Hiring a virtual personal assistant (VA) can be a great way to help you out with your business and even manage your personal schedule. But how can you be sure that you're hiring the best virtual assistant for the job?
Here are five surefire ways to get started.
You can click on these links below to jump to a specific section:
- How To Nail It When You Want to Get the Best Virtual Assistant Services
a. What Are Virtual Assistants
b. The Benefits of Hiring Virtual Assistants
- How to Choose the Best Virtual Assistant When You Want to Hire One
a. Prepare a Detailed Job Description
b. Use a Virtual Assistant Company to Hire the Best Virtual Assistant
c. Make Sure Processes and Procedures Are Written Down
d. Use Online Tools and Apps
e. Build a Relationship and Communicate
How To Nail It When You Want to Get the Best Virtual Assistant Services
What Are Virtual Assistants
Virtual assistants are remote workers who provide administrative, creative, technical, or virtual assistance to clients. They usually work from home, although some may have an office space.
But you might be wondering--how does a virtual assistant differ from a traditional personal assistant and administrative assistants?
Virtual assistants are often used for remote work. They typically work and communicate with clients via phone, email, or video conferencing.
A personal assistant, on the other hand, is an employee who works in close proximity to the employer, providing physical assistance and running errands as needed. They may live in the same household as their employer or nearby.
Meanwhile, administrative assistants provide clerical and secretarial support to an organization. They usually work in an office setting and may be responsible for tasks such as scheduling appointments, handling correspondence, and preparing reports.
Virtual assistants have a broad range of duties, which can vary greatly, depending on the needs of the business owner.
Some common VA services offered by most virtual assistant companies include:
- Customer Service
Virtual assistants can handle a wide range of customer service tasks, from answering phone calls to providing more complex support.
- Project Management
Virtual assistants are highly skilled and experienced in a variety of project management tasks, from creating and maintaining schedules to tracking progress and milestones. Plus, they can provide valuable support when it comes to dealing with last-minute changes or unexpected delays.
- Social Media Management
A VA can help you with all aspects of social media marketing, from creating and scheduling posts, to engaging with followers and monitoring analytics. They can also help you create and launch social media campaigns, and track their performance.
In short, a VA can take care of all the nitty-gritty details of social media management, so you can focus on what's important: running your business.
- Calendar Management
When it comes to calendar management, a VA can help you keep track of important dates, deadlines, and appointments. They can also help you schedule time for important tasks and goals, as well as blocking off time for personal and professional commitments.
- Lead Generation
Virtual assistants can help with a variety of lead generation activities, such as conducting market research tasks, compiling lists of potential customers, and reaching out to prospects via email or social media.
In addition, VAs can often provide valuable insights into target markets and customer needs. As a result, they can be an invaluable resource for small businesses looking to increase their sales and grow their business.
- Email Management
A VA can provide email management services, such as sorting emails, creating and managing email folders, and responding to emails on your behalf.
In addition, VAs can also help to reduce the amount of spam in your inbox by using filters and block lists.
- Data Entry
Data entry requires a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail. A virtual assistant with data entry experience will be able to input data quickly and efficiently, without compromising on quality.
Furthermore, a VA can often offer other services such as data analysis and reporting. This means that they can not only input data, but also help to make sense of it and provide valuable insights.
- Administrative Tasks
VAs can help with a wide range of administrative tasks, from booking travel and accommodations to managing files and documents. They can also help with scheduling appointments, preparing reports, and handling expenses.
The Benefits of Hiring Virtual Assistants
There are many benefits of hiring virtual assistants. Perhaps the most obvious one is that it can help you in saving money.
If you're paying someone hourly to do things like digital marketing, content writing, graphic design, software development, or web design and web development, then it can quickly add up. But if you're paying for a full time virtual assistant, then it can end up being much cheaper in the long run.
Additionally, you can save on utilities and other overhead expenses, as you will no longer need to provide office space and furnish them with office equipment.
Meanwhile, if you're someone who struggles to keep on top of your email or feel like you're always doing the administrative tasks for your small business, then a VA can also take care of all of that for you.
