How to Hire a VA Without Breaking the Bank
There’s something we can all agree on: there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
If you run your own business, chances are you have a huge number of tasks that require your attention each day, but that aren’t crucial to your business’ success. These tasks still need to get done, but they are usually time-intensive, and don’t affect your bottom line in the same way that pitching to new clients or negotiating contracts does.
So what if there was an inexpensive way to take these tasks off your plate, and let you focus on what you need to do most?
Virtual assistants, or VAs, are a perfect and inexpensive way to help you get more done each day and allow you to focus on moving your business and your work forward.
Across the world, startup CEOs, small business owners, writers, and agency founders use affordable virtual assistants to help them create more time that can be used to make their businesses thrive.
Virtual assistants allow them to offload repetitive, time-intensive tasks like research and competitor analysis, email correspondence and meeting scheduling, HR tasks, and social media marketing, so that they have more time to focus on moving their business forward.
Thanks to the internet, hiring affordable virtual assistants is now incredibly easy, as you are able to reach talented and experienced individuals from across the world, who are able to provide their services for less than $5/hr.
Finding affordable, experienced, and talented virtual assistants can be difficult though, as founders and entrepreneurs like you are all searching for the same people. However, if you follow a strict process from start to finish, you will find that you attract talented, well-educated, and experienced virtual assistants who can help free-up your time and make your business more successful.
How to Hire a Virtual Assistant for Less than $5/hr
1. Put an Attractive Job Posting on UpWork or Freelancer
The majority of freelance virtual assistants are members of online freelancing platforms like UpWork and Freelancer, so this is where you should aim to post your job adverts. These platforms benefit from having millions of members, so your job posting is able to be viewed by thousands of talented virtual assistants from across the world.
To make your posting as successful as possible, include strict criteria, and as much detail as possible about the tasks your VA will be completing. Below is an example job posting to give you an idea of what to say –
[ Subject Line: Virtual Assistant Needed (long-term, 5–10 hours / week)
My name is John and I run Example Business which is a blogging platform.
I’m looking to hire a virtual assistant who can help me Monday-Friday, for an average of 1–2 hours per day, ideally long-term.
You *must* speak great English.
I am looking for help with:
- Researching information for blog posts
- Scheduling and responding to messages on social media
- Doing competitor and keyword research
- Reaching out to other business owners to build guest-blogging opportunities
If you perform well, there is potential to gain more responsibility.
I’m looking for someone self-motivated, reliable, and communicative, with previous experience working as a VA.
Please let me know:
- Your hourly rate
- What hours you are available (please convert this to the EST time-zone)
- Why you are VA — What do you enjoy most about it?
To make sure that your posting is seen by the right people (those who are able to work for <$5/hr), be sure to advertise your job as an entry level position, and include your target hourly rate.
2. Search for, and Invite, Candidates to Bid
After you’ve made your job posting, use the search features to seek out talented and experienced freelancers who you can then invite to make an application for your posting.
This is a great way to discover hidden talent and make sure that your vacancy receives applications from the best virtual assistants available.
When using the search feature, be sure to look for VAs from the Philippines, as these individuals are usually well-educated, with very good levels of English, and are able to work at a low hourly rate thanks to the low cost of living in the Philippines.
3. Filter and Process Applications
Once you have invited freelance virtual assistants to apply, and have received applications from others, you can begin sorting through proposals to identify the top candidates.
To do this, establish a set of criteria that you can use to grade each application. Start by judging the following, and then add any relevant criteria that is unique to your posting:
- Is the proposal in budget?
- Is the candidate a good communicator? If their application is in perfect English, your candidate will likely be able to handle any language-based or writing-intensive task
- Does the applicant sound like they enjoy being a VA? The best virtual assistants are those who enjoy the role, try to gain an understanding of whether your candidate meets this criteria through the content of their proposal
- Does the candidate have a track record of being quick and reliable?
- Are they self-motivated?
4. Hire the Top 2 Candidates for a Short Trial
Based on the filter process, pick out the top two candidates, and offer them both the job with the condition that they undergo a 2-week trial period.
During this trial period, give both candidates identical tasks, monitor each of their performance by judging the output against the other. This will help you to understand exactly which candidate is the better of the two, and will prevent you from hiring a substandard virtual assistant.
5. Pick the Top Candidate and Hire
The candidate that performs best during the 2-week trial process is the candidate that you should hire, as you have been able to evaluate their performance both from their application and experience, and through their actual work.
After you have made your hire, conduct a short post-hire Skype session, where you detail what their daily work will be like and what tasks they will be expected to do.
This video session is also useful if you need to teach your VA how to use certain software, like Adobe Photoshop or Buffer, if it is relevant to the work they will be doing.
6. Start Delegating and Monitoring Performance
Once you have inducted your virtual assistant, start delegating tasks to them on a daily basis. If you struggle with this, force yourself to send a task each day, no matter how small, so that you become accustomed to outsourcing your workload.
To make sure that your virtual assistant is working productively, efficiently, and effectively, use remote time tracking software like Hubstaff to monitor them. Hubstaff tracks an employee’s screen, app and website usage, and even automates payment based on the amount of hours logged by a worker, so you can rest assured that your virtual assistant is actually working.
Once you become skilled at outsourcing your work to virtual assistants, you will discover that there is huge potential for them to revolutionise your business and the way you work.
If you want to learn more, there are plenty of in-depth guides and resources that are packed with valuable information and takeaways that can help guide you to using VAs to transform your business.
Dave Nevogt is one of the co-founders of Hubstaff. Dave has founded several multi-million dollar businesses with remote teams. He’s collected his knowledge on the topic in a free email course.