Hiring a Virtual Assistant for Your Business
Recently I hired a virtual assistant. I would like to share with you the experience and help you hire one as well.
The company I used was onlinejobs.ph. Its an online job form. I got lots of applicants within days of posting.
First you need to decide if hiring is right for you
Hiring and firing is a difficult but necessary part of an online business. You need to hire to get good talent and you also need to fire in order to get good talent. If you are good at hiring but don’t want to fire people then you are really running a charity and not a business. If you never hire then you are really not maximizing your potential.
To me its about dollars per hour. Do a simple calculation of how much money you make online and how many hours you work for it. Then take a look at those numbers over time. For example if you spend 3 hours per day 5 days a week on your online business and make $1,000 per month then you are roughly making $15.50 per hour. If you track that for one more month and work the same amount of hours but made $1250 then your new hourly rate is $19.37.
I recommend keeping up that process until you get to around $30 per hour. You can do this by either reducing the number of hours you work or increasing your revenue. There are lots of ways to do this but we won’t get into those today.
Once you have increased your hourly rate to $30 then you need to start refining your procedures. To get from $15 to $30 you probably have already made your job more efficient by putting in some automation tools. But to get ready for a virtual assistant you really need to start detailing out the tasks that can’t be automated.
Some of these might include:
- editing and publishing blog posts
- answering emails
- organizing emails
- optimizing pictures
- keyword research
- reaching out to bloggers to create relationships
- customer support
- blog commenting
There are many many more tasks than this but this gives you an idea.
So start putting together very detailed instructions on how to do each of these tasks. This make take some time. You may not even know the process that you use for these but there is always a process. It make take several tries to get all the details but you should be able to get it all down.
Why be detailed?
Its not that foreigners are incapable of doing difficult tasks its that they don’t know how You want the task to be done. So if you give them vague instructions then they will do it the way they think is right but you might not want it done that way.
If you are at this stage of your business then you are ready to hire.
Next you need to post a job and do some interviews
The job you post is important but not that important. Be sure to put the main tasks and skills you need. At onlinejobs.ph they recommend not putting too many skills as to limit potential candidates. I think that’s good advice.
For salary I would put the maximum that you are comfortable with. Onlinejobs.ph has some recommendations on their blog.
For hours I would recommend hiring a full time assistant for 40 hours per week. This is much better because you have their full attention and they won’t be distracted by other jobs.
For the interviews be sure that you conduct a typing interview and a voice interview. I have found that even though you are not looking to hire someone to actually talk on the phone its best to have a phone call with them for the interview. It might be embarrassing but suck it up and do it.
For the typing interview really try and get a feel for their English level. Communication will be key for this relationship so if you can’t communicate with your VA then you don’t need to hire them.
I recommend doing 3 – 5 interviews and then making an offer to one. Once you have made an offer tell them they are on trial for 1 week and give them a sample task or two. If they are not able to complete the task to your satisfaction then pay them for the week and tell them its not a good fit. Then you can go to the next best candidate and do another trial. Once you have found someone you like and want to keep be sure to inform the other candidates.
Finally you want to enjoy your new leveraged time
Now that you have hired someone your work isn’t over just yet. You need to work closely with them for the first month or so until they can understand how to do the tasks you require. I recommend giving them repetitive tasks so they can learn and get faster at them. If you give them a new task everyday then you haven’t really reduced your work. Remember the point is to be able to use your time for other things and not to be micro managing.
Relax and let them work.
They won’t do everything exactly the way you did it but its ok. It will be ok. Relax and try to think of more high level things you can do with your time.
Good luck with your hiring!