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Productivity / Outsourcing

Four steps to finding your ideal virtual assistant

If you’re considering hiring the services of a virtual assistant, these tips will help you make sure they’re the right person for the job.

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I used to believe that, as a soloist – not only could I not afford a virtual assistant (VA), but surely I didn’t need one. I should be able to look after all aspects of my business, shouldn’t I?

However, one of the reasons I became a soloist was to have the type of lifestyle that I wanted with a good work-life balance. Yet I found I was working long hours and I never had enough time.

Finally, I made the decision that I should at least look into the possibility of getting some extra help.

Here are four steps that I found useful in finding my ideal VA.

Step #1

It’s important to know what you want your VA to do for you. Almost anything you do in your office can be done virtually so you’re only limited by your imagination.

"As the trust and the relationship develops, you may find more opportunities arise by which you can utilise your VA’s skills."

Here is a non-exhaustive list of tasks that you could outsource:

Office support

  • Diary management
  • Sending contracts and information packages
  • Routine paperwork and online file organisation
  • Emailing customer invoices
  • Managing your e-newsletter list
  • Data entry
  • Formatting your presentations and documents
  • Identifying and implementing office processes to help save time and money

Bookkeeping

  • Following up on late payments
  • Keeping your financial records up-to-date so that you’re fully prepared come BAS and tax time
  • Reconciling bank statements

Marketing

  • Lead generation
  • Social media management
  • Managing your business’s online identity and branding
  • Providing regular reports that detail how your marketing plan is progressing

Website management

  • Helping to choose a web host
  • Ongoing web support and assisting with changes and updates

When you’ve decided upon the specific tasks that your potential VA will do for you, you’re then able to focus on finding the right one for you.

Want more articles like this? Check out the outsourcing section.

Step #2

Decide how you want to employ their services.

Each of these questions help to clarify the options available when engaging a VA. Be sure to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Step #3

Conduct an informal interview with the VA. This can be carried out via phone, Skype or face-to-face if you’re in the same city.

At this time, find out their areas of expertise. Do these areas complement the vision that you have for your business?

Check:

  • The hours available for your work
  • Their rates and how you’ll be invoiced
  • How they will keep you up-to-date with their progress on tasks
  • How often and by what means you’ll be communicating

Step #4

Clearly communicate your requirements and set up a system that works for both you and your VA.

As in any working relationship, communication is the key. As the trust and the relationship develops, you may find more opportunities arise by which you can utilise your VA’s skills.

In my case, I now can’t imagine running my business without my VA. Her skills and expertise have allowed me to develop my business. With that, I’ve been able to pursue new opportunities that may not have previously been possible. Engaging the services of a VA has been a good business decision.

Has outsourcing tasks to a virtual assistant helped your business? What are your tips for finding the ideal VA?

Maria Pantalone

works with individuals and teams in developing their business communication skills. Her company, Infinite Growth, provides training in presentation skills, business writing and leadership development. Armed with these skills, there is nothing a business person cannot achieve.

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