You’re looking for a virtual assistant, an independent contractor who provides administrative, technical, and personal assistance to clients virtually on an as needed basis? Many entrepreneurs and small business owners such as coaches, realtors, and healthcare practitioners look for assistants who are able to help them increase their productivity and avoid the whole variety of mistakes that can be made.
Some of them work on a retainer, the others only the hours you need, but it really depends on the type of work you need and the Virtual Assistant’s personal preference.
There are a couple of crucially important things that you need to do as an employer when looking for the assistant. First of all you need to make one good description of your daily and weekly activities. All the expectations should be set in advance, with a bit of your personality. One great tip is to put a specific request in the job description to enable you to screen out all those VA’s who are spamming the applications without reading them. For example: “please include the word Sunflower in your reply” – you then filter out all respondents who don’t include the word sunflower. This is a big help in ensuring all your candidates have read the job description and have an eye for detail.
When it comes to paying your employee, you should know that higher prices don’t necessarily mean higher quality, but also that the result of the cheapest options is often disappointing. So, getting something for few bucks is not a smart option. Virtual assistants should improve your productivity and therefore the income to your business, so he has to be well paid for the effort.
What about your expectations? You certainly shouldn’t ignore the time it takes to successfully onboard a new member to your team. Also note that the new assistant should be trained and well informed about the current project. The instant reply is not something you should expect all the time, especially if your assistant is a content writer or a designer. Just think about how often are you available for your assistant. The assistant is not always versatile, so he’s probably not able to write content and design your logo at the same time. In case you need multiple different tasks to be done, you should acquire more assistants, each specialized for one particular role.
How do you manage your assistant? Assuming that you have already set the expectations in advance, it is also important to be very specific in explaining tasks. The result of good management will allow you to see the bigger picture quickly. It means that your assistant will eventually learn more about your work style and that you’ll be able to give him or her some more responsibility, encouraging that person to keep up the good work. By doing so, you’re also showing your assistant that good results can bring some bonuses and even some job position improvement.
Writing or using a web cam as the best tool for successful conversation? This can be a sensitive subject for employers, but it’s proved that the non-verbal conversation can often tell you much more about the employee than the verbal one. When using the web camera, you cannot actually document the agreement between you and your assistant which can be crucial in later stages of the project. In written language it’s always possible for both sides to get few steps back and take another look at the agreement and to change some details if needed. When using camera, even the misunderstanding between people from the same speaking area is possible. So, writing would be the best method for exchanging details of the job – ideally skype or slack. Written chat is almost always going to be a better option when your VA is based offshore in somewhere like the Philippines or India, where you have to not only factor in the language difference but also the time difference.
Those are my top tips on hiring a VA, Check out Chris Ducker’s top tips in the infographic below!
Let me know what you think in the comments!