Running a business can be both a dream and a nightmare, as there is always something that needs to be done, and many owners/managers lack the skills or time to do everything. While this may cause some owners to feel frustrated, there’s no need for them to feel this way. However, it’s an indication that you could probably use the help of a virtual assistant. If you’re interested in hiring a PA there are some important steps you should follow.
A virtual assistant (VA) fills the role of a traditional assistant but is just not physically present. Many roles, like replying to trivial emails, finishing presentations, writing or even answering your phones, can all be done through the computer. If you’re interested in virtualizing your assistant here’s five steps that will help you find the perfect assistant.
Step 1: Think about tasks you don’t like
You’re not a superhero, there is always something, maybe many things, that you don’t like doing. Over the course of a week jot down what you do each day and whether you like/dislike the task. Beyond that, if you think someone could do it better, jot that down as well. At the end of the week, look over the list and see if you have to do the tasks yourself, or if you can outsource them. The tasks you can outsource can be given to your VA.
Step 2: Look for a VA
Once you can justify a VA, start looking for one. Reach out to your network and see if your colleagues have assistants, and if they can provide you with a recommendation. Beyond that, consulting with organizations like the ivaa.org can return some great VAs.
Step 3: Screen candidates
This step is just like hiring a physical candidate. You need to go through your list of potential hires and ask them questions to ensure they are both a good fit and what you’re looking for. Some things you could ask include:
- If they have experience in the tasks you listed above.
- If they have time available to actually take on your requirements.
- Their working hours and holiday requirements.
- The services they do/don’t provide.
- Their rates.
- Their general experience.
- If they can provide references and previous examples of their work.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and you should ensure to conduct the interview and asks questions related to your specific needs. One thing you should be clear on are your expectations and budget. If you want a VA who will respond within 10 minutes and you’re located in San Diego, and your VA is located in Thailand, it could take longer than that due to the time difference.
Step 4: Baby steps
Like learning to walk, you can’t start at a run, rather you have to take it slow. Start with a small project to test the waters as a way to vet the candidate. Be sure to let them know that this is a test, and not a final offer. This won’t be free, you should pay them at their normal rates.
Step 5: Onboard slowly, terminate quickly
If the VA is a good fit, and the test project goes smoothly, you can start to wrap up. Generally, the onboarding process should be slower than a normal physical hiring as you have to invest more and vet them more carefully. If you find that down the line, the VA just isn’t working out, or keeps making the same mistakes, cut them loose. A VA isn’t like a normal employee, you shouldn’t have to invest thousands of dollars and man hours training them and as such, it isn’t as much of an investment.
If you’d like to learn more about virtualizing roles or services within your company, please contact us.