How to Hire a Virtual Assistant: Top Tips & Reasons
‘Virtual’ is no longer a new jargon to the online community. Anyone can sell any product or service, thanks to the limitless capacity of technology and the internet. In the same manner, sourcing services and skills digitally have also become accessible and broad, effectively putting the spotlight on the perks and convenience of hiring a virtual assistant.
Despite the increasing popularity and long list of reasons underscoring the need to hire a virtual assistant, not all business owners are fully familiar with the setup, limitations, and expectations coupled with employing a remote staff for their operations.
There are no shortcuts to creating a harmonious working relationship between an employer and a virtual assistant; nor are there any magic tricks to making a collaboration with a company offering virtual assistant services work.
In truth, the secret behind how to hire virtual employees and receive the expected work performance from them effectively for any project, is to have a thorough background of what makes this arrangement unique and worth giving a shot.
Why Hire a Virtual Assistant?
Why do businesses choose to hire virtual personnel to augment their existing workforce?
There are several reasons that could explain that, and whether you are new to the practice of employing one or not, you could use the following reasons to plan how you will boost your business with virtually available skills and work experiences:
How much does it cost to hire a virtual assistant, you ask?
Perhaps the number one reason businesses love virtual assistant services is its low-cost demand. Unlike the typical process and costs that come with hiring and training an office-based personnel, incorporating a virtual personnel or team helps save more money.
There are different rates set depending on the skill and experience level of the virtual assistant. For the most part, rates are also negotiable, depending on the demand of work you need from your virtual staff. You can also pay them per hour without having to worry about computing for employee benefits.
Purchasing additional office equipment will not be a problem either. Since virtual assistants typically work from the comfort of their home or in co-working spaces, they will provide their own work equipment and cover utility bills.
Virtual assistant services are available for both short and long-term projects, and they can easily adjust to your fixed work schedule even with time zone differences. Set a meeting whenever the schedule works between you and your remote team.
Thanks to all the messaging apps available like Skype and WhatsApp, it is easier to establish and maintain consistent communication with remote staff. Aside from messaging apps are digital tools for video communication including Zoom and Google Meet.
The disadvantage of a fixed office schedule is there is a limited number of tasks and projects that can be accomplished on a given day. On the other hand, employing multiple virtual personnel (whether from a different or similar location), paves the way for you to take on additional work and expand the breadth of what your operations can do.
Limitless Skills & Data Base
Sometimes, some professional expertise is difficult to find within a single location.
There are a multitude of options in terms of skills, levels of expertise, and work experience in a remote hiring setup. You have the opportunity to find staff from different parts of the country, and even the world. There are virtual assistants who have been in the industry for a long time, thereby enabling you to allocate each task without much hassle.
They may also possess sufficient background in handling tools and apps relevant to the tasks that will be assigned to them.
If you are not really looking for a VA with intermediate or advanced skills, you can also outsource employees whose skills are more suitable for basic undertakings, such as data entry, research, and transcription services.
A great example of this is businesses that need to expand their customer support assistance. They tend to veer into outsourcing call center agents from countries with a good grasp of the English language. By doing so, they instantly multiply the efficiency of their response to customer concerns.
Outsourcing your customer service also unlocks 24/7 service availability, making your services accessible to a broader population of customers. Call center and customer support are not the only aspects of your company operations that you can streamline through the help of virtual assistants.
Assign contact research, data entry, and lead generation tasks to your virtual staff while your in-house team takes care of the more complex projects involved in promoting your services. Better yet, hire an additional group of remote personnel to aid in managing your social media pages or producing high quality blogs to help boost your rankings on search engines.
Reduces stress and burnout in employees
Small businesses often struggle with equally dividing the increasing responsibilities among the limited manpower that they have. When the demands become too overbearing to the staff, it inevitably leads to extreme levels of stress and worse, burnout.
Fortunately, virtual assistants can easily take the lion’s share of the workload. With a consistent and open communication between your office-based and virtual teams, the exchange and balancing of tasks becomes less daunting and more fluid.
For startups, working with a purely virtual-based staff is also a good option, since it effectively reduces costs while also ensuring that more work is done in a given period. Recently, there has been a significant surge in searches for how to hire a virtual assistant for internet marketing.
