Outsource With Virtual Assistants | The Beginners Guide 2022
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Introduction to Virtual Assistants & Outsourcing.
Virtual Assistants (VAs) & Outsourcing are not new concepts. Though they have grown in popularity as has the persistent complaint that they can do more harm than good.
A Virtual Assistant is someone you hire who lives remotely/offshore on a project or permanent basis. Most commonly VAs are used for Executive Assistant tasks such as email management, appointment booking, personal admin, social media engagement and customer service. Virtual assistants can also complete more complex marketing, design or development tasks remotely.
I have used VAs for over a year now across multiple parts of my business. I have made every mistake possible on the road to where I am at with my super star team now.
The following are some points to guide you on your VA journey.
Who should use a virtual assistant?
Whether you are a full time entrepreneur, business owner, side hustler or employee – you can use a VA to make your life better!
Full time entrepreneurs scaling a business greatly benefit from delegating admin tasks such as email, appointment setting, social media engagement, research and more. It’s about doing less of the tasks you can pay someone to do cheaper than your hourly rate.
Side hustlers need VAs – they are so time poor due to their full time gig they need the extra support for social media scheduling, blog writing, influencer outreach, partnerships outreach and admin to get their side hustle to the next level.
Full time employees – i believe if you are an employee you should list all your repeat tasks and see if you can hire a VA to complete them for you on the days you work remote!
Are virtual assistants worth it?
VAs can be both extremely profitable or unprofitable. A well utilised VA can free you up to do more of the profit generating tasks that grow your company or they can suck time and resources from you with their mistakes and sink you faster than you can imagine. The trick is to use them with guidance, download my resources, read this blog post and be diligent with your your new VA. I have had nothing but great experiences with VAs, I have had issues and certainly have lost time over it but you have to expect some bullshit.
What tasks should you outsource?
I recommend for your first VA start with the following tasks:
– Email Management
– Calendar Booking
– Social Media Growth
– Social Media Content
– Client Reminders
– Client Calls
– Personal Admin
These tasks will be easy for you to explain, monitor and correct with your VA. This is important and will stop the quick dive into overwhelm and founder self-destruction.
PRO TIP – Do not hire a VA to do a complex task that is completely foreign to you. e.g. SEO, Google Ads, Facebook Ads. If you do not have a deep understanding of concept such as SEO or paid ads, your VA will more than likely underperform, and will be unable to receive constructive direction from you. Most often I see SEO VAs spam websites with dodgy backlinks, write poor articles with no value and achieve nothing. If you do however possess specific knowledge in a complex area that has a repeatable component then VA’s can be great.
How much do virtual assistants cost?
Virtual assistants for admin roles I find to cost around $5USD hr, for more executive functions or roles like social media manager, designer etc. $10USD. It is highly dependent on their location also. You can pay as much as $50-100USD an hour for specialists in more developed countries. The sweet spot is the $10-30USD. You can go cheaper, you just need to filter your candidates harder.
Should I hire a virtual assistant full time or part time?
This is a question i struggled with to start. The answer is it depends on your situation.
In the case that you are an established entrepreneur with cashflow – go full time.
If you are running a side hustle along side a full time gig – I would recommend going part time to start off.
What are the benefits of having a VA Full time?
I originally planned to hire a VA part time. I got busy, poorly prepped my interview with my amazing VA Nina and said full time when she asked about the contract! I was worried I would be unable to utlilize her skills for a full week and waste money. I was wrong. Having Nina full time has been amazing.
– You can gain more progress the tasks that matter such as instagram content etc.
– You will set more realistic expectations and create a healthy relationship with your VA
– You will not lose top talent to someone offering full time + more $$$
– You can get your VA to help with ad hoc and personal tasks
– Your VA will learn your preferences and expectations faster.
Where to find virtual assistnat?
Use an online platform such as onlinejobs.ph, upwork or fiver. There are numerous VA firms out there but i keep coming back to the ones i mentioned.
– onlinejobs.ph are for workers based in the Phillipines, i have found the platform to be great for hiring VAs on a semi permanent or permanent basis. The range and level of talent is great. I have hired my Executive Assistant and Social Media Queen from online jobs and she is amazing!
– Upwork is a global platform you can find large range of talent here. I find it is best to find people to do specific project based tasks such as create an infographic, edit a podcast etc.
– Fiver I do not use often, it is super popular so i have mentioned it here but i have not found the best talent on the platform. It seems to be more design based.
How to pick the best virtual assistant?
Shortlist based on suitability, grammatical level of profile, experience and availability.
Cheapest is not always best! Do not filter out top talent with your price filters.
Take into account the time difference! I prefer to use VAs from the Phillapines, Indonesia or India as the time zone is reasonable. Working with people form the UK or Europe has proven slow and difficult for me in the past.
PRO TIP – If you are in Australia use onlinejobs.ph as the Phillipines and Australia only have a 2hr time difference.
Also If you are needing great designers on the cheap, I have had great experience with Indonesian designers.
Skilled developers I have found in India and also throughout Eastern Europe (Euro time zone is hard to work with) .
How to pre-screen virtual assistant?
It is important to pre-screen with a simple message like the below image. You will see how responsive your candidate is to your request, how promptly the complete it and you also receive some great insights like their typing speed, DISC and internet connection! Also ask for their portfolio if you are hiring for design related tasks.
How to Interview virtual assistants?
Set a google meet or Zoom meeting. Use the time to get to know your VA, you will be spending a lot of time with this person. Go over the job description, expectations, team rules, start dates, remuneration. Make sure it’s clear.
Let them ask you any questions.
How to pay your virtual assistants?
I use Upwork’s native contract platform to manage my contracts.
Onlinejobs.ph has their own payment platform you can use.
I ask my VA what they prefer. To avoid fees I recommend transfer wise.
PRO TIP – do not forward money to your VAs. Build trust by paying them weekly for the first two months.
Day to day with your virtual assistant:
I have found the following to be most effective with my VA team:
– holding a stand up twice per day 9:00am & 2pm for 15 minutes each
– having set recurring tasks for 50% of the day minimum
– writing detailed descriptions of your tasks in your project management systems
– setting daily targets for your tasks e.g. Connect with 200 people on linkedin today or find the top 20 business podcasts in Australia.
– do not overload them with tasks you will end up with 100 1 inch holes
– do not pester them with inbound tasks as the cost of task switching will be high!
– always give them examples and ask for more than one option
– always assign a task and answer every possible question they may have to prevent back and forth
– set due dates and time allocated for tasks.
Example of a task for your virtual assistant
Example of a completed task by your virtual assistant
Software for your virtual assistant
slack.com – Instant messaging (FREE)
whatsapp.com – phone communication (FREE)
clickup.com – project, task management, CRM, standard operating procedures (FREE TRIAL)
canva.com – design (PAID)
Meta business – social media engagement (FREE)
Creators studio – social media scheduling (FREE)
GSUITE – @yourbusinessname.com email, file management, email (PAID)
Typeform – lead forms (PAID)
WordPress – website (PAID)
Zapier – automation software (FREE TRIAL)