If you’re like many small business owners and entrepreneurs growing your business, you know you’re ready to hire an assistant or a team to support you and you also feel overwhelmed when identifying what steps to take to move forward. This post will cover the following topics:
- Preparing to hire a virtual assistant (VA)
- Questions to consider when interviewing a potential VA
- What to hand off
- Identify your budget
- Creating a timeline
- Identifying your must-haves and future wants
- Communicating and managing projects and tasks with your VA
Let’s get started!
1. Preparing to hire a VA
Congratulations, you’re ready to bring someone into your business to support you! Before you start the interview process, here are some items for you to get started in the process:
- Gather all of your logins (social media, blog, website, hosting account, email marketing tool, etc.)
- Gather graphics your VA might need to use (your headshot, quote images, logo, etc.)
- Have an idea of what you want to delegate
2. Questions to consider when interviewing a potential VA
Every VA is different in their expertise and experience to their area of focus in the services they offer. When you are starting to think of the person you want to bring into your team, consider writing a job description for the position you would like to have filled. For example:
Looking for a virtual assistant to support growing entrepreneur in day-to-day business activities including social media scheduling, some content creation, graphics creation, follow-up with clients, sending bi-monthly newsletters to start. The position will grow as our working relationship grows. I anticipate needing 5 hours of support per week. Would like to coordinate projects via Voxer or email.
That description is pretty specific, right? It is clear about the type of support I’m seeking, that it will turn into a long-term relationship, how many hours I anticipate needing support as well as how I would prefer to communicate.
Here are some of the questions I have found helpful in hiring a VA:
- Do hours roll over each month?
- Will I be working with you or with someone on your team?
- Is there a minimum number of hours required to work with you?
- Do you have an agreement for services?
- How do you accept payment?
- What time zone are you located?
- What is your typical turnaround time for projects?
I also recommend a “trial period” or “trial project” to work together to get a sense of how each other works before committing to something more long-term.
3. What to hand off
This is one of my favorite steps in the process. Grab a sheet of paper and jot down all of the activities you do in a day. Review the list and circle the items that ONLY YOU CAN DO. What’s left are the items you can delegate.
4. Identify your budget
As with anything in business, knowing how much you have to spend to bring someone into your team will make the interview conversation that much smoother and seamless. If you have $500 a month to budget, make sure you know what is included with someone you are hiring for $500/month. Service offerings can range from hourly billed projects to retainers, again, depending on the VA experience and expertise, etc.
5. Create a timeline for projects
One of my favorite questions to ask clients is “by when do you need this?” because it sets the expectation on both sides. I like to have clearly identified end dates for tasks and projects so I can set up reminders, get things into my own calendar, etc. Here’s an example:
Project: Create bi-monthly newsletter content to go out on 1st and 15th of the month
- Write content
- Create/gather images
- Make sure links work
- Set up the newsletter in email marketing tool
- Test newsletter for formatting
- Test links in the newsletter to ensure all are working
- Schedule the email
Timeline (using the newsletter going out on the 1st as the example):
- The end goal is to have newsletter scheduled on the 1st
- Get all written copy – ASAP
- Get all graphics – ASAP
- Do tests of email to ensure formatting, look and feel are how you want them
- Need to have all content ready to go and finalized by 7 days prior to the 1st
- Schedule the newsletter a few days prior to the 1st
6. Identifying must-haves and future wants
Sometimes when you start with a VA, it might be to have them handle one particular task in your business. As you grow with your VA, you will become more comfortable handing tasks off and it’s a good idea to have a list of tasks you definitely want your VA to be able to do, as well as “future wants.” I recommend making a list of each and refer back to it.
7. Communicating and managing tasks with your VA
When you begin working together, it’s likely that you will be in more constant communication with your VA. As you work together more, your communication will become more efficient and concise together. Establish how you prefer to communicate. Some clients prefer a weekly call, others like having the ability to check in on email or messenger at will. Be sure to clearly establish what your preferences are, and also know what your VA prefers.
Resist the urge to micromanage. I know this can be challenging because, as business owners, sometimes we fall into the “I can do it myself” routine and we tend to take back what we might have handed off to our VA. Trust the process and know that your VA is efficient at what they do and that’s why you hired them. If you feel the need to “check in,” perhaps send an email to inquire how it’s going and if they have any questions.
I know this may seem like a lot, however, I’ve broken it down into bite-size pieces to make it more easily digestible, wherever you are in your business. And I have a couple of F.REE resources you can utilize, they are below:
If you’re new to hiring a VA, I’ve created a VA Prep Checklist & worksheet with all of these steps laid out for you to navigate. You can get your F.REE copy here.
If you’re ready to start delegating, I invite you to join my F.REE “Make Delegation a Habit” 10-day challenge! Click here to get started.