Are you a small business owner or entrepreneur feeling overwhelmed with the everyday tasks of running your business? Are you in need of assistance but don’t have the resources to hire a full time assistant? Hiring a virtual assistant may be the perfect solution for you! Virtual assistants can provide assistance with day-to-day tasks such as email management, data entry, calendar organization, lead generation and more.

By outsourcing these tasks, you can focus on the more important aspects of your business and increase efficiency. Additionally, virtual assistants are typically more cost effective than full-time employees, making them a great option for small businesses. With their expertise and experience, a virtual assistant can help you save time and money while providing the support you need to reach your goals.

Handing over work to a VA gives you more time to focus on growing your business. We have put together the Ultimate Guide into Hiring the Virtual Assistant that is right for you. We take a look at what a virtual assistant is, what a VA can do for you, the costs of a VA, the benefits of a VA and some great examples of how a virtual assistant can help you.

What is a virtual assistant?

By definition, a virtual assistant is an individual that is considered to be an independent contractor. They provide a variety of different administrative services to clients depending on their needs. A key feature of virtual assistants is that they work remotely, outside of the clients office or home. Virtual assistants usually operate from a home office but have access to all necessary data, documents, files, emails and calendars to name a few.

Hiring a virtual assistant
Hiring a virtual assistant gives you more time to focus on what is important – Photo by Christina Morillo – Pexels

Usually, most virtual assistants are self-employed and specialize in specific tasks. This means that there are a variety of different virtual assistants available, catering to a number of different prospective clients and their needs. Examples of jobs that virtual assistants can fill include:

  • Organizing emails
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Customer support
  • General administrative tasks
  • Social media management and marketing
  • Accounting & book keeping
  • Optimize your SEO
  • Lead generation

Although not a requirement, it is usually the case that virtual assistants already have several years of experience working administerial tasks in an office as either an administrative assistant or office manager.

Following the recent boom in social media and the endless possibilities it now holds, as well as the stay at home order of the looming pandemic – there are a number of new opportunities opening up for virtual assistants that possess skills in social media management, content curation, blog writing and website designing to name a few.

Working from home has now become more accepted and is in fact proving to be both efficient and sustainable. The demand for virtual assistants is only expected to rise from here. If you’re thinking about hiring one, now might be a good time to look into it.

What are the costs of a virtual assistant?

The cost of hiring a freelance virtual assistant will largely depend on the size and duration of your project, the rate and expertise of the virtual assistant you choose, the types (and frequency) of work you need performed, their level of technical knowledge required, and their location. A general administrative VA may charge an average of $12-20/hour, while a VA with marketing skills or customer service experience can charge anywhere from $20-35+/hour.

A VA with executive assistant experience or business consulting skills may charge upwards of $38-50+/hour. It’s important to find a VA with the right mix of experience and skills that can seamlessly integrate into your routine to get the most out of their services.

Additionally, keep in mind any specialized tools or platforms you may need your VA to be familiar with and consider the time zone difference for live communication. All these cost factors should help you more accurately estimate the cost to hire a virtual assistant for your business.

What are the most common mistakes when hiring a virtual assistant?

Hiring a virtual assistant can be a great way to save time and increase productivity, but it is important to avoid some common mistakes.

First, be sure to thoroughly review the skills your virtual assistant has to determine if they are the right fit for the job. Additionally, be sure to provide clear and concise instructions so that the virtual assistant understands the task. It is also important to create a schedule and set expectations to ensure that the virtual assistant stays on track.

Communication with your VA is crucial for success
Communication with your VA is crucial for success. – Photo by Anna Shvets – Pexels

Finally, ensure you are providing feedback so your virtual assistant can make improvements and better understand your needs.

By avoiding these common mistakes when hiring a virtual assistant, you can ensure a successful working relationship.

What can a virtual assistant do?

A few tasks you could outsource to help you focus on what’s important for your business.

Writing Newsletters: Creating content for newsletters is a task a virtual assistant can expertly handle. Moreover, they can manage the timing of the email dissemination and then assess the open rates. Upon understanding the results, the VA and the client can join forces to devise a plan to enhance both aspects.

Forum: Your virtual assistant can engage in pertinent industry and niche forums, responding and participating in threads to promote your brand. Additionally, utilizing a signature with a direct link to your website can be included in your forum posts.

Transcribe videos: If you have any audio or video recordings that require transcription, it would be a great task for your Virtual Assistant to handle.

Lead generation: Identify and connect with prospects. Virtual assistants can conduct research to identify potential clients, then contact them with an introductory note. Upon receiving a response, you can then move forward with the official presentation and close the deal.

Social media presence: Connecting with potential clients through social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be a great way to develop relationships and create leads. When carried out in a respectful and thoughtful manner, these practices can be a great asset to any business.

How do I train my virtual assistant?

Training your virtual assistant is an essential step in getting them up to speed and helping them become a useful part of your team. To start, you should familiarize yourself with the platform or application you are using to manage your virtual assistant. Once you’ve got the basics down, provide clear instructions on the tasks they will be expected to complete on a daily basis, as well as any specific tasks that may come up. Make sure these instructions are easy to understand and follow.

