A remote assistant is a professional offering various services that support business operations. You can hire them for everything from lead generation and social media marketing to financial planning and compliance, for a set number of hours per week or per month. Some assistants work freelance, while others are part of a managed virtual assistant services company.
Our assistants at Wing help companies from a range of industries. Whether you’re a small business making your first hire or managing several employees or teams, Wing VAs can expand your capacity and allow you to accomplish more tasks at once.
It takes time and resources to hire the best assistant for your business. If you’re looking for a virtual assistant or wondering if you should get one, here are things to keep in mind.
Where do you go to hire remote assistants?
Today, many professionals, including assistants, prefer jobs that allow them to work completely or mostly from home. The rise of distributed work has also made virtual assistants and other remote workers more accessible. If you’re looking to hire a remote assistant for your business, you have two main options. You can either get a freelancer or hire a managed VA service provider.
Opt for managed services
Another way you might find a good virtual assistant is by hiring managed VA companies, like Wing, which connect virtual assistants with businesses or individuals who need their services.
With managed services, clients do not need to spend on anything besides their subscription fee. The company is responsible for hiring and training the virtual assistants who sign with them. It will handle the VAs’ salaries, benefits, insurance, etc. For many business owners, this is the perfect solution—it lets them take a completely hands-free and flexible approach to hiring talent.
Find a freelancer
One way to find a good virtual assistant for your business is to hire a freelancer. In the United States alone, about 68 million people derive their income from contract work. Although some people participate in the gig economy out of necessity, most are independent workers by choice.
Today, platforms like Upwork and Fiverr enable freelancers to connect with businesses that need their services for project-based jobs. It is possible for an independent contractors to make a living out of work they find through these marketplaces.
How to hire the best remote assistant for your business
To find the best VA for your business, don’t stick with surface-level reasons like “to increase our productivity” and “to have someone do certain tasks for us.”
Before hiring your assistant, you need to list the tasks you’ll be handing off to them. There are different types of VAs, and knowing which tasks you’ll offload will go a long way in ensuring that your assistant helps you meet your goals.
Getting clear on your expectations will also help you select the right VA for the job. Below are common types of VAs—read on to understand what each does and figure out which one you’ll need in your business.
Remote administrative assistant
A remote admin assistant handles office management for clients. They’ll handle things like data entry, scheduling appointments, organizing your inbox, and similar tasks. Administrative assistants are task managers—they take care of the miscellaneous things that an office needs to run smoothly.
Small businesses owners will find that their work improves exponentially when they hire an admin assistant to help them with the mountain of things they must do every day.
Remote executive assistant
If admin assistants remove speed bumps in workflows, executive assistants act as project managers for your team. They can make decisions on your behalf, facilitate meetings in your place, coordinate different schedules, and act as a liaison for your department or team.
Executive assistants are a great fit for mid-sized companies or ones that are gearing up for growth. An EA’s project management skills will help such businesses cover a lot of ground in a short period.
Remote assistants for real estate
Some VAs specialize in tasks for real estate companies. Real estate VAs can handle general sales-related tasks like cold calling, advertising, and scheduling meetings. They can also take care of industry-specific activities like coordinating open houses, appraisals for titles and mortgages, and maintaining online listings, among others.
Remote assistants for marketing
Many companies hire VAs to handle their marketing campaigns. These professionals can manage ad campaigns, research your customers and competitors, analyze past campaign performance, create content for your socials or website, and the like.
If you have a private practice or a business not centered around marketing, getting a VA for these purposes will boost your productivity significantly. You won’t have to spend hours on maintaining campaigns, drafting blog posts, or qualifying leads—instead, you can focus on what you do best.
Virtual assistants for social media
Some remote marketing assistants specialize in social media. If your audience is mostly on Facebook, Instagram, or similar platforms, you should get a social media VA for your business. These professionals can set up and/or improve your profile, create and implement a content strategy, build up your audience, respond to comments and messages for you, and much more.
Virtual assistants for e-commerce
Running a business on Amazon, Shopify, or other online marketplaces isn’t easy. Besides actually fulfilling orders, you need to optimize your listings, advertise your products, manage inventory, handle disputes or claims for refunds, etc.
Amazon sellers and other e-commerce owners can offload all those and more tasks by hiring a specialized e-commerce VA. When you get a remote assistant, you can delegate this work to your assistant and focus on growing your shop and doing the work only you can do.
