Missing weekend time off with family, working 24/7 and still not have enough time to do it all?

Miss a great sell opportunity as you just can't get that sales page finished or don't know how to use Pinterest to get traffic?

We have all been there!

I certainly have been many times! 

One of the most common mistakes I see from new business owners is that they wait way too long to hire virtual assistant! And I mean really way too long!

Before you start posting a job, check out below tips on things about how to hire a virtual assistant. At the bottom you'll also where to find awesome virtual assistants to help you scale and grow.

Here are 7 Things You need to Consider Before Hiring a Virtual Assistant:

Time Your Work to Find What to Outsource

Before hiring someone you should know how long it takes to do a certain task. This helps you in many ways.

Maybe one tasks it taking way too much time of your day or you are doing many repetitive tasks day in day out. And knowing how much time tasks take, you can calculate how many hours you'd hire the VA for.

You can use tool called Toggl to track your time. Awesome little timer to keep you accountable too! 

Keep track of all your activities for at least a week. Then answer these:

  • What task took most of my time during the week and is this something a VA could do?
  • Are the tasks that I'm doing directly contributing my bottom line (aka client work)?
  • Did I do admin tasks that a VA could easily do for me?
  • Did I spend lot of time figuring out a tech app like email marketing sequence?

Last one especially is true to many new entrepreneurs - we just have to learn it all. Good news is that you don't if you outsource the task <- highly recommended!

Your time is super valuable and you should not be spending your time doing admin or learning about new tools that VA could do for you.

Money Talk

Now that you know you have tasks that you should not be doing, it is time to think about what hiring a VA costs you, or SAVE YOU.

If you counted that you spend 10 hours doing tasks that can be categorized as admin, multiply 10 hours with your hourly rate  and you know the amount you lose each week! Let's say you make $50 / hour, you waste $500 a week when you could actually be making $500 more a week.

That is a good starting point on how much money hiring a virtual assistant is going to cost. Actually you should consider it an investment rather than a cost.​

​So how much a virtual assistant costs you? It depends.

You could hire a virtual assistant as low as $4-5 / hour or as high as $75 / hour. It all depends where the VA is located and their expertise. There is no right or wrong answer if you should go low or high where hiring a VA. 

Generally you could expect to pay $20-30 / hour for US based VA. 

So coming back to money. If you outsourced 10 hours of your admin/general work to a VA costing average $25 / hour, it would cost you $250. Plus you have now 10 hours more time for client work - or spend more time with family!

Related post 5 Tips to Stop Analysis Paralysis 

Ready to Start the Search

Now that you have an idea how much work you could give to an assistant and rough idea on the budget, it is time to get this project live. 

When you start looking for a VA one of the first steps is to write a job post - Google examples if you are not sure what to include.

Where to start first

Start near and dear - spread the message to your friends, family and any business owners you know. Ask around you coworking space if you work at one.

If first option does not bring up potential candidates, go online to:

  • Use online freelance sites like UpworkFiverr or Freelancer. You can post a job as well as headhunt suitable candidates. 
    • I've hired many great VA's and other freelancers on Upwork and it is still my go to platform.
  • Ask for recommendations on Social media
    • use Facebook groups to ask for recommendations and join VA specific groups as they often have a job board 

Manage the Process

Before you hit publish on Upwork or FB group, stop! 

I highly recommend that you create a questionnaire for candidates to fill out. You can use Google Forms for free. Also ask candidates not to contact you directly via email or social media - trust me on this one!

Use Google Form (or any other form you've used to) to get candidates to answer to learn more about their experience, knowledge and motivation. 

I normally have at least 10 questions and use open ended questions to get better answers from candidates. 

If you are hiring on Upwork for example, a separate form is not necessary as you can add your own questions on their job post. I generally add at least 3 - this is great way to weed out not so motivated candidates.

Review and Interview

Now the fun starts when you review and chat with candidates! This is also very important part of the process. 

I recommend shortlisting candidates based on non-negotiables like must know Convertkit, overall VA skills, hourly rate, and lastly your gut feeling!

When you are hiring your first VA I'd take the extra time and interview all shortlisted candidates. Once you have experience you can narrow it to 2-3 interviews. 

Set up video interview with Zoom (you get recording so no need to take notes) and booking via Calendly - sync the two and its fully automated process! 

Use video interview not just to get better feel of the candidate but also to show things about my business and potential tasks VA would be doing. They get better understanding of tasks and I get to ask questions directly relating to my tasks. I also use this to test internet speed - any lags or breaks in the connections are red flags for me.

Trial before Hire

It is totally ok to hire couple of VA's to test how you would be working together. Of course this needs to be paid trial so keep the task small and use trial for only top candidates. 

Trial gives you an idea how they work and if their working / communication style work with you. This is especially important if you hire VA from different country than you! 

Working styles in the US and Asia differs greatly meaning you might need to work differently with US based VA as you would with VA from South East Asia.

I've hired VA's and freelancers all over the world and I can really confirm that styles differ a lot country to country! Not saying one is better than the other - it all depends what you are looking for. I've set up VA's in my business by tasks rather than large roles, meaning pretty much anyone can walk in and do the job by following step-by-step guidelines.   

When you are ready to hire, agree to do further trial for 30-60 days. This gives you time to get to know each other better and find ways to work together. 

If all goes well during trial period, make sure to let the VA know! Communication is so important as many things as lost in translation and the net!

Working with a VA

When you hire a VA be sure to communicate your expectations well! Have clear tasks with training provided. Use project management app to keep track of work and assign new tasks. 

Keep regular contact via email/chat and set up communication rules.

I use project management app for task assigning which allows chatting within task/project. This helps me keep everything under one roof. I also use Zoom for calls when I do training or just check it with VA. 
It is good to be frank about your work style and work time. I let VA's know my working preferences aka don't expect answer during weekends and that they can work anytime as long as work is done before deadline.

Now leave a comment below and tell me: what is the first task you'd love a virtual assistant to help you with?

Look forward hearing your answer!

About the author 

Nina Kolari

Nina loves creating how-to videos to help online entrepreneurs to streamline their businesses with high effective systems, tools and automations. She is completely location independent and travels frequently.

  • John Tyle says:

    Really great post. These are great tips, thanks for sharing!

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