It can be a daunting prospect looking for a Virtual Assistant to support you and your business and it is very important to you and your business by finding the right Virtual Assistant that will help you to achieve your business objectives, but is also someone you can work with and trust. So what should you be thinking about and what should you be asking when looking to hire a VA?
What do you want to outsource?
Before you start searching for the right VA for you, it’s a good idea to have a rough idea of what you want to outsource to them. A good VA can sit down with you and run through what they could take off of you but it’s good to have a general idea of what this could include, especially if you find it hard letting go of things. Start by making a list of your day to day activities, what takes up a lot of your time, what you could hand over to someone else to do, what you would be comfortable in passing over to someone else. This gives you a good basis for your discussions with prospective VAs.
Are you looking for one off support or ongoing work?
There are some VAs that will only work with clients if they commit to a certain amount of hours a month on a monthly retainer, over a set number of months. This is great if you want the ongoing support as a lot of VAs will offer a slight discount on their hourly rate. However, this won’t work if you have a one off project that you need support on, or you are looking for support as and when you need it, no strings attached. Think about the needs of your business and the support you need. It is also good, where possible, to trial their services for a couple of hours to get an idea of how they work and make sure you and they are happy.
What hours do you need a VA available?
Some VAs have another job, another business or their own commitments. If you need them to be available during normal office hours then it’s a good idea to check with them that they would be available during these times. If you are quite happy to give them the tasks and let them get on with the work around their schedule then you don’t need to be as picky. As long as you agree a deadline for submission, they will work around this.
Have you got a budget?
Typically a good VA will charge between £20-45 per hour. There will be exceptions based on where they live and the industries they work in but it gives you an idea of how to work out a budget for the support you need. Another big question would be how many hours – think about how long the task takes you to complete. There will be a settling period so initially it may take the VA slightly longer to do something you have been doing for years, but you will generally find that a good VA will be quick in completing their tasks and more productive.
What are their speciality areas?
When you think of a VA you may think of a traditional PA. A lot of them have been, including myself, but you will find others that come from completely different backgrounds and have a different set of skills. You may find a VA that specialises in providing technical support or social media expertise. You need to choose the right speciality for your business. A lot of traditional PAs have also upskilled themselves. I personally have been training in marketing and social media management, with the plan to include further services as my business grows. Make sure they are the right VA for you – if you want them to organise an event but they only have experience in web design, they aren’t necessarily going to be the right VA for you.
Do they have the relevant insurances and registered with the appropriate bodies?
Ideally you want a VA who is registered with ICO for Data Protection – they will be handling your personal data (ie your name, your business information, possibly your passwords and payment details depending on what you outsource) and you need to make sure they have thought about how they store and keep this information.
They should also ideally have at least Professional Indemnity Insurance as a minimum in the event a mistake happens to cover the possible costs this could cause (ie using a copyright image for a blog they didn’t have permission to use). If they are likely to attend your premises or any of your customers’ premises then you would want them to also have Public Liability Insurance. If they are truly virtual to you then this isn’t really something they would need.
I hope this gives you a few things to think about when finding the right VA. My biggest piece of advice in looking for the right person is to make sure they are the right fit for you and your business. From my time working as a PA I am a firm believer that you need to have a good working relationship – this is someone you are entrusting to help and support your business who you may work very closely with and you need to feel comfortable in how you interact with them and approach them.
If you would like to discuss ways I could help you and your business to free up some of your time and allow you to focus on what you do best, give me a call on 07538 715537 or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.