Additionally, give your virtual assistant access to resources that can help them perform their job better – this could include training materials, online tutorials, or even access to experts who can answer their questions. Lastly, create a feedback system so that you can monitor your virtual assistant’s progress and performance over time and make adjustments as necessary.

With these steps in place, you should have no problem training your virtual assistant for success.

Benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant

There are a number of benefits to hiring a virtual assistant, and we’re going to break down some of our favourites. If any of the following points appeal to you, it might be a good time to look into getting a virtual assistant! By hiring a virtual assistant you’ll be able to free up valuable time to focus on the efficiency, growth and revenue of the company to name a few. Let’s dive in!

Reduced costs

When operating a business of any kind, being wise with your money is essential. By hiring a virtual assistant, you can cut down on a number of operational expenses. Because virtual assistants work from home and often have their own computer/devices on which they can get their work done, you’ll be able to save expenses for office space, any kind of maintenance costs, as well as additional taxes.

You won’t need to provide any office equipment either. In addition to this, depending on your arrangement, its likely you won’t need to pay any employee benefits like you would with a regular employee.

By hiring a virtual assistant you’ll also only be paying them for work that is actually done – by hour or by project. Regardless, this small change will cut costs drastically. By hiring a virtual assistant you will also be able to lower training costs.

When hiring a regular employee for the first time, you usually have to invest a considerable amount of time and effort into training them to be able to do certain aspects of their job efficiently. This however is not the case with virtual assistants, as they solely work on tasks that they are already professionals in.

Increase efficiency & drive growth

Running your own business can be incredibly time consuming, with core tasks often not given the attention and efficiency they need. Another benefit of hiring virtual assistants is that they allow you to focus on the core components of your business while they handle the administrative tasks.

Although sending emails, handling customer related queries, research and scheduling are necessary parts of a successful business, they are not tasks that should be tackled by an in house team. Instead, the in house team should deal with business related matters that cannot be communicated remotely. By outsourcing your non-essential activities to a virtual assistant, you won’t have to worry about getting these tasks done in house.

A virtual assistant can manage your socisl media
A virtual assistant can manage your socisl media – Image by Pixabay – Pexels

As an entrepreneur, it is crucial that you focus on core business functions in order to drive growth. Having a helping hand or two to handle some of your tasks can work to greatly grow your business at a faster rate.

Collaboration is a powerful tool in any business venture, and is likely to be the factor that takes your business to the next level through strategic partnerships and shared connections. By carefully aligning your virtual assistant with the ethics and goals of your business, you’ll be able to share ideas and potentially see substantial growth in the efficiency and output of your company.

Access to the best talent

Because virtual assistants work remotely, you are not limited to the select few applicants you might manage to find in your town – you have free access to world class talent. Without being bothered by geographical restrictions you will undoubtedly have more options available at a significantly lower cost. The more you communicate to your virtual assistant the better results you’re likely to see in regards to the success of both your partnership and your business as a whole!

Improve your online presence

Nowadays, one of the most efficient ways to grow your business or brand is through social media. By increasing your online presence, you’re likely to find more prospective clients and spread the word about your business at a much faster rate.

Social media management and marketing is a common responsibility assigned to virtual assistants. Such tasks include posting more frequently across a variety of platforms, responding to customer queries, curating engaging content and interacting with comments to name a few.

Having a consistent, active presence online requires a significant amount of time, thought and dedication. Chances are you don’t particularly have the time for that, despite it being an important task. That’s where your virtual assistant comes in.

Where to find a virtual assistant?

The internet can sometimes feel like a daunting place and knowing where to start can be tricky.

Thankfully there are a number of great freelancing websites that work to connect clients with prospective freelancers. In this particular case – virtual assistants!

Increase efficiency & drive growth
Increase efficiency & drive growth – Photo by Andrea Piacquadio – Pexels

We’ve put together a list of our top 3 favourite sites that you can use to find the perfect virtual assistant for you and your business.

  1. Upwork
  2. Fiverr
  3. Freelancer

Checklist for hiring a VA

Now that we’ve covered what a virtual assistant is, what they do, how they can increase efficiency and productivity in your business, as well as where you can find one – let’s look at what steps you should take prior to the hiring process.

  • Set a budget and stick to it
  • Create a list of goals you’d like to accomplish in a given time frame
  • Keep track of productivity
  • Create a clear to do list for your virtual assistant to follow
  • Adequately communicate your expectations with your virtual assistant
  • Decide whether you’d like to arrange an hourly or project based agreement
  • Know what qualities you are looking for in a virtual assistant prior to your search process
  • Specify which programs or equipment you’ll require your virtual assistant to use
  • Consider preparing a qualification form or test to compare their qualifications and persona against your expectations
  • Provide your virtual assistant with well good job instructions. This can be either written ones, or by showing them how to do it.

Virtual assistants for hire

To make it easy for you, we’ve selected a few virtual assistants at Fiverr for you.
Use the ‘explore more services‘ button to check out all the virtual assistants that are for hire. You can specify your budget (starting at $5 per hour), but also look for specific skills, experience and so on.

Let us know in the comments what your experiences are!

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