How to find a Virtual Assistant
that is right for your business
Virtual Assistant’s (VA’s) are very popular for small business owners over Australia and the world. Technology plays such a big part in society now and makes working in business so much easier. Especially now you have the ability to hire an assistant or manager without them even needing to come in to work every day. This also saves you the additional costs of hiring an employee – such as advertising, paying extra insurance, penalty rates etc.
To get the most out of your Virtual Assistant it’s important to make sure the tasks you are outsourcing are defined, to let them know your values, ask the right questions and to get along well with the Virtual Assistant you choose.
1) Define Your Specific Virtual Assistant Needs
As a business owner, there is so much to do, and the list can feel never-ending. If you’ve decided that working with a Virtual Assistant is important, not just your future sanity but the growth of your business, there are 3 things you should consider before you get started. Design your future Virtual Assistant by answering these questions. It helps at this stage to take out a piece of paper and draw 2 lines through the paper so you have 3 equal spaces to write in.
1) List The Tasks: In one space of the paper list all of the tasks you would outsource to a Virtual Assistant today, if you had one.
What tasks do you find repetitive? What tasks do you dislike doing? What tasks are you not good at? What process in your business do you think could be improved if you found the right person? What tasks are you doing that you know you shouldn’t be? And what should you be doing in your business that you are not doing now?
If you haven’t already, you can download my free guide to start outsourcing where I provide you with a list of 40 tasks you could outsource to a Virtual Assistant.
2) List Your Systems: In the next section of that piece of paper write down all the systems that you currently have working for you in your business. What systems do you use? Gmail? MailChimp? Acuity? WordPress? Asana? Facebook? Quickbooks? … the list goes on. List out all the systems you currently use within your business and what you use them for. Look at this list and decide on the systems you want your Virtual Assistant to handle for you when you have found the right person.
3) List Your Values: In the third section, list the values of the business. What experience do you want to provide your client? How do you want your client to feel? Who is your ideal audience? Do you like attention to detail? Do you want your clients to feel connected and close to you? Do you like your message to be creative, personal, funny, empathetic…?
These things might seem like you are delving deep into your business and you haven’t even started finding a Virtual Assistant yet, but trust me! This step is a very important step in defining what you want from your Virtual Assistant, so you’re not going in blind and spending money on the wrong thing. This will also save you time by making sure you find the right person to work with from the start.
2) Decide What Features of a Virtual Assistant are Important to You and Your Business
Now, let’s start designing your perfect Virtual Assistant. Not all Virtual Assistants are going to have the right personality, systems background, time, values and experience that you want in your business. So start out by defining your needs first.
Flip over the piece of paper you had in the first section and answer the following questions:
1) Time: how much time would you like your Virtual Assistant to spend on your business each month? When do you need your Virtual Assistant to be available? Do you need a dedicated Virtual Assistant or are you happy to use one that works with other businesses? Would you like your Virtual Assistant to be flexible in the hours you have to outsource? How would you like to keep in contact?
2) Money: how much money do you have to spend of a Virtual Assistant each month?
3) Australian vs Off-shore: Does the Virtual Assistant need to be based in Australia or should you look off-shore? Using a Virtual Assistant offshore in somewhere like the Philippians could save you money but other issues can come from a service like this. Does this fit in with your business values you listed previously?
4) Experience: List what experience you need your Virtual Assistant to have and create another list for what experience you would like them to have. Keep in mind that many people are willing to learn new skills and it could even be worth investing new skills in a Virtual Assistant that you think will fit in perfectly with your values.
5) Personality: There is a great saying that you can teach someone new skills, but you cannot teach them a good personality. If you find a person with all the skills you need but they don’t have the personality to fit in well with your business, I can guarantee you it will fail. List out the personal qualities that you value within others that you want to see in your Virtual Assistant. Remember, this is a person that you will most likely work closely with, so finding someone you will get along with is essential.
There are so many options available in finding a Virtual Assistant. Defining these business needs helps you narrow your search considerably to help you save time and money in the long run.
3) Find the right people and ask the right questions
Now you have your list of tasks you want to outsource and a list of values you want your Virtual Assistant to have – it’s time to do some research. Jump on Google and look for a couple of Virtual Assistant businesses that fit in well with the values you listed in the previous exercises. Remember to keep in mind what you deem important and what you don’t. Make sure you have this list with you at all times, even when you talk to your potential Virtual Assistants.
Once you’ve shortlisted your Virtual Assistant list, book in a meeting to talk to each one. Ask about their experience, what they can bring to your business, what their values are, how they prefer to communicate and what services they provide to their clients. Provide them with the list of tasks you would like to outsource in your business and what systems you use.
If they are the right fit, you will feel it. You will be getting along with them really well; they will be asking you questions about your business and providing you with suggestions on how you could improve. You should fell like you can speak freely and openly about your business and like you can trust them with carrying your business forward.
4) Start Working with your Virtual Assistant
Now you’ve found the perfect Virtual Assistant, set up a meeting to talk about how you would like to move forward. Do you want to have regular meetings, or do you prefer to keep in touch over a project management system? Make sure the communication and trust you build with your Virtual Assistant is built upon over time and systems are put in place to communicate efficiently.
1) Be Prepared: with the list of systems you have written out from the first section, highlight the systems you will need to grant your Virtual Assistant access too. I recommend using LastPass to share your usernames and passwords securely.
You will also want to have your business branding guide that has information such as logo’s, colour codes and fonts so your Virtual Assistant keeps your branding consistent.
2) Set Expectations: Be clear on how many hours you want to outsource per week, how long you think a task may take and when you expect the task to be completed by. This trust with your Virtual Assistant will build up over time, but it’s important to be clear about timings from the start so you’re not surprised when it comes time to pay the next invoice.
It’s also important to let your Virtual Assistant know if you want regular updates on how everything is going. I recommend catching up regularly in the first month or so to build that trust factor and allow them to clarify, comment and update you on tasks along the way.
3) Feedback: Give your Virtual Assistant regular feedback on how they are going. Taking the time to review the tasks you have given them is important in making sure your Virtual Assistant is doing the right thing and proving the service you expect to you and your clients