While coaching my clients on time management, I find a lot of my clients are bogged down with detail tasks instead of working at a higher level in their career or business. So I decided to put together this “How to Hire a Virtual Assistant” article and video to help them learn how to pass these tasks to a virtual assistant (VA) so they were free to work on more important things.
How Does a Virtual Assistant Help?
A VA helps by
- Taking over your simple, detail tasks
- Organizing your work
- Giving you someone to delegate to
- Freeing up your time
What Tasks Can a Virtual Assistant Do?
The list is nearly endless, but here are some tasks that are commonly assigned to virtual assistants.
- Data entry
- Travel arrangements
- Email management
- Social media management
What Kind of Virtual Assistant Do I Need?
All virtual assistants aren’t the same. They have a wide range of skill sets. Here are some examples:
- Executive Assistant – works like an executive assistant to an executive
- General Office Manager/Staff – office type tasks
- Marketing – assists with marketing tasks, advertising, social media
- Writing – provides writing services for press releases, social media, blogging, customer letters
- SEO – helps you with search engine optimization
Benefits of Multiple Virtual Assistants
Instead of hiring one full time virtual assistant, consider these benefits of hiring 2-3 part time VAs:
- Different skill sets – while some skills overlap, hiring multiple VAs can give you access to additional skills
- Emergency backups – if you rely on one VA for everything, your work grinds to a halt if they are ill or leave. If you have 2-3 VA’s, you can redistribute the work if one is unavailable.
Finding Tasks For Virtual Assistants
How do you find possible tasks for virtual assistants?
- Monitor your own tasks and ask “could someone else be doing this?
- Tag tasks that could be done by VA’s within your task management system
- Create a list of potential tasks or search your tags
- Consider some good “test” tasks for your new VA’s
Overseas Vs Local VA’s
Overseas can work from anywhere, so you can higher people local to your area or elsewhere in the world or a combination of both. Here are a few pros and cons of each type. Of course, these are generalizations and you may find exceptions to these.
- Higher rates
- English/local language is their first language
- Available to talk or make calls during your local business hours
- May use more initiative
- Lower rates
- English tends to be second language
- Different time zones
- Tend to just do what they are told – somewhat less initiative
Individuals Vs Team
You can hire either individual VAs or a team of VAs to work on your project. Here are some factors for each:
- You only deal with one person
- Only one person’s skills
- Usually less expensive
- Might have a different person on each task
- Can tap additional skill sets
- Tend to cost more
- Only one company to pay
Where to find local VA’s
- Post on local job sites
- Networking at local business groups
Where to Access Overseas VA’s
- Good for one-off tasks – communication limited
- Reddit Forums
- Upwork – high fees
- People For Hire
I do not recommend Freelancer.com as many freelancers report difficulty getting paid through the site.
VA Task Sites
These sites let you purchase a block of hours or tasks:
- MyTasker – $120 for 10 hours ($12/hr)
- Fancy Hands (US based) – starting at $30/month for 5 requests up to 20 minutes each ($6 per request or about $18/hr)
- UAssistMe.co – starts at $269/mo for 20 hours (about $27/hour)
- TimeEtc (US/UK) – $78/month for 3 hours work ($26/hour)
Hourly Rates Are Not Sole Criteria
A $3/hr virtual assistant who bills 20 hours on the task is more expensive than a $20/hr VA who bills 2 hours ($60 vs $40). Use tasks where you know how long they should take and use these as test tasks to make sure your VA is efficient and billing properly.
Testing Virtual Assistants
When I first hire VAs, I test them to make sure they are right for me. Here is my process.
- Have a list of test tasks available
- Assign similar tasks to multiple VA’s
- See which VA’s
- Are most responsive
- Give best output for the price
(quality and quantity)
Virtual Assistant Communication Tips
It is key to communicate tasks clearly and followup. Here are some techniques I use:
- Clear instructions, checklists, video how-to’s
- Regular check-in (check after first 1-2 hours of work)
- Use video and screenshots when you delegate
- A good task management system is key because you can see at a glance how your team is doing
Fire Virtual Assistants Quickly
When they don’t work out, stop sending them tasks and reassign the tasks to the others you’ve tested. End their contract quickly so they can’t bill any more hours and change any password accesses they have immediately.
How To Hire A Virtual Assistant Summary
- Create list of tasks a Virtual Assistant (VA) could do
- Decide what kinds of VAs you need
- Create and list job postings
- Test VAs
- Clear communication & follow-up
- Quickly fire ones that don’t work
- Give more hours to successful virtual assistants
I hope you enjoyed this article and video. If you found it useful, please share “How to Hire a Virtual Assistant” with others and post on social media as this is how I can help more people.
Garland Coulson “Captain Time”