Do you need help with your business? A virtual assistant can help, but you also need to find someone reliable. If you need to find a virtual assistant, here’s your guide to finding the most reliable person for the job.

Starting your own business is an exciting and stressful time in your life. There are a lot of things to do and a lot of areas that need attention. Often times, when your home-based businesses start to grow, you turn to family members or friends for extra help.

But that help can come at a cost. As they are often volunteers or working for trade, they can be less than reliable. If you need to find a virtual assistant, you will have better luck looking outside your immediate circle.

A virtual assistant is the perfect next step in expanding your business. If you work from your basement, your garage or even out of your car, the virtual assistant can be with you, without being with you at all.

Let’s take a closer look at the real world of virtual assistants.

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant is a remote worker, who helps you with administrative, technical and reception assistance, and can also manage your social media and marketing needs.

They are professional, usually working from home and very flexible. Plus, they come at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full or even part-time assistant. Unless it’s your sister. And look how that worked out.

They are also usually well-versed in the business world, with a lot of training and experience, who, like you, have chosen to work from home, take time off to stay home with their new baby or hammer out that novel.

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant

The benefits are great for you and for your virtual assistant. Plus, the business will also benefit.

Cost

The virtual assistant is available to you at a fraction of the cost of paying them in an office setting, or even for them to come to you, even for a few hours. You are only paying for the service you get, and you don’t have to worry about holiday pay, insurance or other benefits.

You also don’t have to pay for desks, extra equipment, or other overhead costs associated with an actual office. They have their computer, their internet and likely the software they need. They supply their own coffee, too.

Not so Close to Home

It doesn’t matter where they live, they can do all of the work you need from their location. As most of your communication will be on the phone or online, they can be in another country.

This can work out well if there is a time difference, and you need help on irregular hours.

Technology allows you to get your paperwork completed, have a face-to-face video chat or meeting and never actually meet.

Flexibility

You hire the virtual assistant for the hours you need. If you have calls or emails that need to be answered overnight, you can find that. If you need help Monday morning, Thursday evening and all day Saturday, you can have that.

Because the virtual assistant may have several clients, they are open and flexible. You can set up a contract with them if you need the certain times or days.

Help Grow Your Business

While you get on with running your business, your virtual assistant can do all your marketing, calls and emails, or any other mailings or promotions you need to be done.

They can book and organize your calendar, set up meetings, call customers, forward and answer your calls, respond to emails and take all your messages.

They also help the business by giving the impression you are more successful. When a customer calls and gets a professional receptionist, it makes a big difference.

More You Time

If you started your own business to stay home more and are finding that your time is even more stretched, the virtual assistant can take care of a lot of your workload. All of the smaller jobs you don’t enjoy or find to eat up a lot of your time can all be sent to your assistant.

Finding a Virtual Assistant

How do you go about finding your perfect virtual assistant? Well, as the demand for them is constantly on the rise, there are several options open to you. We will look at the most popular and some that might not be as obvious.

Online

They work online so it only makes sense to find them online. There are several areas here that are open to you.

  • Job Boards There are no shortages of job boards online and while some of them allow you to pinpoint what you are looking for, there are some that are very specific for the people or jobs you need.
  • Forums These are places where you can leave messages, leave reviews, post and answer ads, and have a discussion about what you need.
  • Services There are websites that cater to your small or home-based business and provide a number of different services, all within the virtual assistant field, like this website.
  • Agencies They provide a service for whatever you need. You don’t need to hire the assistant yourself, you just need to engage the agency and they take care of the rest.
  • Freelance Sites These are online sites that offer a platform for people looking for work and looking to hire. They tend to have a lot of services available, a lot of people for the job and you can pick and choose who you like.

Agencies are great if you want them to handle everything for you, or, the Freelance sites provide a lot of options, but it may be time-consuming and both charge a fee, and the assistant doesn’t make as much as working directly for you.

Recommendations

Just ask. Talk to your friends, your old colleagues and work friends, and just put the word out you are looking. As you are likely looking for someone part-time or less, it gives you both a chance to feel it out and see if it will be a good fit.

Your old workplace is a good place to start, as there may be someone you know looking to get away from the office setting or just work from home. Maybe they are close to retiring, or maybe they are like you and starting a new adventure.

Post an Ad

You can post an ad online, but you can also just post one locally if that suits you better. There are still community boards in many high-traffic areas of the city, like the grocery store and community centers.

Posting an ad at the local college can be a great boon for you and for a student who needs a bit of extra cash and some work experience. They would likely be more than happy to learn on the job.

Virtual Office

You can find a lot of services you need through a virtual office. The same pay-as-you-go rules apply, but you have access to a lot more if your business is expanding.

You can get an address to use, reception and administrative jobs, and access to meeting rooms, office equipment and supplies and mail delivery. It can be a great help if you only need it once or twice a month, once a week or only now and then.

You can have the assistant without the other service and if your business extends to other cities or even countries, you can have an assistant there, as well. many of the virtual office services are international, so you have a lot of options.

Tips

Just a few tips to make the hiring process a little easier and quicker.

  1. Be very clear what the job is. Explain your business, the tasks you require and if there is a timeframe. Include any equipment they should have, like a method of video chat or accounting software.
  2. If you have a very tight budget, make sure that is clearly defined. If you need them to be close to you for in-person meetings or jobs at your bases, that needs to be mentioned.
  3. Read all the resumes. Check them for what you most need and what you feel isn’t your priority. There may be a lot of spam resumes, so give them your attention.
  4. Interview them. Ask the right questions, ask for references and try to interview them in person or on video chat. That will give you a better idea of who they are.
  5. Set up a trial run. Give them a few small tasks to see how it goes. There is no obligation, as you likely won’t have a contract, so try them out with a short, but necessary task to see if it up to your standards.

Get Busy

Starting your own business was all about your idea, so find a virtual assistant to help with the side jobs will free you up to spend more time running that business. Needing help is actually a good sign your business is doing well.

You have worked hard to get where you are, you want to enjoy the success and if you are able to give someone else a job, that means you both succeed.

Here’s more on success with your own business.