Welcome to Episode 57 of Make it Happen Monday!
Have you ever stared at your computer screen, completely overwhelmed with all the tasks ahead of you for the day?
If you’re being honest with yourself, how many of those tasks were helping your business grow? How many were actually bringing in a profit?
Likely, most of them were basic, repetitive tasks you have to do all the time, but that don’t actually help your business grow.
If this sounds familiar, then you need a virtual assistant.
You might think that you can’t afford a VA, but once you see how much more time you’ll have to put toward money-making activities, you’ll realize you can’t afford NOT to hire a VA.
But hire the wrong person and it can cost a lot of time & money as a small company you just don’t have.
That’s why it’s imperative you have the right system to ensure you hire the right person with the right skillset at the getgo.
In this week’s Make It Happen Monday, I’m sharing with you my system to hiring an awesome VA.
Welcome to another episode of Make It Happen Monday!
I can’t afford a virtual assistant
If you run a business all by yourself and do all of the tasks, it’s likely that you are getting overwhelmed and stressed.
One of the best things you can do is to bring someone on board who can help you accomplish all the low value tasks, the tasks that you really shouldn’t be doing.
Why? Because you are doing tasks which have low or no value. These are not tasks that bring in new clients or customers, or attract more visitors to your website etc.
These non-profit tasks take up valuable time, time where you could be focusing on profit making tasks.
Freeing up this time means you can focus squarely on money making tasks, tasks that grow your business and make you higher profits.
When you think about it this way, it’s not a case of whether or not you can afford a virtual assistant.
In fact, the question you should ask yourself is, “Can I afford NOT to employ a virtual assistant?”
Your challenge this week, should you choose to accept it, is…
Hire an awesome virtual assistant (VA) – the sooner, the better!
1) Identify your no value, or low value, tasks
Using a laptop or simply pen and paper, identify where you are spending your time currently.
What tasks are you doing? Which tasks do you love? Which tasks brings in clients? Which tasks brings in money, or increase business growth?
Now, make a separate list of all the tasks that are essential in your business, but could be done by someone else. Tasks that perhaps you don’t enjoy. Tasks that bring in no profits. Tasks that can be outsourced.
This list of non-profit making tasks will give you the skeleton of the job description for your VA.
2) Bundle tasks into sensible groups
Some of the tasks you’ve listed to outsource could be very different to each other.
For example, you might want to outsource answering emails, editing podcasts and running FB ads.
This is likely to be too broad an array of skills to find in just one person.
Bundle your tasks into sensible segments of what you think one person’s skill set might cover.
There are VA’s out there that can do so many different tasks. Perhaps you could have one person who does all the more menial stuff such as data entry.
You might have a different VA who is experienced in traffic generation, or is accomplished in web development.
3) Go to 2 websites that I personally use to find VA’s
Online Jobs is a Fillipino jobsite. I believe there is a fee for accepting job applications, but it’s not very much (about $100 per quarter).
Upwork is a global site where there are lots of people from all over the world, and not just from the Philippines.
I’ve used both, but I’ve used Online Jobs for long term positions the most.
Take your list of tasks to outsource and search for the skills you want e.g. web development.
The great things here is, if you struggled in the last step trying to work out your ‘bundles’ of tasks, by searching for the skills you want, you will find people ready to be employed who will list all of their skills.
This is a great way of getting a general idea of what skillsets people group themselves under. You’ll then be able to create better job descriptions
For example, perhaps you assumed data entry and customer service will fall into 2 different bundles of tasks.
But now you find a number of people who list both data entry and customer service as skills they offer. Now you know you can hire just one person to do both these tasks for you.
4) Place an actual job advert
Here is an example job advert I placed last year to hire my current VA – you can use as a template.
Fully committed, extraordinarily hard working and dynamic Virtual Assistant Required
I’m looking for someone with EXCELLENT English written skills to work alongside me as my Virtual Assistant.
WARNING – This job is NOT for the faint hearted.
You will work hard and be asked to complete some written tasks before even getting to interview stage, so only apply if you’re prepared to jump hoops to get an interview.
For the right person this is a fantastic and long term opportunity.
