How to hire a virtual assistant
With the increasing number of online businesses and entrepreneurs, the demand for virtual assistants is increasing day by day. Virtual assistants (VA) are the people who provide various kinds of administrative help — from responding to routine emails to making travel arrangements.
In this article, we will discuss the process of hiring an efficient VA and the different types of business activities that you can delegate.
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What to look for in a virtual assistant
You obviously won’t be able to meet your VA in person before hiring them, so it’s important to ask the right questions. Here’s what matters most:
Not everyone is familiar with the types of services virtual assistants provide so we’ll start there, then get into our tips on hiring one.
Types of services a VA can provide
For many small business owners, a general VA who works as a secretary is all they need.
By handing off duties anyone can do, you free yourself for more important work.
From booking your flights to planning your schedule for the day to reminding you of your important meetings, you can leave all such tasks to them.
Of course, some entrepreneurs need a VA who can take on more skilled tasks. Here are a few examples.
“Anybody can write” is one of the biggest myths in online marketing. When you have an online business, you need to write a lot of content on a daily basis. For example:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Website content
It’s a lot of work. So, if writing is not your cup of tea, you can hire a writer who is good at creative work and can write well.
Social media virtual assistant
Social media marketing is one of the key functions of any business in today’s time. However, the key to success in this arena is consistency with posting content and interacting with the audience. Therefore, it requires you to spend time on it every day.
Social media marketing may look easy but there are those who know the secrets of getting more attention in a limited time frame — particularly useful if you’re paying for social ads. Outsourcing it to an experienced social media virtual assistant is a good way to spend your advertising dollars wisely.
You might be using a CMS like WordPress for your website, but managing a site does not happen on auto mode. You need to:
- Take regular backups
- Keep updating your plugins and site versions
- Get rid of unnecessary code for quick load time
- Add images and tags for SEO
If you’re a non-techie or occupied with other meaningful jobs, then a technical virtual assistant can save you not just hours but also peace of mind.
Audio and video editor
If you are a website development company or a digital marketing agency and have an online business, then having a YouTube channel or videos on your website is a must.
An audio and video virtual assistant can save you the trouble of learning the complex software, as well as time and sanity.
How to choose a reliable virtual assistant
Now that you’ve decided that you need the services of a VA and the area where you need the help, the next challenge is choosing a reliable one.
Here are some tips that can help you choose a VA who understands your business.
A virtual assistant must be a highly trustworthy person, since you’ll be depending on him for important processes of your business. Therefore, it is best if you can get references from your entrepreneur friends who know someone personally.
The next best option is to find someone on the platforms that are basically the virtual assistant services agencies:
You can also look for VAs on freelancing sites like UpWork, Freelancer or Fiverr.
What to look for
Take your time in reviewing the qualifications of any virtual assistant you’re considering. In particular, you’ll want to ask about three things:
If you’re looking for a general virtual assistant then you must see if the candidate has experience with office admin work. For specific work, you can ask for:
- Their work samples
- Results they have achieved
- Recommendations from their previous clients
Some may even be willing to allow you to contact their past employers.
Check their websites for how professional they look, how they communicate and if they’ve paid enough attention to their own websites. A person who does not pay attention to their own details will not pay attention to yours.
Many of the job sites mentioned above allow employers to rate the freelancers they hire — this is a good way for you to narrow down your list of candidates.
Time zone is a big issue when your team is remotely placed. You need to check if the VA is available on your working hours.
However, if you’re hiring a writer or a social media virtual assistant then you need not bother about his availability during your work hours.
Benefits of hiring a virtual assistant
In every business, there are two types of tasks:
- Those that require managerial ability or unique skills
- Repetitive tasks that require few special skills
By handing off the repetitive tasks, you can focus on the things that directly contribute towards the growth and profitability of your business.
Saving the operational cost
From the rent to the electricity bill and other miscellaneous costs, setting up a physical office is a costly affair. For a solopreneur, nothing can be better than having a remote team or assistant — there’s literally no overhead.
Virtual assistants charge less
Apart from saving the cost of setting up an office, you save on the salary of the employees too. Unlike regular employees, VAs need not be offered the:
- Medical benefits
- Sick days
You can pay VAs monthly or based on hours or number of tasks, unlike the full-time employees whom you must pay even if you have a slow month or less work.
Hire a VA and boost your productivity
If you’re finding it difficult to decide whether you should hire a virtual assistant or not, then I would suggest hiring a one. Any task that you don’t enjoy doing brings down your productivity considerably. Therefore, outsourcing it to someone who can do it better is a good idea.
Although finding a good VA takes time, with the tips shared in the article, you should be able to find the perfect match.
Image by: Austin Distel on Unsplash