Maybe you’re starting to get overwhelmed with all the work you need to do or maybe there are things you just don’t know how to do and need help. If you’re thinking about getting help for your business, Virtual Assistants can be a great asset, but before anything else, you will need to make sure that your Virtual Assistant will meet your needs. To do this, first take stock of all the things that need to be done to keep your business running, to market to your ideal customers, to build up your authority, and to help grow and take your business to the next level.
Figuring Out Your Needs:
You don’t have to write all the examples I have down, but it can help you get started on making your list (you can get as specific as you like—in fact, it may even be very helpful!) so you can visually see what everything is. Trello is a great tool you can do for this (If you don’t know Trello yet and don’t have a Project Management System you are using for your business, you should give it a try!) You can find a sample one I did of this exercise here.
Now separate your list into three categories. Start filling each category in this order:
- Things that ONLY you can do
- Things you enjoy doing
- Everything else
Go over each task in your Everything Else list and take note of the frequency and the average duration of each task. You can add up the hours it takes to do these in one month. This will be an estimate of how much time you would need to hire your Virtual Assistant for each month.
Now create a fourth list. Go over each task in the Everything Else category and list out the skills or platforms someone would need to know to get these accomplished. These will be the skills you will need to look for in a Virtual Assistant—OR Virtual Assistants if just one person doesn’t fit the bill.
Not all Virtual Assistants are the same. In fact, if you compare two Virtual Assistants, the kind of skills and work they do may be entirely different from each other so it’s very important for you to hire the right one to make your working relationship be the best for you and for your Virtual Assistant. One thing to note, a Virtual Assistant doesn’t necessarily need to know all these.
Quick Tip! Someone who is quick to learn can follow directions, and you can easily train in new things will be a great asset for your business.
Finding Your Matching Virtual Assistant(s):
There are more than a few ways to go about finding your Virtual Assistant, but here are just a few options you can try what others have done:
- Post in social media business groups such as Facebook Groups. Share the list of skills you need above, how much time you will need each month, and maybe your budget as well.
- Ask for referrals from other business owners you can trust.
- Hire a Virtual Assistant Agency to find someone who matches your requirements.
Besides skills and experience, working with someone virtually is different from working with someone in person, so some other traits or skills you will need to look for in a Virtual Assistant need to include:
- Over Communicating. When you are communicating mostly through text, sometimes some details get left out. Especially when you are first working together, you will need to work with someone who asks the right questions and can communicate clearly through text so that they can do their job faster and better.
- Organization: Your Virtual Assistant will need to be very organized. You don’t want to keep resending instructions or files if you don’t have to.
- Independent & Motivated: You can’t baby your Virtual Assistant or watch them like a hawk because it’s pretty much impossible when working with someone remotely. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time and money.
- Have the Right Software & Equipment: Some of the basic requirements should be a fast, reliable computer with a camera, fast & reliable internet connection, a good, reliable smartphone, & Microsoft Word or your preferred word processor. Some other software requirements you might have will have to be worked out with your Virtual Assistant Some software your Virtual Assistant may be able to get, and some you may be able to provide or pay for depending your needs and budgets.
How much should you pay for your Virtual Assistant? The answer is… It depends. Yes, it does depend. Since Virtual Assistants are all different with different skills, experiences, services, etc., their rates and packages will be different. Depending on your needs, the range can vary from $15/hr to even $100/hr for US based VA’s.
For example, a new and inexperienced VA, will probably be on the low end of the spectrum. They are just starting out and don’t yet have a reputation so they will need to charge lower while a VA who is more experienced and already has demand for their time and skills, can charge higher.
The type of service they provide and specialize in will also affect their rates. A Virtual Assistant who offers general admin assistance may range from $15-25/hr while a Virtual Assistant who specializes in Web Design might start at $40/hr and still be on the low end for charging for their service.
The way Virtual Assistants bill for their time may also be different. Here are a few different ways:
- Hourly. Billed at the end of each monthly cycle and will be different every month depending on how much time they’ve work on tasks and projects for you. You have to be careful with this and set limits in case you don’t want to go over a certain budget.
- Retainer. Typically a monthly retainer where you reserve a certain number of hours for a period of time. A minimum monthly retainer can be 8 hours a month. This is paid ahead of time and resets every monthly cycle so make the most of the time you paid. To make the most of your monthly retainer, check out my blog post about How to Maximize Your Virtual Assistant on Retainer.
- Packages. These may be recurring or one time packages. Some examples of packages can include website setup, website maintenance, social media content scheduling packages.
- PrePay. Some Virtual Assistants let you pay for certain tasks or a certain amount of time ahead of time and deduct from your balance as you use them.
Best Practices When Meeting with Your Potential Virtual Assistant:
- Meet “In Person.” Video chat on Skype or another app is a good place to start. By phone is ok, but I find that it’s much better to meet face-to-face even if it’s virtually. You will be working together and handing off very important aspects of your business to this person, so it would be great to get to know them as much as possible.
- Ask for references from past and current clients. Good reviews/testimonials, and referrals are like gold for Virtual Assistants. Finding out the opinions of other business owners is probably the best way to learn about the reliability and quality of work when hiring a VA.
- Check out samples of their work. Ask for their portfolio and if possible, see their work online in action.
- Pay attention. A good VA, will ask questions and try to figure out your needs, how they can fill them, and even try to determine how a problem you need solved can be tackled. If they’re honest about not knowing something, that’s a good trait as well because working with someone who is upfront is better than someone who makes empty promises.
- What skills do they have? Do they fit the Skills list that you created and do they have other skills you can utilize for future projects?
- Ask about how they work. Do they have a project management app, will you have to provide one or if you have one already, are they willing to use it? How will they bill you and how can you send payment? When do they work, what are their office hours, how much lead time do they need to get work done, how quickly can they get work done, and how quickly will they respond to your communications? What other tools do you use that they are willing to use?
I hope this post will help you on your quest to find your perfect Virtual Assistant. If you’re looking for tech help particularly with building and maintaining websites, and with simple graphic design, video editing, and social media content, check out what services I offer here. You can also send me an email or schedule a chat with me on Skype through here.