18 Tips For Solo Professionals (and others) To Hire A Virtual Assistant

For those business owners who are solo professionals – your first hire should be a virtual assistant. You’ve spent years doing everything yourself – it’s time to start growing your business.

From personal experience, I’ve found a virtual assistant has been the difference between my business being “stuck” to moving forward and growing.

There are two types of virtual assistants and both are important.

One type of virtual assistant is an “assigned based” assistant who assist with more day to day tasks such as scheduling, desk research emails, phones and etc.

The second type of virtual assistant is a more managerial type of VA who thinks with you and helps you grow your business. While they CAN for sure do the same tasks as the “assigned based” virtual assistant this second type of VA can supervise others and help you build your company – even serving as a sounding board for you.

I find most of my hires through Elance. Others use Odesk and other talent finding and management services.

Here’s a few tips when hiring a virtual assistant

  • Clearly define the job description of what they’ll do
  • Define the measure of success
  • Communication is important
  • Respect their time and knowledge as professionals to assist you
  • Pay fairly and on time
  • Get their ideas – don’t just give your own. Be open to suggestions
  • Understand that everyone is different – different skills, characters, ways of communication and aptitudes

Here’s 10 Ways A Virtual HR Assistant Can Help Small Business Owners Get Through the Holidays…painlessly – Jennette Pokorny, COO of EverNext HR

  1. Help plan your company holiday party. From location to entertainment and everything in between, your virtual HR assistant can make sure your party is the talk of the town!
  2. Locate that hard to find gift. So your son wants the new PS4? If it is out there, your virtual HR assistant will find it and have it shipped or reserved for pick up!
  3. Update employee files. EverNext will make sure your employee files are up to date before the new year… we will even digitally convert them and store them in you online portal.
  4. Make travel arrangements. Ok, we understand you might want to send the in-laws to the North Pole, but that is sure to start a heated debate. Let your virtual HR assistant make all of your holiday travel arraignments. We can even have them picked up at the airport for you.
  5. Holiday cards. No more writer’s cramp for you. Your EverNext assistant will find cards, ship them to themselves, complete the cards for clients, friends and family and send them out. You pay for the cards and postage. We make you look awesome!
  6. Find a caterer for your family’s holiday dinner. Why slave in the kitchen all day? Let an EverNext assistant find the perfect caterer for you family dinner so you can enjoy the day with your family.
  7. Execute your internet shopping list: Let EverNext do the research, find the gifts at the best price and have them shipped to you or to your loved ones. Trust us, they will love you forever (or at least until next year!)
  8. Schedule personal appointments. Yep, the kids are heading into winter break so let EverNext schedule all of those pesky appointments such as the doctor and dentist. All you have to do is grab the kids and show up.
  9. Find business services. Is your company in need of employee benefits, workers comp insurance or payroll services for the New Year? We will find you the perfect service provider and get it all set up.
  10. Find a vendor/contractor. No time to get those holiday lights up? EverNext will have it done for you. We will find that contractor that will make sure your home becomes the envy of the street.
  11. BONUS: Just Ask! If you need help with it, we can do it! Before you know it, you will be wishing the holidays weren’t over! Let EverNext put the Jolly back in your holiday season!
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About Ramon Ray

Ramon Ray, Marketing & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com & Infusionsoft. Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook

  • Carolyn Crummey

    Great article, Ramon. I can’t stress enough how important your first point is. So many people who start looking for a VA haven’t defined exactly what they want them to do and end up with the completely wrong person helping them. Know exactly what your largest pain point is and start with that. Find someone with that as their strongest skillxset and stop that hemorrhaging first. Then find the next thing and if that person can’t help you, find someone that can. That’s the beauty of VA’s – everyone has a different skill set and at such a low financial impact on a business – you can find the exact right one!

    • Cindy Seipel

      As a VA myself, I will also stress the importance of knowing exactly what you want your VA to assist you with and how much creative freedom you want to give them. Many entrepreneurs I’ve dealt with haven’t had the experience of directing someone to help with their business, so they expect their hired VA to figure it out. If there is an open dialogue and good communication, it can be a fruitful partnership enjoyed by both.

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  • Carla Deter

    Yes..yes and yes again to each of the points you have made. However :0), as a Virtual Assistant of just over a year in the DC Metro area there is one point that so worth mentioning again: (Note: this comes from my reflection of looking back over 2013 and how I can improve and how my clients can help me be the best). Here it is: As a Virtual Assistant we can get the job done. Oh, yes we can! We certainly don’t need to be micro-manage because we have our life, past and continuing learning to get the job done. BUT, please as our client feel free to shoot us off an email that says how you would like it done, how you see it proceeding – go ahead and tell us ‘all the details’ within your head because we will proceed and it’s a time of questioning ourselves if it will end the way you want it. SO, please, oh please as a client of a VA do not feel too much that you’re telling us what to do; hence, more you express (operative word here) more we know we will do it to satisfy you. You (hence VA clients) we love those emails that give us so much of what you want. It helps us know we are doing it as you prefer -not our own judgement. Tell us all your creative ideas and we will make it happen! Along with our own, of course. ~Carla Socially Your Virtual Assistant, Carla

    • http://Smallbiztechnology.com/ Ramon Ray

      Carla – this is so useful – thanks so much

      • Carla Deter

        Ramon, this reply is long……overdue. You are very welcome !