Every modern-day entrepreneur knows that time management is essential for success. Whether you’ve just started your small business or you’re looking to expand and grow an existing one, there’s only so much you can squeeze into a day. What do you do with those time sensitive, lengthy tasks that take you away from focusing on your business?
Here’s where the value of hiring a virtual assistant cannot be overstated. Not only can choosing virtual assistants allow you to cut down on operational costs, but it will also reduce your workload and free up precious time so you can concentrate on networking, developing ideas, and even boosting your work-life balance.
With the right virtual assistants on your side, you can reap all the benefits of streamlined processes and maximize every opportunity to scale and grow your business. On top of being great at what they do, virtual assistants are very professional and can communicate well. They are up to the challenge of working efficiently and helping you keep your operations running smoothly and well.
What Can Virtual Assistants Do for You?
Virtual assistants cover a wide range of services that address unique business needs and goals. From tedious and time-consuming endeavors to those that require specialized skill sets, here are some of the tasks that you can delegate to a virtual assistant to keep your business going.
- Bookkeeping and general administrative tasks – These include following up on outstanding invoices and unpaid bills, keeping your databases current, managing your calendar and schedule, and the like.
- Email and social media management – Virtual assistants can filter your most important emails and respond to the rest on your behalf; set up and build your online presence on various accounts, create, edit, and proofread your blogs, and other social tasks.
- Personal and travel errands – Virtual assistants can take and make phone calls for you, book or research travel options, make personal reservations, and the like.
- Business development – Tasks may include keeping tabs on relevant industry updates, researching leads and creating a prospective list of clients, designing presentations and enhancing proposals, and so on.
- Operations and human resources – Virtual assistants can help you review applicants’ profiles and create a shortlist of candidates, compile, update, and manage your employee database, assist in the onboarding process and training of new hires, and similar tasks.
How to Find and Hire the Right Virtual Assistant
Excited to collaborate with a virtual assistant? Here are some tips to help you find the VA with the right combination of skills, competencies, work experience, and personality.
1. Figure out what you need and decide on a budget.
Identify the specific skill sets and talents that you need from the get-go. Outline all of the common tasks that you expect from your new virtual assistant and determine which of those tasks should be given the highest priority.
Finalize exactly how much you are willing to pay your new VA by considering the expertise and skills you need to complete the tasks that you’re handing off. Also, you should decide if you are going to offer the position for an hourly rate or fixed price for each day worked.
2. Create a job post, ask for references, and search online.
Create relevant advertisements and postings online that thoroughly explain what the job entails. Be clear and specific about the scope of work, knowledge, skills, and qualifications needed to accomplish the tasks as well as the outputs that are expected of the VA and any tools that the assistant may need to use.
Besides posting on online job boards, you can also search websites and social media pages to find your virtual assistant. This way, you’ll be able to narrow down and contact only those who you think will be a good fit for the role. Reaching out to your network and asking for references also increases your chances of hiring the right virtual assistant.
3. Carefully review applications and ask the right questions during the interview.
It may be a tedious task, but taking the time to read through and carefully review all the applications will help you save time and money in the long run by avoiding frequent replacement costs. Shortlist your top five candidates before proceeding with interviews.
Schedule a video interview and maximize every opportunity to assess whether the candidate can clearly communicate online, how viable the arrangement would be for the candidate, and if his or her personality matches your requirements.
Keep it short and sweet, and see to it that you ask questions about their online work experiences, work habits, ability to work with a team, strengths and weaknesses, and inspiration and interests. Include hypothetical questions that can also help you get a good feel of how the candidate will likely handle tough situations at work.
4. Follow the 80/20 rule and hire for attitude.
Mindset and approach mean a lot when it comes to ensuring that a virtual assistant performs the role to the highest standards of excellence and professionalism. That’s why when you’re about to choose the virtual assistant for the job, consider hiring based on the 80/20 rule. Using this principle, perhaps you could have attitude take 80% and skills 20% of your selection criteria.
Hiring a VA online based solely on the skills, certifications, and credentials presented may not always be the best route. But going for a VA who has great potential — someone who has the curiosity, determination, and motivation to achieve goals despite the challenges — works to your advantage because you’ll be getting a partner with the right attitude and can be trained to be productive.
Finding the right virtual assistant is not as daunting as it seems. You just have to invest time, effort, and resources and lay down all expectations to ensure the best fit for your needs and requirements.
Keep these tips in mind so you can make smart choices and build strong relationships with a virtual assistant you can count on. This way, you’ll have more time to pursue your goals while leaving delegated jobs to your VA with confidence and ease.
APPROVED AUTHOR BIO:
Amanda Poe is the Vice President and Head of Marketing for Outsource Access in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a passion for technology and streamlining processes while utilizing the most affordable resources. With several years of experience, she aims to grow clients big and small, while helping them keep their life in balance. Running a business and having fun can be challenging, but employing the most efficient strategies and team makes a huge difference. In her free time, she likes to travel and visit families in the Philippines, doing in-person goal setting and give back programs.