Moreover, hiring virtual assistants can help to free up your time so that you can focus on other areas of your business or personal life. It can be difficult to try and juggle everything yourself, so having someone else to help you can be a godsend.
Finally, hiring virtual assistants can also help to improve your work/life balance. If you're finding that you're always working and never have any time for yourself, then having someone else to take care of some of the tasks for you can really help. It can also mean that you don't have to work late nights or weekends, as your VA can do all of that for you.
How to Choose the Best Virtual Assistant When You Want to Hire One
Prepare a Detailed Job Description
For you to get the best VA services, make sure you list down jobs and tasks you want your VA to do.
Sometimes, you want to hire a virtual assistant who can do everything for you; but that’s very unrealistic! Having a list of roles or tasks is key.
You might want to add to your list the platforms or applications you’re using to make sure the person you’re hiring is knowledgeable or experienced in using them. Add some virtual assistant duties you want them to fulfill, as well as skills that potential employees should have.
Aside from virtual assistant tasks, it is also important to add a short description of your company, so they will know the nature of your business and who they work for.
Having a job specification helps you attract the best person for the job because you already have a list of skills and qualities that your potential virtual assistant should have.
The following are some things you can include in a virtual assistant job description:
- the nature of your business
- applications and tools that you are currently using
- language requirement (e.g. excellent English communication skills)
- the tasks they will be handling if employed by your company
Use a Virtual Assistant Company to Hire the Best Virtual Assistant
There’s a lot of work involved in recruiting, onboarding, training, and managing a virtual assistant. If you’re already too busy to take care of these things yourself, then it may be a good thing to consider getting virtual assistant services from a virtual assistant company.
A virtual assistant company can help you with the whole hiring process, which includes an interview, reference check, and background check. This ensures that when you hire a virtual assistant, what you're getting is the highest quality service possible.
Most virtual assistant companies usually have global staff and a pool of virtual assistant talent who need very minimal training because they’re already equipped with the useful skill sets you require. They can give you a list of potential candidates based on the description that you have.
There are many virtual assistant companies that provide virtual assistant services and, although they come at a higher price, there are a lot of benefits in opting for their assistance, too.
Here are several things that a virtual assistant company is able to fulfill:
- A virtual assistant company provides consultation.
- A virtual assistant company specializes in hiring dedicated virtual assistants.
- A virtual assistant company can provide a backup plan for when things don’t work out between you and your VA.
- A virtual assistant company gives training and support to both you and your virtual assistant.
In addition, these companies know where to hire the best virtual assistants.
Currently, the country that has the most VAs is the Philippines. This is because Filipino virtual assistants are able to communicate in English well, overcoming the language barrier that most clients consider as a huge downside of hiring virtual assistants.
Additionally, you may find that the VAs in the Philippines have more affordable rates than VAs in Central America and most Western countries.
Make Sure Processes and Procedures Are Written Down
It is best to write down your business process or your company's standard operating procedures. They can serve as written instructions for tasks that you expect VAs to perform.
These processes and procedures should contain information on how to go about specific jobs. Here are some things you might need:
- You should have updated SOPs for all the processes and procedures of your company. This will be useful not only for the day-to-day fulfillment of duties, but also for unforeseen scenarios.
- Make sure your procedures are concise and complete, and that all necessary information is included.
- All repeated tasks should have separate SOPs.
Sometimes, we want to hire someone who can do everything for us, but that’s very unrealistic. Having a list of roles or tasks is key!
Use Online Tools and Apps
If you are worried about not being able to monitor or communicate with your virtual assistant, there are online tools and applications that you can use to make it easier for you and your VA. Some platforms can be used in overseeing, managing, and delegating tasks.
There are many tools on the internet that you and your VA can use in growing your business:
The Virtual Hub conducted a poll as to which virtual assistant tools and applications are commonly used by clients for project management. According to the poll results, most of our clients use Asana. It’s a powerful tool in tracking tasks, and it’s also a great means of communication.
LastPass is cloud-based. This password manager has an extension for different browsers and a mobile application. One of its key features is that it offers a two-factor authentication option which ensures that no one else can access your password vault.
LastPass is a safe way to share your login details and passwords for online tools you use for work. LastPass remembers your passwords for you in a secure way.
