If your business is sucking your happiness dry, it’s time to make some changes to alleviate your stress. One way to free up some of your time is to hire your first virtual assistant to take over some of the daily or weekly administrative tasks needed to run your business.

Hiring your first virtual assistant can certainly be stressful, especially if you’re a first timer who has never been through the hiring process before. However, just start with simple…

  1. Prepare a list of tasks you want to delegate
  2. Write some questions you feel will highlight the right candidate for you and your business values and goals
  3. and set up an interview.

What Tasks will Your Virtual assistant Handle?

Before you even enter the hiring arena, first decide which tasks you want a virtual assistant to handle. This list will determine the skill set you need to find, and identify if you can hire a newbie or if you need a more experienced virtual assistant.

To get your list started, determine which tasks you despise and always put off. There’s a reason why you’re procrastinating so maybe those are tasks to outsource first.

Other tasks that should be on your list are those that are not direct money makers. For instance, answering emails isn’t making you money but starting a group coaching program will generate income. Answering your own phone to make appointments isn’t the best use of your time if you can write multiple emails to your list with relevant offers for subscribers to purchase.

Now, the skill sets of virtual assistants these days are quite varied. So let’s start with the basics:

  • Do you need an administrative VA to handle your inbox, general admin and calendar?
  • Or do you need someone who can handle your website, email and social media marketing?
  • What platforms do you need the VA to be able to use sufficiently to get started?

As you can see, these tasks require different skills and will reflect different pricing.

A note of caution: This may be obvious but it bears repeating. If you want to outsource your monthly billing and bookkeeping, find a certified bookkeeper instead of a general virtual assistant. You should always be picky when hiring someone, but especially so when they will deal with your money. Anyone who manages, advises or processes money on your behalf will also need the relevant insurance cover for your region and privacy policies in place. 

Where to Find a Virtual Assistant

Do a quick Google search and you will see many thousands of results. Virtual Assistants are numerous but take your time to find the right one to fit your business.

Refine that Google search by using keywords of the services you need (ie: administrative VA, marketing VA, social media VA etc). If you prefer to hire someone local to work in your office, include your location in the search.

Ask your business associates if they can recommend any VAs that they’ve used in the past.

Ask on your social media networks; chances are you may have VAs in your followers who are looking for work.

If any of the VAs on your list aren’t accepting new clients, ask if they can recommend someone else. Just like any industry, VAs often network with each other.

Go with Your Gut

You can come up with 100 interview questions and your candidate may give 100 perfect answers but if anything in your conversation gives you pause, follow that instinct and move on to the next candidate.

Absolutely do not hire the first person you interview; and I wouldn’t recommend hiring off an email proposal either. At least one phone or video call will give you a better understanding of the person you’re looking to hire.

Trust the interview process and compare each candidate’s answers. Ask yourself…

  • Who do you feel would best represent your business?
  • How dedicated do they sound?
  • Is there anything about their experience that makes you question their abilities?
  • Does their fulfilment speed meet your needs?
  • Do their values and approach align with or compliment yours?
  • Does their availability and operating terms match what you need in a virtual assistant?
  • Is their communication style what you need?
  • Where might they be misaligned?

Don’t ignore that gut instinct – even if you need someone urgently, like yesterday! it only hurts you more in the long run. I can’t even list how many interviews I’ve done, the gut instinct never lies.

Hire your first virtual assistant

So to recap, start with simple…

  1. Prepare a list of tasks you want to delegate, group similar tasks
  2. Write some questions you feel will highlight the right candidate for you and your business values and goals
  3. Set up a few interviews with potential candidates
  4. Review the responses and proposals
  5. Make a selection (or not) and move forward

When you make a selection, the next steps would be to:

  1. Get an adequate contract with terms of engagement, or provide your own.
  2. Set aside time to onboard your VA into your business and establish expectations.
  3. Make a time 1-3-6 months down the line to review the working relationship and your happiness level.

I’d love to hear about your experience hiring your first virtual assistant. Leave me a comment below to share your tips or hiring story.