Hiring a Virtual Assistant in 5 Steps

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If you’re an online entrepreneur or an online business owner then you’ve surely experienced the difficulties of handling dozens of different tasks and working long hours every day … while drinking yet another coffee.

If this happens to you often, hiring a virtual assistant (VA) could enable you to get some of the work off your back and focus only on the most important high-leverage stuff.

Now, I’m not saying that a VA will be the solution to all of your problems. I’m afraid it’s not that simple… However, if you’ve done a bit of thinking on this and come up with a range of tasks that a VA could do for you then the sequence I’m about to present here will get you through the initial communication process.

It’s not about where to go to find a VA, though. This part you have to handle yourself. Here are some possibilities: Zirtual, onlinejobs.ph, va4u.com, or agentsofvalue.com.

Once you have a list of potential VAs you’d like to interview, you can begin the recruitment process.

Step #1: Initial contact email

First of all, you’re going to be contacting people via email. You want to make sure that they have perfect English writing skills. Besides, since they’re going to be your virtual assistant (virtual being the keyword here) they need to be accustomed to using email on a daily basis.

This initial email is about asking whether the person is still looking for a job and listing a range of activities you’re interested in.

For example: writing, web promotion, SEO, market research, and so on.

Also, this email is where you note the amount of money you’re willing to pay and the number of hours you expect the person to work.

Just to remind you: fulltime is 8 hours a day (160 hours a month).

You can send this email to 10-15 people simultaneously.

Step #2: Check their skills

Chances are not everyone will answer your email. You’ll get probably around 6-8 responses.

This email is about qualifying the skills of your future VA. Don’t ask for CVs or anything like it. CVs have no real world use. You should care only about the skills, not about what’s written on paper.

In this email, you ask them to do one introductory task.

This task should be a real business task that’s very similar to what they’re going to be doing if you hire them. It shouldn’t be too time-consuming, but it shouldn’t be a 5-minute task either.

For instance, if you’re looking for an article writer, you can ask them to write two short articles and send them back to you. Provide as much detail as possible. Make the article topic specific and concrete. This will also check how detail oriented the person is.

Step #3: Evaluate

At this point don’t expect more than 2-4 responses.

However, once you get a response, email the person back immediately that you’re checking their work and will get in touch shortly.

Now it’s up to you to decide whether you like someone’s results or not, and who you want to hire.

There’s not much I can advise here because it’s best if you go with your gut feeling. You know your business best and only you can decide if someone is right for it or not.

Step #4: Decision email

Now it’s time to let people know how they did. Unfortunately, you’re going to be sending a lot of “no” emails and only one “yes” email (unless you’re looking for more than one VA).

The “no” emails should explain why someone didn’t make the cut. Plainly and honestly.

The “yes” email is a simple congrats message and a reminder of the basic payment rules (just to make sure that your VA understands them).

Step #5: Rules email

This is the final email in the process and probably the most important one for your cooperation going forward.

Some things to mention in it:

  • Job model (fulltime or not, number of work hours).
  • Payment methods (PayPal, other methods).
  • Working hours. It’s important to make this clear right away, especially if your VA is in a different time zone.
  • Preferred method of communication (email, Skype).
  • How you will send the tasks (email, task management app).
  • How to ask for help in case of any problems handling the tasks.
  • When is the first day (should they start right away or not).

That’s it, hiring a VA in five steps. Even though this whole process is rather straightforward, you’re probably going to have to send each email to multiple recipients, and it can even take up to two months before you have a new person on board.

However, if your business is growing and could use a new pair of hands then it’s surely worth the effort.

What do you think about all this? Are you looking for a VA currently?

Featured images:
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  •  License: Image author owned 
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Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a freelance blogger and writer. If you’re thinking about getting a quality online marketing tool, consider checking Market Samurai (a review by Karol available here). Additionally, Karol’s website – newInternetOrder – offers various online business, blogging, and marketing advice.


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2 Comments

  1. Amit Shaw
    January 16, 2013
    • efoghorjoe
      January 17, 2013

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