Last week I spoke to several small business owners who were interested in hiring a virtual assistant for their businesses, but did not know how to go about it. I decided to write a short 3 part series to help them to make the best decisions and to find the best virtual assistant for their needs.
A virtual assistant can help your company in ways you probably haven’t imagined along with freeing up a great deal of your time. You never have to worry about holidays, sick days, payroll taxes, etc. as they are independent business owners and you will only pay for the time spent on your tasks.
However, hiring a VA can be a big boon to your business, or a flop.
What can you do to ensure a greater success rate in hiring a VA?
There are all types of virtual assistants. They come from a variety of different backgrounds and offer a variety of different services. Some are freelancers who call themselves virtual assistants because they work remotely from their home based office, some are business owners who operate as a business and provide high-level support based on their background and experience. Sometimes VA business owners operate a multi-virtual assistant business where they have a team of virtual assistants who specialize in different areas, so you may work with two or three VA’s through that one company.
When looking for a Virtual Assistant, these options can seem daunting. Below are some steps you can take to make the task easier.
1. Determine what you really want in your business
You definitely need to know what your needs and budget are, as well as what you expect in return. When you think about what you expect in return, think not only about what you need/want them to do for you, but what you want the financial return to be.
For the money you spend:
- Will your business make more money, because their efforts garner more leads, prospects and, eventually, customers, and/or
- Will the business make more money because of what you can do with the freed up time, assuming you earn more “per hour” than you spend to hire them – and you use that time accordingly?
- If they are technical people, will the product or service they (help) create turn into a worthwhile profit centre?
2. Determine what a Virtual Assistant can do for you
Develop a to-do list of what needs to be done for your business to run successfully. What items are on your to-do list that you never have time to get to? What repetitive tasks can easily be accomplished by someone else?
Decide what you’re willing to delegate. With good instructions, your VA can complete virtually any task with minimal guidance. Based on your list, estimate how much time you will need your VA each month and what you are willing to pay for their services. Some VA’s require the purchase of a monthly retainer plan. They typically charge $15 – $55 per hour and give discounts if you require their assistance for more than 10 hours per month.
Also think about how you will use the extra time if these tasks are taken off your plate.
With your plan on what to outsource you can now start looking for the perfect Virtual Assistant.
3. Create a Virtual Assistant advertisement
Once your research is done, you can create a plan based on your business needs and what options are available to ensure the best return on your investment.
Write up a detailed advertisement or request for proposal of what you need done, and what you are looking for in your Virtual Assistant. The more specific you are, the greater the chances are that you will attract your ideal candidate.
Where to advertise for a VA
There are many places where Virtual Assistants hang out online. You can do a Google search to find them. There are also many job sites such as Guru, People Per Hour, and ODesk. However, I would recommend looking for a quality Virtual Assistant here:
You can tweet about it. You can instantaneously receive messages from VA businesses and people who can recommend a VA.
You need to register to advertise. Elance provides nifty tools such as a tracking tool, as well as the ability to search for your ideal VA. You can also set your budget and ask for people to bid within a fixed budget or per hour for a certain number of hours a week.
You can do a search to find a VA. Those you are connected to will appear first in your search. You can also hang around in various VA groups to get an idea of who is available and who is active.
Look out next week for the next step in the VA hiring process: How to make sure you hire the best virtual assistant for your business