7 Tips For Hiring a Virtual Assistant

34 replies
These 7 TIPS for hiring a VA is my small xmas gift to YOU - these are some valuable VA tips I have learned from my time hiring VA's and outsourcing.


TIP #1 - My suggestion for someone looking to try out a VA for the very first time is too offer "pay as you go" terms...

Hire them for a week and tell them at the end of that week you will issue payment. At the end of that week if you are satisfied with their work then bring them on for another week. Rinse and repeat. etc. But, explain to them before you hire them that if it works out you will bring them on for another week if you are happy with what they do. This way they knoww they are investing their time for the long haul and if it does not work out they are not disappointed since you supplied the terms right up front.

If you feel that their quality of work is up to your standards then eventually start to pay them every other week leading up to paying them once a month. This way you KNOW what they are like to work with and can consistently see their level of work that they can perform.

I have used this process several times and it has worked to my tremendous advantage EVERY time.

In essence you are keeping them in the frying pan whereby they see you are serious and they know they are on temporary loan until you bring them on part-time/full-time until you are 100% satisfied with them.

TIP #2 - Offer a bonus system based on the quality of work that they do. By offering a bonus you offer a valuable incentive for them to work as hard as possible for you, but you need to make the bonus sizable enough for them to be *motivated* to keep up a hig h level of work. The bonus size should be kept into proportion to the number of hours you hire them to work for you.

I have just recently instituted a bonus system for my VA and I am incredibly happy with the level of performance my VA does for me on a consistent basis - read EVERY DAY!

IMHO it makes zero sense to me with this kind of arrangement to prefer to hire a company to get a VA for you. Naturally, the company will skim from their pay which means that you pay MORE in this kind of situation.

For me what was so attractive behind AOV was that they were supposed to hire candidates to work for you based on having them go through a process
whereby they are interviewing possible candidates FOR YOU. But, based on the seemingly relentless posts above this listing all of the BAD experiences people have this just does not seem to work out as good as it sounds

TIP #3 - take time to qualify and interview prospective VA's. Know what you want in a VA and see if they can perform those job tasks. If they can perform the tasks you want and if you feel comfortable with what they say they can do then give them a try.

TIP #4 - hire your VA to work for you while you have time off from your full-time/part-time job (unless you do IM full-time). By doing it this way you get to see what they complete and have them update you as you go along so you don't waste valuable time. Use gmail/gtalk/gchat to communicate with them and ask them to update you as they make progress. As they have completed a task have them just type in the URL so you can see it if for example they are updating your website.

TIP #5 - use Google docs to share important information together like usernames and passwords. I have my VA now update the google docs spreadsheet as new sites have new usernames and passwords so it is centralized and I do not have to scan through my emails to look for particular information I can just find instead at one single source.

TIP #6 - Trust is a major factor in hiring a VA. By working with someone overtime and seeing how they work as they are on "pay as you go" terms you build trust with your VA. As you each work together over time you should get more and more comfortable with each other work habits to the point where you can eventually give a task list and expect them to complete it even if you are not OL and cannot over see them for that time.

TIP #7 - You are the boss so know what you need. There will be no nonsense with tasks not getting done if you are on a schedule and you know exactly what you need to get done. Since you are the one paying the salary there is no excuses for dillydallying around and not getting stuff done (GSD)!

I hope this helps some of you out!
#hiring #tips
  • Profile picture of the author Ivancho
    Good tips you got here, Thanks for sharing ...

    Merry Christmas
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  • Profile picture of the author Amy Bass
    I've considered getting a VA for quite some time. After giving it a lot of thought I came to the conclusion that I would train my Mother-in-Law or Sister-in-Law this coming year to do some things for me. That way I have someone I know I can trust 100%. Great advice!
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  • Profile picture of the author zeppb
    Thanks for sharing. This will help me in the future for investing back into my business. Merry christmas!
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  • Profile picture of the author TiMa
    Just went through your post - Nice tips, Justin! I've been contemplating of hiring one for long looong time. Guess 2009 is the year!

    Thanks again, and Merry Christmas!
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    -Bhavik

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  • Profile picture of the author artwebster
    I really do wish English words retained their meaning a little better in the world of internet marketers.

    Surely a Virtual Assistant is a semi intelligent programme that can be set to answer the most common questions.

