What to consider before hiring a Virtual Assistant

In the world of business, I'm hearing more and more about hiring a "Virtual Assistant". It is possible to hire a person from another continent that works while you are sleeping and you might end up having to pay them $8 - $12 each time they work for you.

Understanding Virtual Assistants and what they can do for you.

In the world of business, I’m hearing more and more about hiring a “Virtual Assistant”. It is possible to hire a person from another continent that works while you are sleeping and you might end up having to pay them $8 – $12 each time they work for you. The majority of the VAs I work with have a degree in Business Administration and one of them has an MBA in the same field. It’s a great bargain to pay her $15 per hour, isn’t it?

As the virtual assistant industry continues to grow, something has also changed with regard to what it means to be a virtual assistant.  Those who are involved in founding and running entrepreneurial businesses have made it essential to draw distinctions between what virtual assistance is and what it doesn’t entail.  You will want to keep these standards in mind when you are explaining your business to others or presenting your products. 

It is a fact that becoming a virtual assistant has been deemed an important part of a home business. There is an expectation that the virtual assistant standards will be upheld for all those who are involved in this profession as well. Therefore, it could be said that a virtual assistant is a person who specializes in providing a range of services to businesses and individuals following a standard that has become formalized in the last ten years.

It is important to keep in mind that there are a few other angles on how to approach the whole concept of what a virtual assistant is. As a virtual assistant, you would not be considered a virtual assistant if you are not working remotely or from your own home.  It is considered instead to be a temporary job, or perhaps a telecommuting job.  Having the ability to choose where you want to work is an essential requirement for becoming a virtual assistant.

Another aspect of being a virtual assistant is that there is a distinction between the job description and a virtual assistant.  In most cases, virtual assistants cringe at the thought of being called a secretary or a contractor.  According to technical definitions, a freelance worker is a person who does the job only to earn an extra income.  It is also important to remember that a secretary is not one who does the work continuously with one client.  It is important to be diligent in the selection of your virtual assistant in order to build a trusting and long-lasting relationship with your company    

In order to find a good Virtual Assistant, you need to consider the following 5 factors:

1. Professionalism:

man virtual assistant being professional

Is the VA professional in every respect? For example, do they respond to e-mails, voice messages, and other correspondence in a timely and professional manner? When you hire this person, it is essential that they have the right skills and they do not keep you or a deadline waiting. It is important that you assign a covert task to her or him that demonstrates a commitment to deadlines that she or he has to pass.

2. Project management:

Woman Virtual Assistant juggling tasks

Nowadays, it is essential to manage projects and juggle multiple tasks at the same time. Currently, we are tapping our feet in front of the microwave so we have to get things done. In the event that a person is unable to manage several projects at the same time, you may wish to move on to another candidate. It is almost certain that you will only discover that they have a project management issue when you lose “the big deal”.

3. Availability:

Virtual assistant with time availability

As a freelancer, you might find yourself working for several people at the same time. As an employer, it is not uncommon for you to find yourself in a funnel system used by the virtual assistant. The funnel slowly moves downwards as their contracts improve from new virtual employers as they take on better contracts. As well as this, you should identify new virtual assistants to work for your company. In order to combat this problem, you may want to consider splitting the work between two or more Virtual Assistants.

4. Test:

Work test

Before going ahead with a contract, give the VA a chance to complete a mini-project.  In addition to this, I also include a minimum of two tasks that should not cost more than $30 to $40 per task. To consider working with this person, I must be 100% sure that they will do the job correctly and to my complete satisfaction. You can hire one of the first people to arrive in your path, but I suggest you shortlist at least 10 people and make sure two of them are able to take on the task. Don’t waste your money on tasks that you don’t actually need to be done, make sure these are things that you actually want to do.

5. Get references:

Resume with references from previous job

You could ask the VA for references – Can you contact them and request a list of people whom you can contact in order to get their opinions about working with her or him? 

One of the main differences that most virtual assistants will work to set themselves apart from other virtual assistants, is the idea of developing a relationship with a business and making their business the business of the business. In any temporary or telecommuting job, the Expectations of such a role go way beyond what is expected. The virtual assistant will also be able to provide services that will go beyond the ones that are part of the job descriptions that we formulate in the office. The best way for you to approach this in your own relationship with businesses is by understanding the standards for being a virtual assistant.

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