An entrepreneur getting ready to delegate their administrative tasks to a virtual assistant

If your business is growing and you’re struggling to stay on top of things, it’s likely time to hire a virtual assistant (or VA).

Many businesses I speak with know that they can’t do it alone (and their to-do lists remind them of that almost daily). However, acknowledging you need a virtual assistant and hiring one are entirely different processes.

Bringing someone new into your business can be overwhelming, but we want to make things easier at Online-EA! That’s why I prepared this three-part series on working with a VA.

This article will focus on what you must do before hiring a VA. The following two articles will focus on what your VA needs from you and how you can successfully work together. (Of course, if you want to discuss your administrative needs, please book a call with me today.)

Ready to get started?

A woman making a list of tasks to delegate before hiring a virtual assistant.

Know What you Need

There is a lot that a virtual assistant can do for you. The possibilities are almost endless, but the question is, what should your VA do for your business?

One of the best tips is to do a time audit. What does that mean?

Choose a week and write down where your time is going.  Is it spent on mundane tasks, such as replying to emails and updating spreadsheets? How much of your time is devoted to the core areas of your business, like marketing or product development?

Once you better understand where your time is going, you can start to determine which tasks you can outsource. If a job takes up a lot of your time and is unrelated to the core of your business, it’s a good candidate for outsourcing.

But what if I don’t have time to do an entire week?

If you don’t have time to do this for a week, you still need to sit down and think about what you want your VA to do. So the shortcut you can take is to list the things that don’t necessarily involve your expertise. Now shorten that list to the things that will bring in new clients and earn you income (Either directly or by making it easier for you to do). That will give you a good start for what your VA should do.

Finding the Right VA

Now that you know what you want your VA to do, you can set out to find the right person. Many entrepreneurs wonder how to choose the right virtual assistant – especially when so many options are available.

Start by asking about their experience and background. There is a wide range of services that VAs provide. For example, some VAs focus more on technology, whereas others specialize in content creation or social media management. 

Do they have any previous experience in the specific tasks you need them to do? Are they knowledgeable about the tools or technology that you use?

You should also ask potential VAs questions such as how they communicate, their availability, and how they typically work with other clients. Of course, you’ll also need to ask about their rates and payment terms.

a man smiling as he has a video call with his virtual assistant.

Building a Strong Foundation

This is one of those relationships that you want to last. Hiring and onboarding a virtual assistant is time-consuming, so you want to make sure that the person you hire is the right fit.

Regardless of their experience, your VA will be new to you and your business. So, ask them about their learning styles. You’ll need to train them, so make sure they can learn quickly and adapt. You also need to choose someone who is communicative and not afraid to ask questions – you want to make sure you get the most out of this relationship.

As well, this working relationship is just that: a relationship. Getting along with your VA is more important than having the right skills and experience. Someone friendly and collaborative can be more valuable than someone with technical knowledge but not the same chemistry.

Many of our clients have specifically commented on our ability to not just complete tasks but the initiative that we take. For example, one of our clients noted that “Sheila is much more than an Executive Assistant. She sees things in my business that I don’t see and has played a huge role in risk mitigation and process improvement.

When you hire a VA that is a good fit, there is better communication, and you can work more effortlessly together to grow your business. Contact me to learn more about how Online-EA helps companies grow and scale!

Stay tuned for my next article on what your virtual assistant expects from you!