A Guide To Hiring Your First Virtual Assistant
‘VA’ stands for Virtual Assistant; a professional who provides assistance to business owners on a virtual basis, working from anywhere in the world where there is a good internet connection. VAs help free up valuable time for their clients by taking on some of the clients’ tasks. Ideal when you feel overwhelmed by all the tasks that are part of being an entrepreneur! But what exactly can you outsource to a VA? And how will you find the right one? Here’s for you a Guide To Hiring Your First Virtual Assistant
When to hire your first virtual assistant?
You should start thinking about bringing a Virtual Assistant on board when your business is making a profit and you are looking to upscale. Outsourcing some of your tasks to a VA will help you be more productive and create more time to focus on things you are really good at, which in return, will help you bring more business in.
What can you outsource to a virtual assistant?
What can you outsource to a Virtual Assistant? Anything from general administration tasks (such as inbox management, taking minutes, data entry, invoicing or diary management), through writing (blog posts, social media posts, website copy, marketing copy, translations or SEO copywriting), to specialist tasks such as graphic design, social media management, marketing strategy, blog management, or funnel campaigns building and beyond.
The list goes on and on, because ‘Virtual Assistant’ is not a title, it’s a profession and VAs come with all sorts of expertise. Some specialize in a particular industry (e.g. travel and tourism, just like myself), others offer expert skills such as FB advertising or email marketing.
To answer the question ‘What can you outsource to a VA’, you should start by making an audit of all your daily tasks, see what tasks need to be done by you and which ones could be done by someone else instead. You need to make a list of things you are not an expert on, as well as repetitive tasks taking too much of your time; and see if you can outsource them.
How much is it going to cost?
That depends on how many hours you are looking to outsource and what type of tasks you need to have done. Location, experience and technical skills all come to play and freelancers with specialist expertise will charge more than a general Virtual Assistant that focuses on basic admin tasks.
A general Virtual Assistant will charge you anything from €15 to €30/hour but a specialist VA’s rate can range from €30 – €100 per hour. In saying that, you can also hire a VA from India or Philippines who will do a general admin work for you for €5/hour. However, if you’re looking in that price range, you may encounter difficulties in communications and quality.
Depending on the type of work you are outsourcing, you might be asked to pay on per project basis (organising an event might be easier to price per project rather than per number of hours worked). If charged hourly, with long-term commitment, retainer options are usually better valued than paying hourly and they guarantee your VA will book off the agreed number of hours per month to work on your projects.
How much is it going to cost you then? You can start by outsourcing as little as 2 hours per week, and this can cost you anywhere between €10 to €50 for basic admin duties. Keep in mind that you just freed up 2 hours of your time to invest in your business. So if your time is worth more than what you paid your VA, it is a win-win situation for both parties.
I suggest starting with just a couple of hours per week, and seeing how that opens up your schedule to focus on other priorities. This way, you’ll also get to know your VA, her working style and find out whether you are a good fit. You can always scale that cooperation going forward. That is, if the VA likes working with you as well!
Where and how to find a Virtual Assistant that has the skills you need?
Ok, so now you know you would benefit from hiring a Virtual Assistant. The next step is to look for one. Where and how? There are several possibilities:
First of all, put together an exhaustive list of tasks you are looking to outsource. Then reorganise the list in order of priorities and highlight the tasks you’d like to outsource first. Include a list of online tools your VA needs to know in order to complete those tasks. Remember, the first 5-10 hours of your cooperation should reveal whether you are a good fit and whether you’ll want to work with each other into the future.
Then, ask other business owners you know whether they are working with a VA or know a good VA. Chances are they do. Although their VA might not have the skills you are looking for, they might get you connected to just the right person for you. The VA world is quite small and if someone is good at what they do, other VAs will know.
In case you don’t know anyone who could recommend a VA, you can either run a Google search for VAs with those particular skills you need or post your refined list on job boards. There are many nomad FB groups allowing posting jobs or you could start your search on Upwork as well. BONUS TIP: Cowork7x24 will soon launch an in-app job board, so you can list your job there as well!
Before hiring a Virtual Assistant
Before you start working with someone, don’t forget to check their social media biz profiles, their website or their LinkedIn profile for references. Get them on a discovery call, have a chat and see what your gut feeling tells you. All good? Then you are ready to sign a contract and start working together!
As in any good relationship, when working with your VA, a clear communication is the key. Be upfront with what you expect from them, how often you’d like to be updated on the work progress and what your preferred channel of communication is. But, do not micro-manage your VA. VAs are business owners just like yourself, and it is their business to help your business thrive. Let them do what they are good at, after all, you went through this whole process of finding a VA that’s perfect for you.
About the author
Jana Krizanova entered the VA world in early 2017. She works with tourism professionals and digital nomads who want to improve travel experiences for themselves and/or their clients. Jana helps with travel planning, online content curation, project and event management, building relationships with industry partners and multilingual client communication. Find out more about her work at www.janakrizanova.com or send her an email.
Excellent article. I have been hiring my virtual assistants since 2015 from Remplo.