My #1 tip for hiring a Virtual Assistant (and what to do before you hire one)

12th February 2018

The concept of outsourcing your business admin to a virtual assistant (VA) is not that new, but it’s a practice that has really grown in popularity over recent years and now everyone wants to hire a VA.

If you’re like the many business owners feeling overwhelmed by too many things to do, I’ll explain here my top tip for finding yourself a great VA who will prove to be the best match for your needs.

There are lots of benefits to be had in hiring a VA for small businesses. If you have limited resources to pay for an employee and you’re not sure whether you have enough work to give an employee, then hiring a VA is definitely worth considering.

The types of work you can outsource are things like repeatable and routine tasks, like invoicing, book-keeping, reports, as well as managing your calls, diary and emails and some will even manage your social media

My 1#tip for hiring a VA

Don’t hire a VA until you know exactly what you need from them and you can make time to train them to do things the way you want them.

It’s super trendy now to have a VA. Some people think it makes them look more important or more successful. But if you are going to be spending money, you need to get a return on your investment. And that means making sure that you can delegate tasks and provide clear instructions.

If you file your emails a certain way, and someone else starts filing them a different way – it’s going to cost you more time. And it may not work out. So invest time like you would any new joiner to help set them up for success and ultimately help yourself.

How do I go about finding a VA that’s right for my business?

It sounds great in theory, I know, but finding that person can be daunting if the idea of a VA is new to you, particularly if you’re used to the traditional way of hiring and employing people. I believe that you can, and should, apply the same principles to hire a VA as you would when you go through the interview process for a new employee.

You can ask your network for recommendations, do a LinkedIn search to find one, look on places like people per hour or even use a match-making service.

Before you hire a VA you should:

1. Check you’re a good match

The crucial thing that’s going to make the difference in helping you find a VA who is absolutely right for you and your business, is to make sure you really check that they can do what you need them to do, and that they can do it well. On paper, a VA might look amazing, with a shiny website and glowing testimonials, but your admin needs are unique to you and your business, so you need to delve a bit deeper.

2. Test for skillset and expertise

Perhaps instead of a generalist VA, you really need a VA with specialist skill; perhaps practical HR experience and knowledge, or a VA with marketing experience who is an expert on social media. Think about the specific pieces of work you’ll be giving your VA and set a test exercise based on these. Examples of activities that would work well for this include proof reading, sourcing ideas for content or setting up a newsletter. Just make sure you set the parameters and be clear in your instructions and when you want the test completed by. A good VA will not mind being asked to complete a test task for you, and will also be quite happy for you to contact their previous clients for a reference.

You wouldn’t employ someone without checking out their skillset for the job, and I firmly believe it’s no different when you’re hiring a VA.

 

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

 

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