Hire a Virtual Assistant (and increase your productivity)
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Hiring a virtual assistant can be one of the best things that you do for your business. What stops a lot of entrepreneurs in their tracks is that they don’t know HOW to actually do it.
When we don’t know how to do something we often put off doing it because we simply don’t have the time to figure it out. Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. Hiring a virtual assistant can be done in 6 simple steps and today I’m going to break down those steps for you! Pay attention because the order of these steps is really important and often where people make the biggest mistakes!
Step 1: Decide which tasks you are going to delegate
This step is absolutely critical and can be really hard for some entrepreneurs to complete. It’s easy to get bright shiny object syndrome and start looking to delegate tasks that you wish you could have done but when you are hiring your first virtual assistant you really need to delegate the tasks that you are CURRENTLY doing that you really shouldn’t (even if you enjoy doing them).
Repetitive admin tasks that are necessary but that do not require your personal touch should be top priority here. The goal is to free up your time – remember that!
Step 2: Create a workflow for your processes
Up until now you have been a one woman show. You know what you do everyday and chances are you do it on autopilot without even thinking. The key to successfully delegating tasks is to have a workflow documented for your processes. You can’t delegate if you can’t communicate what needs to be done. Take your time with this one, even if you feel overwhelmed this step will save you time, frustration and money in the long run!
A great time-saving tip is to record yourself completing a task. This video can be used to demonstrate what needs to be done or you can have your VA document the process for you based on your video. I personally use and recommend loom to do this. Not only is it free but you don’t need to download the video to send it, you instantly get a URL that you can send.
Are you ready to hire a virtual assistant? Download this self assessment to find out now!
Step 3: Craft a job description and advertise the job
At this point you know what tasks you need to delegate, you have a workflow documented so that you can communicate what needs to be done and in what order, now it’s time to pull it all together into a job description. Your goal here is to attract qualified candidates and repel unqualified people. The best way to do that is to to be VERY clear about what you are looking for. When you do this correctly you will have a high quality pool of applicants to narrow down. When you don’t do this correctly you will get a TON of responses, you will become overwhelmed and either abandon it or spend A LOT of time sorting through applications and interviewing people before you find the right person. When hiring an offshore VA my go-to site is onlinejobs.ph. I found my VA on that site and I’ve helped a lot of my clients find their VA’s on that site. I love it because it is easy to use and the applicants have verified their ID, you can see their skill ratings and you can also see reviews from previous employers.
Step 4: Interview applicants
This step is critical. You need to determine someone’s personality and you won’t get that off a resume. Interviewing virtual assistants can be done in a number of different ways. Through email, video calls (skype, zoom, etc.) or telephone. You can use a combination of these methods. More important than the method is WHAT you are going to ask. The goal here is to make sure that they will be a good fit and that they are who they say they are. Throughout this process you will get a good feel for who the right person is. Make sure that you know what you are looking for in a person. This goes beyond what skills they have. Your relationship with your virtual assistant is a very personal one, skills can be learned, personality cannot!
Step 5: Make an offer to the most qualified people
Congratulations! You have made it through the most difficult part of the process. Many entrepreneurs don’t get this far without becoming overwhelmed. At this point you should have your top 2 candidates. So hire them both. You heard me – have a test project and have both people complete it. Paid of course! This will allow you to compare their work by having them complete a mini project. Make sure you let them know that you will make your final decision based on the test project. Once you have picked the perfect person commit to the relationship. I see many people commit to a 30 day trial period but that really isn’t fair. It takes more than 30 days to develop a great relationship, if you are going to commit to hiring a virtual assistant be in it for the long haul (unless of course thing are REALLY not working out), which leads me to step 6….
Step 6: Start delegating work
Many entrepreneurs rush this step, so excited to have some help they start dumping tasks onto a virtual assistant expecting things to be done just right, right away. This is not reality. You need to start slow. Delegate one task and work with your VA to develop your relationship, let them get to know you, how you work, what you like, what you expect. Give them feedback on their work, recognize their effort and help them to get it to your standards. Then add another task. This is why you need to give it more than 30 days!
Being at the point of bringing someone on to help with tasks in your business is exciting and something to be proud of! It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, after all you have poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into your business. Hiring and managing a relationship with your virtual assistant takes skills. The costs of making a bad hire at best would be lost time, money and frustration and at worst can be much more disastrous to your brand. You have the ability to control that outcome. It starts with you.
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Jen is an outsourcing strategist, wife and mom to 3 beautiful girls. She teaches ambitious female entrepreneurs how to outsource like a BOSS so that they can grow a wildly successful business without sacrificing their time.
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