How to find a virtual assistant for your business

How to find a virtual assistant

If you’re working long hours on a regular basis, spending your time on lower-value tasks or simply doing work you don’t like or which doesn’t play to your strengths, it might be time to find a virtual assistant.

Virtual assistants (VAs) can be a massive benefit to you and your business, helping to free up your time to grow your business without having to take on costly employees who need managing.

I’ve already talked about how to grow your business with a virtual assistant in a previous blog post, but if you’ve already made the decision to hire one, your biggest question is likely to be,”How to find a virtual assistant?”

Let’s dive in.

How to find a virtual assistant

Explore freelance platforms

If you’re interested in keeping costs down and don’t mind taking a more DIY approach to finding a virtual assistant, freelance platforms such as Fiverr are a great place to start.

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 name Fiverr!)

Be aware that with VAs, 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.

Top Tip: Start small

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.

find a virtual assistant on FiverrI felt this way too, and that’s why I’d suggest you start very small with your first steps into the world of VAs.

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

Choose 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…)

In our examples above, take a look at the VAs on Fiverr who can help you with:

How to Find a Virtual Assistant

Fiverr works from a very eBay-like feedback system where the more experienced, highly ranked VAs are listed near the top.

Pick one. Pay your fiver. Follow the VAs 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 VAs will happily tweak their work to satisfy you. And if they don’t, what have you lost? A fiver.

Nervous about outsourcing work to a VA? Start off with a small job you’ve been putting off for some time Click to Tweet

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!

How to find a virtual assistant

Consider hiring from a virtual assistant agency

Virtual assistant agencies are companies that have VAs on board and offer them for hiring.

Often they hire and train virtual assistants for an array of tasks.

A virtual assistant agency is a more professional outsourcing set-up. If you don’t want to work with a virtual assistant directly and don’t have time to provide your VA with essential training, an agency could be a viable option.

One of the main advantages of working with a VA through an agency is that if for any reason they are unavailable for a period of time or have a change of heart, the agency will be able to find a replacement for you.

Many virtual assistant agencies also offer the chance to try a VA before you actually hire and most offer a free trial.

How to find a virtual assistant

Find a specialised VA

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

Top Tip: My own experience has taught me that it’s best to avoid trying to find one “Super VA” to do everything. Instead, look for VAs with specific skills.

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

VAs with specific skills

How to find a virtual assistant

Ask your network for recommendations

One of the best (and cheapest!) ways to find a virtual assistant is to reach out to your own network and ask for recommendations.

Ask around at your local business networking group, or 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.

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.

If you can find a good quality VA in your local area (or country) then you’ll often avoid 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.

Top Tip: 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 VAs for their specialist skills.

Don’t try to find one “Super VA” who can do everything – hire VAs for their specialist skills Click to Tweet

 How to find a virtual assistant

Leverage Communities

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 through this community. Col almost self-selected himself by being an active member of the community and demonstrating his 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.

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.

How to find a virtual assistant

How to find VAs Worldwide

If you can’t find a virtual assistant locally, why not look worldwide?!

Working with VAs 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 VAs 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 virtual assistants who can help you with your project. Like Fiverr, these websites have rating systems and feedback on previous projects the VAs have worked on.

Take your time, find some VAs that you like, and see how you get on.

How to find a virtual assistant

How to build a trusted team of VAs

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 VAs 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 VAs, in the same way, that you may have traditionally thought about bringing on board employees.

I’ve done this within my own business (meet Team Tubb) and the results have been spectacular.

Top Tip: Use collaboration tools

Thanks to modern collaboration tools like Slack and Trello, I can work from wherever I like (I wrote 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.

How to find a virtual assistant

So how are you going to find a virtual assistant?

In this article, I hope I’ve helped set you on the path to becoming comfortable with working with VAs 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 VAs 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 VAs.

And finally, when you progress onto building a team of VAs, 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 VAs 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 VAs is an important first step in this process. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with your questions.

How to find a virtual assistant

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