April 10, 2023

How To Hire and Manage A Virtual Assistant For Your Business



Staff Writer

Many people are hesitant when it comes to hiring a VA, but the truth is, they can be a huge asset to your business if you know how to use them right. So what do you need to know before hiring one?

How To Hire And Manage A Virtual Assistant For Your Business

You're thinking about hiring a virtual assistant, but you're not sure where to start?

You're not alone.

Many people are hesitant when it comes to hiring a VA, but the truth is, they can be a huge asset to your business if you know how to use them right.

So what do you need to know before hiring one? You could start tracking your tasks for at least one day in 15-minute increments.

Time Tracking Sheet

I prepared a time tracking sheet here to help you better understand what your day looks like.

Don't wait until the end of the day to jot it all down. Try to do it in real-time.

After you better understand how much time you spend on specific tasks, it's easier to determine which ones can be handled by someone else.

Once you've got that data, ask yourself some questions to help you decide if hiring a VA is right for you.

  • Did you actually enjoy doing certain tasks?

  • Are there tasks you repeatedly do that could be outsourced to someone else?

  • Are there tasks that could be automated altogether?

Asking yourself these questions could help you weigh the pros and cons of getting a virtual assistant.

The Hiring Process

Once you decide that hiring a VA is the right move for your business, it's time to start.

Hiring a virtual assistant can be exciting but time-consuming and challenging because you must do much research and legwork to find the right person.

And now that you already have a variety of tasks that can be outsourced, it's important to find someone who can fit into your business seamlessly.

Here are 4 tips to help you find and hire a virtual assistant:

Find a VA from Reliable Sites

The first thing you need to do is find a VA through a reputable site. There are many websites out there that offer virtual assistant services.

Do your due diligence and read reviews to make sure you are choosing from a reliable source. Additionally, make sure the VA is certified in the services they offer by checking their qualifications or certifications.

#shamelessplug: Just use our headhunting service.

Upwork and Onlinejobs.ph: These are two of the most popular platforms for finding and hiring freelancers from different countries and the Philippines (where rates start at just $5/hr!).

GreatAssistant.com: This site offers virtual assistants from the U.S. starting at $20/hr. They work remotely and provide services for various industries and businesses.

Create Filters for the Best Talent

When finding the best people for a project, creating filters can help narrow things down.

For instance, on Upwork (which I often use for design work), I usually filter by a few different things. One approach is considering factors like billing hours, ratings, and earnings on the site.

Using these filters, you can quickly identify top-performing freelancers with a track record of delivering high-quality work and generating positive feedback from clients.

Additionally, you can also look into specific niches and skills like web development or content writing. This way, you know exactly what types of services to expect from a freelancer.

It's important to take the time to find the right freelancers for your project goals. Doing this can save you time and money in the long run.

Create the Job Post

This detailed document should include everything from what specific tasks your virtual assistant will be doing (and how often) to what tools they'll use and how much experience they need.

As you build out this document, keep in mind that it's important to have a clear job description. This will help ensure that only those people with the right skills apply for the job post.

Job Description Document

I have prepared a template here that you can use as a starting point for your own job post.

Keeping your requirements specific and including them in your post will ensure that applicants who are applying for the position are serious about doing so.

Determine The Work Hours

How many hours should you be hiring a VA for?

Starting slow is wise if you're hiring a VA for the first time. I recommend initially hiring them for 10-20 hours per week.

This is so you can get a sense of how they work and if they're suitable for the job. If things go well, you can always increase their hours later on.

This also provides them with job stability, security, and safety. If you hire them full-time from the beginning and then decide later on that it wasn't working out, you risk losing them altogether and having to start from square one again with the next person.

The Interview Process

Use Calendly for the interviews. Block off 2-hour time slots for 2 days with 15-minute meeting slots and send that link to each VA so they can find a time on your calendar to book a meeting with you.

This saves everyone time because they don't have to contact you separately – they go straight to their interview slot on Calendly (or whatever calendar tool you use).

The interview process is a chance to see how well the candidate does their job and whether they fit into the company culture. I recommend asking open-ended questions that allow candidates to explain their answers in detail.

Ask interview questions such as:

  • Basic Requirements (e.g., tell me about yourself and why you want this job)

  • Thinking on your feet questions (e.g., won't you burn out working U.S. hours?)

  • Culture Fit questions (e.g., tell me about your worst boss)

When interviewing a potential VA, it's also important to ask about their work history and what they do for fun. This will give you an idea of how they like to spend their time and whether or not they're qualified to handle the tasks you'd be asking them to complete.

After the interview, you'll have narrowed your pool of candidates down to 1-2 good people. Offer them both the job (or just one) as a test period for 30-60 days.

You can tell them that the first 60 days will be a trial period, during which you will evaluate each other's performance. After this time, they are eligible for a raise if all goes well.

Managing The VA

You need to DELEGATE, not ABDICATE.

It is essential to understand that you are delegating, not abdicating.

You can't give away all your tasks, but you must still manage them effectively β€” especially in the beginning.

Your VA cannot read your mind.

It would be best if you were clear about what you want to be done. This means that you have to walk them through it step by step.

You need to complete the essential documents to onboard with your VA:

  1. a Personal Style Guide,

  2. a Personal Info Guide, and

  3. SOPs.

Pro tip: Record your screen while you do tasks and comment on why and how certain things are done. Share the videos with your VA.

Personal Style Guide

The Personal Style Guide describes your working style and how you like to work with your VA. This is all about communication. Consider these points to ensure that you and your VA are on the same page:

  • How you like to communicate

  • How your VA should update you

  • How often should you meet

Personal Styl Guide Document

Check out this template I created to help you complete your personal style guide.

Personal Info Guide

The Personal Info Guide is your important life information. This includes information on your businesses, important people in your life, your family, and more. Having all of this information in one place is important so your VA can access it quickly if needed.

Personal Info Document

This links to a sample personal info template that I created.

Create SOPs

SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) are incredibly important. They are your go-to guide for VA's, allowing them to do their jobs quickly and efficiently. These are easy to do. You just record your screen and voice.

Review your 15-minute tracking exercise and pick 2 or 3 tasks to create detailed SOPs. Make sure these will be relevant for your VA's first week on the job.

In addition, you also need to monitor the progress of your VA. Regularly check in with them, provide feedback, and be available for questions if they have any. This will help ensure that you get the best results from them. Moreover, it will show your VA that you are serious about their work and appreciate their efforts.

Finally, make sure you reward your VA for their hard work. This will show them that you value their contribution and will motivate them to keep up the good work.

Final Thoughts

Hiring and managing a VA is no easy task, but with the right onboarding process and regular check-ins, you can ensure that your VA is performing well and achieving the desired results. This will help you save time and effort in running your business while providing the best service to your clients.

Working in a system like this allows you to spend more time on whatever you wantβ€”your career, family, or personal interests. It's a great way to run your business, allowing you to focus on what matters most.

Frequently asked questions

There are several websites where you can find virtual assistants (VAs) for your business. Some popular options include: Upwork, Fiverr, Onlinejobs.ph or PeoplePerHour

  • A Personal Style Guide
  • A Personal Info Guide
  • SOPs

SOP stands for Standard Operating Procedures. SOPs are a set of step-by-step instructions that document how to perform a specific task or process within an organization. They provide a clear and standardized method for carrying out routine activities and help ensure that all team members are performing tasks consistently and efficiently.

A personal Style Guide is a document that outlines the visual and stylistic preferences of an individual or a brand. It provides a set of guidelines and instructions that can be used to ensure consistency in the visual presentation of the individual or brand across various mediums, such as social media, websites, and other promotional materials.

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