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How to Find the Best Virtual Assistants

Okay, so you know that feeling when you’ve got a million and one things to do, and the phone is ringing constantly, but you’ve got a meeting to go to, and oh god, you’ve just remembered you didn’t get the notes ready, and then finally you realise you’ve forgot all about the coffee you made and now it’s cold and you’re just ready to call it quits, go home, and curl up into a ball forever? Please don’t tell me it’s just me that’s been like that?!

And whilst you’ve almost definitely considered getting an assistant, you’re plagued by the memory of how long recruitment takes, and the effort spent onboarding them, and anyway, isn’t it just quicker and easier to do it yourself? I mean, hey! Who really needs a relaxing weekend away anyway? Taking on the work of several people all by yourself is a good way to push yourself and prove how dedicated you are to the company, right? Right?!

Look, we’ve all been there. I’m not judging! One day everything is manageable and seemingly overnight everyone and their mother has a task for you and they all absolutely 100% must be completed within the next hour, no exceptions! Well, consider me your fairy godmother, because it’s not an exaggeration to say I’ve got exactly what you need to transform your overworn work clothes into a ball gown fit for a successful businessperson with a stellar work-life balance!

The Golden Ticket to Grow Your Business
So, what’s the magic bean that will make your beanstalk of a business grow to the skies?
I’m talking real life grab-your-enchanted-goose-with-the-golden-eggs-and-defeat-the-giant stuff here… That’s right, it’s a virtual assistant! I know that growing your team and recruiting another member of staff can seem daunting, but trust me when I say, this truly is your golden ticket! And I’m talking from personal experience here. After all, how can your business grow if you’re held back doing menial tasks you’re wildly over-qualified for?

I heard this saying the other day: focus on what you do best, the VA will do the rest! And it really can be like that. The first step in this process is to make a checklist of the things you’d need the virtual assistant to do. Crucially, this is the stuff you don’t want to do! Sounds good, right? You’re the boss – there’s no need for you to be doing admin tasks that make you pull your hair out. I once apologised to a VA for giving her the task of sourcing – it used to drive me insane so I felt bad for giving it to them. Turns out, they loved it! It’s hard to imagine that someone else might love a task you hate, but we all have different skills and strengths, and if you can find a VA that loves doing the tasks you hate, well – you’re onto a winner!

I’ve compiled the list below for what I believe you should be looking for. Feel free to add or take away as you see fit, but you can use this as a guide:

  • Admin
  • Specialist skills (that you are unable or don’t want to do)
  • Recurring tasks
  • Tasks you procrastinate (don’t pretend you haven’t got them – I see you!)

The World is Your Oyster… Kind Of
Now you know what you want from a virtual assistant, the next step is to actually find one! And not any one – the right one! Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered on this, too. You’ll be pleased to know virtual assistants do not tend to hide under rocks or disguise themselves. Instead, they’re actually quite easy to find if you know where to look!

That leads me onto my next point: where to hire your VA from. Considering that a virtual assistant is, well… virtual, that means you could hire someone from anywhere in the world! And who am I to stop you? After all, there is money to be saved from hiring from overseas, it can’t be denied! There are, however, a couple of tips I have when thinking about where to hire someone from:

Consider the proximity to the country you’re based in.
You’ll likely need to be in contact with your VA daily, and you don’t want to be sending messages, only for them to be picked up in what is your middle of the night. It just makes things take so much longer and it won’t be cost effective.
Ensure the VA is fluent in the language you speak.
Having to break things down into simple language each time you’d like your VA to do something will be time-consuming and more difficult. Furthermore, differences in date format, distances, etc. can cause serious problems if you’re not careful!
Sometimes high-cost does equal higher quality.
Competent, experienced virtual assistants will cost more, but will work faster and more efficiently. Paying less will sometimes mean the work is at a poorer quality and will take much longer!

Don’t Go On a Wild Goose Chase, Use a Sourcing Agency!
Remember when I said virtual assistants don’t hide under rocks? Yeah, so they definitely don’t, but if you’ve not seen one before, they might walk right on by without you even noticing! Don’t panic though – where there’s a will, there’s a way. And that way is via a sourcing agency. Think of a sourcing agency as a kind of VA magnet. Hiring a VA yourself is like waiting for a bus in the middle of nowhere in the countryside… it’s supposed to turn up, but you kind of know that even if it does, it’s not going to be the one you want. A sourcing agency however, well they’re like the whole entire bus station with clear signage and a helpful member of staff pointing you in the right direction. The whole shebang!

That being said, though, if you want to take a crack at finding a Virtual Assistant yourself, I fully support that. In fact, I’ve got a helpful little formula to get you on your merry way. Don’t worry, you won’t need a calculator – I would never impose mathematics on you unnecessarily – that’s just cruel. The thing is, it is actually possible to catch the right bus even if you are out in the middle of nowhere, you just need to have done your research first. That research might be finding a paper version of the timetable and talking to some helpful locals, but if you’re determined, it can be done!

So, the formula. It’s all about weighing up the costs to make sure it’s worth it to find your perfect VA yourself. You need to know the Opportunity Cost, and here’s how to find it:

Opportunity Cost = Total Revenue – Economic Profit

In other words: weigh up what you’ll sacrifice compared to what you will gain. If you’re going to need to spend days researching and then analysing CVs followed by contacting them and dealing with the back-and-forth, will the VA you find be good enough to make up for that? That’s why a sourcing agency (such as Sourcing VA) can be so good – they do all that for you, and all with a smile on their face! You lay out exactly what you’re looking for down to the last detail, then go away and get on with your life. Next thing you know, you’ll have so many options on your desk that all seem the perfect fit and you’ll have expended zero stress over it. What a dream! If you’d still like to give it a go yourself, check out Upwork, Freelancer, or jobs.ph.

Top Interview Tips
But of course, the real test of a candidate will be the interview. You’re going to be working with this person so while you need them to have the required credentials, don’t downplay the importance of simply getting along with them! You want to have a laugh with the people you work with, and they’ll do a hell of a lot better if they’re enjoying themselves while they’re at it. But as the nitty gritty does tend to be a priority, this is what you’re going to want to ask:

What’s their rate?
What’s their circumstances?
What tasks they can do, and how well they can do them?
And this one is a biggie… are they willing to learn?

How Long is a Piece of String? We Have Scissors
I know this question has been burning since you first started reading this, and I’ve been cruel and waited until the very end to indulge you. Let’s get into how long hiring a VA can really take. Look, I’ll be honest – finding and hiring a VA yourself can take anything from seven days (see, that’s not so bad!) to several months (yeah you knew that was coming, didn’t you!). Just like any in-house hiring situation, these things take time, and sometimes people will let you down. That’s exactly why we advocate using a sourcing agency! It takes all the time, pressure, and effort away from hiring a VA and with that comes the speed of recruitment you won’t be able to match if you go it alone. It’s a win-win!

For more information about using a sourcing agency, get in touch now!

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