Today I’m going to show you how to hire a virtual assistant to help grow your business.
Over the years, the idea of using virtual assistants to outsource daily business tasks and clerical duties has increased significantly in popularity.
The Pareto principle suggests that about 80% of your results in running a business comes from around 20% your overall efforts.
So why not spend more of your time on that 20% that really makes difference, and delegate less important tasks to another professional?
Unfortunately however, despite the evidence that virtual assistants can prove highly useful in most industries, many people don’t know how to hire, or get the maximum benefit from one.
Fortunately, there are a number of useful resources that can help you track down a contract, or freelance worker that’s perfect for your specific needs. Here’s how to get started.
Step 1: Determine How Cost Effective a Virtual Assistant Will Be
Before you begin searching for the perfect virtual assistant or “VA”, you need to figure out how they will fit in your business, and what kind of tasks they’ll be responsible for.
This is KEY!
Do an analysis of the business activities you get involved with most days, writing down everything from the minor tasks that take up your time, to the big tasks that waste the majority of your day.Hiring a VA, Tip #1: Determine cost effectiveness. More tips: Click To Tweet
From that list, assess which tasks you’d feel comfortable delegating to someone else.
Figure out how much time could be saved through this process.
You’ll be able to establish the cost-effectiveness of hiring a professional this way, by valuing your own time against the amount you would have to spend in on an hourly-basis, using a freelance or virtual worker.
Step 2: Decide Between Agency or Freelance Solutions
Some experts suggest that the cost of hiring a virtual assistant through an agency can be much higher than searching for independent or freelance assistants.
However, there are positive and negative aspects associated with both options.Hiring a VA: Tip #2: What's best? Agency or freelance? More tips here: Click To Tweet
While an agency can help you to find a range of experts capable of filling in the talent gaps throughout your business, a freelance virtual worker can be a cheaper way to access personalized services on a project, to project basis.
So have a plan.
If you decide to use a resource such as oDesk, Elance (now Upwork), or Freelancer.com, you should be able to browse through available workers that include those who work independently, and those paid through agencies.
At the same time, you’ll have the option to post your own job listing for professionals to bid on.
Step 3: Create an Amazing Job Listing That Attracts Talent
When searching for a virtual assistant, most of the resources you use online will give you the option between choosing from a list of established workers, and creating your own job listing for professionals to apply to.
It is best to create your own job listing from scratch, as this will allow you to the appeal to the flexibility of freelance workers, and find an individual whose skillset matches your needs completely.Hiring a VA: Tip #3: Write a job listing that attracts talent. More tips here: Click To Tweet
Of course, getting great results means developing a detailed and well-edited job listing that draws in the best possible candidates.
Following are just some of the details to include in your job description:
• What kind of talents or skills you want – Are you searching for a coding expert, or someone with marketing skills? A designer for your website, or a bookkeeper? Do you need someone who knows SEO (search engine optimization)?
• Which hours or days of the week you will expect your VA to be available for work? It can be helpful to be flexible about hours when using a freelancer, as this allows people from other countries to apply to your jobs, as well as those that are nearby.
• How you’re going to communicate – Are you more comfortable discussing projects through phone calls, or are emails and IM platforms a better solution for you?
• Tools and software you expect your assistant to have – Reasonably, you should expect to have an array of basic tools, such as a phone, computer with internet connection, and email account. However, you may also need them to purchase a word processing program, or image editing tool. It depends on the nature of the work you are asking them to do.
Step 4: Consider Professionals Based on Cost, Experience and Language Skills
Considering the number of locations available to help you find the perfect virtual assistant, you may find that your list of possible candidates ends up being much larger than you expected.
After all, you can try everything from Guru.com, to posting advertisements on Twitter and LinkedIn.
The best way to narrow down your list is to consider applicants based not only on their cost per hour, but also their experience, level of education, and abilities.
Often, many entrepreneurs get a better idea about their potential VA through platforms like oDesk, which give an insight into the number of jobs the individual has completely successfully in the past, and their English proficiency level.
Regarding language proficiency, be sure to ask for a resume and some writing samples.
Also, if they have worked for others as a VA, be sure to ask for links to those sites.Hiring a VA, Tip #4: Consider cost, experience and language skills. More tips: Click To Tweet
However, you may also find that it’s helpful to speak to a few candidates through a video conference such as Skype, to see how you communicate as professionals.
You can learn much about a person from a short conversation.
Keep in mind that platforms like oDesk also allow you to search for candidates based on your desired hourly rate. However, finding the best worker for your particular project may require some flexibility in this area.
Step 5. Manage Your Virtual Assistant For Success
Finally, once you’ve chosen a virtual assistant that seems perfect for your needs, you’ll need to find a way of managing that individual efficiently and effectively.
After all, while hiring a virtual assistant can be an incredible way to free up some of your day, it’s only truly helpful if you know how to allocate and manage tasks properly.Hiring a VA, Tip #5: Manage your VA for success. More tips: Click To Tweet
Ideally, through good management, your virtual assistant will be able to learn your work style perfectly, and produce results to make you happy on most projects if not all.
One good way to share information and keep up-to-date with your virtual workers, is through resources such as Google Drive. Here, you can outline the what, when, where, and how of daily tasks, including any relevant rules, permissions, or requirements.
For even more help, a quick search for “virtual assistant tools” online will reveal an abundance of programs, plugins, and gadgets that can be used to help entrepreneurs manage an online workforce.
Keep in mind that encouraging a successful working relationship between yourself, and your virtual worker means allowing for constant communication, and the consideration of feedback.
After all, the best way to overcome a problem is to speak to your assistant and find out what they need to improve their work performance, and what you can do to get more for your money.
Over communication is better than under communication.