Has someone recommended you hire yourself a virtual assistant? Perhaps you’ve read a post or an article extolling the virtues of having your very own online Donna. (Suits anyone?)
Or maybe you’re just totally overwhelmed, would love to grow your business faster, and have started wondering whether you should finally take the plunge and hire a virtual assistant, but are furtively looking around to see if anyone is watching your sheer indulgence!
Believe me, you might be thinking you can’t afford your own 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.
Why Hire a Virtual Assistant?
Do you ever stare at your computer screen, completely overwhelmed with all the tasks ahead of you for the day? (Me too!)
If you’re being honest with yourself, how many of those tasks are helping your business grow? How many are actually bringing in a profit?
Likely, many of them are basic, repetitive tasks you have to do all the time, but that don’t actually help with direct business growth.
If this sounds familiar, then you’re absolutely at the stage that you need a VA.
Here are six extremely important reasons you need to hire a virtual assistant and how doing so will transform your business and life!
1. You Will Instantly Enjoy Working In Your Business More
I know as business owners we’re supposed to be working on our business, not in it, but as solopreneurs, we just don’t start with those kinds of budgets. So the likelihood is you’re the chief, cook, and bottle washer at the moment.
Well, imagine giving the bottle washing away!
Yippeee! No more daily bottle washing!
That’s exactly it.
As a solopreneur, we will be working on every aspect of our business and the fact is some of the tasks will absolutely suck! (for want of a better phrase).
As soon as you train someone else to do the more ‘sucky’ jobs, it means you can get on doing the things you get far greater pleasure from doing.
If you’re currently struggling to find the motivation to get started in the morning or prefer to browse Netflix than crack on building your empire at night when you finally have some peace, this could be your answer, my friend!
If you know you’re about to sit down and do something you love, you’ll probably find your far more motivated to do it!
2. Hiring a Virtual Assistant Will Speed Up Business Growth
The good news is that many of the jobs you’ll want to outsource will be low-value tasks, in other words, tasks that don’t directly contribute to generating a profit.
These non-profit tasks take up valuable time; time you could be focusing on generating an income!
Freeing up this time by outsourcing to a virtual assistant, means you can focus squarely on money-making tasks which will grow your business and make you higher profits.
It’s a win-win!
3. Focus on Your Strengths
Have you ever felt like you’re battering your head against a brick wall as you try to do something you just know is not your strength!
Yet you keep going because this is something you ‘must’ learn how to do in order to grow your business/prove your own self worth. (Hmm I won’t dig into that rabbit hole in this post, but you know who you are.)
If you’re no good at it and hate doing it, you’re on a hiding to nothing.
Focus on the stuff you’re great at and that you love to do and outsource the rest to a virtual assistant.
The right virtual assistant will have specific skillsets that you don’t have and which will complement your own.
How do I know?
Because you’ll hire someone with the skillsets you want them to have!
When you focus on your natural abilities and have someone else take up the slack, points one and two are guaranteed. You’ll enjoy it more and grow faster.
4. Hiring a Virtual Assistant Saves Money
Ok, so that makes no sense!
Surely when you hire a virtual assistant you spend money. Money as a solopreneur you may not have just yet.
This is true, but how long does it take you to do that task you’re really bad at?
Hours? Days? Weeks?
How much is your time worth?
As an example let’s say you run a coaching business and charge $300 per hour. If you’re working on a low-value task, which you’re not very good at and which takes you 3 hours to finish, that’s $900 you’ve hypothetically spent (or not made).
If you had a virtual assistant you’re paying $10 an hour to and they do the same task in less than an hour because they’re good at it, that’s a hypothetical $890 you just saved!
There is no better example of this than solopreneurs who insist on building and developing their own websites.
Stop it! (Unless you’re a web developer, then of course, please carry on 😎👊)
My web developer is $15 / hour. Yesterday I gave her a technical task that I have no idea how long would have taken me to get to the bottom of. Probably an hour or two at least.
It took her 10 mins. She charged me $2.50.
In the time I might have spent investigating a technical issue, I worked on content for my site to attract more organic traffic!
Focus on what’s important in your lifestyle business my friend and next time you hear yourself saying, ‘but my website is important‘, ask whether time spent playing with WordPress themes or figuring out security plugins is the best use of your time. (Or is it content, lead magnets, and products/services?)
5. A VA Will Increase Your Sleep
Do you ever feel like you need to be on 24/7?
I have to admit until a recent social media VA hire, I’d been a bit sporadic with social media posts as I just didn’t have the systems in place to back my content publishing up.
So rather than stay up all night which, at past 40 I just can’t do anymore, I was doing less promotion, which is not great!
Hiring a virtual assistant in a different timezone will ensure you can be on 24/7 while getting your solid and much needed 8 hours a night!
I’m well aware that technology has also greatly helped with this issue, providing us with message bots and post scheduling apps, etc.
But there’s nothing better than being able to respond to questions or comments in real-time and have a presence online at the time your customers are.
A well trained virtual assistant will give the appearance that you never sleep! You young whippersnapper you!
Are you convinced yet?
