DON’T HIRE ON A WHIM, BE READY
Be sure that you are ready for a Virtual Assistant before you even begin to search. Start by writing down everything you do in a day for a minimum of a week. Once you have your list, it will be easier to decide what you will outsource to your new VA or show you where you might have to do some prep work and perhaps delay your search a month or more. Being ready and having an idea of what you need or want will save time and money. Make a list of all of your projects and day-to-day tasks that are eating up your time or just not getting done. Have a budget ready and a rough idea of hours you will need.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Is a Virtual Assistant even a good fit for your company? If you are a business with a ton of physical inventory that needs to be shipped or tracked or handled on a daily basis, then a VA is not going to work, unless you work out a special arrangement.
Research different types of VA’s and narrow it down to a specialization that will fit your business. For instance, there is a large number of VA’s out there who do General Admin work, so email management, word processing, calendar management. However, there is a large number of VA’s who also have a special skill set such as transcription, law, real estate, sales, marketing and advertising, etc. So you can find an assistant that has a specific skill set to support you and your business in the way that you need.
Also, decide whether you want to hire locally or do you want within your time zone or perhaps you are looking into other options that are available. Again, do your research, see what is available and then go from there.
HAVE SYSTEMS IN PLACE
To get your business up and running like a well-oiled machine takes teamwork. It also takes allot of work and coordination to keep it there. Systems help not only you but your Virtual Assistant stay on top of things and ensure that a level of customer care that is consistent and reliable is provided. Systems also help to keep us organized and allow us to automate tasks which provide us back the invaluable asset of time. There are never enough hours in the day but with the right organizational flow and teamwork, you can tame the clock and get it all done.
Once you have your list of projects and tasks you are going to delegate, then you can focus on writing a clear and concise job posting of what you need, may want, how many hours you need (to start at least) and budget. Let them know that there will be an initial project or period where you will try each other out before moving ahead. Like a test project to see how you work together before signing up for a longer commitment. Be sure to include details on how you would like them to apply. This is a great way to see who is paying attention, especially if you are looking for a detail oriented VA.
There are many sites to post your job/RFP (Request for Pricing) to that many people don’t even know exist http://canadianava.org/ and http://ivaa.org/, both dedicated solely to Virtual Assistants around the globe.
TAKE TIME TO INTERVIEW
As I said in “Don’t Hire On A Whim,” take your time and don’t hire the first VA to respond to your job post or just because they seem nice. You wouldn’t buy a new car off a lot without learning a bit about it, getting an accident report run or taking a test drive would you? No. Well, hiring a VA is the same. Again before you, interview be sure you know what you want or have an idea of what you need help with. Without it, there is no point. A VA can help to steer you in the right direction as to the help you might need; this is a consulting service that some VA’s offer to clients, sort of a business assessment if you will.
ARE YOU A PERSONALITY MATCH?
Ultimately you need to be a fit for one another, or the partnership isn’t going to work. Take some time to get to know your VA, ask questions about their family, hobbies, goals, etc. Find out what makes them tick and what their strengths and weaknesses are. If your weaknesses are the same, perhaps it may not be a great fit. If you can’t meet for coffee for an interview, then have an online interview through Skype or Facetime, so you can see each other, more personable that way, and read each other’s body language.
MANAGING YOUR NEW PARTNERSHIP
Once you are ready to bring on your new VA, you should have a system in place for managing communication, documentation, and projects. You will need to decide what the best way for your VA to reach you either via phone, email, skype, etc. A lot of VA’s will meet via Skype for meetings or use the messaging feature as a means of communication as well. Weekly meetings can be face to face this way, and you can both get to know one another better, and you wouldn’t even know your VA was not at a desk down the hall. For sharing documentation in a safe and reliable manner, you can use programs like Google Docs or Dropbox to share files back and forth with each other. Projects can be managed easily with different tasks being checked off or handed back to you for review or changes through programs like Asana. Asana is free for small teams, and you can have unlimited projects and tasks, it also has a handy App for your phone.
There you have it now are you ready to hire your VA? If not now you can use this as a guide to get you pointed in the right direction and know what to do when you are ready.