As a business owner, you’ve got a lot to think about.
As you grow your business, there’s a point that you’ll reach that indicates your need to delegate some of the workload. That’s something to celebrate – it means you’re progressing!
As your business grows, so too will your team. This is the nature of scaling your business. You shouldn’t be spending hours a day doing mundane and simple tasks (like client outreach) as a business owner.
It’s more important to focus on higher-level decision-making and working toward key growth goals. Hiring a virtual assistant can be a great way to save you time and let you focus on what matters most.
How do you find the right person for the job? First, you must set clear expectations and understand what you need your VA to take care of.
There are many qualified VAs worldwide waiting to be snatched up by growing companies. You have access to a large talent pool and could hire a VA today if you really wanted to.
Do you need a virtual assistant? Surely just doing it all yourself saves money, right? Wrong.
Hiring a virtual assistant can save a company 78% of its operating costs.
It’s a no-brainer; hiring a VA is a smart step to scale your business effectively. This article will cover how to hire a virtual assistant, the benefits of hiring a VA, and when to consider taking this step.
What Is A Virtual Assistant?
Virtual assistants are remote workers who can handle various administrative tasks, customer service, data entry, and more. Many are also competent in content writing, bookkeeping, and design. Experienced VAs can be hired for a fixed hourly rate or a retainer. They often take care of more than one client simultaneously.
They are ideal for businesses that need to outsource tasks but don’t have the resources to hire full-time employees. By hiring a VA, you free up time and resources so you can focus on what matters most: growing your business.
Which Companies Need A Virtual Assistant?
Small businesses: They often don’t have the resources to hire full-time employees, but they still need help with day-to-day tasks.
Entrepreneurs: They have a lot on their plates and require assistance with scheduling, customer service, and others.
Freelancers: Freelancers don’t always have the time or resources to manage their projects as there are so many clients and tasks to balance.
Busy professionals: Even busy employees can need help with scheduling, research, and more.
Virtual Assistant Services
The list of tasks that a virtual assistant can do is extensive and includes:
- Managing emails
- Writing content
- Organizing calendars
- Data entry
- Financial planning
- Customer support
- Graphic design
- WordPress website management
- Digital Marketing.
Depending on the VA’s rate and capabilities, they may specialize in specific areas like social media management or SEO optimization.
Benefits Of Using A Virtual Assistant
The primary benefit of hiring a virtual assistant is saving money on overhead costs. You can save on office space, equipment, and other expenses associated with hiring an in-house employee.
You also don’t have to worry about providing benefits or paying taxes for your VA. Another of the benefits of using a virtual assistant is accessing their services from anywhere in the world.
This allows you to take advantage of the best talent available, regardless of location. You can also quickly scale up or down depending on your needs because many are available on a part-time or project basis.
Last but not least, hiring a VA helps you save time by handing off tasks. This can free you up to focus on more important aspects of your business, such as strategy and growth.
Pre-requisites Of Hiring A Virtual Assistant
Once you’ve decided that you need a virtual assistant, there are a few things to consider before bringing one on board. Here are a few:
Make Sure You’re Ready For A VA
The first step is determining the type of assistance you need from the VA. This will help you choose someone qualified and experienced. It is also essential to consider the person’s working style. This will have an impact on how they fit into your existing operations.
Second, before starting the hiring process, be clear about what the job entails. This includes any deadlines or other parameters that must be met along the way. Businesses looking at hiring a virtual assistant must keep their budget in mind.
Make sure that all costs are accounted for in advance. This can include any extra expenses, like technology costs or software licenses. Taking note of these figures in advance can prevent costly surprises down the line. An effective communication system is key when working with a virtual assistant.
Most of the time, you and your VA will communicate via emails or video chats instead of meeting face-to-face. Using systems such as Slack or Asana to give quick feedback and get clear instructions can help everyone stay on track during a project.
This also allows room for collaboration and innovative ideas from both parties. Follow these suggestions, and you’ll be ready to choose a virtual assistant that is right for your business.
Make Sure Your Business is Ready For A VA
If you don’t have the right systems and processes in place, a VA won’t be able to do their job effectively. Here are some tips on how to make sure your business is ready:
- Identify the key tasks that need automation: This can be done by streamlining business processes like scheduling appointments or creating lead lists. Doing this will help you determine which type of VA best suits your needs and budget.
