Do you need to hire a Virtual Assistant and you are confused about how to go about it? Hiring a virtual assistant is an important decision to make as a business owner. This is why in this article we’ll guide you through the steps you need to take when hiring your first virtual assistant.
Do you think it’s the best idea to try and get all the tasks done by yourself as a business owner?
Certainly, it isn’t.
This is because doing so will lead to a reduction in your productivity level as time goes on.
However, having someone either physically or virtually to help share part of your workload won’t be a bad idea.
How to Hire Your First Virtual Assistant
In any business, time and productivity are vital.
But, you can’t do everything by yourself, even if you own a startup company.
Certain tasks may take up your time.
These tasks can be as important as your main obligations.
So, how do you manage everything without wasting time and money?
One thing you should know is many business owners and entrepreneurs have discovered the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant.
Before we go through the steps on how to hire a virtual assistant; let’s consider some of the basics.
To start things off who is a virtual assistant?
Who Is A Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant (VA) is a solo contractor.
He/She handles administrative tasks for clients remotely from the clients’ offices.
You can hire a VA from virtual assistant companies.
However, a VA often works from his/her home office.
Experienced virtual assistants might’ve worked for some company offices doing management or secretarial work.
Despite working from a remote area, a virtual assistant would have access to your company’s data.
These include planning documents and shared calendars.
Furthermore, there are different types of virtual assistants that you can hire.
It would depend on the type of business you’re running.
Here are the main types of Virtual assistants.
These VAs help clients with marketing tasks.
You can assign them to conduct research, carry out promotions, and work on developments with marketing.
Bookkeeping is an important task in every business.
These virtual assistants can manage and record inventory, process payroll, and project your company’s accounting.
Data Entry Assistants
Data entry can be a time-consuming task.
That’s why using a virtual assistant for data entry can save you time to make you more efficient.
Data entry virtual assistant can input data with accuracy, manage data, and generate reports.
Social Media Assistants
Most businesses need a social media account.
Marketing on social media can really take long hours of your time.
That’s why hiring a social media virtual assistant might be the best course of action.
A social media virtual assistant tasks include creating accounts, doing research, and responding to customers’ inquiries.
Real Estate Assistants
These virtual assistants can do a wide variety of tasks including researching, postings ads, and sending messages to clients.
If you’re a real estate business owner, you know that these tasks can take much of your time.
They may also take your time for your family.
Hiring a virtual assistant can eliminate these problems.
Research skills are basic requirements for virtual assistants.
But, you can hire a virtual assistant that will only focus on research if needed.
Besides researching, they should also know how to compile and present the data they’ve collected.
These virtual assistants can do minor administrative tasks for you.
This will save you time for other important tasks such as planning for your company’s growth.
An administrative VA’s tasks include handling HR duties and managing lists of contacts.
E-Commerce virtual assistants help businessmen with a lot of tasks since eCommerce is a continuously growing business.
Some of the tasks these virtual assistants do are data entry, writing, and product management.
Now we fully understand who a virtual assistant as well as some of their duties.
Let’s move on to consider the reasons you should hire a virtual assistant as a small business owner.
Why Should You Hire a Virtual Assistant?
If you think you can handle everything on your own, then you might just be getting it all wrong.
Instead of doing the major tasks, you’re stuck doing minor jobs.
These jobs could’ve been delegated to a virtual assistant.
Furthermore, virtual assistant services are useful for new business leaders.
Here are some of the suggested reasons you should hire a virtual assistant.
- Firstly, it could reduce your operating costs in your business.
- Also, it would also help you to carve out time for yourself and your family.
- Hiring a virtual assistant would increase your productivity and efficiency level at work.
- Even more, you should hire a virtual assistant to bridge skill gaps in your company.
- It helps reduce your work workload.
- Hiring a virtual assistant helps you Focus on core tasks.
There are a lot of benefits that come with hiring a virtual assistant.
You’ll only discover them if you try hiring one for yourself.
Now, you’re convinced that your small business needs a virtual assistant.
Let’s consider the qualities to look out for when hiring a virtual assistant.
Qualifications To Look For In A Virtual Assistant
When you try to hire a virtual assistant, you’ll be surprised to find that there are thousands out there.
There is a lot of virtual assistants just waiting to get hired.
But, it’s important to look into them more closely.
You’ll be entrusting them with your business.
It’s just right to scan candidates well before hiring.
Here are the basic characteristics and skills for virtual assistants that you must look for.
A good virtual assistant should know how to multitask.
It may not be a great skill to have for some jobs, but a virtual assistant should be able to do it.