    You don't hire them - you buy them.

    If you mean PA (personal assistant) then I think your ideas on man management are out of the stone age and reflect badly on you. A good personal assistant is worth her/his weight in gold and to treat them like some sort of add on piece of peripheral equipment will serve you no good at all.
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    You might not like what I say - but I believe it.
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    Some old school smarts would help - and here's to Rob Toth for his help. Bloody good stuff, even the freebies!

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    • Profile picture of the author J. Barry Mandel
      Quite the contrary my friend, unless you know how to run a business any "add on piece of peripheral equipment" will be useless to you unless you know the best way to operate it.

      As someone who seems very exact as based on your comments, you already know that any profitable business has "rules" they follow for how to get their employees to be productive.

      What you read is what I have figured out based on spending thousands of dollars and countless time on figuring out how to best succeed all the while with keeping my employee(s) happy

      As someone who has worked a myriad number of jobs for a full range of pay scales I am one person who KNOWS to treat their employees well since I know the ramifications first hand for those who don't

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      Also since it looks like you are a new member to the WF and maybe you are also new to internet marketing, we call them "VA's" not "PA's"

      Originally Posted by artwebster View Post

      I really do wish English words retained their meaning a little better in the world of internet marketers.

      Surely a Virtual Assistant is a semi intelligent programme that can be set to answer the most common questions.

      You don't hire them - you buy them.

      If you mean PA (personal assistant) then I think your ideas on man management are out of the stone age and reflect badly on you. A good personal assistant is worth her/his weight in gold and to treat them like some sort of add on piece of peripheral equipment will serve you no good at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author imaddict
    Thanks for the tips and... do you have any tips on WHERE to start looking for a good VA?
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    It's about time someone stepped up to the plate to tell it LIKE IT IS: MUST READ for ALL IMers
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  • Profile picture of the author Leisa
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    • Profile picture of the author FrankRumbauskas
      The best tip of all might be.....

      Find your VA by referral!

      I brought on a new VA recently who a friend has been using for some time for part-time work so I got his contact info and hired him as well, can't be happier!
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  • Profile picture of the author lisawood
    definitely by referral. I don't have a VA yet - but probably will start looking soon.
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  • Profile picture of the author khairi
    Thanks for sharing.. GREAT advice!
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    Best,
    Khairi

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  • Profile picture of the author alyoung
    Great info on using VA's to take your business to the next level. Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mari_Quint
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    • Profile picture of the author dorothydot
      There are some really compelling reasons for finding a great, ethical VA. I've known one for a long time, and have a huge respect for her. She is good - 80+ wpm good! - and has worked both online and offline for many, many companies as both a VA [online] and a temp.

      She is also a Warrior and has posted here. I can personally testify that her ethical and work standards are the highest possible.
      Dot
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  • Profile picture of the author tommygadget
    I am a control freak so having VAs is a necessary but uncomfortable solution for me. At any time, they can compromise your business so make sure they only have access to what they need when they need it. Change your PWs frequently. BTW, having any relative work for you is a bad idea. One day you might just be firing them. Just think about that...

    TomG.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ian Harmon
    Excellent post Justin, thanks for sharing. I'm currently looking to hire my first full time VA so this is a great help.

    Cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author dbarnum
    Thanks for the post! To help with where to look and for more tips, I have some VA info on my Warrior blog, too:

    WarriorForum - Internet Marketing Forums - Personal Assistant, Virtual Assistant, Outsourcing
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  • Profile picture of the author Jamie Orman
    Thanks for the tips! I've been in the need for one for a while now...
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  • Profile picture of the author xlfutur1
    I have a full time VA working for me that is an expert in wordpress and graphic design. My suggestion is if you are going to get help from a VA, don't go the India, go to the Phillipines.

    My assistant is college educated, speaks English very well and can do tons of different tasks, everything from designing and tweaking wordpress themes, social bookmarking, keyword research, blog commenting and everything else in between.

    I used a few different workers before finding Anthonette and I do agree you have to test them for a bit to see how they work for you. She is so good I can't keep up with her with tasks every day.

