A virtual assistant will comprehensively help you grow your business and keep you productive. But how do go about finding the right fit for your organization? Here are several important points you need to know when researching and hiring a virtual assistant team or solo entrepreneur for your organization.
First - Realize What You Need!
While a professional virtual assistant can help you organize yourself to be able to delegate appropriately you should have an idea of what type of Virtual Assistant you need. For instance, if you have a web designer but they are a little pricey a virtual assistant with a web background is ideal! If you are a Real Estate agent a virtual assistant with a Real Estate specialty is just the ticket. There are also Law, IT, Transcription, Translation, Microsoft, Mac & Accounting specialties (and I am sure much more).
Second - Where to Look. . .
There are many venues available to find your virtual assistant; as a matter of fact there may be too many! You can research on Google and other search engines but this can be timely and certainly isn't great quality control. Another way to search is to visit the top virtual assistant associations where there are certain regulations to abide by and only some of the best VA firms are members. You can also use sites like Craigslist, Elance & Guru to find your next virtual assistant. Another great way is to contact a virtual assistant firm who employs several VA's and can match you with the virtual assistant you need. Also asking your colleagues for a referral can go a long way.
Third - Stay Out of the Employee Mindset!
Although virtual assistants are providing you with primarily administrative services, virtual assistants are not employees. So you would treat the hiring process & your future relationship like a partnership or vendor relationship. Just like any other vendor you would have certain expectations like:
-they should have a professional website,
-they should have references and a track record that you can verify,
-when you inquire about a virtual assistant's services there should be some materials they provide to help you understand their services and the process of getting things organized to begin working with each other.
Fourth - Make it Official!
Once you have chosen a virtual assistant you want to make sure that everything is on paper so both you and your virtual assistant understand what the goals, payments and deliverables are between you.
-Be prepared to sign an agreement, proposal or contract.
-If their contract does not state it, you may also want to draft a confidentiality agreement.
-Virtual assistants can work hourly, by retainer or by project fee and usually require deposits:
Hourly - Per hour rate given for each project.
Retainer - A certain amount of hours are purchased monthly for a discounted hourly rate - paid upfront.
Project Fees - Per project rate is usually given if you are working on a project basis. An estimate range is given for the project and the virtual assistant will usually require a deposit and then submit the final bill which should be around the estimate given at the beginning of the project.
-Don't be surprised if a virtual assistants hourly rate is above $30 an hour. Even though most have the understanding that an administrative assistant costs $15-$25 per hour, it costs alot more to pay a full time in-house assistant.
You can have a whole virtual team or just one VA. Or hire an established company with a team of VA's. But whatever you choose you will be saving money, time and increasing your productivity! Good luck with your virtual assistant search!
Melinda Janicki, Lead Virtual Assistant & Marketing Specialist - I am an Administrative & Marketing Virtual Assistant with more than ten years of experience. Find out more at OnDemandVirtualServices.com