With a virtual assistant, business owners can free up their time and potentially increase their profits. Wondering how to find a virtual assistant? Here are some steps that will help you find, assess, and hire the best virtual assistant for your needs.
1. Determine if you’re ready for an assistant
Hiring a virtual assistant can be a cost-effective way to obtain ongoing support for your business. Additionally, the services of a contractor such as a VA are often cheaper and tax deductible. But sometimes, people hire assistants expecting them to provide instant solutions. In reality, learning how to find a virtual assistant requires a bit of planning and self-awareness. You’re ready to hire a VA if the following are true for you:
- You know what you want to offload. Hire a virtual assistant if you are looking to delegate specific, recurring tasks or processes. Examples of these are customer service or bookkeeping.
- You are overwhelmed with tasks that could potentially be handled by someone else.
- Admin work isn’t your strong suit. If struggle with organization, a virtual assistant may be a good fit for you. VAs are typically organized and efficient. They can also serve as an "accountability partner" for you and your business decisions.
- You have the budget for it. Hiring a VA is cheaper than hiring an employee. but it still costs money to hire an assistant; typically, budget between $600 to $3,000+ per month.
- You have other responsibilities. If you are a busy parent, or are building a business while working a 9-to-5 job, a virtual assistant may be able to help. You can hire a VA on an as-needed basis, particularly during times when you have an especially busy schedule.
When should you not hire a virtual assistant?
If you have not prepared clear guidelines, boundaries, and instructions for your virtual assistant, you could end up spending more time micromanaging their work. It is important to clearly define their tasks and provide the necessary resources and support.
Also, highly skilled virtual assistants will generally require less supervision as they become more familiar with their role. However, regardless of their level of experience, any new hire will need to be onboarded. They may require some initial guidance and support.
Get clear on your needs
Before hiring a virtual assistant, consider the following factors:
Identify the necessary skills for the position, including whether you need a generalist or someone with specific expertise in areas like bookkeeping or online research.
Determine whether you need a permanent team member or a freelancer for a specific project, and whether the position will be full-time or part-time.
Consider the most cost-effective option for payment, such as per hour for small tasks, per project with a specific deadline, or a monthly/annual contract for long-term duties.
Once you’ve sorted out these preliminary details, it’s time for you to consider other things, like creating a job description for your assistant.
Create a job description
Creating a job description for hiring a virtual assistant is important for several reasons. First, it helps you to clearly define the duties and responsibilities of the position. This can help attract the right candidates and ensure that you find someone who is a good fit for your needs.
A job description can also serve as a reference point for both you and the virtual assistant. This ensures that expectations are clear and that everyone is on the same page regarding the tasks and responsibilities of the role. Your job description should contain the following:
A description of your ideal hire
When hiring a virtual assistant who will work remotely, it is important to consider not only the necessary job skills, but also the abilities that will help them be productive in a remote work setting.
This may include familiarity with collaboration and task management tools, such as Slack and Trello, as well as strong communication skills and the ability to work independently. Be sure to highlight these qualifications in the job description to attract the best candidates.
General details about your business
When advertising a virtual assistant position, it is important to include helpful information about your company in the job ad as it may be seen by people from all over the world who may not be familiar with your business.
This can include details about your mission and values, as well as a brief overview of your teams and key clients. This will help potential candidates understand more about your business and culture, and whether they would be a good fit for the role.
Details about the role
To encourage job seekers to apply for a virtual assistant position, it is important to be clear and transparent in the job ad about the details of the role, including expectations, compensation, and work schedule.
You should also mention any trial periods or probationary periods that may be a part of the hiring process. Providing this information can help potential candidates determine whether they would be a good fit for the role and can help to attract the most qualified candidates.
Perks that employees receive
When advertising a virtual assistant position, it can be helpful to highlight any perks or benefits that may be attractive to potential candidates.
This can include information about the technology and tools provided to remote employees, whether you pay for coworking spaces at their location, and whether you offer fully flexible, customizable working hours.
Mentioning these benefits can help to capture the attention of qualified candidates and may make your company more appealing to them.
Choose where you’ll hire an assistant
There are several ways to find a virtual assistant, including asking for recommendations from people in your network and searching for VAs on freelance job websites or virtual assistant companies. You can also try using remote work websites as a resource for finding qualified candidates.
1. How to find a virtual assistant through freelance platforms
On these platforms, you can search for candidates based on industry or specific skills, and find a dedicated VA who meets your requirements. These freelance marketplaces often offer a range of features to ensure quality and convenience for both clients and freelancers, including:
- A review system to help clients make informed hiring decisions
- A chat feature for easy communication and file sharing
- Simple invoicing and global payment options
- A non-disclosure agreement in the terms of service to protect confidentiality
- An escrow service to hold payments until the client is satisfied with the work
These websites make it seem easy to learn how to find a virtual assistant. But they have their downsides. For one, you are in charge of everything here. These companies aren’t a staffing agencies, they’re more like platforms. If your assistant gets sick, has to leave, or doesn’t perform to your expectations, you’d have to find and train a new one over again.
2. How to find a virtual assistant you can hire directly
There are several benefits to hiring a freelance virtual assistant directly. First, it is much more affordable. Freelance virtual assistants generally charge lower rates than agencies or companies. You could also work with a freelance virtual assistant on a project-by-project basis, which allows for greater flexibility and the ability to scale up or down as needed.
Third, they provide a personalized service. When you work with a freelancer, you are working with an individual who is able to provide personalized service and attention to your specific needs. In this dynamic, you have more control over the working relationship, which makes communicating expectations easier.
That said, there are downsides as well. For one, freelancers do not typically offer the same guarantees and protections as agencies or companies. If a freelancer fails to deliver on their work, it can be more difficult to resolve the issue or seek compensation.
An independent contractor may also have other clients or commitments, which could limit their availability to work on your projects. And even if they’re organized and can work with you, they may not have the same infrastructure (e.g. office space, equipment) as an agency or company, which could impact the quality or speed of their work.
Finally, when you hire a freelancer, you are responsible for handling any taxes and benefits, such as payroll taxes and workers' compensation insurance. You’re also in charge of ensuring continuity: If a freelancer becomes unavailable or decides to stop working with you, it can be disruptive to your business and may require you to spend time and resources finding a replacement.
3. How to find a virtual assistant through a managed service provider
There are several benefits to hiring a virtual assistant through an agency. First, you get quality assurance. Agencies typically have processes in place to ensure the quality of their virtual assistants and their work.
Agencies may also offer guarantees or protections, such as a replacement virtual assistant if you are not satisfied with the one you are working with. Also, when you hire a virtual assistant through an agency, the agency may handle taxes and benefits, such as payroll taxes and workers' compensation insurance, on your behalf.
Finally, if your virtual assistant becomes unavailable or leaves the agency, the agency can provide a replacement, which helps to ensure continuity in your work.
How to find a virtual assistant? Leave that to us
If you’re self-employed, a freelancer, or a creative, it can be overwhelming trying to handle all aspects of your business on your own. This may be especially true if you are new to starting a business. Learning how to find a virtual assistant requires a bit of planning and self-awareness. But once you know, it’ll be worth it!
Get in touch with us today to find the best virtual assistant for your needs.
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.