- Assess your needs & resources: Before hiring a VA, ask yourself if there is enough work available to justify adding someone permanently. Consider how much time your employees have available. If it makes more sense, delegate rather than hire another person.
- Set up systems and processes: You should have systems and procedures to manage their work. This includes creating software, creating SOPs and templates, and establishing communication protocols.
- Create a virtual office assistant job description & prepare an agreement: Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of your virtual assistant. Detail the expected work hours and pay rate. Make sure you also draft a contract outlining all employment terms.
How To Create A Standard Operating Procedure For Your VA
A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) helps your team maintain consistency for tasks, as well as sets expectations for how the workflow should go. There are a few key steps to follow that help businesses development SOPs effectively when hiring VAs.
Create an SOP that outlines the tasks, responsibilities, and expectations of the virtual assistant. In the SOP, include:
- Define the scope: What are they responsible for, how often they will need to complete them, and any other expectations you have.
- Clear expectations: Expectations for communication, deadlines, and quality of work, for example.
- Timeline: The virtual assistant should be aware of any deadlines they need to meet.
- Communication protocols: How often will you communicate with your virtual assistant? Define the type of communication you prefer (e.g., email, phone, etc.).
- Revise: Review and update it as needed. This will make sure that it reflects any changes in tasks or expectations.
How To Find A VA
When trying to find a VA, look for someone with the skills and experience necessary to meet your needs. Companies looking for virtual assistants can search online job boards such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.
Virtual assistant finders like this let you search by skill set, budget, and ratings provided by prior clients. Virtual assistant services can also be found by posting an ad on social media. You can use sites like Facebook and Twitter or contact a virtual assistant agency.
It’s also possible to find a VA through word-of-mouth referrals from colleagues or friends who have used one. This can be a good way to ensure that the person you hire is reliable and has relevant experience.
Create A Job Description
Start by outlining the primary responsibilities of the VA position. Include tasks they will do (scheduling appointments, managing emails, assessing data, or conducting research). Also, include any qualifications required for the VA position.
Post It On Job Sites
Job sites are a goldmine, especially for VAs looking for work.
When posting your job on job sites, list a comprehensive description, with salary information, if you have a clear budget You should also include a brief description of your company and what you want in a virtual assistant.
Check Out Freelance Platforms
These platforms allow freelancers to post their profiles and portfolios so employers can easily browse through them. You can also join online virtual assistant networks, communities, and forums related to virtual assistants. This is a great way to get referrals from people who have already worked with them.
Platforms like Time etc., Fancy Hands, and Wing connect businesses with experienced US-based virtual assistants. These marketplaces provide make hiring a VA with specialized skills easy. They also include non-disclosure agreements for added security.
Time Etc is a great service for entrepreneurs who need help managing their time. It connects businesses with a dedicated US-based virtual assistant. Their tasks include email management, website updates, data entry, and social media management. This managed service offers predictable pricing so that businesses can budget accordingly.
Wing Assistant offers a range of features to help entrepreneurs manage their businesses. It provides a workflow builder, login sharing, and a project management board. The VAs handle emails, website updates, data entry, and social media management.
Fancy Hands is a productized service that helps you assign tasks to virtual assistants in the United States. Fancy Hands’ VAs help with setting up meetings, negotiating phone bills, researching topics, performing data entry, and other one-off tasks.
Review resumes and applications to assess the most qualified candidates. What to look out for when shortlisting VA applicants:
- If they are not based in your time zone, check the hours that they are available.
Look at their certifications.
- Consider their job history.
- Think about what kind of personality traits or social skills your team members need to work well together.
- Assess references of applicants to verify their background and performance history.
Interviews are a great way to get to know potential candidates and determine if they are the right fit for your business. Here are some tips on how to conduct effective interviews when hiring a virtual assistant:
Prepare questions ahead of time: Before you start interviewing, ensure you have prepared a list of questions to ask each candidate. This will ensure that you are asking the same questions to each candidate to compare their answers easily.
