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What you need to know about hiring a virtual assistant

What you need to know about hiring a virtual assistant

As a business owner, increasing your profit and productivity is good for business. But, the biggest problem that most business owners face is ineffective time management and lack of expertise to do all tasks themselves. Luckily there is a solution: hiring a virtual assistant who knows how to do the tasks and save you time.   

But if you think you have a perfect hang of your time, let me ask you a few questions. 

  • How many tasks do you have on your to-do list? 
  • Do you work for over 9 hours daily? 

It is normal to have a lot to do, especially when you are running your own business. But it is abnormal to keep working from morning to midnight, 7 days a week. Not only is this unhealthy, but it is also not sustainable because you will burn out in no time.

In this article, I will talk in-depth about virtual assistants — not just what they do, but also the benefits and best places to hire virtual assistants. If you find this article helpful, please share it with your friends on social media that want to hire a VA. 

You can use the links in the table of contents below to skip to the section of your choice.

Table of Contents

What is a virtual assistant?

“Virtual” means online or remote and “assistant” means helper for a business owner.

A virtual assistant (VA) is a person who provides support services to a business from a remote location. Virtual assistants are especially in demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need help but don't want to spend the money on office space for staff.

Why do you need a virtual assistant?

So, you want to hire a virtual assistant but you don’t know how that will help you or your business. 3 benefits of having a virtual assistant include: 

  • Get more time: Hiring a virtual assistant can help you maximize your time. You can outsource boring tasks so you can focus on tasks that will bring in more customers and money.
  • Controlled costs: You only pay a pre-agreed fee or billable hours of support for your business. You don’t have to pay for things like annual leave, internet, office space, etc.
  • Better productivity: You get great flexibility and become more productive. This can give you a competitive advantage if you don’t know how to do some tasks like video editing. A professional and skilled VA can edit your videos and add your appropriate branding details to make your videos stand out.
hiring a virtual assistant: tasks to assign

What does a virtual assistant do?

There is always a person for a task because many virtual business assistants offer most in-demand virtual assistant services. Before hiring a virtual assistant, you need to answer this question: “What skills do I need for my business?” Answering this question will allow you to know exactly what to include in the job description and contract. 

Then, you can create a list of tasks that you need to outsource. There is a list below to help guide you.

10 Tasks that virtual assistants can do for you

  1. Scheduling blog posts on WordPress
  2. Scheduling posts on social media
  3. Writing articles for skincare websites
  4. Designing pictures or graphics for blog posts
  5. Replying to Comments on your social media posts
  6. Doing SEO to improve the ranking of old blog posts
  7. Fixing appointments with customers 
  8. Managing business email accounts
  9. Editing videos and adding thumbnails for IGTV or YouTube
  10. Making whiteboard animation or explainer videos.

Best places to hire a virtual assistant online

After preparing a list of tasks to outsource, the next step is on how to find a virtual assistant. You can use any of these 5 methods: 

  1. Online: You can hire a virtual assistant online by posting jobs on freelancer marketplace like Upwork, Fiverr, People per hour, Problogger, etc. Most times, you will get hundreds of replies that you need to sift through to choose a VA. Luckily, the reputable marketplace allows you to set strict requirements, which will screen out unqualified people. 
  2. Virtual assistant agencies: you can contact agencies and they will choose a VA that can handle the tasks. You won’t have to go through hundreds of applications or CVs because the agencies will help on how to choose a virtual assistant. However, this method is often expensive.
  3. Job sites: You can post job openings on websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, SimplyHired, etc but get ready to screen a lot of applications. It is free to post on most of these sites.
  4. Network: you can ask for recommendations in business Facebook groups or virtual assistant groups. It is also free to use this approach.
  5. Google: search for “virtual assistant + location” or tasks needed e.g. “skincare writer” to get search results that will lead you directly to a virtual assistant website. You will go straight to the VA who you can interview to see if you are a fit.

An example of a virtual assistant job description

Assist with administrative tasks on a day-to-day basis. Looking for someone versatile, can work quickly, do excellent research, and be super organized. We are a skincare company based out of Canada. I would prefer to hire someone who has had some experience in the beauty industry. The work will involve data entry, industry research, assisting in social media work, etc. You should be able to communicate over WhatsApp and have a reliable internet connection.

Costs of hiring a VA

The rates vary from one assistant to another and here are some factors that affect the cost:

  • Tasks: The nature of your tasks affects the amount that you will pay for it. When starting, most business owners hire a general VA who does various admin tasks. Once the business grows, you might need to hire specialized VA with certain skills. For instance, a personal assistant can charge you $15/hour to manage phone calls. Meanwhile, a social media manager can charge you $50/hour.
  • Experience: It is cheaper to hire someone with less to no experience, but your bill increases when you hire a more experienced person. A cheaper VA can save you money, but an experienced VA can get your work done faster.
  • Tools: If your project requires paid tools and software (like graphic design and video editing), you can expect your bills to be higher. If you don’t want to spend more, you could buy a license to that software, but it is unreasonable to invest in software that you only need once. In such a situation, it is best to pay your VA to use his/her own for your work.
  • Location: The location of your VA also affects how much you pay. For instance, a virtual assistant based in the US will charge higher rates ($50/hour) because the cost of living in the US is high. Meanwhile, a VA living in South Africa might charge a lower rate ($30/hour), which is good pay when converted to local currency ($30 = 517 rands).
  • Where you hire: This is another important factor that affects the price. Most agencies charge you a fee to find you a VA, but they won’t tell you that outright. Instead, they will add that fee to the invoice while working with your assistant. The Freelancer marketplaces also charge you an extra fee to hire a virtual assistant. For instance, Upwork charges you a 3% payment processing and admin fee on payment. All these will increase the costs of hiring a VA so it is best to use the free methods before trying the paid ones.

How to manage your virtual assistant

Once you hire your best candidate, you need to manage these 3 key areas to know how to work well with a virtual assistant. 

  1. Communication: since you won’t be meeting your VA in person, you need tools to keep in touch with him/her. Tools like Slack, Telegram, WhatsApp can allow you to share messages, files, ideas, etc within seconds. 
  2. Project management: You can use Trello, ClickUp to assign tasks with a detailed description, set deadlines, and monitor the progress of the project. 
  3. Time Tracking: most business owners worry about not knowing how to track virtual assistant hours. It is easy, just ask your VA to use tools like Time Doctor, Toggl, which has an inbuilt tracker for tasks done and keyboard and mouse activity. 

Fill the form below and get a contract template that you can use to streamline the work relationship between you and your virtual assistant.

Key takeaway

Having an assistant is beneficial to any business because it gives you access to other sets of skills important for your business. 

Remember that the growth of your business supersedes forcing yourself to do tasks you hate. You need processes in place to ensure that you get the most profit while staying productive. 

That’s why hiring a virtual assistant is a necessity. Because you can’t do everything alone. You thrive by learning to delegate tasks while you focus on other important aspects of your business.

Do you need to get a virtual assistant for your business? What tasks do you want to delegate?

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