Business is booming and you’re ready to outsource the tasks you dread doing every week. You know hiring a Virtual Assistant is your next step but you have no idea how to go about finding one, never mind finding the right one.
Luckily, since I’m a Virtual Assistant for multiple businesses, I know a thing or two about how to find a VA, how to figure out if someone is the right fit, the best ways for getting started working together with your dreamy new VA and how to keep the relationship flowing smoothly.
In this post, I’m going to walk you through the step-by-step process to finding, hiring and keeping the perfect Virtual Assistant.
Step 1: Finding a Virtual Assistant
Some people say that the hardest part of hiring a VA is actually being able to find one. If you do a simple Google search, you’ll probably be met with results for websites like Upwork where you can post tasks and any VA can pick them up. Which is great if that’s what you’re looking for, but if you’re really looking for that 1:1, long term experience, you’re going to want to look further than Google.
My best advice is to search through Facebook groups. If you aren’t in any entrepreneur Facebook groups, there are TONS out there and quite a few members are Virtual Assistants. Search “Virtual Assistant” in the group discussion and chances are people have already asked for VA recommendations in the group. And if not, post your own post asking for VA recommendations and list a few of the main tasks you’d need help with.
If you haven’t joined any Facebook groups yet, here are some awesome groups for entrepreneurs where you can definitely find VA’s:
Once you have some recommendations, start researching your potential VA’s websites. Check their web copy, blog, testimonials and services. You want to make sure this person resonates with you and shows that they actually know what they’re doing. When reading through testimonials, make sure that people are mentioning the results they got from working with that Virtual Assistant. For example, here are excerpts from testimonials on my website that demonstrate results I get for my clients:
“With Kayleigh’s help I achieved more in the last month than the previous 5.” – Nikki
“My business is so much more streamlined thanks to her.” – Krista
You can see from these excerpts that for Nikki, I was able to help her get more done in a month than she was able to get done in 5 months on her own. And then you can see that I was able to help Krista streamline her business. If every testimonial just talks about how awesome the person is and doesn’t actually mention the type of work they did and how they were an asset to the team, you might want to keep doing some research.
You also want to make sure you can afford to work with the VA’s you’d like to move on to an interview process with. Start by deciding how many hours of help you need each week. If you aren’t sure how many hours you need, time yourself using a tool like Toggl while doing the tasks you want to outsource. The worst is when a client says they only need an hour or 2 of help a week and then start listing a bunch of things they need done that are going to take wayyyy longer. Often we don’t realize how much time we spend on tasks – like taking an hour to write a blog post or 10 minutes a day scheduling social media posts – so when we do finally outsource and someone is timing themselves to get it done, it can be eye opening.
Once you figure out how many hours you need each month, decide how much you can afford to spend. Typical pricing is about $25 – $50/hr for a VA. So if your budget right now only works with $25 – $30/hr, make sure you see if that VA’s prices will work for your budget.
Then start inquiring with the VA’s you’ve narrowed it down to and book an interview.
Step 2: The interview process
Chances are your potential VA has a process for how a call normally flows. For example, I start by asking my potential client to give a quick run down of what they actually do and what tasks they’re looking to outsource. Next, I let them know if I’d be a good fit for those tasks and what it’s like to work with me. Then, I ask if they have any questions for me.
Make sure you write down any questions you have prior to the call. You don’t want to hop on the call and forget everything you wanted to know.
Here are some sample questions you might want to know:
Do you have experience working with X platform? (ex: ConvertKit, LeadPages, WebinarJam, etc.) Anything that would be pretty crucial to the tasks you want them to do. It’s not a total loss if they don’t know a platform. As long as they seem eager to learn, and you have the time to teach them, it can still work.
How far in advance do you need the task? This is really important and varies from VA to VA. For example, I tell all my clients that I need to know of a task at least 24 hours in advance of the deadline and that if something is going to take longer than about 2 hours, I’ll most likely need more time.
How do you keep track of your time and how can I stay updated on the time used/remaining? If your future VA hasn’t brought this up, definitely ask! I’ve heard horror stories of someone hiring a VA, discussing how many hours a month they *think* they need help with and then they get hit with an invoice at the end of the month far exceeding what they expected. I use Toggl to keep track of every task I do and it acts like a stopwatch. At the end of each week I download a detailed report to send my client that shows them what tasks I worked on and exactly how much time I spent on each one. This way there are no surprises at the end of the month!
Step 3: Getting started with your new VA
You’ve found the perfect Virtual Assistant and you two are a match made in heaven! The paperworks signed (your VA should always send you a contract before you start working together) and you’re ready to get started. But where to begin?!
Create a manual
You already know the tasks you want to outsource – you figured that out in step 1. But now you need to explain to your new VA how to actually do these tasks. The best way to do this is to create an operations manual. It doesn’t have to be an official document, an Asana checklist works great! You’ll include step-by-step instructions on how to do each task. Even for tasks that sound simple should still be mentioned. Sending out a broadcast in ConvertKit may be second nature to you but someone who has never worked in your biz before wouldn’t know that you exclude a particular segment from your weekly newsletter. The easiest way to go about this is to go through the task yourself and jot down everything you do. It’s always so much better when a client gives too much detail than not enough.
Decide how you’ll communicate
You probably discussed how you’ll actually send tasks and communicate prior to officially working together. But just in case, ask your VA how they prefer to communicate – email, text, phone calls, Slack, etc. You also need to know exactly how to send them tasks and how you’ll be updated on the progress of each one. I love Asana for this! My clients can add a task, along with any details I need to get it done, there’s a section for comments and they’ll get a notification once I complete it.
Step 4: Creating a lasting work relationship
The hope with hiring a VA is that this person will be around for the long haul and you won’t have to go through this entire process again. Of course, sometimes it just doesn’t work out with someone, and that’s okay. But there are a few key things you can do that will help you create a lasting work relationship with your VA.
My best tip for working with a VA is to communicate. Just a simple check in email or call once in awhile helps to keep communication open. You want to make sure your VA is happy with the tasks you’re giving them and the form of communication you’re using is working for them. It’s also a great time to discuss if there’s anything either of you can do better. I think a call at least every few months is a great way to keep everyone happy. This way you can actually talk to each other and not just send emails and emojis back and forth.
This is going to be the most important part of keeping a lasting relationship going with your VA. After all, if you’re hiring and paying someone to do a task and they aren’t doing it up to par with your standards, you aren’t going to want to work with them very long. I always tell my clients right off the bat that if I’m doing something that bugs the heck out of them or not doing something just right, let me know! This way we can fix it and the client is happy and not secretly cringing every time I do that thing. Keep your communication open with your VA and stay positive when giving constructive feedback. Just let them know how you prefer it done next time.
And you’re all set to work with your VA!
As a little surprise, I haven’t offered Virtual Assistant services in a while BUT I’m opening up 2 spots this summer. If you’ve been on the hunt for your perfect VA, fill out the form below and I’ll contact you if we’re a good fit!