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How to hire a virtual personal assistant for any business

An introduction to outsourced virtual personal assistants

The virtual assistant (VA) industry has grown significantly over recent years. Many startup companies rely on remote offices to cut costs, and businesses of all sizes expand their internet use for day-to-day operational activities.

To help with tedious and repetitive tasks within administrative support, firms and entrepreneurs have started to outsource personal assistants and virtual assistants. They agree that hiring a virtual assistant has enabled them to scale quickly, even on a tight budget.

When companies outsource a virtual personal assistant, they are able to free up time and concentrate on increasing sales and revenue.

Outsourcing repetitive and time-consuming tasks to these remote workers can save time and is more cost-effective.

Virtual assistant job description

A virtual assistant (VA) is like a personal assistant who works remotely and fulfills its responsibilities virtually via the internet or telephone.

A VA can have various specializations, ranging from administrative tasks to even social media management. Most virtual assistants can even be hired for personal tasks on your part when you are too busy to do them.

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Remote personal assistants can either be freelancers or full-time employees. Most companies hire virtual assistants through trusted business process outsourcing (BPO) providers or virtual assistant service providers.

A lot of VAs usually have worked as administrative assistants for several years. The demand for professional assistants is predicted to rise as working from home becomes more embraced by both staff and employers.

What is a virtual assistant
What is a virtual assistant?

2 major types of outsourced personal assistants

A virtual assistant can theoretically do something that does not require their physical presence as long as they have the appropriate experience, expertise, and equipment.

Virtual assistant services come in various forms, depending on the nature of the work. It is essential to understand which is best suited for the role you want to fill when hiring a virtual assistant.

Virtual administrative assistant

These outsourced personal assistants work similarly to your office managers. The only difference is that they work from home and are unable to communicate in person.

Since most busy business owners cannot keep up with all of the challenges in their market, it is best to delegate administrative tasks to these virtual assistants.

They will help you with calendar management, creating details and presentations, and preparing reports, allowing you to focus on your business’s core responsibilities.

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Specialized virtual assistant

Specialized virtual assistants or personal assistants have a particular skill set and are best suited to managing a specific process in the company.

They are usually more costly than general remote assistants because of their advanced and more specific expertise.

Real estate virtual assistants

A real estate virtual assistant provides a variety of resources related to the real estate industry.

They provide several services, including locating property information, data entry and management, and cold calling and lead generation activities.

Virtual research assistants

This type of VA can help the company with online research tasks. A virtual research assistant will churn out understandable information from the internet and deliver it to you in an easy-to-understand format.

E-commerce virtual assistants

For all companies, an e-commerce VA is highly beneficial. The ability of e-commerce entrepreneurs has grown in tandem with the growth of industries.

Virtual bookkeeping assistants  

They are the virtual economic assistants who assist you in achieving the company’s cash flow. Virtual bookkeeping assistants can handle the company’s books and even payroll management.

Virtual marketing assistant

virtual marketing assistant offers clerical and project management support to a company’s marketing department. Marketing is a constantly changing sector, with new ways being developed to create and construct new markets.

Social media virtual assistant  

An outsourced personal assistant for social media is a specialist in promoting the company and its products and services on social platforms.

Social media management tasks may include reaching out and responding to users, writing captions, and uploading content.

2 major types of outsourced personal assistants
2 major types of outsourced personal assistants

What else can virtual assistants do?

As mentioned, virtual assistants can offer a wide range of services, from digital media functions to appointment-setting and event management to personal errands.

Aside from the two main VA types mentioned above, here are other tasks you can outsource to a remote virtual assistant.

  • Event planning and management. Suppose you don’t have the time to organize and coordinate your activities. In that case, a remote personal assistant ensures the event goes smoothly.
  • Schedule meetings and email management. Virtual assistants can help with calendar bookings and rescheduling and avoid double bookings and missed appointments
  • Report writing. Outsourced personal assistants are well-suited to administrative duties, report preparation, and content development.
  • Hotel and restaurant booking. Virtual assistants will take the burden off by assisting you with scheduling appointments to make travel plans for you and your business associates or clients.
  • Basic digital marketing. Remote assistants are also skilled in online marketing, which can assist entrepreneurs and small businesses grow their brands online.

