Do you have any tips for hiring a virtual assistant and how to contract most effectively to get the best out of the relationship?
I'm in the process of hiring a virtual assistant and I'm looking for any advice or suggestions on how best to go about that. Particularly with regards to contracting effectively to leverage the time I'm paying for most efficiently. How do you handle your VA? Any tips for creating a highly effective relationship?
Hello Michael......I used a personal assistant when I had my own business last year and she was top-notch and provided fantastic support. I'm in Atlanta and it just so happens that she was too - but she can support anyone virtually. Feel free reach out to me if you would like me to provide you her contact information. mmaetz(at)itc2.net
Hi Michael - This has been a really good question for me to see the answers to being that I am starting out my own VA business. It makes me aware of the types of questions that a potential client would be asking and just as important the questions I should be asking a potential client. Its my aim to have a very highly successful business and the answers here are helping me shape my business and myself to be that. Thank you and maybe one day we can work together.
experience of work, List of clients , you should hire from companies well known
Check out chrisducker.com and his company virtualstafffinder.com. He is THE go to guy on virtual hiring. Good luck!
My company provides that services. We always ask our clients what they want to achieve and in what timeline. Getting into the rate and hours is hard when not knowing what is the goal of the position and the type of work. That enables me to know which member of my team to put on the project - I allocate talent to the job not just a worker - building a relationship is important. I also look at the personalities within the team to fit the "personality" of the client or their organization... The big benefit we provide is that we work as a team and if someone were to leave then there is no training or looking for someone new we step right in and keep things moving forward. This also helps when a bigger projects happens - we just add personnel and talent and stay on track... Hope this helps... Make sure you explain what you want to achieve so the provider can deliver the solution...
Whilst the person is virtual to you, the tasks you assign them will be real, and carried out in real-time.
In terms of measuring how well they have spent their time, you are going to have to bench-mark the tasks with a time frame. Not only, for you to measure how long was spent on each task, but for the VA to record actual time against a task.
Presumably, you are going to have a myriad of tasks for your VA to complete, some of these are going to be repetitive, right. (They need doing every week....month....quarter etc..etc). I would suggest you let technology handle the bits that are repetitive, and let the VA deal with personal interaction tasks with your contacts. This will ensure that repetitive tasks, are kept separate from personal tasks.
Try and think of the tasks as; online, offline both with or without personal interaction.
When your VA comes in to contact with persons, its important for them to feel they are dealing with a real person....not an android.
With all the technology around today, don't forget the tried and tested use of a phone to make your customers, clients feel looked after and special.
Meet your VA occasionally, and explore the experiences from both sides of the coin, how did personal interaction make customers, consumers feel about dealing with you. Were there any adverse comments, or do contacts prefer dealing with a VA as opposed to someone face-to-face.
Hope that helps. Good luck.
As with any hiring decision, a thorough screening should be done and references checked. You want to know all you can about who you are interviewing. Once you have narrowed the field sit down with the person in a comfortable setting and just talk, let this person know what you expect-honesty is the best policy and who knows there maybe areas you 2 have in common that will make for a more meaningful relationship
The most important thing is to get and check very good references and measure results not tasks!
There are many virtual assistants out there, but who will you choose? Hiring virtual assistant is really a great move for a certain business. Check out their profile first and what are the projects they have done. I hired virtual assistant and they are very very effective because they can do many things in a certain period of time and with regards to contract there are lots to choose from, you can hire them as full time or part time.
Tracy is right; start off by making a list of the things you want someone else to handle for you. This list will guide you in determining what kind of virtual assistant (VA) you need.
What kind of VA? There are VAs to meet every need. Some are generalists (they do a little bit of everything), and some are specialists (techie VAs that handle only technical stuff), and some are industry-specific VAs (VAs for realtors, VAs for authors, VAs for plumbers, VAs for coaches, etc.).
Do you want a solo VA or a team VA? A solo VA owns her own VA business, and a team VA is employed by someone who contracts her out to someone (i.e., you). There are advantages and disadvantages to both. If you go with a solo VA, she should have a contract, confidentiality agreement and non-compete agreement for you to sign. These protect both you and her. As a matter of fact, a team VA company should have these things for you to sign too.
Frankly, finding a VA is the easy part. Finding the right one and working with her is the hard part. You need to know who you are and what kind of people you work with best. For example, do you need to have your hands on every detail of the work (i.e., how it's done in every little nuance), or do you focus on results and leave it up to the VA to decide how to do the work? Are you a procrastinator and leave everything to the last minute? Are you ADHD? There are VAs who specialize in working with ADHD clients. Do you expect your VA to be at your beck and call 24x7? Do you have time to train a VA? Training a VA shouldn't be necessary with Western VAs, but VAs in India and China need to be trained by you because they lack training in things like Microsoft Office, Google Docs, e-commerce, etc. In addition, VAs in developing nations don't understand the Western culture and way of doing things which usually results in a lot of do-overs (things needing to be done over and over again until it's right).
Whether you work with a solo VA or a team VA, your mindset needs to be that the VA is not your employee, and you can't treat her like your employee. She is either your peer (solo VA) or someone else's employee (team VA). Because she's not your employee, you can't tell her when to work (i.e., 9-5), what equipment to purchase, where to work (i.e., your office) and in some cases how to work.
Another thing to keep in mind is your budget. Most Western VAs charge upward of $35/hr., but most developing nation VAs charge $2 - $5/hr. There's a big gap there, but keep in mind that most Western VAs don't have to do a task over and over again until they get it right, and they usually guarantee their work (if they didn't get it right, they'll do it over at no extra charge). Many Western VAs are now offering 'packages' that give you more bang for your buck. I strongly believe, though, that focusing on cost rather than value is the wrong way to go. The value of a VA is in getting the work done that gets in the way of your getting the more important stuff done -- stuff that only you can do (like growing a business, marketing, writing a book, etc.).
There are many VAs on mosaicHub (including me), and there are many places to find a VA. The premiere VA organization is IVAA (ivaa.org), and they have a RFP (request for proposal) system that you can use to request VAs to talk to. There are also organizations for author VAs, coach VAs, real estate VAs, etc.), and most have RFP systems. Just do a Google search.
Because you're an author, I'd suggest that one way to weed out all the applicants is to go to their web sites and read about the VA. How's her english? Is her website riddled with typos and misspellings? If so, I don't think that you, an author, wants her representing you. Another weeding criteria is ability to follow directions. When you email her, does she respond in an acceptable manner. For example, if you email her and ask for a date and time to speak with her on the telephone, and she responds by calling you instead of emailing you a date an time, then that means that she can't follow simple instructions.
Okay, I've gone on enough, but I'm passionate about educating the public about VAs. If you would like to speak with me about our possibly working together, I offer a FREE 30 minute consultation during which we'll explore your wants, needs and style. If I don't think we'd work well together, I'll tell you so, and help you find a VA who will have you wondering why in the world you waited so long to work with a VA.
=>Donna Caissie, the ExtraOrdinary VA