PONCA CITY — Emily Ginn moved from Yukon to Ponca City this summer, after her husband accepted a job transfer. Fortunately, Ginn, 28, was able to move her work with her.
As principal of CreativelySimpleSolutions.com, Ginn works as a “virtual assistant” — providing, at any one time, remote administrative and graphic design services, for a per-project fee, to 10 to 20 clients locally and as far away as Pennsylvania, Florida and Colorado.
Ginn stumbled into the evolving profession, after reading the term “virtual assistant” in a book and then searching online for it. A 2005 interior merchandising graduate of Oklahoma State University, she — before 2010 — had been working mainly long, retail hours and was ripe for an opportunity to start her own business and use both the creative and logical sides of her brain.
“My clients just call, email or Skype me when they need something,” said Ginn, whose work includes the design of logos, marketing materials and Web pages.
On her self-designed brochure, she touts her ability to slash business owners' expenses in half, based on an example of paying the industry average of $30 an hour for 10 hours' work each week — versus for a full-time assistant who, with benefits, earns some $31,660 annually.
Ginn secures work through, among other avenues, her memberships in the local chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners and the Henderson, Nev.,-based International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA).
For the latter, she pays $140 yearly dues for the ability to bid on jobs posted by business owners worldwide.
Founded in 1998, IVAA has 700 paying members, spokeswoman Kathy Colaiacovo said.
The association, she said, offers three certifications, including desktop publishing/Web design, Realtor support and ethics. “Trust is a big issue being virtual,” Colaiacovo said of the ethics certification, “especially when some clients may be handing over passwords and access codes.”
A former longtime administrative assistant in the banking industry and mother of three, Colaiacovo in 2008 started her own virtual assistance business, specializing in social media strategy and online marketing. She lives and works in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but 85 percent of her clients are based in the U.S., she said.