Let’s talk about virtual assistants!
As my business grew, I started hiring my virtual team. Right now, I’ve got about 31 virtual assistants, and I think we’re about to hire eight to ten more in the next couple of months.
So, if you are looking to hire some virtual assistants yourself, I’ve outlined some tips on how best to hire them, as well as what you can look forward to as you (your business, and your virtual team) grow.
But first, for some who don’t know the term, let’s define what is a Virtual Assistant.
According to our trusty friend, Investopedia, “A virtual assistant is an independent contractor who provides administrative services to clients while operating outside of the client's office. A virtual assistant typically operates from a home office but can access the necessary planning documents, such as shared calendars, remotely.”
Here are some things you need to do when hiring a virtual assistant to help you in your business.
You need to be clear what you are hiring a virtual assistant for before putting up hiring ads. Here are some tips you can try to help find clarity.
Once you complete these lists, you’ll get a better sense of what jobs you would want or need to hire virtual assistants.
Hiring means paying, and paying means setting aside a budget. How many assistants do you need? Are you hiring them part-time or giving them a full-time salary? Maybe the job is just project-based, like an event or big online marketing campaign where you need an extra pair of hands or two. Or is it a one-off thing, like hiring a freelancer to design a website?
Depending on the skill set, and amount of time they have to work on the job, the pay will differ. Make sure you have the budget to compensate your virtual assistants fairly.
There are many places you can go to, to look for virtual assistants. It can be something as simple as asking around for a referral, like “Do you know someone who knows how to do this and is looking for some extra cash?” Or you could visit sites like Fiverr, Upwork, sometimes even LinkedIn, and look for candidates that fit the bill.
Fiverr is a good place if you are looking for someone for a one-off job. Part-time freelancers live in Upwork, and you can find some on LinkedIn.
If you are looking for virtual assistants outside the US, I recommend VirtuDesk. This is a reliable company to go to, because they train their people, interview them, and do an overall good job at outsourcing the best people in the Philippines for you. It is my go-to agency, and where most of my virtual assistants are from. So if you are looking for social media managers, video editors, content creators, executive admin, etc., I recommend checking them out.
Another one is PowerISA. If you’re looking for ISA (Inside Sales Agent), I would suggest this. They outsource to Mexico and have people that speak English proficiently.
Now, if you’re looking to hire within the US, I’d probably look at Indeed or WizeHire. Obviously, if you’re going to hire within the US that means you’ll probably pay more. Virtually, I have a team of about nine people throughout the US and they are all great performers that also work with my VA team overseas.
These are only some options. However, I highly recommend VirtuDesk as that’s where I gravitate to the most.
Once you put up employment ads, you’ll get a lot of resumes pouring into your email. How do you sort through these candidates and filter out the ones worth your time?
What I personally do, aside from asking for their resume, is for them to send me an introduction video as well. This gives me a better feel for who they are as a person–the way they speak, their body language, choice of words, creativity, etc. Of course, there are some people who are great on video and others who are shy, so I don’t completely judge them on that. It is just my way of getting to know them a little bit better than just on paper.
I also ask for samples of their work. Now, this one has more weight in my decision than the introduction videos. Some people do a practical test that applicants need to accomplish, so you can do that, too.
Once you’ve filtered out the ones you want to interview, try asking them personal questions such as: What’s your favorite color? What do you do in your free time? What series do you watch?
These types of questions will tell you a lot about the person that you are about to hire: the things they love, the things they aspire to do, what they do in their spare time, and what they are passionate about.
Take note because sometimes the role they are applying for isn’t a perfect fit for what they are passionate about. Maybe they might be a better fit for a different role that you also need.
Once a person is now part of your team, your next step is to train them well.
For example, I just recently hired a Tech Director for the tech we use on the real estate side of my business. Some of those techs are FollowUp Boss, Chime, Ylopo, and some automation tech like AgentLegend.
For their first month, I let them focus on training within these tools. Some tech companies offer training on the backend of their systems where you can just login and it teaches you how to fully operate everything.
Once they finish all their training, I or someone on my team, identify the holes in their knowledge and plug in those gaps. This way, I make sure everyone is up to par with my expectations and needs.
Make sure you have an idea of where the training is coming from. You can look for a company that can provide training for you. This is consistent growth that needs to happen and it comes in the form of training.
Another big part is communication. How are you going to communicate with these amazing people that you are hiring?
I have a rule for every single virtual assistant that joins the team. I have to communicate with them the way I communicate the quickest. Because I want them to have success, and I want to have success as well. So I require everyone to have an iPhone so we can communicate through iMessage. This way, regardless of what part of the country or the world they’re in, we can communicate because all we need is an email and an iPhone.
Others use Slack or similar tech. Lately, I’ve been considering using Discord. There are many modes of communication you can use, including Facebook Messenger, What’s App, and even Instagram Messenger. The main point is, decide how you will communicate daily with your team.
Communication, a healthy one at that, is what’s going to bring the virtual team together.
As you succeed and your business grows, your team will grow as well. When your team grows, it is important to have some sort of organizational structure just so there is a clear chain of command and accountability.
There are different ways you can organize your team, but this is the virtual staff organization chart I use for A Brilliant Tribe. As my team grows, this chart will also expand. Sometimes you might even have to reorganize it.
You can use that chart I linked as a guide.
Last, I want you to start developing the mindset of “What can I do more by delegating?”
As your business grows, and you succeed, the list of things you need to do also keeps growing. If you try to do everything yourself, things will start falling through the cracks. Delegate some tasks to your excellent team members so you can do more things and focus on the important stuff that you can not delegate to others.