Monday, November 29, 2010
How to locate a good Virtual Assistant
I am personally learning what a good VA can be expected to do. Why? Because I challenged my engineer brother to hire one for his business. He left to do some business in China yesterday so he called me on Friday to ask to handle his emails. "Sure!" I said. I probably should have asked how many he gets a day. He gets a lot of email requests for quotes and follow-ups.
To the point....
A good virtual assistant can be the answer to an online marketer’s prayers. However, finding a good virtual assistant isn’t always easy. You want to find someone who can handle your tasks competently and professionally. You also want someone who is easy to communicate with and charges rates you can afford. Here’s how to find a great virtual assistant.
Step One: Define what you need. Before you go on a hunt for someone to help you, determine exactly what you need help with. Each virtual assistant is going to have their own strengths. Some virtual assistants might offer a variety of services ranging from basic to quite technical and complicated. Other virtual assistants may specialize in an industry or a specific type of service.
For example, one virtual assistant may specialize in editing, proofreading and transcription. Another may specialize in forum management or WordPress installation. In order to determine who to hire, you need to first determine what you need them to do.
Step Two: Begin the search. In addition to perhaps posting the job on classified job sites, social networking sites and your own website, start searching. Ask associates who they recommend. Use a search engine to find service providers. Start gathering candidates for the position.
Step Three: Narrow the field. Once you have a list of candidates, start narrowing the field. Use references and recommendations to shorten the list. Consider speaking with the top candidates on the phone to find out how they work, what their policies are and to see how they communicate. Half of an effective relationship is communication. You must be able to clearly and effectively communicate with each other.
Step Four: Test the waters. Ask the top two or three candidates to manage a small project for you. The purpose of this is to essentially test how you work together, how the virtual assistant manages the project and their professionalism. If you end up with two or three perfect virtual assistants, that’s okay. You can then choose the one that offers the best rates or the one that you most connect with personally.
Step Five: Keep your new VA busy. Once you’ve found a great virtual assistant, or two, then keeping them busy is a great way to keep them. Service providers need to keep their schedules full to keep their business alive. If they can count on you for a certain amount of work each week or month, they’ll make a consistent place in their schedule for you. This means you’ll be able to receive your projects on a timely, and consistent, basis.
Great virtual assistants can be difficult to find. Additionally, a good working relationship with a virtual assistant is a two-way street. You want to be able to provide clear and consistent communication about what you need accomplished. Consider creating a system for your virtual assistant to follow. Once you’ve found a great VA, take the steps necessary to keep them.
Posted by greg at 9:47 AM