If you’ve found yourself feeling like your bandwidth is maxed out, like you’ve got too many tasks but not enough time each day, you’ve hit a common point for entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals.
As your business grows, you’ll inevitably need help tackling some of your non-core tasks: the time-consuming administrative items that eat up your day and keep you either working late or rolling important items over until tomorrow.
If you’re in this position, it’s time to do yourself a favor and find a solution.
Enter: the virtual assistant.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant (also known as a VA) is a self-employed worker who specializes in offering administrative services to clients from a remote location.
VAs can take on a ton of tasks and responsibilities, including:
- Sending emails and newsletter
- Handling customer queries
- Internet research
- Database management
- Scheduling calls and meetings
- Data entry
- Managing emails
- Making travel arrangements
- Social media posting
Why Hire a Virtual Assistant?
Whether you need a little bit of support or a lot, hiring a VA can be a cost-conscious solution.
Unlike an employee, VAs work on an hourly or per-task basis so you’re only paying them for work they actually do. So, they can help free up time for you to focus on the core aspects of your business without you breaking the bank.
And since they work remotely, you won’t be on the hook for their overheads, like WiFi, hardware, or office space. Hiring remotely also means you’re not limited to local talent.
10 Tips for Hiring a High-Quality Virtual Assistant
One common concern when hiring a VA is finding someone who’s reliable and can deliver what’s needed.
Fear not. There are a ton of extremely talented and easy-to-work-with VAs out there. And there are a few steps you can take to make sure you find a great partner.
1. Know What You’re Hiring For
You need to know what tasks you’re hiring for so that you can find a VA with complementary skills and strengths.
Going into your search with an ambiguous ask is going to hinder your chances of success.
Look at your day-to-day activities, write out a list of things you want to offload, and prioritize them based on importance.
2. Set Out Your Budget
The reason we say to prioritize your needs by importance ties in closely with the need to set out a budget in advance.
Hiring a VA will undoubtedly save you both time and money. And you’ll also have the option to work with talent from all over the world.
But with a ton of VAs available at a wide range of pricing, your budget is going to ultimately decide who you choose to hire.
There will be a number of factors in this equation, including how much work you need their support with, their level of experience, and where they’re located.
For instance, there’s a good chance you’ll save money outsourcing overseas, but you’ll have to be ready for the possibility of challenges like contending with time differences.
But as a general rule of thumb, for a U.S.-based VA, you can expect to pay:
- Between $8 and $12 per hour for things like handling phone calls and scheduling appointments and meetings
- Between $10 and $20 per hour for miscellaneous services like data entry, social media management, property search, and email marketing
- Between $15 and $30 per hour for tasks like preparing ledgers and balance sheets, invoicing, sales tax reporting, and managing bill payments
- Between $30 and $40 dollars per hour or more for services like project management, preparing business proposals, and planning company events
When you’re outsourcing overseas, such as to a VA in India or the Philippines, you can expect prices that are around 25% of those listed above. And don’t worry, these cost savings generally don’t come at the expense of talent. You can find extremely talented and experienced VAs overseas at lower prices simply on account of exchange rates and cost of living.
Know what you’re willing to spend and which tasks take priority.
4. Know the Skills and Qualities You’re Looking For
If you’re looking to outsource specific tasks, such as posting to social media or distributing email marketing campaigns, make sure your prospective VA is proficient in the required skill before hiring them on.
This leads to our next point.
6. Write a Job Description
The same way you’d write a job description for an employee, it’s wise to write a job description for your VA role as well.
This should include all of the items we just discussed as well as things like the number of hours per week you’ll need support.
Make sure it’s clear, simple, and easy to understand.
7. Conduct Interviews
When you’re in the midst of looking for a VA, take your time. Don’t just jump at the first candidate.
Take time to communicate with them first.
Get a feel for them and assess if their skills and personality will be a fit. You can even request relevant past work experience and references.
9. Start with a Trial Run
You can opt to start small with a new VA. Get going with a single project, see how it goes, then reassess.
This will give you an opportunity to feel out how the relationship will go without getting into a full commitment until you’re sure.
10. Use a Reliable Source to Find VAs
Once you’re ready to start your search, the next question is where to start looking.
Put a feeler out into your network for referrals first. The best way to find reliable help is to hire someone who’s been vetted by somebody you trust.
Beyond that, there’s a wide selection of services out there to help facilitate the process, including:
- Upwork: The largest digital talent marketplace has millions of freelancers on their platform across hundreds of different skill sets
- Fiverr: A low-cost digital talent marketplace with the concept that you can hire a virtual assistant to complete a task for $5
- TopTal: A virtual assistant marketplace focused on high-end web developers and designers
- Freelancer.com: One of the oldest and most extensive platforms for hiring virtual assistants across many different disciplines
There are also a ton of virtual assistant companies that specialize in pairing professionals up with VAs. Check out this list of the top 30 from TimeDoctor if you’d like to learn more.
Hiring a virtual assistant can save you time and money. Just make sure you’re doing your due diligence to find the perfect fit for your needs.
And if you’re looking for something simpler, such as phone answering and voicemail services as well as mail and package receiving, check out our Virtual Office Services.
If you have questions about how they work or how you can tailor a plan that fits your needs, get in touch with us.