    I would be willing to "share" my VA if someone just needs an occasional day or two a month of work done. PM me with questions you have. I would stand behind Anthonette's work 100% if you are interested in having her do some stuff for you. The fee would be less than $4 per hour.
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  • Profile picture of the author ellehc
    Thanks for the info I learned a lot from it. Keep sharing!
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  • Profile picture of the author artwebster
    Hi, Justin

    Sorry, I've been too ill to respond but all I can say to your reply is that not only is the internet full of smoke and mirrors, it also devalues the English language and distorts historical data.

    virtual - adj. That is such for practical purposes though not in name or according to strict definition.
    Not physically existing as such but made by software to appear to do so

    These definitions are well established but I see that even words hold no value or consistency in the IM world.
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    You might not like what I say - but I believe it.
    Build it, make money, then build some more
    Some old school smarts would help - and here's to Rob Toth for his help. Bloody good stuff, even the freebies!

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  • Profile picture of the author jayden.fellze
    These are really great tips, since a lot of applicants may not be that qualified so you must filter and hire the best.
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  • Profile picture of the author FreeMe.com
    Great original post. Another tip for managing any outsourced work is to have them send you an "update" every day including:

    1.) What did I accomplish today?

    2.) What challenges did I run into today?

    3.) What are my goals for tomorrow?

    Obviously, if they are not working for you on a daily basis you can adjust the time period to make sense to your arrangement.

    I find these three questions will reveal a great deal to you.
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    Richard

    No Hype... Just Results www.FreeMe.com

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  • Profile picture of the author epsilon97
    Great post.

    A tip that I have is to write out a simple contract explaining the terms of the engagement. It is important that both parties know what is expected of them. Some areas of the contract that are important are number of hours of work per week, payment terms, ownership of work product and length of engagement. I think that discussing these issues up front makes for a healthier relationship and builds trust.
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  • Profile picture of the author summerm
    great ideas! could you give an example of a bonus size that you have found to be motivating? are you talking something like 10%, or more like 60%?
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    • Profile picture of the author fypnlp
      Originally Posted by summerm View Post

      great ideas! could you give an example of a bonus size that you have found to be motivating? are you talking something like 10%, or more like 60%?
      That's a great question. i was thinking that also. but I beleive the best yard stick would be to ask myself 'what would be fair bonus if I was asked to do that task?' and structure the bonus accordingly.

      I hope that makes sense. I'm tired and off to bed
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    • Profile picture of the author J. Barry Mandel
      In my case the regular bonus I give is a nice motivating 15% which works out to be a very nice gesture in the Phillipines.

      Plus I will send out extra $20 bonuses on top of that on occasion if there was something very worthy of it.

      The bonuses are very appreciated and seems to be very motivating.

      The 15% bonus is a flat rate based on performance, but I also offer a revenue share if profits exceed a certain amount which is *extra* motivating


      Originally Posted by summerm View Post

      great ideas! could you give an example of a bonus size that you have found to be motivating? are you talking something like 10%, or more like 60%?
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  • Profile picture of the author dreamtab
    Justin, great information. Thanks for sharing. May I post it on my blog?
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    Full-Time VA Available. 3 years IM, SEO, WordPress, Customer Support experience.
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  • Profile picture of the author Simone Sleep
    Thank you so much Justin for the 7 tips as I have been looking into VA from the Phillipines for my health business. It certainly took away the fears of the unknown of how to setup a system to have a VA working for you in a way that is a win-win for both parties.
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  • Profile picture of the author marketingstatic
    I think the ideas of anyone suggesting hiring a family member really should seek professional help. Hiring friends and family for me anyways has been kind of like borrowing money from either. Very awkward when they don't work out too well and you have to give them the Donald Trump "Your Fired" speech.
    I can tell you referrals are they best but there are still lots of guidelines missing in the great post.
    Example:
    I have heard it stated by a well know outsource guru that people in Philippines are loyal and not entrepreneurial and I have found that to be both bullox and a dumb statement. I have paid people in 1 week then never heard from them again. Only to find out they started stealing people it took me several weeks to hire and train to work for someone else or themselves. Do not be a child any longer and act like a businesses owner. Don't believe every sales pitch you hear from so called experts. Times are changing be ahead of the curve and think for yourself or eat the dust of others.
    Remember online or Offline it's still a business and you still need a solid game plan or you will certainly fail more times than succeed.
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    Happy new Year 2019

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