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5 Things to Consider Before You Hire a Virtual Assistant

Understanding What a Virtual Assistant Can Do

I hear the term “Virtual Assistant” more and more in business. Did you know that you could hire someone from another continent that works while you sleep and maybe for $8 – $12? Most of the VA’s I work with have degrees and one an MBA in Business Admin. I pay her $15.00 per hour, what a bargain that is.

The growth of virtual assistants has also changed 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 doesn’t mean.  When you are explaining your business to others, you want to make sure to keep this standard. 

Being a virtual assistant is becoming a distinct definition of a specific home owned business.  It is expected that he will uphold the standards of a virtual assistant for all others who are working in this profession.  This means that a virtual assistant provides various services to businesses and individuals, following the standard that has become formalized in the past decade.

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, 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 of 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 does not do the work continuously with only one client.  A virtual assistant is provided to create a substantial and long term relationship with a business.

Here are 5 things you should consider in a Virtual Assistant:

Professionalism

Does the VA answer their emails, voicemails, and other correspondence quickly and professionally? If this person is to work for you, it is important not to keep you or a deadline waiting. Make sure you give a covert task to them to pass that shows commitment to deadlines.

Project Management

Juggling tasks nowadays is vital. We now tap our feet in front of the microwave, so things need to get done. If a person cannot work with a few projects on the go, you might want to move on. I guarantee you will only find out that they have a project management problem when you lose “the big deal”.

Availability

Many of these people work 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. It would be best if you also lined up new VA’s. Try to split your work between 2 or more VA’s to combat this problem.

Test

Give the VA a mini project before going ahead with a contract.  I also give a minimum of 2 tasks that cost no more than $30 -$40 to complete. I need them 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. Make sure these tasks are something you actually want to be done, don’t waste any money.

Get References

Can the VA give you a list of people you can contact who will tell you about working with them?

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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