5 Things to Consider Before You Hire a Virtual Assistant

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I hear the term “Virtual Assistant” more and more in business. When I hear of a virtual assistant I envision a person who has made it.  A jet setter who is highly successful.  Than I realize that almost anyone can have a virtual assistant and it does not have to cost you an arm and a let.  Did you know that you could outsource this task and pay a whole lot less?  Many VA’s have degrees.

With the growth of virtual assistants there has also been a change in what it means to be a virtual assistant.  The leaders and founders of this particular entrepreneurial job have made distinctions between what it means to be a virtual assistant, and what it does not mean.  When you are explaining your business to others, you want to make sure to keep this standard.  

A virtual assistant is someone who provides a variety of services to businesses and individuals.  The first angle that is taken towards approaching what a virtual assistant is includes the idea of being virtual. If you are not working out of your home, or remotely, then you are not considered a virtual assistant.  Instead, it is considered to be a temporary job or a telecommuting job.  One of the standards for being a virtual assistant is having the freedom to work where you want.

The second part to being a virtual assistant is the distinction that is made in the job description.  Most virtual assistants will cringe at the idea of being called a secretary or freelance worker.  Technically, a freelance worker is one who only does the job for extra income.  At the same time, a secretary is one who doesn’t do the work continuously with only one client.  A virtual assistant is provided in order to create a substantial and long term relationship with a business.

Here are 5 factors you should consider when it is time to hire a virtual assistant!

  1. Professionalism.

Does the VA answer her or his emails, voicemails and other correspondence in a timely and professional manner? It is important that if this person is to work for you, they have the right skills to not keep you or a deadline waiting. Make sure you give a task to her or him to pass that shows commitment to deadlines.

  1. Project Management.

Multitasking nowadays is essential. We now pull out our smartphones if lines are too long as our society as a whole has grown increasingly impatient. If a person cannot work with a few projects on the go you definitely need to move on. Do not find out that you have a project management problem when it is too late.

  1. Availability.

It is not unusual that your VA works for several people at the same time. It is not uncommon for you as an employer to be in a funnel system for the VA. You slowly move down the funnel as they take on better contracts from new virtual employers. Keep that in mind and ask if your VA has other employers when you are interviewing them for employment.  

  1. Test.

Give the VA a mini project before going ahead with a contract.  It  needs to be done correctly and to my total satisfaction before I even consider this person. It is simple to hire one of the first few people to come along but please shortlist at least 10 and give the tasks to 2 of the 10 you shortlisted. Obviously make sure these tasks are something you actually want done, you do not want to waste any money.

  1. Get References.

Can the VA give you a list of people whom you can contact who will tell you about working with her or him?

The main distinction that most virtual assistants will work towards creating is the idea of being in a relationship with a business, and making this their business.  This goes beyond the expectations of any temporary work or telecommuting job.  It also means that the services a virtual assistant can provide will go outside of job descriptions that are made in the office.  By understanding the standards for being a virtual assistant, you can best approach this in your own relationships with businesses.


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