Virtual Assistants are Not Created Equal

The number of business owners who get disappointed by a (VA) and who lose interest in the concept altogether are numerous. For over 15 years, Karyn worked with a who was simply wonderful. She picked up on things quite well — she was educated, experienced and motivated. When she moved to a different time zone and had to hire a new VA, she realised that Virtual Assistants are not created equal.

Today, we’re going to discuss how to choose the right Virtual Assistant for your business.

The rise of Virtual Assistants

The pool of VA’s has risen sharply in the past few years. While the numbers have never been thoroughly studied, there are more than 26,000 virtual assistants listed on Freelancer and 5,000 on Upwork and on PeoplePerHour. This doesn’t even include VA’s who have set up their own private business!

Without a doubt, VA’s are popular among small businesses, but why are they on the rise? Here are five main reasons:

  1. No office costs
  2. Flexible working hours and pay schedule
  3. Speciality skills and expertise
  4. Motivated individuals
  5. No employment benefits such as pension and health insurance

Notwithstanding this, there are still some entrepreneurs who are “anti-VA”. These are business people who have had a bad experience which has tainted their view of VA’s. This is not a surprise. With so many to choose from, it’s difficult to sift real talent from the bunch. Regardless of this, it’s important to have an idea of what to look out for when hiring a VA to avoid getting burned.

What to look for when hiring a VA?

Some VA’s are good at customer service while others excel on the admin side. Some have great technical skills while others labour with using a computer. Some are good at communication while others fail to update you on their tasks. It’s important for you to identify what you are looking for before you start interviewing. We’ll talk further about selecting a VA below.

Element Definition Additional Info
Click A measurement of how well two people get along together. Thankfully, many entrepreneurs say that the first thing they look for is “click”.  You want someone who represents your business in the best way possible. If you’re a “cool” business, it wouldn’t be wise to hire a strict or an old-fashioned VA.
Professionalism The conduct, aims, or qualities that characterise or mark a profession or a professional person. You can pick up on professionalism by paying attention to the following:

·         Is she punctual for the interview?

·         Does she treat you with respect?

·         How does she answer the phone?

 

Skills and Experience The ability to do something well. There are many tasks that VA’s can do, and depending on her background, she may not have the skills you are looking for. Make sure you spell out which skills you are looking for. Put as much detail as you can – right down to the programs that she will use. That way, when you interview a candidate, you can ask more questions about her skills.

 

Experience is also important. How long has she done this type of work? For more complex tasks, go for a VA who has vast experience in the field.

Project Management Skills The ability to organise and take a project from start to finish with no or little problems. You are hiring a VA because you want the load off your shoulders. Chances are the tasks on your plate are too much to handle. Therefore, you need someone with great project management skills and time management skills to successfully complete your projects. Understanding priorities and deadlines is important.
Basic Computer Skills The ability to do basic computer tasks such as using Microsoft Office and accessing the internet. You may be surprised, but a lot of people still struggle with technology. It’s important to spell out what level of computer skills you need. Ask your prospective VA’s how comfortable they are with using a computer.
Image How an individual portrays themselves or their business. Do a simple Google search of your prospective VA’s to have an idea of how they present themselves online. A VA who doesn’t pay attention to their online presence will probably not care to pay attention to yours.
Availability The state of being otherwise unoccupied; freedom to do something. You don’t want a VA who has too many projects on her hands that she can’t handle. This will mean that little time will be allocated to your projects. Find out how available your VA is. Does she already have a full-time job? Is she available after hours?
References A list of individuals who can vouch for a candidate. Her references will shed some light into what type of VA she is. Of course, references can be biased, but they can still give you some valuable information. Ask for at least three references.

 

How to Find the right VA?

While you can use on online referral or a directory to find a VA, we would recommend you go with a VA agency. This is simply because agencies have already done the job of sifting through the talent and picking out only the best VA’s.

VA Connect is a premium virtual assistant agency that helps you with your administrative and technical tasks. We make finding the right Virtual Assistant for you as easy as 1,2,3. Contact us to start delegating some tasks!

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