Does this sound like you?
You’re completely swamped with administrative tasks, tired of spending valuable business hours doing work that could be contracted out, and you’re dying to get back to a healthier balance of work and personal life.
You know that you need a virtual assistant, and you might even know a few places to look to find one. But how do you go about hiring the right virtual assistant for you and your business?
Before you get started, there are some important factors you need to consider.
First and foremost, you need to decide which services you need help with.
You’re burnt out trying to keep up with the latest Facebook updates for your business page? Sounds like you could use a virtual assistant (VA) to manage your social media marketing!
Your former accountant retired and you need someone to pick up that bookkeeping slack? A VA offering accounting services could be a great fit!
Or maybe you just need someone on your side to handle the day-to-day jobs as they roll in. There are virtual assistants out there who specialize in that kind of task management!
Once you narrow down the kinds of services you’re looking for, you’ve already fought half the battle. A quick Pinterest search or post to an entrepreneur Facebook group detailing the type of virtual assistant you’re looking for will probably yield a few leads to start.
And of course, feel free to reach out to yours truly for recommendations for virtual assistance – even if I’m not a great fit for your needs, I can put you in touch with several trusted colleagues who can get you off on the right foot!
Ah yes, that ever-present question of price. The range of prices in the virtual assistant world is as diverse as the assistants themselves. As you’re considering your budget, remember that the majority of virtual assistants charge one of two ways:
Many VA’s charge hourly for their services, starting anywhere from $25 an hour and up depending on expertise and experience. You might contract a specific job out to a virtual assistant who will then bill you for the hours it took to complete the task, or you might purchase a set amount of hours from a VA, which you can then use to delegate tasks as they come up.
When hiring an hourly VA to complete a certain job, don’t be afraid to ask for an honest estimate of how many hours they expect to spend on the task. You never want to sign a contract for what you think will be a quick fix and then find yourself hundreds of dollars down the drain!
Rather than offer hourly rates, some VA’s offer their services in the form of packages. These packages include certain tasks to be completed with a spelled-out time frame for a set price and are more popular for skilled services like web development, or ongoing services like social media management.
When purchasing a service package from a virtual assistant, be sure to clarify exactly what is and is not included, and the date the work will be done by. Most VA’s will have these terms explicitly stated in their contract, if not in the description of their package.
For an example of what a virtual assistant package looks like, check out my own service packages.
Neither the hourly or package model is necessarily better than the other! It all depends on your needs as a business owner. Like any major business decision, research various prices of virtual assistant services thoroughly before committing to anything, and make sure to budget appropriately for those services, especially if you foresee needing long-term or recurring assistance.
If this is your first time working with a virtual assistant, you might not have considered how you wish to communicate with your VA. After all, there’s a big difference between walking to your assistant’s desk to ask a question and having your assistant be a thousand miles away!
Take a moment to reflect on your own preferences for communication: Are you comfortable communicating exclusively through email, or do you prefer to pick up the phone and call when you need to talk?
How quickly do you expect your virtual assistant to reply to your emails, phone calls, or texts? Do you need them to be available weekends and 24/7 to tackle any tasks that pop up? Do you need your virtual assistant to be in the same time zone as you, or work normal business hours?
These kinds of preferences aren’t always discussed when hiring a virtual assistant, but they make a world of difference in reducing miscommunications and increasing your own client satisfaction.
Be open and honest with a potential virtual assistant about your own preferences and expectations. Most VA’s have a policy in place when it comes to business hours, phone availability, and response rates. If you’re not comfortable with how their policy lines up with your expectations, don’t hesitate to ask them for flexibility, or to refer you to someone who can better meet your needs.
Imagine for a moment that you run a small clothing shop specializing in vegan and cruelty-free items for women. You probably wouldn’t hire the man wearing a shirt that says “There’s room for all God’s creatures – right next to the mashed potatoes!” to run your storefront.
Similarly, it is a priority for small business owners in certain niches to make sure their virtual assistants have personal values that align with their business values. Now I’m not advocating you choose your virtual assistant based solely on religious preferences or political leaning, nor do I think
Now I’m not advocating you choose your virtual assistant based solely on religious preferences or political leaning, nor do I think those kinds of personal questions really belong in an initial conversation with a potential employee! However, it is completely okay to ask a potential VA about their thoughts and attitudes towards cornerstone values to your brand, especially if you will be trusting that VA to manage something public like your social media presence.
However, it is completely okay to ask a potential VA about their thoughts and attitudes towards cornerstone values to your brand, especially if you will be trusting that VA to manage something public like your social media presence.
Alternatively, you might be looking for someone with experience or expertise in your field. Maybe you don’t particularly care if your VA personally adheres to a keto diet, but you want to make sure they at least have some experience in that kind of health and nutrition niche so that they can accurately and positively represent your brand in their work.
Again, ask away, and ask for a referral to another VA if one doesn’t have the experience you’re looking for.
We’ve pretty much covered the basic questions to consider when hiring a virtual assistant. Still, there are a few more things to keep in mind before you make your final decision.
Always, always clarify payment methods with your virtual assistant! Do they take credit cards, Paypal, Venmo, personal check? How soon is payment due after an invoice is sent? Is there a referral reward for sending new clients their way?
While the nature of virtual assistant work is remote, it’s possible that your business would be best served by a virtual assistant who is based locally. Maybe you’d like them to attend monthly meetings, or you just need them to have a solid understanding of the city or region your business operates out of.
You’ll have much more luck finding a local VA if you’re located near a larger metropolitan area, but there are virtual assistants working in every corner of the globe. Reach out to local entrepreneurs or virtual assistant groups on Facebook and see who’s working in your area.
As always, feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to put you in touch with a VA who’s local to your business.
If you take nothing else from this article, please remember this: Above all, work with a virtual assistant you trust! Your business is your baby, and you wouldn’t leave your baby in the care of just any stranger from the internet who says they like kids!
There are plenty of people out there who can run your Facebook page or respond to emails on your behalf. There are fewer people who you can make a human connection with and feel comfortable allowing them to manage your business.
If you work with a virtual assistant you trust, your peace of mind and general satisfaction will be in such a better place, not to mention you’ll probably see better results from a trustworthy VA than one who accepts your credit card info and runs away in the night. Always do business with people you can trust, always.
Let’s Wrap it Up!
I hope you feel more comfortable hiring your first virtual assistant now that you know what to expect and what questions to ask! If you still have some questions about what a virtual assistant does, you’ll find this post very helpful.
Ready to make that first step? Excellent! If you’re looking for virtual assistance with social media and digital marketing, check out my own services and pricing.
Not quite a match with my services? Not to worry, I won’t take it too hard! Drop me a line detailing what you’re looking for and I’ll put you in contact with a few trusted colleagues who can better serve you.