Step by Step Guide to Finding a Virtual Assistant
What can virtual assistants do:
Virtual assistants (VAs)Â provide personal and office support services, such as
- general administrative tasks
- making customer contacts;
- writing reports;
- editing documents; sending out marketing materials;
- handling thank-you notes, gifts and follow-up letters
- setting up and maintaining databases
- handling billing and bookkeeping; and updating Web sites.
You can also get a VA to manage your personal life as well. Here are some of their tasks:
- Some VAs even help clients manage their personal lives
- Doing such tasks as arranging for pet-sitting
- Calling the plumber
- Scheduling doctor’s appointments
- Planning an upcoming family reunion
- Or coordinating a move.
For a comprehensive list see: Tasks that a Virtual Assistant can Eliminate for You.
Sites to find VA’s:
Many people have recommended using VAs from the Philippine because their culture and accent is close to North America. They are also hard working and very loyal.
Some sites to use are:
However I posted 2 of the same job description on Onlinejobs.ph and Odesk and I find the candidates on Odesk to have a lot higher quality response. However there are different mindset of the two. On odesk people are freelancers and charge by the hour, they do know think to work permanently, this has happened to me many times.
I also used Onlinejobs.ph and craigslist concurrently. Since Monday 4 days ago I have gotten 35 applicants from Onlinejobs and 22 from craigslist. After deleting the ones that are not qualified ended up with 10 from online jobs and 11 from craigslist. Is it really worth paying to post? Yes if you want to increase your chances of getting the right applicant.
- Better to hire them full time and split with friends or clients
- Lower rate is not a good thing. When a VA is charging too low of a rate it means that either 1) they are not good or 2) they will have to juggle too many tasks to make a living and your responsibilities will slip to the side
- Have everything written and signed. This includes fees, terms and conditions, etc…
- Consider working with someone on a short term project basis before fully jumping in. This will ensure that you two are compatible but also ensures that a VA is what you are looking for.
- Find out the hours they are available and make sure it is compatible with their responsibilities.
- If there are certain specialized tasks you have make sure they have the right tools and equipment to do the tasks you require
- View sample work.
- Ask them to fill out a survey. You will get a lot of applicants, the fastest way for you to filter it out is to have them fill a survey, you can use SurveyMonkey.
- Look for training and certification. If you are using Odesk it provides this information.
- Return business. Look up the history of the VA to see how much and how long does their client stay with them. If they have many clients but only a few or no repeat clients then it a telltale sign that they are not good. In Odesk I was able to see how much each client spends with them then I know that they are good.
- Look for polish work. A sure sign of incompetency is spelling errors, typos, and gaammar mistakes.
- Use a software to communicate – e.g. basecamp or other
- Stay in contact
- Set realistic deadlines
- Set a communication schedule
once they are hired treat them like an employee. The saying goes “Hire slow fire fast.” If you get any clue that they are not the right fit end it as soon as you can. Make sure they are real issues and not just communication issues. One of the biggest issues would be punctuality.
Hire one or hire many?
Hire from a firm or individual?
Signs of a good Virtual Assistant
- If they ask for a consultation
- They have a system or software they use to keep track