Our handy guide will show you how to hire a virtual assistant in 3 steps.

So, you’ve come into the office and your personal assistant has handed in her resignation. Maybe your sales team has complained for the umpteenth time about the amount of paperwork and admin they’re having to handle, or perhaps you can’t afford to be fielding calls because you’re so busy handling customer appointments and managing everything else expected of you?

These are all familiar scenarios, and all end in the same conclusion; I need some help! You’ve recognised a need for a virtual assistant, but don’t know how to hire one. Our handy guide will show you how to hire the right virtual assistant for your business!

Step 1: Research

There are a lot of companies that claim to offer outsourcing, administration and back-office support services; the trick is to find a brand that can live up to their own hype. Look for client reviews on sites like Trustpilot to see what existing clients have said about their services and do your due diligence on the company’s social media accounts like LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. These are great places to check out potential suppliers because they give you a real insight into workplace culture and the people behind the brand. Remember, just because you’re hiring a virtual assistant, doesn’t mean you don’t need to click with the human behind the screen. We, at SmartPA, always start with a free onboarding session, to ensure that the human connection is maintained, and our clients feel like they’re dealing with a real person with real experience in the admin field.

Step 2: Engage

A good virtual assistant agency or supplier should always get to know you; your business, your goals and needs. If you don’t know exactly what your brief is and what you need help with, they should help understand your requirements without being pushy. We often find that a lot of our clients are engaging a virtual PA for the first time, having previously engaged permanent, in-house staff members, so it is important that your virtual assistant provider is patient and talks you through the process. Also – depending on your brief, it is important that your virtual assistant can offer everything you need. There is no use hiring a transcription agency if you also need your phones answered. Make sure you engage a service provider that offers a breadth of services; you never know what business needs will emerge as you grow! 

Another thing to bear in mind here is values and culture. Cheap is rarely cheerful when it comes to customer service and business support, so before you outsource to an international agency, remember that you need a supplier that respects and cares for its virtual assistants. Look for living wage accreditations, awards won and VA community morale. It can be a great CSR piece for your business if you engage a virtual PA service that, say, empowers women and working mothers to run their own businesses!

Step 3: Get Started

Some suppliers and virtual assistants may offer free trials, which can be a great way to experience the service and get a feel for the kind of demand you’ll have. Once you are up and running, make sure your virtual PA reports on their activities and that you feel the positive impact. A good VA will be proactive, offering suggestions of ways to make your processes more streamlined and other ways your team and business can be supported. This is why monthly packages can be extremely helpful because your VA will know the allotted hours and will fill them accordingly; hourly rates can sometimes be open to abuse if you’re using a disreputable/ill-established agency. Regular check-ins with your virtual assistant will help to maintain a positive relationship and ensure that they understand how you work and how your business is progressing. If you need to scale up your support, you already have a good relationship established to help enable that growth.

So there you have it, a quick guide on how to hire a virtual assistant. If you are looking for a virtual assistant to support you and your business, contact us today for a no-commitment discussion with our client team. If you are looking for a career change and are ready to run your own virtual PA business, visit our website to find out how you become a SmartPA.