Things to Think Through Before Hiring a Virtual Assistant for Your Small Business

You own a small business and you need to hire virtual assistants to do some tasks for you. Well, you’re on the right page and section. There are too many independent virtual assistants and virtual assistant companies across the globe. It is a big challenge for you then to pick one suited to your terms. Are you looking for a VA who is proficient in accounting or data processing? Do you need someone flexible enough to handle varied tasks everyday? Most virtual assistant companies have a talented pool of individuals, and all you have to do is choose the one you think will be able to help you deal with your business processes.

To help you out, here are some important tips for you to consider when finding and hiring a virtual assistant for your small business.

  • Do not expect virtual assistants to be experts. Think of your virtual assistant as a college graduate in an entry-level position. Learn that some tasks may require some training in order for your VA to become familiar with the way you expect the task to be completed.
  • Outsource tasks that are relatively simple. These include things that don’t require a lot of decision points in the work flow and are repetitive in nature (e.g. data entry, blog or website maintenance, and research and report).
  • Avoid assigning higher level tasks to virtual assistants. Especially the new ones. Unless they are professionally trained to do so, you can endorse specialized tasks. Otherwise, you’ll need to hire a specialized consultant or firm for that.
  • Make a list of your tasks and categorize them based on the type of work. You may use the following criteria: (1) expertise requirement (tasks that require domain or industry expertise or those that anyone can do with training; (2) frequency (one-shot, recurring, or ongoing tasks); and (3) priority (low, medium, high priority tasks).
  • Set a deadline. For project-based works, it will make more sense if you will have a clear end date to set proper expectations from your VA.

When you’ve decided to get a Small Business Virtual Assistant on board, you may consider the following:

  • Conduct a phone interview with a potential VA. This is quite important so you can assess what kind of virtual assistant you’re going to have. Inform your prospect of the tasks you want to offload, the number of hours you expect to buy, your daily expectations of the virtual assistant’s availability, and the typical schedule of tasks.
  • Ask for their educational background. Knowing a potential VA’s education experience gives you an idea about what their strengths are. Ask for examples of their work and other skills they possess, which could open the door to additional opportunities.
  • Consider legal, cultural, and language issues. Remember, you’re dealing with offshore employees. A good grasp of their culture and other related variables can give you a heads up on your possible working relationship.
  • If you’re dissatisfied with one prospect, scout for more. Remember that there are plenty of remote virtual assistants across the globe. You may want to consider Asia (especially the Philippines), Europe, and South Africa when looking for VAs. These are the largest providers of virtual assistant services.

Hiring the right virtual assistant is a smart move for any business, no matter how small or big it is. Whether you get the services of a freelance virtual assistant or a virtual assistant company, it makes no difference as long as you get the results you’re looking for. The magic comes in three: “your business”, “appropriate tasks”, and “proficient virtual assistants.”