For example, a social media virtual assistant may need to manage and handle multiple clients.
A virtual assistant that can multitask can make your company more efficient.
Great Communication Skills
Communication is vital to any company’s success.
Since most virtual assistants work from a remote area, they need to know how to convey important data to you.
This also means that he should understand your instructions as well.
Hence, this is a skill you should give special attention to.
Virtual assistants will depend on their computers.
A virtual assistant that doesn’t have any computer skills won’t be able to do his job well.
They should be able to type fast with a typing speed of at least 30 WPM.
They should know how to use different computer applications needed for the job.
Ability To Pay Attention To Details
We all know that humans make mistakes.
But, a virtual assistant should be able to pay attention to even the smallest details.
They may make mistakes sometimes.
Still, they should be able to recheck their work before sending them to you.
Experienced virtual assistants are often more reliable than new ones.
Even when drowned in a lot of tasks, they’ll find ways to finish them on time.
A virtual assistant should always be reliable in completing tasks within deadlines with high-quality results.
Do be on the lookout for this quality when trying to hire your first virtual assistant.
Time Management Skills
Since they’ll be getting a lot of tasks, virtual assistants should know how to manage their time.
A virtual assistant with time management skills will be able to meet deadlines.
This also means increased productivity for your company.
Ability To Work Under Pressure
Problems often arise in many companies.
When this happens, your virtual assistant should continue to work efficiently.
You might need to give your virtual assistant extra tasks and shorten their deadlines.
Still, they should be up for the challenge and get the job done.
Ability To Deliver Tasks On Time
Virtual assistants often get paid on an hourly basis.
Hence, it’s important that your VA can work fast or meet deadlines at least.
A more experienced virtual assistant would likely be able to do more tasks in a short amount of time.
They’ll save you a lot of time and money.
The next thing we’ll want to consider is the steps involved in hiring your first virtual assistant.
Steps On How To Hire Your First Virtual Assistant
Once you’ve decided to hire a virtual assistant, you should now learn how to find one.
The Internet is a vast place where you can find the best or even the worse virtual assistants.
Follow these simple steps on how to hire your first virtual assistant.
List The Tasks You Need To Outsource
Before hiring a VA, you should list down all the tasks you want your virtual assistant to do.
This will help you narrow down your options when you find candidates.
Also, you’ll be able to determine if you’ll need more than one virtual assistant or not.
If you find that your list of tasks is too overwhelming, you may want to hire more than one virtual assistant.
You may also choose the most important tasks from it.
It’s also a good idea to create training documents for your virtual assistants.
For hiring specialized virtual assistants, you should document outcomes you expect them to accomplish.
It’s better than giving specific procedures or tasks.
Make A Job Description
Now that you’ve listed the tasks you need to delegate, it’s time to make a job description.
It should include the following information:
- A brief introduction of the job
- Information about your business that includes your industry, your clients, and your products
- Level of experience, skills, and education needed
- List of tasks and responsibilities
- List of software or tools needed for the job
There’s a big chance that other business people you’re acquainted with have hired or are currently working with a virtual assistant.
Asking for referrals is one of the best options when hiring a virtual assistant
In this way, you’ll get first-hand feedback from a person who’s experienced working with a virtual assistant.
Also, you’ll already know what to expect from the virtual assistant recommended to you.
You can also ask others for tips on how to hire a virtual assistant.
Post The Job Description Online
Whether you’ve gotten referrals or not, you should still post that job description you made online.
This will give you more options.
There are websites where you can post the job description.
These are online job sites where virtual assistants sign up to find jobs.
Additionally, they are great places to find virtual assistants without a lot of hassle.
Here’s a list of virtual assistant companies where you can find your first VA.
- Virtual Assist USA
- Outsource Workers
- 24/7 Virtual Assistant among others.
Once you get referrals or job applications online, it’s time to sort them out.
It can be a daunting task when you’re flooded with applications.
Still, you have to go through them.
You’ll never know if you’d find a diamond in the rubble unless you search carefully.
Pick out at least 10 from the applications sent to you.
You should also give a priority for good referrals since you already got some feedback about them.
Different virtual assistant companies have their way of keeping records of their members.
For example, some companies would allow you to view a virtual assistant’s profile.
Some have a feature where clients can leave comments about the VA’s performance.
This may help you assess if they’re worth considering.
Check if they fit the qualifications that you’ve set.
Once you’ve picked out the top 10 candidates, keep the rest of the applications.
These may come in handy when you couldn’t find the perfect virtual assistant from your top 10.
Set your schedule to interview the candidates.