If not, this last one is the most important.
6. Build a Business That Funds Your Lifestyle
The whole ethos of Your Lifestyle Business is about putting your lifestyle first.
The goal is to build a business doing something you love when you want to do it, from where you want to do it, and that funds your ideal lifestyle.
Hiring a virtual assistant will go a long way towards that.
As you’re heading to the beach, visiting family members, or meeting the girls for lunch, your VA is still working, getting all those important little jobs done that grease the wheels and make it easier for you to run the business.
A really good virtual assistant might even be doing some of the money-making tasks for you, like creating content, building sales funnels, outreaching to prospects, etc.
It’s up to you how much responsibility you want to pass over and it all comes down to hiring the right person and then a solid training & feedback loop as they become familiar with your business.
So with all that being said, how do we go about getting the right person?
How to Hire a Rockstar Virtual Assistant
1. Identify the Tasks You Want to Outsource
If you instantly know which tasks you want to outsource, then quite simply make a list.
If at this stage you’re unsure, start by analyzing your time.
What tasks are you doing? Which tasks do you love? Which tasks bring in clients or attract traffic or leads. Which tasks directly impact business growth/generate revenue?
On the flip side, which jobs do you hate doing each day. Where are you finding yourself procrastinating and making excuses? What are you terrible at and wish someone else could do for you!
Make a list of all the tasks you’d love to give away! Even if you can’t find someone to do them all right now at least you know where you’re headed.
2. Categorize the Jobs
Some of the tasks you’ve listed to outsource could be very different from each other.
For example, you might want to outsource answering emails, editing podcasts, or running Facebook 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 claim they can do a variety of tasks and you might be lucky to find that rare gem who can multi-task across a plethora of skillsets. But in my experience the more specific the tasks the better the output.
For example, you might have someone who’s super creative and specializes in managing your social media account. You might employ someone else to manage your customer service, email campaigns, and content writing and you might have someone who runs all your ad campaigns.
The first person is more visually creative, the second is great at communication and the third is more data-led and analytical.
So if you have other tasks that fit into those categories, you’ll get a lot more out of each person by giving them similar jobs.
The beauty of the world we live in now is that they don’t have to be full time. You contract the VA on a flexible hourly basis and only ever pay what you use them for.
3. Create a Job Description and Your Job Ad
Be sure to create a clear description of what’s expected of them and include that in your job advert.
Here is an example job advert I placed last year to hire my current VA – feel free to use it as inspiration or 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 the 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 judgment, 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
Laying out blog posts
Transcribing voice recordings for blog posts etc
Tagging & Uploading Podcasts
Creating email campaigns in Mailchimp
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.
One year of professional virtual assistant experience with web content maintenance, email management, helpdesk support & communication & marketing responsibilities.
Exceptional grammar, spelling, and proofreading skills.
Excellent organizational, interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills with strong attention to detail.
Experience working with WordPress (nontechnical)
Experience working with Mailchimp
Experience working on social media sites
Experience working with Google docs / Microsoft word or pages
Excellent Fluent English Written & Communication skills
Excellent Customer Service Skills
Excellent 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 the interview stage.
Please respond telling me why you’re a great fit for the role.
4. Create a Pre-Interview Exercise – IMPORTANT
Let me be clear. Depending on where you advertise you might 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 the 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.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you state in your job advert that no one will even be considered for an interview unless they complete these tasks.
The goal here is to sift out the ones you really want to work with. The more effort they put in at this stage, the more committed they’ll be to work with you.
I had a chap recently who on his own volition designed an entire PDF ebook for me before I contracted him and sure enough, he’s turned out to be an amazing VA.
5. Go Find Your Virtual Assistant!
I use upwork.com for almost everything.
It’s such a great site for short term contracts and flexible working.
You simply sign up as a client and post your job.
Contractors then bid for your job based on the hours and budget you specified and you get to read their profiles, their reviews, and their work history and skill sets.
All the hard work is done for you!
There are however lots of other sites you can also use for almost everything from small jobs to long term contracts including;
and loads more.
6) Some Interview Tips
I prefer face-to-face Skype interview, and I really suggest you use this (or FaceTime, Google Meets, Zoom, 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 timekeeping.
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 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.
There’s an old saying which I urge you to follow for long term, important positions;
‘Hire slow, fire fast’
Having this as a mantra will save you a lot of time, money, and frustration.
As solopreneurs, the goal is to only ever have a small business that funds our lifestyle.
We’re not interested in building the next Facebook or Tesla, hence why the thought of hiring can be scary and overwhelming.
All of a sudden you feel like you’re responsible for someone else’s life and income. But in the gig economy world we live in, freelancers and contract workers are far more flexible than they used to be.
Many are working for multiple people at one time (which can become its own source of frustration), and are more than used to only being paid for the hours they work.
Start slowly. Hire someone on a flexible contract, try them out for a few weeks, and if you love what they do and they become an invaluable member of your team, offer them a full-time position.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and your recruitment drive doesn’t need to be either.
But keep in mind that there is an extremely high possibility that hiring the right virtual assistant will change your business and your life.