Know your goals in getting a VA
It’s not enough that you hire any VA—to be truly successful, you need to get someone who can complement your team perfectly. To do this, you must know why you’re hiring a virtual assistant in the first place.
When you team up with the right VA service provider, you’ll get access to assistants with a range of specialties. Whether you’re in e-commerce or retail, real estate, or food service, they can match you with an assistant with experience in your industry.
What skills should a remote assistant have?
All virtual assistants, regardless of industry, should have certain skills in their wheelhouse. These core abilities enable them to support any type of business.
Data entry and research
All VAs need to be adept at research and must know how to retrieve information that benefits their clients. They should also be able to present this in a format that their colleagues and supervisors can digest.
One of the reasons why a team might hire a VA is because they need someone to coordinate with other departments or companies. As such, virtual assistants must know how to write emails, prepare memos, and create other types of business correspondence.
Digital content production
Today, content creation skills are a requirement for virtually any remote assistant. Since most business owners aren’t marketing experts, they’d want someone who can write about their offerings, post on their social profiles, and handle digital content for their business.
Updating records and databases
Virtual assistants must also know how to keep and update records or databases. Owners can certainly update their own records; however, they’ll be more effective at growing the business when they can entrust this laborious but crucial task to someone else, like a VA.
Organizing projects/personal calendars
Finally, all VAs should know how to organize calendars for the teams or people they support. One of the most tedious parts of collaborating with others is figuring out schedules for meetings, sending updates, and creating project timelines that work for everyone. These are all things a VA can handle.
What qualities should you look for in a remote assistant?
People excel in their jobs because of more than just their technical skills. They also have certain traits or behaviors which make them great at what they do. Below are some “human skills” which help a remote assistant support their client.
Businesses, especially small and medium-sized ones, are busy and fast-paced. There’s always something going on at an SMB, so VAs for these types of companies must be great at handling several projects at once. They should know how to prioritize tasks and ensure everyone on the team stays on track.
A virtual assistant needs to show initiative. They should know how to solve problems on their own. They must also know how to anticipate their client’s needs. Finally, they should be comfortable prompting their clients and asking them if they need assistance with anything.
VAs will often have little supervision, so they should be the type of worker who does not need micromanaging. They should be self-starting, know how to pace themselves, and be good at meeting deadlines. A great VA will always naturally do their best to complete a task you assign to them.
Finally, a VA should be flexible. They must have great interpersonal skills and connect with people from different departments. They should also know how to shift their plans and adjust goals when necessary. Finally, they need to have the right attitude towards feedback and constructive criticism of their work.
Hire remote assistants who are part of a system
Granted, you can’t conduct a test before hiring to see if your assistant has these traits. Interviewing applicants and sourcing character references can only go so far. One way to ensure that your VAs have the soft skills needed for the job is to hire from managed VA service companies.
Wing VAs don’t work alone—they have support from talented operations heads, account managers, and supervisors. We don’t just train our assistants; we equip them with the tools they need to be mentally and emotionally prepared for joining and contributing to our clients’ businesses.
Benefits of hiring a remote assistant
When you have the best VA for your business, you’ll undoubtedly increase your productivity. First, a remote virtual assistant helps you save money—beyond eliminating overhead on computers and electricity, VAs usually cost less to hire than in-house employees.
Your VA can also make you more efficient since you’ll have time to work on core tasks. Things like sending emails, posting on social media, scheduling meetings, and responding to customer concerns are all crucial aspects of running a business. However, they’re also time-consuming, so it’s great to have a VA handle these.
Finally, with lower costs and increased capacity, you’ll be able to scale your business faster. When you hire a VA, you can concentrate your resources on things that directly affect your bottom line.
Wing Assistants – Managed, Trained, Dedicated Assistants at $799/mo
Hiring a remote assistant brings you closer to your team’s goals. There are different types of VAs, and they handle a range of tasks from the simple (e.g. answering calls or inbox management) to the complex (heading projects or analyzing financial reports, and more). Before you get one, you should be clear on what you want them to handle for you.
Wing assistants are the way to go. Our managed and dedicated VAs undergo a three-month training program that prepares them to assist any type of client. Learn more about Wing VAs and what they can do for you—book a call to learn why you should get started with us today!
Aya is Wing Assistant’s blog manager. When she’s not wrangling content briefs, editing article drafts and handling on-page SEO, she is crafting messages for Wing’s other communication materials. Aya writes about SaaS startups, marketing for startups, search engine optimization, and pop culture.