The interview may be the most important step when hiring a virtual assistant.
The best way to interview them is through video calls.
A video interview can help you assess the virtual assistant’s communication skills.
Additionally, you’ll be able to see how they handle themselves through video interviews.
If a candidate declines your invitation for a video call, you should immediately cut them from your list.
There may be a lot of reasons behind this.
But whatever their reason may be, it’s a sign that you mustn’t hire them.
The trick for a successful interview is asking the right questions.
Don’t just ask about their skills and work experience, which you can find in their resumes.
Instead, ask them about their hobbies, goals, and working habits.
You can also ask them about how they prefer to be managed.
Another important question you should ask is their values.
Asking this question can prevent conflicts between you and your VA in future situations.
Make a set of questions to assess their values.
Also, make a list of answers that may disqualify them automatically from getting hired.
Remember, an employee that may contradict your company’s value system can be the cause of your downfall.
Give A Test
After the interview, give your desired candidate or candidates a test.
This test should be a task that they must complete.
The virtual assistant tasks for the test may come from the list of duties that you’ve made initially.
From here, you’ll be able to see who the best fit to be your VA is.
Sometimes, applicants that have an impressive resume may not be the best virtual assistant for you.
A test will unveil who’s the best among all the candidates.
Set A Trial Period
Finally, choose the best candidate after the test.
Then, start them on a probation period.
It can last from 30 to 90 days.
Doing this may be able to drive your VA to give the best virtual assistant services.
It’s because it gives him the motivation knowing that a good job will land him/her a permanent position.
Also, don’t forget to let your VA sign a Service Agreement.
This will help resolve conflicts that may arise in the future.
Now you know the steps to take as you plan on hiring your first virtual assistant.
Here are some helpful tips on how you should work with your virtual assistant when you eventually hire one.
How To Work With A Virtual Assistant
Now that you’ve got your own VA, you must learn how to work with a virtual assistant.
If you have experience working with an employee, then it’s not such a big difference.
However, it can be more challenging or easier, depending on how you handle your VA.
Here are some simple tips that you can follow when working with a VA.
State Your Expectations Clearly
It’s a good idea to make your VA understand his/her role in your company.
Also, set your expectations clear.
This will save you and your VA from conflicts and misunderstandings in the future.
Give Clear Instructions
There’s a big chance that your first virtual assistant won’t be a native English speaker.
That’s why you must give out clear instructions for every task.
It’s also great to use basic English and leave out all the complex business terms you use.
Set Realistic Deadlines
Virtual assistants are not robots that can finish tasks in an instant.
They may work faster than some employees.
But, it’s best to set realistic deadlines for humanitarian reasons.
Invest Time To Train Your VA
In some cases, you can hire a virtual assistant without much experience.
There are entry-level virtual assistants that would offer their services for a lower rate because they’re inexperienced.
If you’re on a budget and hire this kind of VA, then you should give time to train him/her.
He/she may end up being your permanent virtual assistant in the future.
Avoid Micromanaging Your Virtual Assistant
Micromanaging and training are very different things.
Training skills for virtual assistants is a good learning experience for your VA.
However, Micromanaging only shows you don’t trust your VA.
Hiring a virtual assistant should free up your time.
That’s why you should avoid getting into your VAs work and start with your tasks instead.
Always Give Feedback
Comments and feedback is an important part of working with a virtual assistant.
Since virtual assistants work remotely, the only way to know if they did the task right is through your feedback.
Set a schedule for short video call meetings where you can give your feedback.
You can also send feedback through chat or e-mail.
Pay Your Virtual Assistants Their Fees On Time
Don’t forget to always pay your VA on time.
This will give them the motivation to continue working for you.
Remember that your VA is also a person who needs to eat and has bills to pay.
Never be late with your payment.
Conclusion On How to Hire Your First Virtual Assistant
Hiring a virtual assistant can either make or break your plans for growing your company.
That’s why you shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon of hiring virtual assistants without enough knowledge.
Remember, there are many types of virtual assistants.
Determine what kind you need. Then, follow the easy steps on how to hire a virtual assistant.
Once you’ve hired your own VA, the next step is to manage him/her well.
Having a great working relationship with your VA will earn you his trust and loyalty.
Often, VAs can stretch the mile for their clients when they’re treated right.
Become a good boss and treat your Virtual Assistant well.
Now you know what it takes to hire a Virtual Assistant.
Do keep these tips in mind so that you can be confident about hiring your first Virtual Assistant.
Three articles have been linked to this post; do well to check them out as they are informative and helpful.
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