1. What kind of work does a virtual assistant do?
The most common virtual assistants help with:
- Web design and management
- Blog Writing and content writing
- Social media posting
- Administrative tasks such as calendar management
Basically, a virtual assistant is anyone you hire for a specific task(s) who will work remotely or virtually.
2. How do you know what kind of virtual assistant you need?
For a two week period, track how much time you spend on each of your tasks. At the end of the two weeks, tally up the number of hours you are spending total on the tasks. How much time did you spend checking email? How much time did you spend on billing and accounting? How about social media posting and engagement?
While reviewing the totals, identify which tasks are burdening you and your business. Which tasks do you not enjoy doing? Although the tasks you have listed may all be vital to your business, they don’t necessarily need to be done by you. The more time you spend on these tasks that could be delegated, the less time and energy you are spending on the business you are passionate about.
3. Can you afford a virtual assistant?
Once you have calculated the amount of time your tasks take, multiply those hours by your personal hourly rate. How much is it costing you to do these tasks yourself? This total can be your budget for hiring a virtual assistant. More often than not, hiring a top notch virtual assistant can accomplish the same tasks for less cost. Plus, a good virtual assistant will have the skills and experience to do the tasks FASTER than you.
4. Why not just hire an onsite employee instead of a virtual assistant?
Virtual assistants can be hired to do only the work you need. You may have a hard time finding an onsite employee to work for only 5-10 hours a month. But that is a perfect situation for a virtual assistant.
Plus, when you hire virtually, you will not need to provide the physical space or supplies for the assistant to do her work.
When you hire virtually, you are not limited to those looking for work in your immediate vicinity, but you can literally hire from anywhere in the United States and pick from a broad pool of skills and talents.
5. Where can you find a virtual assistant?
Word of mouth is a good way to find a virtual assistant. Ask other business owners for references. Check out online sources like LinkedIn or do a simple Google search.
But these methods will give you a slow trickle of names of virtual assistants. That’s why the VATN Directory is a gold mine since on one website you will find a whole host of reputable VAs.
Since the VATN Directory is limited to VAs in the United States alone, you eliminate the language, time zone, and cultural barriers that others have experienced when working with international virtual assistants.
The VATN Directory also allows you to search profiles of those who are offering the exact skills you need so you are not wasting time reading the profiles and resumes of VAs that do not meet your needs.
6. How do you go through the hiring process?
As the leader of a team of eight VAs, I understand the exacting nature of the hiring process. Once you have identified several potential virtual assistants, reach out and express your interest in their services. Be sure to be professional and clearly communicate what tasks you need to be completed. Ask for samples of their work or references. Test the virtual assistant’s ability to follow directions by including a specific “task” in the job description. For example, “please put x in the subject line of your email reply” or “find 3 typos in this ad.” This will help you weed through resumes and responses quicker.
Be clear on the rate you are willing to pay and make sure to get your agreement in writing. Give a 90 day “test period” where either party can leave if the work is not a good fit. After 90 days, you may want to increase the virtual assistant’s rate by $1 an hour.
7. How do you communicate your expectations?
Prepare a job description for the VA that goes beyond a list of tasks and describes what winning looks like. What attitudes would you like your virtual assistant to have? I expect my virtual assistants to be humble, hungry, and smart. Since you will be trusting your VA with personal and business information, be sure to emphasis how important their confidentiality is.
You may also want to stipulate that your virtual assistant not work for your competitor.
8. How do you manage ongoing communication with your Virtual Assistant (VA)?
Because your assistant is working virtually, clear communication is vital. Make use of email, phone calls, and Skype or Zoom for face-to-face calls. Ask your virtual assistant which type of communication works best for them. Schedule regular meetings once every two weeks or once a month so that you can stay on the same page.
9. How do you track your virtual assistant’s time?
Make use of Tsheets or teamwork. Because your virtual assistant is a contract worker, make sure they send you an invoice. Keep track of what you pay them so you can give them a 1099 for their tax preparation. Direct deposit is an easy way to give payment. Many use PayPal because of its ease of use and popularity.
I understand what it’s like to be a business owner ready to hire a virtual assistant. Since I hired my first virtual assistant, my business has grown exponentially and I am freed from the tasks that were weighing down the growth of the business. I’d love to answer any further questions you may have about hiring a virtual assistant. Contact VAtn Directory team today.