I want someone who can make decisions based on their own judgement, is easy to work with and who is absolutely excellent at customer service.
You will also be the type of person who’s willing to give anything a go and has the ability to learn and act fast.
Your jobs will include;
Responding to emails
Assisting customers on the helpdesk
Responding to blog & social media comments
Running social media ad campaigns
Laying out blog posts
Transcribing voice recordings for blog posts etc
Tagging & Uploading Podcasts
Creating email campaigns in Infusionsoft
Working with pages / docs to help create ebooks & PDF’s etc
and lots more varied jobs
Anything you don’t currently know will be taught.
The most important thing is that you’re hard working, committed, willing to learn, flexible, and excited to be a part of a growing and dynamic online company.
Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, preferably in marketing, communications, journalism, English, public relations, advertising or related field.
One year of professional virtual assistant experience with web content maintenance, email management, helpdesk support & marketing responsibilities.
Exceptional grammar, spelling and proofreading skills.
Demonstrated ability to combine strategic thinking with creative and effective tactical execution in communicating what is at times complex information.
Excellent organizational, interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills with strong attention to detail.
Experience working with Paid Media i.e. FB Ads etc
Experience working with WordPress (non technical)
Experience working with Infusionsoft
Excellent Fluent English Written & Communication skills
Social Media communication
As soon as you apply I will send out a video and PDF with instructions for the tasks you must complete to get to interview stage.
Please respond telling me why you’re a great fit for the role.
5) Create a pre-interview exercise / tasks document – IMPORTANT
Let me be clear. You will get hundreds of applications, which would take hours to get through. You need to be able to quickly identify the people you really want to work with.
Create a document of tasks that you want people applying to do BEFORE they get to interview stage.
For example, you want to hire a VA for customer services (to answer emails, help on your helpdesk, go into social media groups and engage etc).
• Task 1 could be, “Here are 3 typical emails I get from my customers. Please answer each email” to see how they respond to customer’s queries.
• Task 2 could be, “Here is a typical helpdesk ticket. Please answer this helpdesk ticket.”
• Task 3 could be, “Here’s a video I’ve made. Please transcribe the first minute” to test English skills, listening and comprehension skills.
Here is a document of example tasks so you can use as a template – VA Application Task Example
IMPORTANT: Make sure you state in your job advert that no one will even be considered for interview unless they complete these tasks.
What you will find is that, all of a sudden, hundreds of applicants drop down to about 10………..if you’re lucky!
In fact, you may even need to advertise a couple of times to get 5-10 people to answer you with completed tasks.
But you must get people to do your exercises, as if they have taken time to do them, by the time you start interviewing you’ve probably already got a winner amongst them!
Firstly, you’ll only be interviewing perhaps 4-5 people as, of course, you will only select the people who have done your exercises really well, i.e. have good English skills, have come back with decent answers etc.
Secondly, everyone at interview stage will have shown passion and drive. They’ve had to work just to be given a chance to be interviewed!
I prefer face-to-face Skype interview, and I really suggest you use this (or FaceTime, Hangouts etc).
Firstly, it’s important to check their internet connection – communication can quickly turn into a nightmare if you simply can’t get in contact with each other.
Also, doing the exercises you set them will only give you so much insight into their English language skills. Getting them into a face-to-face scenario will allow you to really see their speaking skills, level of comprehension etc, as well as other skills such as time keeping.
Now is this necessary every single time? If you are hiring someone to simply complete a one-off project, or on a contract basis, then possibly not.
But if you want to hire on a permanent basis, then it’s imperative to give people exercises to do, and make them jump through some proverbial hoops. This really sorts the wheat from the chaff, and shows you clearly whether someone is the sort of person you want working for you.
Before I set exercises, I hired a number of people who were coming and going all the time. Since setting exercises, I now have a really reliable, solid, fantastic team members who have been with me for a long time!
What else can I do?
See the comments below? What quote or lesson has really stood out for you today? Have you got any other questions I can answer? Let me know below.
Also please share with your friends if you think this Make It Happen Monday episode has been useful.
In the meantime have an amazing week, live life on purpose and Make It Happen!