Finding your perfect Virtual Assistant…

virtual assistantIf you’re asking what the heck is a Virtual Assistant, perhaps this is not the blog for you. But if you are interested in changing some of your patterns from the “I have to do everything or it’s not done right” to the new pattern of “I stick to my core creative genius tasks and delegate the rest”; then read on.

The internet has changed many things; and technology makes it possible for you to work with someone on the other side of the world. Hence the title Virtual Assistant. Like a Personal Assistant, but well, virtual.

If that person happens to live in a country where $10 an hour gets them an awful lot more than $10 per hour gets you in Australia, and work opportunities in their own country are thin on the ground, then the attraction of hiring a VA can be very obvious.

A VA can do many more tasks than administrative; web design, graphic design, copy writing – you name it. There are a few particularly well known agencies that you can browse on the net to find a good VA.

However, there are many pitfalls in hiring a VA; it can be somewhat of a toad-kissing exercise.  Here are some top tips to finding and keeping the right VA for you:

  • Be really clear about what it is you need – work on a specific project? Or regular work?
  • Online agencies are the best way to find VAs.  Some are free, some you need to pay to post a job
  • For specific project or contract work try ODesk or Elance
  • For part time and full time work, try Best, Virtual Job Board, Hire My; I have also had good service from Cool Pixels
  • Exactly what it is you need? Be as specific as possible when posting a job
  • Once you have posted your job and are starting to vet applicants, ensure you spend some time picking the right match on paper prior to making contact.
  • Make sure you interview them face to face on Skype; to get to know them a little and check their English level is sufficient for what you need
  • When you are interviewing them, make sure you ask them what it is they like to do – and give them that kind of work when you can!  They will be sure to prioritise your work when it is something they like to do
  • Put together a simple contract for your VA outlining what you want them to do, how much they will be paid etc
  • Send a welcome pack which sets out your business’ procedures; set the tone for the working relationship and outline what your expectations are
  • Look after and care for them, give them plenty of training and support in their role
  • Build their trust in you to ensure it is reciprocated; you need to be able to trust your VA as they need access to your passwords to do their job

Hiring a VA can be a defining moment when your business makes that leap from “hobby” to “real”.  It can also be the moment when you commit to moving beyond the limits of what you can accomplish on your own.

And thus endeth the VA lesson!  Let me know on facebook if you have hired a VA and how it went for you.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks Pip for your words of wisdom around VA’s. I think its a great idea especially when your just starting out and need a bit of help but are not financial enough to commit to hiring staff.

    Its really helpful to share this business knowledge- thanks so much and keep it coming!!

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