Ask open-ended questions: Open-ended questions are great for getting a better understanding of a candidate’s skills, experience, and personality. Ask questions such as “What do you think sets you apart from other virtual assistants?” or “What do you think makes you the best fit for this role?”
Listen carefully: During the interview, make sure to listen to what the candidate is saying. Pay attention to their answers and take notes for comparison later on.
Ask follow-up questions: After a candidate has answered a question, don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions. This will help you get a better understanding of their answers.
Take your time: Don’t rush through the interview process. Make sure that you are asking all of the necessary questions.
Some other questions you can ask:
- What software programs are you familiar with, and how long have you been using them?
- What customer service or administrative tasks have you completed in past positions?
- How comfortable are you communicating via phone, email, or video conference?
- What hours can you work?
- Are there any days or times when you won’t be available?
- How quickly can you respond to emails or other inquiries?
Choose A Virtual Assistant To Hire
After the interview part of the hiring process is over, take the time to review each applicant carefully. First, create a score sheet or grading system with specific criteria for the job. Include any relevant certifications, technical knowledge, and desired soft skills.
Once this system has been set up, rate each applicant accordingly and compare overall scores across all candidates. You might want to get in touch afterward if you still have questions or need more information before making a final decision.
Onboarding: Virtual Assistant Best Practices
When you’ve moved beyond the “hiring a VA” step, you need to onboard the successful candidate. To ensure the onboarding process goes well, a few things need to be prepared. Many AI-driven applications use public cloud environments due to their scalability and cost-effectiveness. They can give rise to privacy concerns.
This should be taken into account for a VA who will be handling sensitive personal data or confidential information. Put all necessary security measures in place before the start date for your new VA.
You can use two-factor authentication, encryption protocols, and secure transmission methods when setting up access systems.
Once you’ve chosen the right technologies and systems, share your SOPs with your new virtual assistant. The following are a few best practices for onboarding a virtual assistant:
Set up a payment system: This could include setting up an online payment system or using a payroll service.
Provide training: Set a training period for your VA so that they understand the tasks they are expected to complete. You should also provide any resources or tools that they may need in order to complete their tasks.
Monitor progress: During the training period, monitor the progress of your virtual assistant and provide feedback as needed. This will help track their progress and confirm that the onboarding process is successful.
Which Country Should You Choose A Virtual Assistant From?
Different countries may be better suited for your needs. Here are some of the most popular countries for hiring virtual assistants:
India is one of the most popular countries for hiring virtual assistant. It has a large population and low cost of living, so the wages are often low. Indian virtual assistants are typically well-educated and have a good command of English.
The Philippines is another popular country for hiring a VA. Similar to India, there is a large population and low cost of living. Filipino virtual assistants are skilled in customer service, data entry, and other administrative tasks.
United States, Canada & Australia
If you have the budget and need someone with a higher level of expertise, the U.S, Canada, and Australia are good options. These VAs are typically well-educated and have access to the latest technology, making them ideal for more complex tasks. They do tend to be more expensive than those from other countries, though.
Hiring A Virtual Assistant FAQs
What are your top 3 fields of a virtual assistant?
The top three VA fields are admin support, project management, and social media management. Our article shares valuable tips on how to hire a virtual assistant for your specific niche.
What are some duties of a virtual assistant?
The duties of a virtual assistant vary depending on the client’s needs and the VA’s skillset. Some common duties that VAs may provide:
- Calendar and email management
- Social media management
- Data entry and research
- Content creation (blog posts, articles, etc.)
- Customer service support.
What clients want from a virtual assistant
Clients want a virtual assistant who can be trusted, is well-organized and can finish tasks on time. They also want someone professional, communicative, and has the necessary skills to complete the job. Clients expect their VA to multitask and handle multiple projects at once.
Wrapping Up: How To Hire A Virtual Assistant
At Scaling With Systems, we are committed to helping you find the right virtual assistant for your business. We understand the importance of finding the right fit and will work with you to ensure that you get the best possible results from your virtual assistant.
We work with clients to scale their companies and reach rapid growth by creating strategies that help business owners to automate and delegate key tasks. It’s through our client acquisition systems that our clients can get high-quality leads consistently. You’ll get more clients without having to overwork yourself.
Book a free consultation call, and one of our team will get back to you to see if you qualify to work with us.