How do you go about finding & choosing a VA, given that I don't have abundant time to keep trying people?
To find one that clicks? Sub question - what circumstances/services would you consider enough of a value-add to pay a higher hourly rate?
As a Virtual admin and events coordinator myself, the best ways to try and ensure you find and keep the right VA is either by another business referring them to you or doing reference checks on them with their existing clients (just like you would do a reference check when hiring an employee).
Also its ideal if possible to provide the VA with small amounts of work to start with and if you are happy with them, then gradually increase their workload/responsibilites.
Monika Newman , Virtual Secretary/Personal Assistant at Absolutely Virtual
There are many VA organisations out there that you could connect with who can help you target the VA who has the skill sets that you require. Many VAs specialise in particular areas, e.g., Social Media, Copyrighting, Formatting, Author's Assistants etc. so if you can get very clear in what areas you need assistance you will be able to narrow down the field. Many VAs have testimonials on their LinkedIn profiles/websites from existing or previous clients based upon particular tasks that they have undertaken and excelled at.
You could also try asking other business owners if they have any recommendations because many VAs are also sourced by word of mouth.
The VAs' locality may also be important to you, although VAs for the most part work virtually there may be times when you need to have face to face strategy sessions.