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How to choose the best virtual assistant for your small business?

How do you know if a virtual assistant is a good fit for your small business? Does anyone have any tips on how to hire a good VA?

Top voted answer
Kathie Thomas

Kathie Thomas, Owner at

There are things you can do to find the right VA for you.

Firstly, you need to have a clear idea of what you want done. I find that often clients contact me, knowing they need help, but not really being able to define clearly what they want done. Perhaps doing a time and motion study of what you're doing in your business might help in this regard.

If you do know what you want done, you need to be able to clearly articulate that to the prospective VA or VAs. Things they need to know are:

  • What is the work you want done?
  • Is there specific software to be used?
  • Do you have examples of what you want done?
  • What is your timeline?
  • How much of the work is there to be done?
  • Is there anything else we need to know?
It's important for you to know that Virtual Assistants are self-employed - they are not employees. They pay their own taxes, insurances, leave pay, etc, so they do charge accordingly - as you are sure to be doing for your own services or products. In saying that, you might feel an Australian VA charges more than you thought. But think about your own rates. What's it worth to you if you could offload things that take you 2, 3, 4, 10 or more hours to do? Often the VAs can do it in half the time you can. If you times your hourly rate x 10 but then learn that the VA could probably do it in 5 hours at their rate, you will find you have saved yourself a fair bit and given yourself back time to work on your own business, generating more income.

Next thing is to find out where you can secure a VA? Ask your colleagues, work mates, business contacts who they might have used. Or start seeking VA Networks online. I say networks, rather than agencies, because you want to work with your VA direct - not through a third party. Agencies often come between you and the VA but if you engage a VA through a network, you get to be in direct contact with that VA. And you want to engage someone who has experience in the things you want done.

A good VA will be able to guide you on how the work can be handled and they won't need micro managing. They will often let you know their working hours (boundaries), what their rate is, how they would go about something and best ways for communication. Some are happy to do things via phone, or perhaps video via skype or zoom. Others deal with email as their means of communication.For me, personally, often I will speak with a client initially on a phone but then stick to email as this gives me a communication trail that I can go back to, check on things and get written confirmation on questions I ask.

Where can you find VA Networks in Australia? There is the one I own, at https://vadirectory.net or you can look up the Australian VA Association for networks they have listed on their site. I'm sure you'll find someone suitable to help you and possibly more than one.

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Christine Mendros

Christine Mendros, Team Member at

Hiring a VA is one of the best decisions business owners can make. VAs allow you to free up your time and resources so you can focus on stronger growth areas within your business. But of course, not all VAs are the same. It’s important to know how to find the right person for the job and ensure you are both on the same page from the get-go.

 

Here are some tips to help you find the right VA:

  • Know what you need to outsource: What exactly do you need help with? Getting clear on the type of tasks you want to delegate to your VA will help you sift through applications.

  • Identify the skills you’re looking for: Do you need someone with general administration skills or someone with expertise in a particular area? 

  • Ask for references: Have they worked as a VA before? Can previous clients endorse their experience and work ethic?

  • Be clear about your expectations: Provide a position description including basic information such as hours, rate of pay and an overview of typical duties so that you and your VA set off on equal footing.

  • Establish clear communication channels: How will you communicate with your VA and set and track tasks? Set up platforms to work and communicate, e.g. Skype, Slack, Zoom, etc.

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Hatty Bell

Hatty Bell, Community Manager at

Would love to get your thoughts/experience on this @Sandra Wright @Sam Spence @Iain Dooley @Ace Infoservice @Kevin Mallen @Capaciti Virtual Assistant 

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Stephanie Gobraiel

Stephanie Gobraiel at

I agree with what was said by the other ladies logistically speaking but I also think it's important that both parties values  aligned and that it's someone that you think you'd work well with. 

This can be achieved by having an interview process with more than one Virtual Assistant and soon enough you'll know which ones tick your boxes (and hopefully vice versa).. 

Knowing what you want from a VA will help with this guiadance or you can have a discovery call with a few to help find out what that is... Having this conversation with VAs can also help you identify who you want to work with.. 

There is also an option of a trial basis to see if this can work. What's going to help make this relationship work? Open communicaton, honesty, time, respect and being able to let go (slowly) so the VA can show you whether or not she can complete what's requested. 

Hatty Bell

Hatty Bell, Community Manager at

Great perspective @Stephanie Gobraiel ! Communication is so key

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