If you’ve spent any time reading about online entrepreneurship, you’ve undoubtedly come across a myriad of references to Virtual Assistants (VA’s). You’ve read about how great they are, and you’ve seen claims like …
“Forget slaving away every day, all you need to do is hire a Virtual Assistant! You’ll soon be making a million dollars every twelve minutes! Outsource your entire life and work only 48 seconds a day, just long enough to tell your VA’s what to do! In fact, you can even outsource your thinking so you can work even less than 48 seconds!”
Well hell yea! That sounds pretty good doesn’t it? While the above claim may be a bit far fetched, it’s quite true that hiring a virtual staff can make your life a lot easier. The big question is HOW do you do it? Plenty of people will overload you with the benefits of VA’s and WHY you should get one, but when it comes to specifics, good information is hard to find.
So we’ve created this guide to shed some light on the VA world for you. In this article we’ll detail the key steps to take when hiring your first Virtual Assistant, and we’ll lay out the benefits and potential drawbacks so that you can make an informed decision.
Among other things, you’ll learn…
First off, where to not find good VA’s. I don’t suggest using sites like Elance, Fiverr, or RentaCoder. Not that there’s anything wrong with these sites, I have had good experiences will all of them, but there are better options out there.
The big problem with sites like these is that it’s hard and time consuming to find what you need. You’ll be presented with 1,000’s of candidates that you must then individually sift through. We don’t have time for that! Not only can all that sifting leave you suffering from overwhelm and decision fatigue, but you might even wind up with someone who turns out to not be legit, after you’ve wasted all that time procuring them.
I’ve been there, and trust me, it is no fun. Do yourself a favor, and start out with the places I suggest below
– Bestjobs.ph I love the Philippines! When it comes to virtual assistants, I have found greater success working with people in the Philippines than anywhere else. As a general rule, they speak good English and their culture is more similar to Western culture than that of India, Pakistan, etc.
Due to lack of job opportunities in their home country, many of these people must search outside their borders, thus the abundance of VA work there. This is good for you, because many Filipino assistants will already have a bachelors degree.
This site provides prospective employers with a ton of search filters so you can really narrow down your results. The database is updated daily, and you will undoubtedly find people offering whatever services you require.
This site claims to be “the best place to find quality virtual assistant jobs.” Unlike the site above, this site has candidates from all over the world, giving you a bigger pond to fish from. The site also has a “how it works” section with some useful info and FAQ. They offer the ability to search jobs by category, and provide quite a few filters for narrowing down your search.
Too busy to go through the process of finding, interviewing, and hiring a VA for yourself? No worries, you can outsource that work to Virtual Staff Finder. This site is basically an employment agency for VA’s. You provide them with what you’re looking for, and they go and do the dirty work of locating the perfect person for you, all for a fee, of course.
This company was founded by Chris Ducker, author of “Virtual Freedom“, if you haven’t read his book, I strongly recommend it. It’s absolutely packed with good information and tactics..
Although it seems complicated at first, as they’re halfway across the world and you will probably never meet face to face, hiring a VA is much like hiring anybody else. Easier really.
That’s it! See, not so hard after all! If, after the trial period ends all parties are happy with the arrangement, you are then free to ride off into the sunset on your diamond plated camel while sipping Mai Tai’s and counting your money.
No need to make this complicated. I use PayPal, exclusively. I have automated payments set up to pay my virtual assistants their lump-sum monthly salary on the first of each month.
If you’re hesitant to jump onboard the virtual bandwagon, I suggest dipping your toe in the water by hiring a VA for a one-off freelance job. This will give you a little experience of how the process works and help you get over any fears you may have of virtual authority.
After that, you can move on to hiring a full or part time worker using the instructions in this article. I suggest transitioning away from one-off hires as soon as possible and begin building relationships. When you rely on someone day in and day out it’s important that you get to know each other a bit. I try to keep my VA’s, even in slower times, rather than having to find new ones to replace them later.
Over time your VA will learn your style, likes, dislikes, etc. and that makes all processes go much smoother. Over time, your Executive VA can be in charge of finding and hiring other people you need to bring on board. If he/she knows you well than they can select new team members that jive with the existing team, as well as yourself.
“BUT WAIT! You’re telling me I’m supposed to give them access to my accounts?! What if my VA turns out to be an evil shapeshifting monster that uses my accounts to assume my identity after they suck my brain out through my earbuds during a Skype chat!?!?!?!”
Hold on there Shirley. Don’t get your tighty whities in a twist just yet.
Is it possible that your VA could go renegade with your personal info and cause your business harm? YES
Is it probable? NO WAY
If you follow the steps in this article and do your proper due diligence, then the chances of a bad experience are no greater than those of hiring a physical assistant. Or an accountant, for that matter. Most of the people you find doing VA work will be honest, hard working people that you can rely on and grow your business with.
Remember, if they don’t work out, you can always fire them.
I do suggest creating separate accounts for your VA’s, and limiting their access to things not directly necessary for them to do their jobs. For example, if you have a web designer VA doing some work on a site for you, create a separate “web developer” account for your site. You can then change the passwords or delete the extra accounts if you ever need to.
Many people even have their VA’s handle their bank accounts, bills, income, etc. I haven’t made that leap yet, but I have heard no negative reports from those who have. I would suggest, however, that you wait to let them have access to your money until they have proven themselves to be dependable, and you have developed a mutual trust.
I have all of my Virtual Assistants submit a “daily accountability report.” This doesn’t have to be overly detailed and complicated, and it’s really more for them than for you. Mine has the following questions…
That’s it. I don’t read them every day, but I make sure they send them every day.
Lacking a particular place to put these, we’ve included this section to help answer any remaining questions you may have.
Letting go of the reigns is hard! Most of us struggle, at one time or another, with “Superhero Syndrome.” I used to think that it was my job to tackle and destroy any obstacle that came my way.
I thought I had to learn how to do EVERYTHING! That I was the conduit through which all information flowed… the almighty authority of my company… that nothing could function without my constant attention and presence.
I used to think I could work 16 hour days, 7 days a week forever. I practiced polyphasic sleep, pounded endless cups of coffee, and even convinced myself for several years that, unlike mere mortals, I only needed 4 hours of sleep a night!
What a dumb ass.
When I was finally hit with reality, I realized that I didn’t really own a business. I owned a job! I was such a micro-manager that no one could get anything done. It was a self imposed prison of work-for-works-sake.
So, I took the leap and began outsourcing some of my duties. I started small at first, but soon progressed to letting other people handle the majority of the things that I used to believe “only I” could do.
These days I leave the stuff I don’t understand to the pros. I focus my brainpower on growing my businesses and being creative. How sweet it is to realize that my business can do just fine, better in fact, without me constantly staring at it through a microscope.
Burnout does not discriminate. I learned the hard way that I am not a special snowflake, impervious to the basic needs of man. And you, my friend, probably aren’t either.
Are you headed for burnout? Or have you already wised up? What impact have VA’s had on your life?