When you’re just starting out, you can manage everything on your own. And you probably have to until you’re generating revenue. As soon as that happens, things change. Priorities shift. To-do lists grow. New ideas, projects and opportunities pop up every day, all of which are left for you to juggle.
What if you had the right support to help keep you and your business not only in check, but growing?
Imagine that new email campaign copy you’ve avoided writing for days has been broken down, researched and organised in such a way that it almost feels like you’re just filling in the blanks.
Imagine you’re no longer prioritising and checking off each box of your to-do list, rather it’s a document that lives with someone else, somewhere else … far, far away from you.
In this article I’ll show you why a virtual assistant is (or will be) essential for your business and how to start delegating quickly, easily and most of all, in a way that reduces risk and leverages the benefits a VA offers.
“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”
~ John C. Maxwell, American Author
Our 5 Step Process for Hiring Your Virtual Assistant
Step 1: Document the tasks you want to outsource
Start by making a list of all the tasks and processes that you plan to delegate to your Virtual Assistant. Assuming these are tasks that you’re already doing yourself, create training documents (aka Standard Operating Procedures) for these tasks. To learn how to write effective Standard Operating Procedures, download this free guide.
If you’re hiring an Online Business Manager or a specialist virtual assistant, document the outcomes you want them to accomplish instead of specific tasks or procedures. This method of delegation means we can be proactive rather than reactive and adjust what we’re doing in order to help you achieve your outcomes.
For example: You want to generate leads using LinkedIn.
If using a virtual assistant their brief might be “share blog post weekly via LinkedIn published articles, identify 3 posts daily I can comment on, create a long form post highlighting one of the problems and solutions in the attached doc, edit video to create a video post which you’ll also pull quotes from”.
If using an online business manager or specialist VA their brief would be “using LinkedIn, generate 10 enquiries resulting in discovery calls by end of March 2020”.
Step 2: Create a job description
Once you have your list of tasks to delegate, you’ll need to create a job description for the role that will be responsible for these tasks.
Your job description should include:
- Background information about your business (your industry, what you sell, and who your clients/customers are)
- Level of education, experience, and/or skills required
- List of duties and responsibilities
- List of any apps, tools, or software they will be using
Here’s an example of a Virtual Assistant job description we use.
Every task and process in your business belongs in 1 of 4 categories:
- Should Do: high-value tasks that you enjoy doing and you’re actually good at.
- Shouldn’t Do: low-value tasks that are not the best use of your time, even if you’re good at them or you enjoy doing them. (These are the hardest ones to outsource!)
- Don’t Want to Do: tasks that you don’t like doing, but that someone else will.
- Can’t Do: tasks that you lack the necessary knowledge and skills to do properly.
Step 3: Find and hire your virtual assistant
Hopefully you’re already convinced we are the virtual team you’ve been looking for! In the off-chance that you’re not quite convinced, here are some ways to find and hire the best fit for you and your business:
- For a low cost option consider posting your job description on some of the offshore outsourcing sites such as www.guru.com, www.fiverr.com, www.upwork.com or www.virtualstafffinder.com.
- Post on your social network channels with your job description attached.
- Reach out to your connections and groups, asking for recommendations.
Once you’ve shortlisted your preferred applicants, arrange for a face-to-face via Zoom or Skype. Personality is as important as credentials so listen to your instincts. Does the conversation run easily, do you feel a connection, did they listen to you and ask the right questions, did they impress you with what they did say?
When we outsource offshore on behalf of our clients through Fiverr, Guru etc. we have a process we follow to minimise any risks. I’m happy to share this SOP with you (simply email or DM me).
Step 4: Give your top candidates a test
Before you commit to hiring your virtual assistant, give your top 3 candidates a task to complete as a test.
Pick a type of task that would be a part of their regular responsibilities and see how well they perform.
Often, people that look great on paper are not so great in real life. Asking your candidates to complete a real task will help you determine who the top candidate really is.
You’re looking for:
- how they communicate with you
- what questions they ask
- turnaround time
When we test as part of our onboarding process for VA’s wanting to join our own team, we keep our tasks slightly open to interpretation to measure how the candidate thinks. Some examples of our internal tests are:
- Repurpose a document as a PowerPoint presentation
- Share a blog article by creating image and wording suitable for Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
- Create a template and campaign in Mailchimp introducing the blog post
When we take on new contractors we take them through an onboarding process which covers our expectations, reference checks, tests and a trial period. Again, I’m happy to share this SOP with you.
Step 5: Give the best candidate a trial
Choose the best candidate for the job and start them off on a trial period. A trial period gives your virtual assistant additional incentive to do a great job for you, knowing that it could lead to a permanent role on your team.
Have them sign a formal agreement to avoid any discrepancies in the future.
Top Tips for Working with your Virtual Assistant
Hiring a Virtual Assistant or Online Business Manager is just the beginning.
Once you’ve added someone to your team, part of your job as a leader is to help maintain a productive, professional and mutually beneficial relationship with your staff.
We cover how to get the most from working with your virtual team in our free guide, Effortlessly Manage Your Business.
“One of the things we can do to avoid burning out is to become more effective delegators. At first, it’s hard letting go, but trust me folks, once you start letting go of the steering wheel a little, you’ll want to hire a full-time driver sooner or later!”
~ Chris Ducker
Top Tools for Working with your Virtual Assistant
While the concept of hiring someone you may never meet in person seems daunting, with the right tools you can build and maintain productive and close relationships with your virtual team.
The main categories of tools required to work effectively with Virtual Assistants and remote team members are communication, project management, file sharing and security (password protection). I’ve listed some of our favourite tools for each category below.
If you want to learn about even more programs and tools to help you run your business, check out our list of the top tools we use in our Business Manager’s Toolbox guide.
Project Management Tools:
File Sharing & Security
- Google Drive
If you’re feeling tired and overwhelmed with building your business, you’re not alone. Most clients who come to us work long hours simply because they haven’t learnt how to leverage their time and delegate to others effectively.
A lot of business owners think that they can or have to do everything themselves, and because of that belief that’s exactly what they do. Often at the risk of burning out.
Your job is not to create a ‘job’ for yourself. That’s what we’re for. An entrepreneur is someone that builds systems and hires people that help run their business for them.
A virtual assistant or online business manager likely won’t be the only person you add to your team as you grow your business, it takes a team to scale a business. But they should definitely be one of the first.
Working with a VA and/or an OBM will free up more time for you to focus on activities that have a greater impact on your life and business.
Imagine what you’ll achieve with a team behind you!
- If the only thing you get from working with a VA is freedom to work in your zone of genius …
- If the only thing you get from working with a VA is expertise in your business …
- If the only thing you get from working with a VA is a better service to your clients …
If you only get one of these things, it’ll be worth the investment and the time to start outsourcing. But you won’t get only one. You’ll get them all.
Download this article as a PDF guide here “Outsourcing Made Easy”, the guide includes a bonus section “VA or OBM”. There are so many virtual support options out there today that it can be a little daunting knowing exactly who you need to hire. So in this guide we break down the main areas of support for clients we work with to help you chose exactly what support you need.