How much does hiring a virtual assistant cost

Pricing for most virtual assistant services may vary depending on your agreement, the rate they give, and the length of stay they need within your company.

Basically, rates are different when you hire a dedicated virtual assistant compared to a freelance virtual assistant.

  • Dedicated virtual assistants. Dedicated virtual assistants usually earn an average of US$25 per hour. While they do not require benefits and incentives, it’s best to add them to your offer.
  • Freelance virtual assistants. Meanwhile, freelance virtual assistants can be hired for as low as US$5 per hour. However, they can freely post their rates and negotiate their project durations if needed.

Outsourcing a virtual personal assistant

Businesses that do not take advantage of technological advancements will find themselves slipping behind more ambitious competitors.

Most travel and hospitality companies use virtual personal assistants to improve the high level of customer service. And now, more companies from different industries are considering hiring virtual assistants to help with their daily operations.

As an entrepreneur, one of the first and most critical hires you will make is a virtual assistant. You should hire a virtual assistant if you find yourself spending most of your time on such time-consuming everyday tasks.

They can easily manage these operations, allowing you to concentrate on more critical tasks. BPO firms, such as Outsource Access, can assist you in finding skilled VAs that are fit for your brand.

Top 3 skills to look for in a virtual assistant

Outsourced personal assistants must have a relative set of skills as an admin clerk, a project manager, or an office manager.

Here are the three fundamental skills you should look for in a virtual assistant:

  • Communication skills. A virtual assistant must interact and communicate effectively with your clients, both verbally and in writing.
  • Computer skills. If the client needs maintenance and support for the business website or database system, internet and computer skills may be required.
  • Skills in time management. VAs must be able to plan, set deadlines, and keep track of their time.
Outsourcing a virtual personal assistant
Outsourcing a virtual personal assistant

How to hire an outsourced personal assistant

You are technically recruiting a team member when you hire a virtual assistant. Hiring someone unsuitable to your business can impact your operations and the quality of services you provide to your customers.

With this, you need to plan out the steps to take when hiring virtual assistants.

You may hire the right VA by following these four steps:

Step 1: Make a list of the qualities and skills you’re looking for

It’s essential to have a solid grasp of the qualities and skills you’re looking for before you hire a virtual assistant. Hiring a VA is like hiring any other employee in that you have to ensure they are eligible for the position.

Instead of focusing on a person’s previous job experience, the interview process should focus on specific qualities.

Listed below are some essential yet straightforward VA qualities to consider.

  • Someone who has worked in the industry before.
  • Someone who is an expert—or at least familiar—with your industry.
  • Someone eager to learn, responsible, dependable, and able to work under minimal supervision.

Step 2: Choose a communication channel and strategy

Adopting a platform and communication style that you all adhere to is one of the most important ways to keep communication open.

In any relationship, communication is crucial, mainly when dealing with someone who does not work in your office. It’s critical to establish a system that works for you, especially as they will be handling your phone calls and sensitive data entry.

Step 3: Post a job listing/hire a BPO partner

Once you’ve finished writing your job description, you’ll need to post it online and begin accepting applications. Posting your job description directly on job listing sites like Upwork is one choice.

Another choice is to use a recruiting service or directory for outsourced personal assistants.

As mentioned above, more and more businesses are seeking the staffing services of outsourcing providers. This is so they can ensure the quality and accountability of every staff they hire.

Companies can also turn to Outsource Accelerator’s directory of over 3,000 BPO suppliers to find trusted and established BPO partners for the best prices.

Step 4: Interview and require a trial period for the best candidate

Examine the applications received and set up interviews with the top 5-10 applicants. Choose the most eligible candidate for the job and offer them a trial period after the hiring process.

A trial period provides extra motivation for your VA to do an excellent job for you, understanding that it will lead to a permanent position on your team. Set them up with administrative tasks and assess how well they fit the job description.

To avoid future misunderstandings, have them sign a formal service agreement.

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About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.

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