virtual-assistant

Essential Factors to Consider Before Hiring a Virtual Assistant for Your Business

When you are a frugal entrepreneur, it is easy to develop a habit of doing everything yourself.

However, you may reach a point in your business that requires getting an assistant. If you want to grow and scale, delegating tasks to a virtual assistant can help.

Consider the following factors before hiring one.

Education and Training

A virtual assistant’s education and training are important factors to consider. You may want to look for someone with a business administration background. Maryville University suggests a person with this type of educational background should have skills that include accounting, organization, data management and financial management.

They should be able to handle tasks that range from compiling a spreadsheet to organizing email accounts.

Many entrepreneurs do not have the time or energy to train a new virtual assistant. If you are one of them, consider hiring a person who already knows how to manage social media accounts, run ads or write blogs. During the selection process, ask the virtual assistant about his or her previous education, training and experience.

Personality Type

Although you will not be sitting in the same office as a virtual assistant, you will interact with him or her daily. You may communicate over email, phone calls or video conferencing. This person will become an important part of your business, so his or her personality matters.

You want to pick someone who you can spend time with every day. Consider having the person take personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator.

These types of evaluations can help you determine if the person’s personality is compatible with your business and matches your style.

Communication Style and Preferences

Virtual assistants work remotely, but they still have to communicate with you. Make sure you determine a potential assistant’s communication style before hiring them.

Do they like to communicate daily or weekly? Do they need constant reminders, or do they prefer to be left alone while completing tasks?

As the business owner, it is up to you to set up guidelines for how you will communicate with your virtual assistant. You should have a contract drawn up that includes these standards.

You may want to try different software programs like Trello, Asana or Teamwork to make communication easier. There are many tools that can help you share information with an assistant.

Delegation

Delegating tasks for your business can help prevent burnout. However, if you do not have a clear plan for delegation, then you may end up with unnecessary stress.

First, you need to come up with a reasonable list of tasks that you can hand to a virtual assistant. Usually, these are tasks that are simple, such as deleting old emails or organizing files, but time-consuming.

Delegating the right things will help you focus on areas that are your strengths.

It will also help you grow and scale your business because no one can do everything all the time. You want to focus on high-value tasks that bring in more money and that no one can do for you.

Document Processes

Before you hire a virtual assistant, spend some time documenting all of your processes. This will make the hiring process smoother and easier.

Consider using a spreadsheet or other type of file to list everything you do, so the assistant can repeat it. For example, you may have a specific way to respond to customer complaints in your business.

You may need to write out this process and include the email templates you use and how you handle it.

Do Paid Tests

Do not expect a virtual assistant to work for free. You would not want to give away your services either.

Instead, consider doing a small paid test to see if they are the right fit for your business. Pick a simple task that will not take more than a couple of hours and send a contract for the paid test.

Make sure it is clear that this is only a paid test and does not guarantee hiring.

Then, evaluate the results and pick the best candidate.

Trial Period

If you prefer to do something else, then consider a paid trial period instead of a paid test.

Ranging from a week to a month, trial periods give you a chance to assess the virtual assistant and make sure that he or she understands your business.

You still want to sign a short-term contract with them during a trial period.

Hiring a virtual assistant is a big decision for any entrepreneur. However, it is often a necessary step for those who are growing their business and cannot keep up with all the tasks.

Make sure you consider multiple candidates before picking the right virtual assistant for your business.