A virtual assistant can do wonders for your business, regardless of the size. By hiring a virtual assistant to give you a helping hand, you will be able to put your focus towards other projects, have further develop your services and products, and have more time to spend with your family. Mind you, while you need a virtual assistant, you can’t go out and hire the first one you come across – this is something you need to put thought into so that you get the best of the best.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant, or “VA” for short, is a remote assistant that handles online tasks. They can operate from anywhere in the world and take on a variety of your tasks. For most online businesses, a VA is a common “first hire.”
A virtual assistant may not build your entire business, but they will be a big help for managing portions of your business. They may not write the content for your site, but they may be able to help you with the research.
For most entrepreneurs, giving up control of a company is hard, so hiring a good VA is a great way to practice the skills of delegating, managing, and hiring on a smaller scale – all three of those are important for being a great leader.
What Can be Outsourced to a Virtual Assistant?
In order to make sure you have the right idea of what a virtual assistant can do, here is a list of things you could hire a VA for:
Managing Social Media – Replying to comments, curating content, and a variety of other tasks.
Customer service: Answering phone calls and responding to emails.
Data-Entry – Inputting data into a spreadsheet.
Store Management – Running sales for you, inventory management, and order fulfillment.
Cold Calling – You can give them a script and responses to common questions.
In order to make sure you hire a good virtual assistant, take these 10 tips into consideration:
1. Wait Until You Are Ready
If you don’t wait until you’re ready for a virtual assistant, it could lead to a disaster. You need to know exactly what you need the assistant to do and you need to have some time on your hands to train them. We have seen many that jump in and hire a virtual assistant with the idea that they would just jump right in there and start helping.
Before you go out and hire your first VA, you need to have a clear idea of what tasks you would like them to do. You can start out by creating a list of repetitious tasks that you need to do each day, week or month. Once you have a lot of stuff on that list, it’s time to hire a virtual assistant.
2. Set Your Expectations Before You Hire Them
You need to be clear as to what you expect of your VA before you hire them. By clearly communicating with your VA, it will save the two of you from going into the job blindly.
3. Time Zone and Budget
The difference in time zone, and location doesn’t really matter. However, in order to be sure you get the most out of your relationship, you and your assistant need to be able to have meeting online and talk about tasks on a daily or weekly basis. On another note, you need to have a budget in mind so that you do not waste time speaking with candidates that have rates that are too high for you.
4. Always Make Sure You’re on the Same Page
Before you hire the VA, check with them and make sure they understand your instructions and there are no doubts about their ability to perform the tasks you require.
5. Where to Post Your Job Openings
When it comes to finding a good virtual assistant, this along can be complicated, especially if you have never done it before. Fortunately, there are sites that are fully devoted to the outsourcing industry.
6. Sort through all of Your Applications
Don’t waste your time replying to those that you feel aren’t suitable for your job opening. The best candidates should be able to follow instructions and have a good understanding of your language. Analyzes their cover letters, look through the samples they have provided in their resume and gauge their experiences.
Sometimes, companies forget the interview process. In order to interview, we recommend Skype, because it allows users to send files, call, and of course, chat. During the interview process, it is important that your communication is clear and that you cover everything, including the candidates’ availability, work environment, acquired skills, experience, desired rate and so on. Before the meeting, write down a list of questions you’d like to ask and based on the candidates’ response, do follow-up questions.
8. Start Small
We recommend starting with a small project. A virtual assistant may seem outstanding during the interview process, but it is still best that you take it one step at a time. In due time, add more to their workload and before you know it, you may be able to make your VA a big part of your business and offer bonuses for their hard work.
9. Don’t Forget about the Payment Process
The payment process is certainly something you can’t overlook. You and your chosen candidate will need to decide whether they will be on a fixed-price or an hourly basis. During this time, you need to discuss how the payment will be sent and the work load that will be expected.
10. Request a Sample Test Job
By requesting a sample test job, you will be able to assess their skills before you actually hire them. If you have a VA candidate that refuses to do a sample test job, then you should steer clear of them.
In the end, you need to recognize that virtual assistants aren’t robots. Yes, they are talented, but at the same time, they need time to rest so that they can give it their all when they are working for you.