Are you feeling overwhelmed with your workload and considering delegating some of your tasks but not quite sure where to even start? Here are some handy tips on how to find your virtual angel aka virtual assistant who will ease your pain and help you grow your business.
Determine the tasks you can delegate in your business
To make the most of the Virtual Assistant (VA), I suggest writing down a list of tasks you do in your business. You can divide these tasks into Monthly, Quarterly and Daily tabs. Even better when you add a column for time it currently takes you to complete those tasks. It gives you a rough idea on how many hours of support you really need. To add the cherry on cake, multiply hours you currently spend on anything administrative or that you hate doing with your hourly rate and you get a figure showing you how much extra you can earn by delegating all these tasks to a VA.
Please note that all Virtual Assistants are not the same and often VAs are specialised in something. There are social media VAs, podcast assistants, copywriters, marketing assistants, legal assistants, virtual EAs, Online Business Managers, Virtual Receptionists and general “jack of all trades” VAs so when engaging one in your business, you want to determine what type of VA meets your needs.
Define the budget you have for the VA
Now, think how much money you have got to spend on having your own virtual angel. Don’t forget what I told you in the first paragraph – Even though a VA may seem like an expense initially, in long term they help you earn extra money you were not able to earn before. That is the money you did not have.
Australian VAs generally charge anywhere between $35 and $70/hr with $35 being the junior rate. I would not choose a VA based on the rate only. Generally, you get what you pay for and more quality and experience costs more. Also, VAs are business owners and therefore responsible for paying their own tax and super. Whilst doing so they still want to earn a decent living so please take that into consideration when hiring one. Is someone really going to make a decent living on $35/hr? By hiring a VA, you support a fellow small business owner.
There are of course offshore VAs but that’s another story. If you need someone to enter data, feel free to go with an offshore VA. It is fairly easy task to follow and does not require a VA to know much about your business and Australian markets, culture etc but there are no guarantees on more complicated tasks. Believe me, I have heard a few cringeworthy stories re offshore VAs and how differently they operate to local VAs, but at the end of the day, it is your choice.
Prepare some questions for VAs you are interested in chatting with
Interviewing a VA is not like your typical employee interview. Yes, you want to know how long they have been in business, what they have previously done and what type of clients they have worked with but you don’t go for full grilling with behavioural interview questions. Take hiring a VA more like finding the right hairdresser or an accountant. You want to know what they have done before, what they can currently do and if they are able and willing to learn new systems and programs. You also want to see if their work ethic aligns with yours and if you generally like their personality.
Compile a list of all systems and programs your VA needs access to and prepare a list of usernames/passwords your VA would need to use whilst working for you. You can share logins and passwords via password managers such as First Pass.
Find a VA
So you have done all the prep and are ready to find the one but not sure where to look?
Nowadays, there are plenty of VAs around. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. You can start by asking around in your networks: FB groups you are a member of or your friends and connections online. Who knows, there maybe someone amongst your connections.
If you have no luck with that, there are a few VA networks in Australia where you can post jobs and expect to receive messages from those interested and possibly meeting your requirements.
My personal favourite of course the first ever VA network called Virtually Yours run by Rosie Shilo.
Rosie is a former VA herself who now dedicates her time to educating new VAs. Chances are, you will find a great VA amongst members of this group and if not, then you always have social media and conducting searches for VAs on Instagram or Facebook surely gives you some results.
Things to know about signing-up with a VA
Once you have found your virtual angel, the next thing you would expect to do, is sign their Proposal and the Service Agreement. Despite hiring a VA, in legal terms you are actually becoming their client. Please note that it’s fairly common for VAs to charge upfront on a retainer basis so it should not come as a surprise to pay for your support in advance.
Next, you want to compile a list of all systems and programs your VA needs access to and prepare a list of usernames/passwords your VA would need to use whilst working for you. You can share logins and passwords via password manager apps such as First Pass. If there are any systems that your VA is not familiar with but is willing to learn, you can always teach/demonstrate them via screen recording by utilising Zoom or Loom.
Communication is the key
Hoorray! You have finally found your VA. Cheers to growing your business!
I won’t keep you long but one thing I wanted to remind you that communicating with your VA is the key to a great relationship. No need to be a micromanager. You hired someone so that you can do more of that you love and leave the rest to a VA. If you think they can benefit of any information, please let them know…….at the end of the day, it’s your business that will suffer otherwise. Treat them like your right arm, your business partner etc. Mistakes do happen and no one is perfect. We all learn from our mistakes and together as a team you grow bigger and better. Give your VA some feedback if they are doing an awesome job. Everyone deserves some recognition. Let them know if they could do better and where they could improve. Without communication, VAs are just flying blind and guessing. With great transparent communication, they feel at ease and know they are doing a good job or whether they can improve any aspect of their service.
Also, if you love your VA, please leave a testimonial