When you’re an entrepreneur, you wear all the hats, and that can be exhausting. If you find yourself drained by the end of the day, and you want someone to help you handle your workload, consider hiring a virtual assistant or VA. Though they have been popular for many years, the release of Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-hour Workweek, brought even more attention to them. When using the right hiring techniques, like taking your time with the interviews and asking the right questions, you’ll choose the perfect candidate for the job, and benefit from their help.
The Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant for Entrepreneurs
A virtual assistant will help you be more efficient, grow your business exponentially, and allow you to have more of a life outside of work.
The Power of Delegation
You will learn the power of delegation and how to trust your team while you focus on other opportunities or more specialized tasks. Delegating tasks also means that you will prevent burnout, as you won’t have to do everything alone; the days of being overwhelmed and unable to focus are behind you now. You’ll even have time to rediscover your hobbies and spend time with friends. Allow your assistant to take care of tasks such as data entry, email management, scheduling, market research, call answering, content writing, SEO, web development, etc.
Say Goodbye to Procrastination
If there are certain tasks that you find yourself constantly putting off, you can assign them to your virtual assistant. There are people out there who enjoy doing what you do not. This means that you can spend more of your time focusing on the tasks you do enjoy.
Less Stressful Deadlines
If you have projects that require quick turnarounds, your virtual assistant can complete these tasks for you, whether it’s managing inventory, launching a digital marketing campaign, or conducting market research.
It’s the Most Affordable Option
Instead of paying expensive rent for a physical office space, you can cut costs by having a virtual assistant. You can build your team while keeping your expenses low. Your primary cost will be the amount you pay them for their assistance. Also, depending on where the virtual assistant you hire lives, their hourly rate may be lower than what a local employee would cost you.
Choose from a Wide Variety of Talent
Since virtual assistants work from all over the world, you are not limited to local prospective assistants; you’ll have plenty of talented candidates to choose from.
How to Hire a Virtual Assistant for Entrepreneurs
What Tasks Do You Want to Outsource?
The first step is to write down all of your routine tasks and decide which of them you will be giving to your assistant. You can create training documents for these tasks.
What is Your Job Description?
Create a detailed job listing that includes a call to action, such as asking the applicant to provide examples of their work; this will show you if the applicant has read the description. Include information about your business, such as what you sell and who your clients are, a list of duties and responsibilities, level of education and skills required, and any software or apps they’ll be using.
Thoroughly View the Applications and Schedule Interviews
As you begin to receive applications, make a list of the applicants you like, and line up interviews. It’s best to schedule video interviews because they are the closest you can get to in-person interviews. You can read body language and decide if you connect easily with the people you’re interviewing or if you’re not compatible. If the applicant rejects the idea of a video interview, it is likely a red flag.
Test Your Top Three Candidates
To ensure that you are picking the right candidate, assign your top three a task that they would need to complete if they were hired. Sometimes people look good on paper and interview well, but do not perform well. This is the way to know if you are hiring the person you think you are.
Give Your Chosen Candidate a Trial Period
Whether the trial period lasts 30 or 90 days, it gives you and your virtual assistant a glimpse into what it would be like working with each other. You decide whether you want to keep them or decide they are unfit for the position at the end.
Questions to Ask When Interviewing Potential Virtual Assistants
Why do you want this job?
It’s a common question because it reveals a lot about the candidate. Are they able to express why they want the job, or do they not know how to respond?
What are your hobbies?
Knowing your virtual assistant on a personal level is important because it shows them that you care, and it will positively impact their quality of work.
What do you prefer not to do? What type of work are you best at?
It’s important to know where the candidate’s skills lie. It’s equally as important to not trap someone into a role that they do not want. If the candidate is simply looking for any type of job and will do the work just to have a source of income, they will tell you what you want to hear rather than the facts. You’ll want a clear understanding of what you both will be getting into.
What is your preferable way to communicate?
Does their way of communicating match yours? You’ll probably want an assistant who you can easily connect with and who has the same idea for a preferable method of communication.
Are you okay with the hourly rate and the hours you’ll work?
You’ll want to clarify the hourly rate and the number of hours they’ll be working, especially if the assistant is not in the same time zone as you.
How would you handle not knowing how to complete a task?
You want someone who can handle the tasks you give them. The reason you hired an assistant in the first place is to lessen your workload. So, will your prospective assistant have the drive to search for answers themselves, or are they not willing to look for solutions?
What would you do if your computer crashed when you have a deadline?
Do they have experience with this kind of issue? How did they handle it? Do they have backup programs or a backup computer they can use? Would they tell you about the issue?
What to Look for When Hiring a Virtual Assistant
When you choose to hire a virtual assistant, you are choosing a member of your team, so you want to make sure this person is right for you and your business. Do they have qualifications and personality traits that will help your business blossom?
You’ll want someone who will quickly answer e-mails and requests. What if there is a deadline change, and your assistant does not answer until it’s too late?
Your virtual assistant is likely going to handle sensitive information, and you want to know that they are honest and trustworthy.
Attention to Detail
Meticulous work is a necessity. You don’t want someone to hand in sloppy tasks because they rushed it and didn’t pay as much attention as they should have. Typos and careless mistakes are not okay.
Excellent Time Management Skills
A virtual assistant must be good at time management, since they will be given multiple tasks to handle daily.
Great Computer Skills
Since they are virtual assistants, they should be able to type quickly and be familiar with navigating the internet, video chatting, and using calendars.
How to Manage your Virtual Assistant
With a combination of daily check-ins, weekly reports, performance evaluations, and feedback, you can be a professional and productive manager.
Do you have clear expectations that your assistant is meeting? If so, you do not need to micro-manage them. You can video chat with them before they begin their workday to go over the tasks they will be working on for the day, but do not keep them from completing their tasks.
A Template for Weekly Reports
Create a template for weekly reports for your assistant to fill out that inform you if they have run into any challenges, what tasks they are still working on, what tasks they have completed, and how much time they spent on each task.
Honest Feedback and Discussions
Through feedback, you can have an open conversation with your assistant, where you can share ideas, questions, concerns, and feedback on both of your roles in this partnership.
Hiring a virtual assistant for entrepreneurs has its perks, such as your sanity and overall wellbeing remaining intact. It’s best to not overthink it and consider it as soon as possible because it will only help you get to where you want to go faster. Remember that you have a business so you can begin to hire people to help you run it.
Do you have any tips or advice for hiring a virtual assistant as an entrepreneur? Let us know in the comments.
This article originally published on GREY Journal.