A Good Virtual Assistant Will Propel Your Business To New Heights—Here’s How To Find One

You clicked on this headline because, let me guess, you are almost ready to hire a virtual assistant, right? But you feel uneasy about bringing someone else into your business because, frankly, how can you trust that person? How will you know that someone you hardly know gets what you do and supports your work in a professional way?

The truth is: You won’t know. You just can’t be sure. Ever.

But what you can be sure of is that you did everything to ensure that you find a virtual assistant that is a perfect match for you and your business.

So before you start your search, do three things:

(1) Get clear about what you wish to delegate and how you would like your VA to get those tasks done. Think about what systems you put in place in your business and how you manage them. Make a list of tasks that you absolutely loathe doing. This is the list of tasks you should delegate.

(2) Get clear about what type of personality your VA should have. So for example, if you are the type of person that generates ideas like there is no tomorrow but freezes up when it comes to technical implementation, a tech-savvy VA with strong organization skills is the best fit for you. So, just think about the qualities that would compliment your own character. These are the qualities you are looking for in a VA.

(3) Get clear about what expectations you have in regards to your VA’s working style, typical turn around time, what computer systems she uses and how many hours per day you need her. Think about what time zone she should be in, if you need daily or weekly meetings with her or if you want to be able to pick up the phone whenever you need to talk to her.

Summarize your findings from (1), (2) and (3) in a concise ad, very much like an ad for a job opening. List the skills and personality traits you are looking for. Detail your expectations and everything else that came up for you. Have a clear vision of that person in your head while you write your ad. This will ensure you don’t miss any essential points.

Got your ad written? Now distribute it!

Tap into your professional network and put the word out that you are looking for a VA. Create a hidden page on your website containing your ad and contact information and distribute the link on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Just putting the word out on Twitter saying that you need a VA will get you swamped with all kinds of people applying for the role. Reduce the admin by being specific upfront with a link to your ad.

Other places where you can post your ad:

  • The IVAA (International Virtual Assistants Association) website has a directory of virtual assistants and it allows you to submit a RFP.
  • The ACA (Administrative Consultants Association) website allows you to run a search for a virtual assistant. Check out their directory.
  • Elance! I have tried oDesk and Guru.com and find Elance the best website to find highly qualified contractors. You can post your ad there and have people bid on your job proposal. Make sure you select someone with high ratings. A lot of completed jobs with no ratings is often a glowing red warning sign.

Now. You have a list of candidates. How do you pick one?

Always ensure the VA provides the following:

  1. A clear and concise answer to your job ad detailing exactly what experience they have and how it can be applied to your requirements.
  2. A link to her website (make sure you look at it, it tells you a lot about how her/his personality).
  3. At least three references, two of which should be current clients.
  4. A confidentiality agreement and a contract.

Set up a phone call with your chosen candidates and talk to them. Ask yourself: Would you get on with this person in the long term? Does s/he understand your business? Can you fulfill her/his expectations?

Listen to your intuition.
Then choose, sign the contract and assign the first small project.

Congratulations, you have just hired your first virtual assistant.