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You want to hire a virtual assistant. Great Idea! But you don’t know where to start. How do you find the right assistant? How do they charge for services? How soon can they start?
Hiring help and giving up some control of your business is a big decision. Here are a few ways to help you find, hire, and start working with the right virtual assistant!
Find the Right Virtual Assistant
A great way to find a virtual assistant is by networking and referrals. Let’s be honest, it’s the best way to find anyone! We often ask friends and family to recommend a mechanic or plumber because we know they’ll give us an honest recommendation.
Networking online is a great way to find a virtual assistant. Reach out to your networks and post what you’re looking for. Linkedin has features like recommendations to help you learn about a candidate. Facebook and Slack groups are a great resource to tap for a recommendation in your niche.
Create a Job Description for the VA
It’s best to identify the tasks and projects you would like your VA to assist with and create a job description. This will save you time searching because VAs do several different things. You want to narrow down the candidates to those who meet the specific qualifications.
Keep in mind a VA is an independent contractor so they will set pricing, have a contract, and procedures. Think back to the example of the plumber. You don’t tell them how much you’re going to pay or when you’ll pay them. So think of the job description as an RFP (request for proposal).
Know What to Look for Before You Hire a Virtual Assistant
Excellent Communication Skills
Communication is a very important skill for a VA. Have you ever had a coworker who produced great work but communicating with them was like pulling teeth? You can’t have that with a VA. It’s important to have good communication.
Because your VA will be working remotely, communication can be more challenging. Email and Slack will likely be the main way you communicate. A discovery or interview call will help you learn their communication skills.
Keep these things in mind on the call:
- Are they doing most of the talking?
- Are they answering my questions well?
- Are they asking good questions?
Pose a scenario. Ask how they would handle it to learn their communication and decision-making style.
You don’t want to be a micromanager. But you want them to be the right fit. Communicate your goals, priorities, and expectations. You should have a good feeling about them from the start.
Valuable Job Skills
Identify what you would like your VA to do and the experience and skills they should have.
Here are some common areas in which a VA will likely have knowledge and experience:
Plan Time and Cost to Stay on Track
How do you know if your VA is worth it?
Only you can determine if you feel an assistant is worth the money. Remember the timeless saying: “You get what you pay for.” You have to determine if there’s value to delegating out tasks for around $30 an hour so you can focus on work that earns you more per hour.
Remember you can’t do it all if you want to grow your business!
When starting, it’s good to ask how much time the tasks will take. This will help you get an idea of how your hours will add up and make sure you’re on the same page as your VA.
If your VA tells you something will take 15 minutes or 3+ hours when it usually takes you an hour, they may not completely understand the project.
Some VAs provide a weekly summary to show the work completed and the remaining hour balance. This prevents clients from getting blindsided if they run out of time.
How Do You Get Started With Your VA?
You can start working together immediately after a contract is signed or another date you agree on. Once you hire a VA, you should have a call to discuss how to start working together. On the call, you should decide how you will communicate. Plan for how the VA will share data and access accounts.
Access and Delegating Work
A VA will need access to sensitive business information. You should share account information through a secure platform like Dashlane or LastPass.
Starting out, it’s best to hand over one or two tasks to your new VA. This will feel less daunting as it will take time to delegate and train them on tasks. Give detailed instructions and provide any resources that may be helpful.
A good VA will make a point to learn your work style and preferences. As you get into a routine working together, you and your VA should follow up about working on more tasks. Remember a VA is there to help you stay on task. So they should remind you about the projects and tasks you discussed with them.
3 Tips for a Successful VA Relationship
- Have Good Communication – Your VA will keep you on task. But they aren’t a mind reader. Keep them in the loop. Let them know when you’re going on vacation or need to reschedule a meeting. A VA will be looking for feedback. If you aren’t happy with a task, let them know. If they book your travel and you don’t like the aisle seat on a plane, let them know!
- Give It Time – Giving up control is an adjustment. It’s going to be an adjustment no matter who you add to your team. But you have to do it if you want to grow your business. Starting with a 10 or 20 hour a month VA is a great way to take baby steps in delegating and giving up some control. Give the working relationship a chance.
- Check-in – A video chat or periodic call will help establish a rapport and build a solid working relationship. Discuss how things are going. Share new business goals and changes. Ask your VA if they have suggestions or ideas to improve workflow or SOPS.
Want to get started with your first virtual assistant?
Contact us online or call Heltzel Virtual at (352) 477-1877 to book your free consult!