Instead of manually providing your VA with every login information you have for your accounts, you can give access to that information via an easy and encrypted way. All you need is an account on LastPass, the email you’ll associate with it, and a master password.
- G Suite
Previously known as Google Apps for Work and Google Apps for your Domain, G Suite is composed of Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, Google+, Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Forms, and Sites. It is a one-stop shop for online tools. It even creates a custom email address for your own domain.
G Suite also has ample cloud-based storage and allows you to collaborate and share with your virtual employees.
Signing in to each social media account and creating posts can be tiresome and can consume too much time. But through Hootsuite, many businesses can implement, analyze, and improve marketing campaigns on all profiles without having to check the information in every application.
Hootsuite is a social media tool that lets users schedule posts and updates to different social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and many others. Managing your social media presence is now easier because you’re able to see the activity of your accounts in one place.
Pro Tip: You can use Hootsuite for both business and personal social media accounts.
TimeDoctor is an employee time-tracking software. It allows you to keep track of the output of your remote workers and helps you and your team do more each work day.
TimeDoctor has a desktop software, mobile application, and also has web-based components. It also takes screenshots of an employee’s desktop and also has web-based reporting.
Search Engine Optimization is an important part of making online businesses successful. Semrush is a tool that helps business owners find profitable keywords. It is a program for both new and experienced bloggers who want to optimize their blogs and their websites. It also allows them to create content that their audience would find interesting for a better visitor experience.
Semrush allows you to understand your competition, and believe us when we say that it pays to actually understand your competition. This tool has capabilities for you to look at your competitors.
Ithemes.com calls WordPress the easiest and most powerful blogging and content writing platform in existence today. It powers millions of blogs and websites.
In fact, WordPress’ market share is almost 60% compared to other content management systems. The second and closest competitor is Joomla and is used only by 6.3%.
Aside from being so powerful, WordPress is also flexible and easy to use. This is the main reason why it has become so popular when it comes to content marketing.
Build a Relationship and Communicate
The key to a long-lasting and happy relationship is having an open communication. This is also true when getting virtual assistant services!
Make sure you communicate your expectations to your VA. Share your business vision with them. This helps you and your virtual assistant to share one path and goal.
Choose a communication channel that works best for both of you. You may use online tools, like Skype or email.
However, while it’s good to always communicate, you should also limit your communications with your VA to business hours. Both virtual assistants and clients have a life beyond work, and that needs to be mutually respected.
Being solo and busy entrepreneurs is difficult and most of the time, you work by yourselves. This is why you should learn how to delegate.
Give your virtual assistant tasks, and then trust them with performing those tasks.
You should make your virtual assistant feel confident to share their knowledge. Remember, some of them have had years of experience in the VA industry and with other clients.
To build a strong relationship with your VA, consider doing the following things:
- You Must Have Weekly Check-Ins with Your Virtual Assistant
Set weekly meetings to talk about how your VA is progressing with their tasks. Set aside time to ask them how they’re doing, or if there are things they’re having difficulty with.
It helps to listen to their suggestions or whatever else they have in mind. Who knows, they might have some brilliant business ideas that could help you.
Make sure you stick to that schedule, too. You can also create a virtual assistant task list, and check where they are or what they have accomplished in your meetings.
- Always Use Online Tools to Communicate
The internet provides so many tools to help you communicate with your VA. Asana and Basecamp, for example, are project management tools you can use to assign tasks and check its progress, too.
You can also make use of Skype, Hangouts, or Slack to communicate or chat. Quick updates and check-ins can be done using these platforms.
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Hiring the best VA for your business can seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be!
Companies that offer virtual assistant services have made the process easier, and once you’ve set your expectations and have your systems and procedures in place, you’ll discover that hiring a virtual assistant can be very simple.
In the end, having a VA to help you in your business can change the way you approach work and, ultimately, the way you live.
To get the best VA out there, make sure to follow the methods we have outlined above, and we can guarantee that you’ll be able to hire a virtual assistant in no time.
And if you're looking to know more about what virtual assistants can do for you and your business, our Ultimate Guide to Virtual Assistants can answer all your burning questions about having a virtual assistant.