HOW TO HIRE YOUR FIRST VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

Written by Matt Handshakin Holmes
Published on Apr. 25, 2017
HOW TO HIRE YOUR FIRST VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

I’ve worked with two Virtual Assistants (VAs) since the start of handshakin.com who have helped immensely behind the scenes. Recently, we hired two more full-time Filipino team members.

And, as a bootstrapping entrepreneur, I can only grow as fast as I increase sales, without taking significant monetary risk investing in payroll.

Now I’ve hired US based team members before, and let me tell you, that can put a big dent in your checking (and savings) account should you hire too soon, or hire the wrong professional. And that dent will not always come back.

Want to hire a full-time outsourced employee for a few hundred per month? Then this is for you.

Each of my virtual team members play an essential role at the company that has helped us grow our leads list, expand our services, and increase organization. Each new hire is paid the equivalent of $1 to $1.50, and typically I mail them an iPhone after a few to several months of working together. I can text them just like I have with US employees in the past.

Before I give away my formula, you may be interested in this…

  • Here’s some of the tasks they are in charge of.creating, editing, and renewing craigslist ads.
  • designing websites from scratch.
  • responding to 1000s of messages we get on our Instagram accounts and LinkedIn profiles.
  • putting together client reports each month.
  • reposting my blog posts all around the internet (all I do is push publish here on handshakin.com).
  • creating leads lists.
  • oh, and tons of SEO help, too.

So if you’re an entrepreneur could use some help with any of those, I know this blog is going to change your world.

Here’s how to do it, and if you guys like this blog post, comment below on what you would hire a VA to help you with.

1. Sign up for Online Jobs to find your VA.

Online Jobs is a community of remote workers in the Philippines and US employers. I recommend searching for applicants instead of posting a job posting, and search based off the salary you can pay and keywords (I searched for SEO to find my most recent hire who is an SEO expert).

Send as many candidates a message as the platform will let you (75 messages if you just go with one month), and tell them to email you back.

The last thing notable about this site, is their amazing tool called Timeproof. It’s time-tracking software for your remote workers and takes random screenshots, so although they may spend time on their phone or another computer, it does take random screenshots to ensure they’re working on the tasks you assign them on.

2. Learn about previous experience via email.

You guessed it, searching for keywords to make your next hire isn’t enough. You need to learn about their previous experience. My favorite response after their “Thanks for contacting me on Online Jobs, I’m interested!” email is, “Tell me about your tasks with the last company you worked for online.” (feel free to copy and paste it — it works great).

Sometimes, I’ll even challenge them to come up with ideas on how they can help the company because the response you’ll get will be intense and you will likely have more candidates dying to work for you than you can manage effectively.

Don’t dismiss VAs who follow-up, many of them I have hired in the past and they are fast learners and can make big changes in your business. Plus, it’s much easier to manage a VA that is doing tasks that you have done before (as compared to hiring an expert virtual team member who is advising you on how for example, SEO should be done).

3. Unpaid (or flat rate) project.

After their past experience impresses you, the next step is to immediately test their commitment, and get your feet wet with each other. Email 5–10 candidates back telling them you’ve eliminated the rest and that you’d like to do a project with them to see if working together is a good fit. Some ideas for projects:

-Create instagram content for your existing Instagram account (can test their english, vibe, and design skills)

-Email them the link to your blog, and have them identify relevant blogs to comment on to build backlinks (can test their english ability, SEO skills, and more).

There’s lots of other projects you can do based on your business, and one other tip I’d share is that a lot of them may not want to hop on a video interview with you, not only because it can be kind of awkward if it’s your first hire, but also because they don’t always have a webcam and/or microphone available.

4. Set expectations

I’ll cut to the chase, here’s what I tell them before or immediately after the project:

We pay xx php/hr, and you are paid at the end of each month via paypal. We use Timeproof (via Online Jobs) to track your hours and you are paid hourly until we agree on a salary.

Each month, you most send an email titled “April 2017” with a few screenshots, your total hours, and your paypal email address.

Occasionally, I’ll offer office supplies, gifts, or electronics that increase their productivity if they overperform.

One thing I’ve been working to improve on is encouraging them to tell me their least favorite task, their favorite task, and one thing they think the company could do better in the month-end emails.

5. The basics of hiring outsourced employees

A few other bullet points you should consider:

-own their email (pay for their google apps email address on the domain name that you own)

-end of day report (request that they send an email every day that they work with a few bullet points on what they worked on).

-trust them, and always give more opportunities for them to earn more of your trust.

THERE’S MORE! Perhaps you’re interested in how this applies to one of our clients…

I was advising our clients Dave Glaser, owner of Fit Life Champions, just last week. He plans to hire a VA to respond to messages on LinkedIn and Instagram messaging (Hint: he hired us to do his Instagram and LinkedIn marketing)

Since he had been thinking about hiring a VA for a little while, I asked him what had been holding him back.

“The knowledge about how to qualify them.”

“How do I manage someone with a big time difference?”

Dave had reached a point in his business where he had enough tasks that it could be delegated but wasn’t willing to go the route of hiring a local assistant for what could easily be 5 times the price.

Anyway, those are just some of my thoughts guys. I’ve found that my business has been way more productive, and got much more done with my strong remote team I stand with today. And not only, can I afford to take much bigger risks on people I hire, but I can afford huge bonuses!

Resources you may be interested in:

-Go sign up for Online Jobs.

-Schedule a 2 hour consultation with me to hire your first VA.

Originally posted at www.handshakin.com.

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