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How To Hire And Train A Virtual Assistant For Your Business

A woman using a laptop for marketing on Shopify.

If you are like most business owners, you wear a lot of hats.

Like, a lot.

Does this sound familiar? You run around every day but never seem to get anything done. Not only are you stressed and overwhelmed, but you don’t have the time to implement your great ideas properly, so they either get half-done or fall by the wayside.

There’s a better way to run your business!

Until you learn to delegate tasks, you will continually be overwhelmed and overworked until you run yourself into the ground.

A great way to begin delegating tasks is to hire a virtual assistant. They work remotely and can handle many of your administrative tasks. On top of that, they can be very affordable, so you don’t have to feel the pressure of a significant financial investment.

However, when you decide to add personnel to your business, there are always challenges, such as hiring the right person and adequately training them, so they are set up for success.

This article will give you the tools you need to hire a virtual assistant and integrate them into your team so that you can focus on what you need to, such as optimizing your systems and bringing in new business.

Let’s dig in!

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant?

Nearly every business owner could benefit from hiring a virtual assistant. Whether you run a company that pays cash for houses or an online store, there are undoubtedly tasks that are slowing you down that could easily be delegated.

Offload Tasks that are Weighing you Down

The first step in hiring a virtual assistant is identifying a task or set of tasks you consistently do that could be outsourced to someone working remotely. If you reflect on your weekly activities, you will likely develop ideas very quickly.

Even if you need help to identify weekly tasks that can be delegated, there are likely tasks that you have put off because you are too busy. These tasks might be necessary for the growth of your business, but you’re too busy putting out fires that you don’t have the time to commit to them.

Here is a sampling of tasks that can be outsourced to a virtual assistant:

  • Content proofreading and editing
  • Social media campaign management
  • Website management
  • Lead generation
  • Lead management
  • Scheduling meetings
  • Data entry
  • Email management

More Time for High-Leverage Tasks

Because many business owners spend all their time maintaining their businesses and barely keeping their noses above the water, they don’t have time to work on the things that would set them apart and make them much more successful. 

When you generate a list of tasks you consistently perform, imagine what you could replace them with if someone could take them off your plate. That could be optimizing your website, building strategic business relationships, or taking some time off to recharge so you can operate at a high level when running your business.

Nearly every business owner has tasks they wish they could do, but there’s never enough time in the day. The solution is to stop trying to work harder and longer hours and understand the benefit of building a team.

Highly Affordable

One of the most significant benefits of hiring a virtual assistant is that it can be highly affordable. Since they will be working remotely, they can be anywhere worldwide. The dollar goes much further in many countries than in the United States.

For example, a large percentage of virtual assistants live in the Philippines. In this country, a wage of $4 per hour is considered very high and can comfortably support a normal lifestyle. Many local jobs there don’t pay anywhere near that, so your virtual assistant will be thrilled to work with you. It is truly a win-win. You get a great employee that doesn’t eat up your entire budget, and they make very good money and can support their family.

How to Hire the Right Virtual Assistant

Once you’ve decided that hiring a virtual assistant will benefit you and determined which tasks you would like them to take off your plate, it’s time to move forward with the hiring process. This is arguably the most critical part of the process. Hire a self-starting hard worker, and they will do everything they can to figure out your system and be successful. On the other hand, no amount of training will enable the wrong person to perform at the level you need them to.

So how do you hire the right virtual assistant? It all comes down to two things: Looking in the right place and conducting an insightful interview.

Making a Job Posting

There are a few different locations to begin looking for a virtual assistant to hire, and each has its own benefits and nuances.

First, you could go through a virtual assistant agency. Countless agencies specialize in hiring virtual assistants and matching them up with business owners. Depending on the role you are trying to fill, they sometimes train them beforehand. The main downside of working with an agency is that you will typically pay a much higher hourly rate because the company will take a large portion of it for its service.

Next, you could use a hiring platform such as LensaZipRecruiter or Indeed. These websites allow you to post a job and push it out to multiple locations so many people see it. This is a much more economical option since these platforms have plans tailored to your business and the many roles you want to fill.

Many people aren’t aware that there are Facebook groups dedicated to virtual assistants looking for work. Some of these groups have over 100,000 members. Once accepted into these groups, you can post your job for all the members to see. Counterintuitively, shorter posts tend to perform better in these groups. A good guideline briefly describes the role, the pay rate, and whether you are looking for full-time or part-time work. Before you know it, you will be flooded with messages and comments from interested candidates.

