How to Hire a Virtual Assistant
It feels like no matter how much you knock off your to-do list, the list isn’t getting any smaller!
This is a sign that you might need a virtual assistant. Here’s what you want to do:
1. Start with a list of everything you hate or aren’t doing.
Although we joke about how the sign of a great leader is being able to delegate work, it really is worth taking account of what you can’t muster enthusiasm for. Every ounce of energy you waste struggling over the task (or procrastinating) is an ounce of energy that could have gone to a more productive cause.
2. Price out how much a virtual assistant would cost.
Next, you’ll want to price out the value of those tasks you hate doing. First estimate how much time it takes you to accomplish those tasks and scale the flat/hourly rate depending on experience level or difficulty.
Answering a few emails or filling out packing slips? That’s more entry-level than tasking someone to manage your entire calendar or helping out with project management.
3. Create training tutorials for your tasks.
Since your assistant is virtual, it’s especially important that you don’t mess up this step. Communication is vital, and instructions get misconstrued all the time (especially if you’re picky about how certain things should be done). Put yourself in the shoes of your future assistant and do your best to account for all and any potential questions they may have when trying to complete their tasks.
4. Note any qualities that your assistant needs to have.
For example, does your assistant need to speak English fluently or be based locally? Do they need to be on-call or available only during your working schedule?
5. Post a job ad.
Now that you’ve outlined all of your requirements and compensation for said virtual assistant, it’s time for you to post a job ad online. Upwork is a great option for discovering freelancers, but you can also look into other options like LinkedIn or Indeed.
Once a few people have applied, select some candidates to interview. Prepare for the interview and look out for red flags like unresponsiveness or lack of time management. If this is your virtual assistant, he or she better be on top of his/her stuff and show professionalism.
Once you’ve finished interviewing all your candidates, go with your top choice. Even if the candidate costs more than others, great assistants are worth their weight in gold and will make your life much easier.
6. Onboard them with plenty of time to ramp up.
Very little scares a new employee more than being immediately thrown into the deep end. Don’t bombard your new assistant with tasks and assume that he or she will just get it. Instead, give them a few new projects every week to make sure they understand the nature of your work. Give them the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.
Even though training might take a month (or more), view your new relationship with your assistant as an investment in improving your business. Since you’re both working together, you want to make sure that each team member can perform beyond your standards.
And don’t forget to have them sign an independent contractor agreement so you can protect your company + keep your confidential information under wraps. You can download our Sample Consultant Agreement to protect you from the most common problems.