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How to find a good Virtual Assistant for your business

Virtual AssistantIn my last blog post, I wrote about How You Can Work With a Virtual Administrator to Grow Your Business. Virtual Assistants (VA’s) can be a massive benefit to your business, helping to free up your time to grow your business without having to take on costly employees who need managing. Specifically, I suggested that you put ego to one side – the belief that nobody can do the job as well as you. I also suggested that you don’t try to find one “Super VA” to do everything. Instead, look for VA’s with specific skills.

I’ve received a lot of feedback on the article, and in this blog post, I’d like to help answer one of the most common questions I received. That question was “How do I find a good VA for my business?”

How to start small with VA’s

If you’ve never worked with a VA before, you might be a bit nervous about outsourcing some work (well, any work) to an unknown third party.

I felt this way too, and that’s why I’d suggest you start very small with your first steps into the world of VA’s.

Firstly, find a small job that you’ve been putting off for some time. Common ones are:-

  • Creating a spreadsheet from various data sources
  • Creating a graphical header for your social media profiles
  • Doing some website research

This will be a task that’s important, but not urgent. Something that you should do but you that you haven’t started yet (and probably won’t ever do unless you outsource it…).

Fiverr.comNext, go and create yourself an account at Fiverr.com. Fiverr is a website that matches your requirements with Virtual Assistants and freelancers who can help you get the job done — often at a low price (thus the Fiverr title!).

Be aware that with VA’s, like most things in life, you get what you pay for, but if you’re hesitating to outsource your first task then the low-cost and ease of getting started with Fiverr can help you overcome that hurdle.

In our examples above, take a look at the VA’s who can help you with:-

Have a browse through those offering their services. Fiverr works from a very eBay-like feedback system where the more experienced, highly ranked VA’s are listed near the top.

Pick one. Pay your fiver. Follow the VA’s instructions for what they need to complete your work. Sit back, wait for your work to be delivered, and go do something more productive instead (may I suggest making that sales call you’ve been putting off?).

Typically, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the quality of the work that comes back. If you’re disappointed, most of the Fiverr VA’s will happily tweak their work to satisfy you. And if they don’t, what have you lost? A fiver.

It’s a cheap and useful experiment, right?

Get creative with Fiverr and start to think of all those small tasks you’ve been putting off that somebody else can do for you. You’d be surprised how much you can get done!

Finding a specialised VA

Once you’ve become comfortable with outsourcing small, important but not urgent jobs to VA’s, you can take the next step and try to find a specialised VA to help your business.

The goal here is to look for somebody who is very experienced and highly talented with a specific skill. They also need to be trustworthy and responsive.

Finding a VA through business networkingThe best way to find a good VA here is to go to your local business networking group and ask if anybody knows somebody who can help you with the task. Remember, be specific. Rather than saying “I need some help with admin”, say “I need someone to reconcile some bank statements” or “I need someone to do some market research on Small Businesses in the area for me”.

The more specific you are in your request, the more likely you are to find a specialist VA who can help you with the specific task. Remember, don’t try to find one “Super VA” who can do everything — hire VA’s for their specialist skills.

If you can’t find anybody locally, then ask on Social Media. A single Tweet, Facebook update or LinkedIn post will likely yield a number of VA recommendations from your extended network of contacts.

If you can find a good quality VA in your local area (or country) then you’ll often circumvent many of the challenges that some business owners find when they outsource work abroad — language challenges, confusing colloquialisms (if I said “Get this work done in a fortnight” would you know what I meant? Most Brits would, but the rest of the world may not…) and time-zone communication challenges. This will give you the confidence to get better at how you delegate and outsource work.

How to find VA’s Worldwide

We’ve already looked at Fiverr for small jobs, but what if you’d like to outsource a project to somebody highly specialised and can’t find anybody locally to do the work?

Working with VA’s from other parts of the world can be rewarding. They are often highly skilled, very professional and in some locations, such as India and the Philippines, they charge a fraction of what a local VA might.