Hold a Working Interview to Find the Right Candidate

Once you have an abundance of applicants, your next job is to find which one will be the right fit for your company. This can be daunting, especially when sifting through dozens of resumes.

Here’s a little secret about interviews: the traditional interview process is exceptionally ill-suited for finding the right candidate.

Think about how the standard interview process goes. You collect dozens of resumes, narrow them down to the best of your ability, interview the remaining candidates, and hire one based on their resume and interview skills. The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t guarantee you’ll choose the candidate to perform the best in the long run, and it puts tremendous pressure on you as the business owner.

The good news is that there’s a better way to find your ideal candidate amongst the list of applicants. You can do this by holding a working interview. Instead of having multiple one-on-one interviews and selecting your virtual assistant based on how they conducted themselves and answered your questions, you can give each of them a task to complete and make your hiring decision based on their performance. Ideally, the task should be closely related to what they will do on the job. 

You might wonder whether you should pay each applicant in the working interview for their time. The best approach is to pay them based on their performance. This is only fair, and you’ll discover that many of them will not even begin the task.

However, you will soon realize who the qualified candidates are and make your hiring decision from there. At this point, you can move forward confidently, knowing that the person you are hiring can perform the task – not because they told you they are, but because they did it to you.

How to Train a Virtual Assistant

Hiring the right virtual assistant truly is more than half the battle. The right candidate will go above and beyond to learn your systems and processes and be a stellar member of your team. However, you should rely on more than just their resourcefulness for them to be successful. 

It would be best if you carved out a good bit of time to train them on the ins and outs of the task you have them doing. You should set aside much of your time for their first few weeks. This time will be spent in meetings with them and developing training documents. Training your staff is a significant time commitment, but you will get this time back and much more in the future once they’re operating autonomously.

Standard Operating Procedures

One way to ensure your virtual assistant has the tools for success is by writing standard operating procedures (SOPs). An SOP is typically a written document that details an entire task in great detail. You want your virtual assistant to be able to read through your SOP and keep it as a reference as they become acquainted with the task.

Don’t feel you must stay rigid; always write an SOP in a Word document. Sometimes a PowerPoint might be a better option to illustrate the instructions. And remember, images often convey information much more efficiently than paragraphs.

Instructional Videos

While written SOPs might be the best option for many tasks, some tasks are better suited for instructional videos. This is especially true for jobs where most of the time is spent on the computer.

An easy way to create training videos for your virtual assistant is to use an online meeting platform with screen-sharing capability and record yourself walking them through the task. Could you make sure to go through the job methodically and break the videos up into manageable chunks? Before you know it, you’ll have an entire training course for your assistant to go through and refer back to as they begin their role.

How to Retain and Grow Your Virtual Assistant

Once you’ve invested the time to hire and train your virtual assistant, the last thing you want is for them to fizzle out and leave you. They will eventually seek other opportunities if you are not proactive about retaining your virtual assistant.

So how do you make sure your virtual assistant is happy working for you and stays with you long-term?

Pay Them Fairly

The first and most obvious solution is to pay them fairly. You should pay them more than fairly. It is tempting to look at your finances and try to squeeze an extra dollar per hour out of your assistant’s wage, but it’s not worth it. If you pay them well, they are much more likely to be satisfied with you, giving you much more value in the long run.

Meet Consistently

Next, it is crucial to develop a consistent meeting schedule with your virtual assistant to get together and talk about what they’re working on. This is a great time to go over any obstacles they’re running into and give them additional training. If you go weeks without talking to your virtual assistant, they will likely begin to feel disengaged, which could cause them to look for other work.

Let Them Take on More Roles

After your virtual assistant has been with you for a while, they might become bored with the original task you gave them. There are likely additional projects you could add to their plate. These projects will likely require more training, but it gives you another opportunity to offload tasks weighing you down. Beyond that, your assistant will probably appreciate that you see them as valuable team members and are willing to invest in them.

Hire a Virtual Assistant to Optimize Your Business

We hope this article has opened your eyes to the possibility of hiring a virtual assistant for your business. This endeavor alone can take your business to the next level by freeing you up to work on the tasks you’ve been putting off for a long time.

More than that, we hope that we have been able to give you the keys to success when hiring a virtual assistant. Success does not come automatically, but if you use the advice given here, the entire process will be a rewarding experience for you.

We wish you the best in hiring a virtual assistant and growing your business!

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