How to Hire and Manage Virtual Assistant for Business Operations
By Vaishali Badgujar, Last updated: 2023-01-11 (originally published on 2021-03-16)
Have you ever thought of employing a virtual assistant? As an entrepreneur, you have to deal with a lot of different tasks within your business. Some of those may be outside your skillset. This can go well until you get so much overloaded that you miss some of the core business activities.
Even if you are a multi-tasker, running a business without anyone’s help is next to impossible. If you are on a tight budget, you might not dare to hire employees in the early stage of your business.
This is where virtual assistants can help.
Virtual assistants work independently, mostly from their own office, and provide various administrative services to clients. Virtual assistants are skilled in one or more business tasks. They also know how to use various software for business administration.
Now let’s go through the tasks virtual assistants can take care of for your business.
Tasks to Outsource to a Virtual Assistants
As a rule of thumb, entrepreneurs can outsource every business activity that needs to be performed repetitively.
For example, businesses can easily outsource tasks like –
- Clerical and bookkeeping work
- Travel arrangements
- Appointment scheduling
- Data entry and files handling
- Social media management
- Writing blog articles
- Data research
Hiring Virtual Assistants
Finding the best VA is somewhat tricky but once you find the right fit with someone you trust, you’ll find a huge load is off your plate.
In general, you can hire independent virtual assistants or those working with virtual assistant agencies.
Hiring Independent Virtual Assistant
There are many home-based freelancers who provide various specialized services to businesses.
You can find freelance workers on platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.
If you know what exactly you are willing to outsource, you can browse through the profiles. If you find a match, you can verify their portfolio, ratings, and charges. Lastly, you can contact and hire them directly on the website.
Hiring From Virtual Assistant Companies
Virtual assistant companies have a number of virtual assistants associated with them.
Once you sign a contract with them, you’ll have access to all their skills. If you need experts with specific skills, you can contact them and they assign the right person to you.
Some of the examples of virtual assistant companies are – Virtual Assist USA, Fancy Hands.
Managing Virtual Assistants
VAs are like independent contractors and work from their offices. This doesn’t mean you won’t have to manage them. The good news is it isn’t as intense as managing an office employee.
Tips to manage virtual assistants
Here are tips for successfully managing a virtual assistant:
- Assign small tasks initially
It is good to assign a new VA just 30 minutes’ worth of work at first. This way, you can correct them quickly if there are any mistakes. This can save you both time and energy.
- Clear instructions
Because you and your VA are not in the same office, it is very important to provide detailed instructions. Write down detailed steps or record a video to demonstrate how to complete the task successfully.
- Instant feedback
Provide instant feedback for the work done by your VA. This can be your opportunity to correct for mistakes and also to encourage them.
- Collaborate effectively
Use cloud apps to store all the work and files. If you change the VA, the older resources will always be available.
- Communicate frequently:
Check on the progress and be in touch with your VA on regular basis. In fact, organizing quick online meetings can be a good option to connect with your VA.
- Fire fast
It is highly recommended to spot the negative signs and let your VA go as soon as possible. An inefficient, unresponsive VA is a liability to your business. Plus it may be a time-waster for you to constantly check for progress and wait for the outcome.
Tools to Manage Virtual Assistant
Luckily, due to advancements in technology, there are many tools available to ease remote collaboration and management.
Let’s look at a set of basic tools which come in handy when managing a virtual assistant
- File management tools:
File collaboration tools like Dropbox and Google Drive enable you to share and store files easily. You can sync them across multiple locations and devices. These tools make it possible to collaborate on various documents with your VAs.
- Communication tools:
It is possible that you and your VA work in different time zones. This is when asynchronous communication tools help. Tools like Slack, Skype help you connect with your team asynchronously. For meetings, you can use, Zoom, Hangouts, etc.
- Whiteboards and video recording apps
These are essential when you want to explain the tasks to your VA. You can draw a sketch or record a video to instruct them about a task. A few of the popular whiteboard tools are Miro, Visme, MURAL, and Stormboard. While Loom is a quite popular video recording app.
- Productivity monitoring tools
Productivity apps are a must for everyone who works remotely. VAs are no exception. Productivity apps help them stay focused and also motivate them for a job done well.
Some of the productivity software for virtual assistants are Time Doctor, Doist, Evernote.
You need to identify the core activities of your business and spend the majority of your time on them. All other mundane tasks can be outsourced.
Vaishali Badgujar is a content marketer at Time Doctor and blogs at GrowthWonk. She writes about remote work and content marketing.
This article does not constitute legal advice.
The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.