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How to Hire a Virtual Assistant: 6 Steps

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Running a business, especially a startup, often means wearing many hats. If there is just you or a small staff, then you all have to do whatever you can to keep the business running and thriving. However, there may come a point when you need some outside help. In other words, you might need to hire a virtual assistant.


A virtual assistant (VA) might be just what you need to lighten the load. If you only have a small staff or you are a sole proprietor, then you want to spend your time doing the tasks that can help grow your business. However, getting in the way of that are any number of small tasks that are important but are not bringing in new customers or forging new profitable partnerships.

What Is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant is someone who works remotely to handle any tasks that you do not have the time for. They are perfect for businesses that can’t afford to hire full-time help and have work to do that’s easy to understand and requires little training. For example, a VA can filter your email and phone calls. They can work on your bookkeeping. They can schedule meetings and appointments and even handle some simple customer service that doesn’t need your intervention.

While a VA can be incredibly valuable for your business, you need to make sure that you hire the right one for you. Here are six steps on how to hire a virtual assistant.

Step 1: Determine What You Need Help With

There’s no point in hiring someone to help if you don’t know what they will help with. There are probably a million things that you do in a day. However, you need to decide what tasks you can delegate to someone else.

There are virtual assistants who can manage general office and correspondence duties. Others are more specialized. A specialized VA will focus on a particular area such as data entry or bookkeeping.

Step 2: Determine How Much You Can Afford

Your budget will go a long way toward figuring out what virtual assistant to hire. When choosing the tasks you need help with, you will also need to balance how much it will cost to get those jobs done. There are certain tasks that will take longer. But these tasks will also cost more if you hire a VA to do them for you.

There are many other factors that will determine how much a VA will cost. These include how many hours they work, what their rate is, if the work is specialized, and what country they live in.

Step 3: Start Your Search for a Virtual Assistant

Once you know what you need and how much you are willing to spend, you can then start your search for a virtual assistant. There are many places you can go to do this. For example, you can look on VA job boards, freelance websites, agencies, and popular job sites. A Google search can yield great results as well. Once you’ve done your search, you can pick out a few that you think are appropriate for your business.

Step 4: Reach Out to Candidates

At this point, you can reach out to the most appropriate candidates and get a better sense of how they fit with you. If you are connecting with individuals, you can ask your questions by email or text. With freelance platforms you may be restricted in how much you can ask and how you can contact a candidate. Make sure to follow their guidelines and you will still be able to get a sense of the fit with any candidates.

Step 5: Ask for Examples

Now it’s a matter of getting a virtual assistant to prove their skills in the area of need you have. You may ask them to do a typing test online, for example. You can also provide a data entry test, or ask them to provide examples of their work, depending on what you are looking for. Examples can be writing, social media posts, or proof of successful work in the past. If you do give them a test, make sure it is short. You do not want candidates to think you are trying to get free work out of them.

Step 6: Make Your Hire

You should now have a good sense of which virtual assistant would be a good fit with you. Contact them and work out a reasonable rate for their services. When they start, make sure you have reasonable expectations of them as they learn how your business operates and get used to your management style.

They may also be in another time zone, so you will have to adjust to that when it comes to deadlines and making contact during the work day. The important thing is to get the best candidate possible, so do not be impatient.


A Virtual Assistant Could Be Just What Your Business Needs

Getting a virtual assistant can make a world of difference for your business. If you get the right one, you will take a lot of busy work off your plate and let yourself focus on your core business needs.