasks you want to have done and the payment arrangements – and then to memorialize these in a contract. Another key is to find someone with demonstrated training and experience since the newer speaker may be in the dark about what the tasks actually are.
A speaker can pay for just the time and expertise needed, without having to create a staff, making a virtual speaker’s assistant an important part of a speaker’s success. Here are the four biggest reasons this is an essential member of the author’s success team:
1. There is just too much work for one person. So many new or aspiring speakers have day jobs and this is what they must do until their writing pays the rent. Until a speaker can clone him or herself, he or she must rely on others to help carry the load.
2. A speaker’s assistant has special expertise. Look for someone with training and experience in doing what you need done. They understand the industry, the technology and have already established resources and connections.
3. The cost is greater when you do it yourself. There is a high learning curve for anyone who has never made the speaking journey. Whether the speaker is paid $70 an hour or $270 an hour as a coach, therapist, attorney or entrepreneur, the speaker’s assistant is a tremendous value at a much lower per-hour cost. With a speaker’s assistant the speaker has the freedom to concentrate on those things only the speaker can do, especially writing the best speech he or she can. Expect to pay from $30 to $80 an hour (and it goes higher with greater expertise) for a qualified virtual assistant.
4. The synergy of the collaborative effort. There is nothing that inspires work like someone waiting for it. A speaker’s assistant is there to help you take each step so precious little time goes by between your preparation and marketing. The speaker’s assistant will be there with support and encouragement to help you make it happen.
If you haven’t worked virtually before, talk to someone who has. Most people who start are hooked. One of the keys to success to have clarity about the tasks you want to have done and the payment arrangements – and then to memorialize these in a contract. Another key is to find someone with demonstrated training and experience since the first-time author may be in the dark about what the tasks actually are.
Take it from the established successful speakers, don’t go it alone. Get the support you need and you will be well on your way to publishing success.