Now, let’s say a company offers purely digital marketing services. Employing a virtual team to handle search engine optimization, content writing, social media management is plausible and highly recommended because these are tasks that can be accomplished even without the need for a physical office.
Similarly, an E-commerce business may take advantage of a virtual staff to fortify their live chat-based assistance on their website. Even better, they can hire multilingual staff to cater to a more diverse pool of leads and convert more buyers from different parts of the globe.
5 Ways to Hire a Virtual Assistant
To answer the question of how to hire a virtual assistant that will suit your expectations and project demands, you need to consider the following essential factors and steps:
Identify the skills you need
Before you get started with finding a virtual assistant to augment your manpower, ask yourself first about the kind of skills and level of expertise that you need to accomplish your goal.
Seeking virtual assistant services without a clear plan, or a complete list of the tasks you want to outsource will only lead you to a blind search. It keeps you from formulating the right set of questions, or conducting sufficient background checks to validate the details in the applicant’s resume. Worse, you might end up using the wrong resources in your quest for a remote assistant to fill in for your team.
Remember, a concise and clear-cut outline of the competence you want added into your operations narrows down your search and allows you to adjust to the demands of a remote work environment more easily.
Allot a budget
Once you’ve settled on a list of virtual assistant skills that you need, it’s time to allot a budget. How many can you hire? Will you be hiring these virtual personnel on a long or short-term basis? How about the rates? Will the compensation be computed on an hourly basis or will it be based on deliverables?
Sticking to a budget for your virtual team guarantees that you can negotiate rates with them on a more reasonable and professional level. At the same time, should you need to hire additional staff in the future, then you can easily make the necessary adjustments without burning your finances.
Inform your in-house team
Let your office-based staff know that you plan to employ virtual personnel, and which department will they be joining. In this manner, it eliminates confusion and prepares your existing employees for when they need to coordinate their tasks and knowledge base with their new virtual teammates.
Not only that, transparency with your in-house manpower when it comes to opening your doors to a remote team helps eliminate feelings of being alienated from each other. After all, it is important that both your office-based and virtual staff are able to communicate with each other openly and build rapport.
Research virtual assistant companies
Where to hire virtual assistant is no longer a mystery. You can head to a freelancing platform such as Upwork or oDesk or seek companies offering virtual assistants services online. The idea is to check reviews and feedback of past clients for these platforms and companies.
New Media Services is a business process outsourcing company who happens to list virtual assistant solutions as one of their fields of specializations. What makes NMS a commendable company to seek for your remote services needs, is our tailor-made approach to meet individual client needs.
We assess our existing lineup of available virtual staff and employ additional assistants to help meet your expectations and requirements. We see to it that we acquaint you with the most compatible personnel for your business.
If you choose to use freelancing platforms, the hiring process will be doubled on your part since you will have to sort through applications and set schedules for interviews yourself. However, if you are short on time and resources, partnering with a virtual assistant service company is a great alternative. The company will serve as the middleman between you and the applicant, and they are also in-charge of arranging interviews and reviewing resumes. It all depends on the current situation of your workforce and the number of available resources you have.
Weigh your options
In truth, including virtual assistant services as part of your business workflow is a huge leap and it also requires significant adjustment on your part. Scale and compare the pros and cons of outsourcing your projects and operations to a remote group of professionals.
Seek and verify your sources to ensure you only hire real people with legitimate skills and knowledge of the tasks at hand. Don’t just settle with the first option you have. Ask for recommendations from fellow businesses who are already working with virtual assistants.
More importantly, assess the changes and adjustments that will be needed should you decide to utilize the benefits of a virtual assistant.
Virtual assistants have significantly helped leverage business operations since its introduction in several industries. It is certainly not too late for you to find out why you should hire a virtual assistant and use its remote flexibility to enhance your services and propel your business for success.
New Media Services is a name you can trust for when you seek multiple skills and knowledge base to help you manage your company’s core operations and objectives more seamlessly. You can hire remote assistants whose skills range from basic to advanced and you also get customized setups based on your specific needs.