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:Money / Grow your team

Everything to know about hiring a virtual assistant to help scale your business

benefits of hiring a virtual assistant benefits of hiring a virtual assistant

As a small business owner and solopreneur, you may struggle to manage and complete your growing to-do list. You may find yourself spread so thin that you cannot give the most important tasks your undivided attention. Some small business owners may think hiring help isn’t feasible or is too expensive. But there are many benefits of hiring a virtual assistant. They’re a cost-effective option that can help you scale your business while taking mundane tasks off your plate.

What is a virtual assistant?

As the name suggests, a virtual assistant is a person who offers administrative services to a client. In this case the client is you, the creator. Typically, one of the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant is delegating tedious tasks so you can focus on more demanding parts of your business. 

Virtual assistants often work with multiple clients at once on a freelance or contract basis, meaning they aren’t staff employees. To complete work, they must be granted access to specific programs, shared files, and anything else needed to complete their assigned tasks. Sometimes but not always, virtual assistants have “traditional” (in-person) administrative or assistant experience. But in some cases, virtual assistants are simply highly skilled freelancers eager to assist you with tasks you’d like to get off your plate.

Benefits of hiring a personal assistant

Technically speaking, a virtual assistant can do pretty much any task you’re comfortable delegating to them that can be completed remotely. Even personal errands like scheduling doctor’s appointments or researching resorts for your next vacation are fair game. So you can see how the main benefit of hiring a virtual assistant would be freeing up your time to focus on your business.

Some typical tasks that you might delegate to a virtual assistant include:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Marketing services
  • Blog writing
  • Email management
  • Calendar management
  • Travel booking
  • Social media management
  • Conducting research
  • Personal scheduling
  • Errands

Before beginning your search for a virtual assistant, have a clear idea of what tasks you’d want to delegate.  Write them down in detail. Clear instructions for each task, including where to access specific items needed to complete each task, will guide your virtual assistance and avoid miscommunication and delays.

It’s also worth estimating how long they will take to complete tasks. Virtual assistants set their rates depending on experience. Some virtual assistants might charge per hour while others might charge per task, or work on retainer. So set a sensible budget and negotiate rates when needed.

What qualities to look for in a virtual assistant?

The qualifications to look for in a virtual assistant depend on the tasks you’d like them to complete. For example, let’s say you’re looking for an assistant primarily for bookkeeping, managing your email inbox, and sorting files in a cloud-based system. In that case, you may want to look for skills such as basic accounting knowledge, computer savviness, and organizational skills. 

Some essential qualifications that every virtual assistant should have, regardless of their focus areas, are effective communication (verbal, written, etc.), data entry, time management, self-motivation, and reliability. When hiring a virtual assistant, review their resume closely, check references, and ask for work examples when applicable.

Example questions to ask when hiring a virtual assistant

Like in a typical job interview, asking the right questions can help you find your best match for a virtual assistant. Below are some examples of open-ended questions you could ask candidates.

What is your preferred communication style?

Though both parties should be open to communication through various mediums, it’s crucial to grasp how your potential virtual assistant prefers to communicate to determine if it aligns with the tasks to be delegated.

How do you troubleshoot technical issues that may impact your ability to work?

Virtual assistants don’t have an IT department to walk over to when their computer crashes, the internet goes out, or another unfortunate technical difficulty occurs. It’s comforting to know that if some technical difficulties happens, your future virtual assistant has a solid plan to resolve any issues. And, most importantly, understands the importance of communicating the issue immediately. Things like having a backup laptop or access to wifi at a nearby public space (library, cafe, etc.) may not be required but are green flags that your potential hire knows of to think quickly on their feet and is prepared for the unknown.

What time of the day do you prefer to work?

If tasks don’t require your virtual assistant to be online during a specific time window, inquiring about their preferred schedule may not be of the utmost importance. However, if you’re assigning timely tasks like engaging on your social media accounts at specific times of the day, you should confirm that your virtual has the ideal availability.

How many clients are you with at the moment?

As mentioned above, virtual assistants typically work with more than one client simultaneously. While being able to balance multiple client loads can attest to their time management and prioritizing abilities, you want to ensure that your virtual assistant has the bandwidth to take on your tasks while putting their best foot forward. 

Where can you find a virtual assistant?

The global shift to remote working has afforded many people the opportunity to become highly skilled virtual assistants. Typically, you can find and vet a virtual assistant on freelance job posting sites like other contract workers. You can also create your own virtual assistant job posts to attract qualified candidates. 

Some sites you can find virtual assistants looking for work or post your own VA job opportunity:

Hiring a virtual assistant to grow your business

Once you’ve hired an assistant to help you, you can spend more time focused on growing your business. Think about all the time that would be available if you didn’t have to answer emails or schedule calls each day. These are all benefits of hiring a virtual assistant that you will see pretty immediately after hiring them. You can also always try out having an assistant for a busy time because they work on a freelance or contract basis. Whatever you need to do to help build your business, your assistant can help.

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Author: Mika Robinson, Mika is a NYC-based lifestyle blogger and freelance writer. When she’s not creating content on her blog, astoldbymika.com, she’s somewhere in the digisphere writing content for your favorite platforms and go-to brands.

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