Why You Need To Hire a Virtual Assistant - Like Yesterday
Small business owners, entrepreneurs, founders...have you hired a VA yet? For those who aren’t up to speed, a VA is a virtual assistant. This is a remote contractor you can hire to take care of EVERYTHING on your To Do list, leaving you with plenty of time to get back to the business of making a business.
My virtual assistant has been a life-saver in my own business -- from answering emails to organizing my administrative tasks -- and I have seen them help countless of my entrepreneur clients. They are absolutely invaluable when you are starting out because they free up your time to be working on your business, rather than in it. If you’ve considered hiring a virtual assistant before but haven’t taken the leap, what’s holding you back?
Productivity is the Key to Profitability
As a business owner, there is always more you can be doing to develop your business. The limit, of course, is time. To be successful, it is essential that you learn how to be productive with your time and efficient with your energy.
Every entrepreneur wants more time in their week. Truly, what would you be willing to pay for an extra five hours each day? This isn’t a hypothetical question; it’s a real calculation: what would you pay an assistant to free up more time in your schedule?
This is the pivotal question you have to face as an entrepreneur: where is the tipping point between the value of your time and the value of the work you are doing on a daily basis to keep your business afloat? If your time outweighs the work, it’s time to hire help.
What Does a Virtual Assistant Actually Do?
When business owners talk about VAs, they often refer to tasks like answering emails and doing administrative tasks. But these are only a few of the many areas where a VA can help your business.
Among many, many other tasks, VAs can help with
● Editing your writing
● Setting up meetings
● Organizing events
● Booking travel
● Following up with leads
● Managing your marketing and social media
Invest in Yourself by Delegating
In every entrepreneur’s journey, there is a moment when she says to herself, “I can’t do this alone.” The great news? You don’t have to! I do understand that choosing to delegate work can be a challenge, both emotionally and financially. But here’s the bottom line: you can’t to this alone. If you do, you will limit your business’ potential.
If you have never managed a team before, hiring a VA is a great way to practice your delegation skills. You will learn how to communicate your instructions clearly, set expectations, and get results. By working with a VA, you will learn which tasks you should delegate and which are best left to you.
Choosing a Great Virtual Assistant
There are plenty of sites and services out there that specialize in hiring out VAs. Some, provide additional services like preselecting candidates based on your criteria, tracking hours, and even processing payments for you. Different platforms will have different hiring processes, but here are some tips that will help you choose a great VA:
1. Test their skills.
Depending on what kind of work you want your VA to do, you can create an assignment to test their skills. Keep it relatively simple and quick to complete. This can be something like a brief research assignment (something like, find five catering companies in a particular neighborhood that offer vegan lunch options), or asking for a writing sample (either something they’ve written before or a brief writing assignment you provide). Not only will an assignment help you weed out candidates who aren’t right for your business, it will also preselect for candidates who are hardworking and able to efficiently and effectively complete a task.
2. Do a live interview.
VAs can be anywhere in the world, so it is a good idea to conduct a live interview before hiring one. Do an audio or video call to gauge their personality and communication style. This will give you an opportunity to determine whether you will work well together.
3. Start with a two-week trial.
Before hiring a VA, you can offer a promising candidate a two-week trial. During this time, you can pay the VA for their work and give them a chance to prove their skills and reliability. At the beginning of the two-week trial, set an appointed date when you will have a conversation and decide whether you both would like to move forward or not.
4. Craft a clear job description.
Be clear and honest up front, both in your job posting and in initial communications with applicants, about what the job entails. Make sure you specify any tools, software, or technology they will need to complete the job. If you need them to be available at certain times of day, specify the work schedule.
5. Communicate your expectations.
Beyond the details of the job, it is important that you communicate your expectations around specific tasks. Provide time limits, deadlines, and clear instructions each time you assign a project.
6. Develop standard procedures and practices.
As you begin working with a VA, be cognizant of your own time. To maximize efficiency and efficacy, lay out standard procedures and practices for the tasks you assign. Not only will these written instructions help your VA complete tasks in accordance with your expectations, they will also save you time in the future when you need to ask others to do the same work. Create operating procedures for everything, and make sure you keep these written instructions somewhere where they are handy. These procedures can include things like
● How to write and post social media content
● Client onboarding and follow up communications
● Event planning checklists
● Lead identification
Once you’ve created a written procedure and provided it to your VA, follow up with them. Ask for feedback. Were your instructions clear? Where did they need more guidance? Adjust your procedures accordingly.
Ready to Give VAs a Try?
The more you work with VAs, the better you will become at delegating, communicating clear instructions, and making the most of your time. If you are thinking of working with a VA and have questions about how the process works or any other of your tough entrepreneurial challenges, feel free to reach out! I would love to chat with you and hear about your experiences. Click here to schedule an appointment.