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Unless you are brand new to the game, the idea of hiring a virtual assistant has become commonplace for those having to juggle work, family, and the needs of a growing/thriving business.

What is not known is that there are different types of Virtual Assistants.

For this reason, it is important to know what you are looking for before hiring one.

Prior to diving into the hiring process (or hiring us to help find you a Virtual Assistant…wink wink), you should also be clear about your objectives with a VA so that you can find the ideal match for your needs.

Are you in Real Estate? An REVA would be a more compatible match versus a Virtual Assistant that focuses on mental health professionals.

Looking for someone to make dinner reservations, schedule your travel, and maintain your inbox? You wouldn’t want to hire a Virtual Tech Assistant, an Administrative Virtual Assistant would be better suited.

Then there’s the law…

The most important thing to keep in mind when considering a virtual assistant is that these individuals are not a replacement for employees and they shouldn’t be used like one.

Know the limitations of using a Virtual Assistant as an Independent Contractor in your state (your business, bank account, and lawyer will thank you). Massachusetts residents read this and California residents click here. Not sure what independent contractor law is for your state, click here.

Now that the public service announcement is over, back to the conversation. You should also use this opportunity to hire someone who can do more than just one task requiring human intelligence.

When deciding to hire a Virtual Assistant, you want to focus on the “here now” and “if then”.

You want to add emails to your CRM, great but…will this person be able to to help upload blogs, build a landing page, schedule items to social media, or handle any of the 1000+ items on your to-do list.

Avoid tunnel vision when selecting a Virtual Assistant AND know the right questions to ask when interviewing the ideal candidate (we have a list of question you can grab for free – check it out).

Just know that when hiring within the United States, a Virtual Assistant might not be the best solution if you need an on-demand service or an employee that is available 24/7, in these cases it may be more ideal to look for a VA or agency is places like the Philippines or India. UpWork can be a fantastic resource for finding someone to meet this time of requirement.

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Working with a Virtual Assistant Starts with Your Needs

A virtual assistant can be the perfect solution for someone who wants to focus on their core business.

Take a moment to think about how much time you spend working on your business versus working in your business.

That time you spend scheduling social media, editing a podcast, building a funnel, etc could have been spent with a client or engaging with your audience via an Instagram or Facebook Live.

Virtual assistants are able to take care of a number of tasks that “bog down” an entrepreneur’s day – spelling out that sweet word of “freedom” for you.

Next, Find the Right VA for Your Business Type by Considering These Questions

1. What skills do you need help with?

How you work with a virtual assistant is largely dependent on what needs to be done – do you need someone to just take care of administrative tasks like scheduling meetings, booking flights, and following up with clients?

Or do you need someone who will also help with content creation and marketing?

It is important to know that while it is possible (and I can consider them to be the “unicorn”) it is rare that you will find a jack/jill of all trades.

Most Virtual Assistants love to stick with their “zone of genius” and prefer not to stretch too far outside of their “wheelhouse”.

A creative Virtual Assistant will probably not want to perform data entry.

A Virtual Tech Assistant will shy away from answering calls.

A Social Media Virtual Assistant may not be comfortable maintaining your WordPress site and server.

Does this mean you need to hire a different virtual assistant for every task? Absolutely not! Most VAs love to keep everything in house so they will either have subcontractors to handle the task they prefer not to do OR they run an agency and already have other VAs on staff who will be assigned to you based on your needs.

2. How much time do they have to give you?

Remember, Virtual Assistants are not employees. I know we keep emphasizing this but you will be amazed at how easily this is overlooked. You shouldn’t expect to hire a VA to work 40+ hours a week for you without raising some legal red flags (as they would not have the time or capacity to work with other clients.)

Be realistic with your expectations and vocal with your needs. Do they need to be available during certain business hours? How soon do you need to have tasks completed? How quickly do they need to respond to emails? Do they need to be readily available via real time communication such as WhatsApp, Voxer, Slack?

3. What is your budget for hiring a VA?

The cost for hiring a VA can range from $6 per hour for a basic assistant to $500 per week for an experienced professional. This is all dependent on the tasks they will be completing and their level of expertise in the subject.

Most Virtual Assistant rates are non-negotiable so be sure to know your price point before wasting your time (and theirs). No one wants to feel devalued and those who have been doing this for years know their worth.

If you find what you can offer and going rates just don’t mesh, again check out sites like UpWork and Fiverr to have your needs met.

Also keep in mind the age old adage “you get what you pay for”.

4. What type of work is too sensitive for a Virtual Assistant?

If you find you have individuals who are working with credit card numbers directly or medical information, you need to ensure they are abiding by PCI Compliance regulations or HIPPA Guidelines, respectively. Check the credentials of the VA or ask about their policies/procedures before providing access to sensitive material.

You may also want to check if the Virtual Assistant is insured. Accidents happen and working with a Virtual Assistant that has general, professional, and/or E&O insurance may provide a greater peace of mind for you, your business, and your clients.

5. How important is it to have someone on-site or off-site?

While the name “Virtual Assistant” does, in itself, mean “not physically present”, some entrepreneurs prefer to work with a VA who is either local or able to travel.

Do you want someone you can meet face to face with on a recurring basis? Do you need someone who can be present for local events, travel with you, or run errands locally?

What about time zones? Even if you love the idea of working with someone strictly “virtual” do they need to be in the same time zone or simply available during your business hours?

Did you even know these options were available? Are we blowing your mind right now?

Last, start the hiring process!

There are many more questions to ask yourself before getting started but these should point you in the right direction.

Bringing a Virtual Assistant into your business should be fun, helpful, and worth it – do the work before you hire to get it right the first time. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did!

Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash

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