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Hiring a virtual assistant for remote work.

How to Get Started Finding and Using a Virtual Assistant

Sara KimmichSara Kimmich
Sara Kimmich
Sara Kimmich

A virtual assistant can help you take your business to new levels by providing organizational management with a personal touch for your customers. A virtual assistant is usually one of the initial hires to a scaling company, so it’s a great chance to build out your virtual onboarding and communications with your team. Here are the steps to finding and hiring the perfect virtual assistant. 

1. Break Apart Your Business Flow Into Time

Let’s face it, you probably need to hire a virtual assistant to take back time in your schedule. For one week, starting on a Monday, track all of the tasks that you complete for the first 40 hours that you are contributing to your business model. 

You can track this with pen and paper or down to the minute with a digital time tracking tool. The important thing is not how you track, but what you track. Be specific about the categories that you choose to record. 

This step can be challenging for the best of us, as multi-tasking is something that every successful digital professional is great at. It can also make it impossibly hard to know exactly how much time work can take to do. 

Most businesses suffer from similar working bottlenecks, so it can be a good idea to break your workload into the top categories for experienced virtual assistants: social media management, customer relations, or web/product development tasks. 

2. Decide Which Tasks You Will Delegate 

When you are making the transition from bootstrapped solo entrepreneur to employer, you’ll need to really evaluate your business structure. What items do you spend 10 hours or more a week on? Social media? Emails? Invoices? That’s 25% of a 9-5 work week. 

Delegate over time for excellent service from your VA: Find these time magnets in your business process and hand them to your assistant to see your business grow. 

3. Find a Great Virtual Assistant Online

Traditionally, exceptional assistants were easiest found by word of mouth through personal networks, as they tended to develop particular skills through working with specific clientele over time. However, today top talent can be found anywhere, and it’s worth deciding on the right fit for your specific business needs. 

There are several online marketplaces where one can find experienced virtual assistants. Most virtual assistants are on platforms that allow for self-pricing based on skillset, talent and verified past experience with other clients. It can be challenge to know exactly what budget you should set aside at first, but some market research can help. 

Zirtual and Uassistme are recommended sources of verified assistants, while sites like Fiverr and Upwork can also provide affordable alternatives for those who might be earlier in their career.  

If you’re looking for other ways of finding a virtual assistant check out many different Facebook Groups. There are many virtual assistants or aspiring virtual assistants who either have a side hustle or run a full time business. Many virtual assistants are looking to find clients to work for part time and start with Facebook Groups. 

3. Choose an Assistant for Their Superpower

If there are elements of your workflow that aren’t overwhelming your time or creativity, it can be good to choose some tasks that you might enjoy, but don’t excel in. Know where your strengths and weaknesses are, and hire to make those into business strengths. 

Most assistants have niche expertise. If you are spending a lot of time on social media management, that’s a great way to find someone who is incredibly qualified to help you turn that into a superpower for your business. 

4. Hire for Communication and Customer Service

Be clear about your communication preferences and set up a regular schedule a regular check-in either daily or weekly. It’s vital that an assistant understands business priorities, communication preferences, and work-life boundaries.

It’s important to find someone who works well with you individually, but it’s equally important to consider how they’ll be communicating primarily with your clients - whether that be by phone, email or full social media marketing strategy. 

They will be the first point of contact for your brand and the first impression for new clients, make sure that they understand and can offer the form of professionalism needed for your target audience.

5. Write Clear Definitions of Done 

Set clear expectations for the work you need done in writing when you first begin working with a virtual assistant. This can ensure clear understanding of the scope and style expectations of work. 

Remember this: great assistants don’t need micromanagement, they are there to help you manage your business. If you can clearly communicate the tasks you need done, and the value added to your company, an assistant will have everything they need to execute successfully. 

6. Invest Time In What Matters

When you hire a virtual assistant, you can take that time back for investing in the things that really make your freelance career shine, whether that be adding more clients to your roster, or building a work-life balance into your business process as you grow. When you hire a virtual assistant, they can become crucial for your business’s success as you scale. 

A great way to hire and retain exceptional talent is by helping them gain new skills sets and certifications on the job, especially if you need an assistant to fill a more cross-functional role on the team. 

Every type of business has different needs, and those needs can change as a business grows over time as well. If you follow these steps you’ll find the right virtual assistant to make your business run smoothly while offering flexible employment from talent all over the world. 

Sara Kimmich
Sara Kimmich has been moonlighting as a writer since 2017 and enjoys writing about long and form pieces on the cutting edge science and strategies for digital organizational design. She currently lives in London, UK where she works as an artificial intelligence engineer and is passionate about using time to build things that matter.

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