If you’d like to find high-quality freelancers or VA’s in other parts of the world to help you, then you might check out one of these websites.

Each has a comprehensive directory of specialised freelancers and VA’s who can help you with your project.  Like Fiverr, these websites have rating systems and feedback on previous projects the VA’s have worked on.

Outsourcely provides access to over 300,000 professionals worldwide and is currently offering a 30% discount to use on any of their pricing plans – use the promo code staff30 to get the discount.

You could also try Hubstaff Talent – a new platform launched a few months ago that lists 20,000 freelancers and is free to use for both buyers and sellers.

Rob Rawson, CEO of TimeDoctor has written a comprehensive article that’s worth a read and does exactly as the title suggests: The Exact Steps I Use to Hire Amazing Quality Remote Workers for as Little as $1000 per Month.

Take your time, find some VA’s that you like, and see how you get on.

How to build a trusted team of VA’s

The culture of working with a remote team is often a seismic shift in a business owner’s thinking, but we live in a worldwide economy now, and the traditional ways we need to think about work have changed.

At some point, you’ll become comfortable with working with VA’s and find that you’re outsourcing more and more work to them.

It’s at this point that you might consider building a closer, more trusted team of VA’s, in the same way, that you may have traditionally thought about bringing on board employees.

Team TubbI’ve done this within my own business (meet Team Tubb) and the results have been spectacular. Thanks to modern collaboration tools like Slack and Trello, I can work from wherever I like (I write this blog post while sitting in Liverpool, England) and my team can respond from wherever they are, whatever time zone they are in or whatever hours they are choosing to work.

I found some members of Team Tubb through recommendation. I asked a number of business friends for recommendations for a MailChimp and Social Media expert, and they recommended Judith Burt to me. Judith has been a trusted member of my team for many years now.

I found some members of Team Tubb through the online communities I engage in. I’m part of the Content Marketing Academy community, run by Chris Marr, and I found Col Gray and Ross Coverdale through this community. Col and Ross almost self-selected themselves by being active members of the community and demonstrating their expertise in helping other members. At some point, you realise you want to surround yourself with that sort of expertise on a more formal basis.

So, my advice for finding these longer-term trusted VA’s would be to ask your colleagues, peers and friends. Attend business networking events and get to know people. Join an online community where these highly skilled people hang out — the Content Marketing Academy, Atomic and Youpreneur are three good examples.

You could also go down the route of using a Virtual Assistant finder service, such as Virtual Staff Finder. Virtual Staff Finder is run by business guru Chris Ducker, author of the book “Virtual Freedom” (which I highly recommend). It’s a service I’ve never used, personally, but comes with great reviews and is specifically geared towards building a team of offshore Virtual Assistants.

Conclusion

How to find a good Virtual Assistant for your businessIn this article, I hope I’ve helped set you on the path to becoming comfortable with working with VA’s through low-cost, low-risk options such as Fiverr.

I also hope that these baby steps help you to progress onto working with more specialised VA’s and start asking for recommendations from your peers, business networks and via Social Media — recommendations nearly always work out better than any other way of finding VA’s.

And finally, when you progress onto building a team of VA’s, as I have, I hope you’ll realise that engaging in online communities is a superb way to build trust and rapport with some world-class quality VA’s before you even start working with them directly. Most of Team Tubb has joined me this way, and it’s been a very rewarding experience.

Questions? Leave a comment below or contact me. On a day-to-day basis I help IT business owners to free up their time, concentrate on what is important, and to make more money — and working with VA’s is an important first step in this process. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with your questions.

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Richard Tubb

I help IT companies grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. My clients are business owners of small to medium sized IT firms. at Tubblog
Why not find out more about how I can help your business. You can also check which events you can find me at or read one of my books.

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  1. […] (wo)man to delegate important tasks to while they take their business to the next level. Before hiring a virtual assistant (VA), employers need to determine what tasks a VA should focus on, how and where to hire, and how […]

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