Tips for Choosing the RIGHT Virtual Assistant
Working with a VA can be such a liberating experience provided you know how to find the right VA
With the rapid rise in the adoption of flexible working arrangements, and the consequent growth of the Australian Virtual Assistant industry, I am often asked “How do I choose the right VA for my business needs”.
Sadly, not all VAs are great at what they do… in fact, my experience shows that there are a lot of “back-yarders” who are simply “giving it a go because I can type” – and believe-you-me, this is NOT the VA I want you to work with!
The good news is that there ARE definitely wonderful, professional, responsive and highly experienced VAs out in VA land just waiting to be of service to you and your business!
To help you out, I’ve put together a basic checklist that I’d encourage you to refer to if and when you’re in the position where you are actively seeking a professional and experienced VA to handle some of your admin tasks.
- FIRST IMPRESSIONS DO COUNT – if a potential VAs first contact with you (whether by email, phone call or other) is not professional, then that’s a good indicator that they’re not top of their game. First impressions really do count, and if a VA doesn’t go out of his or her way to impress from the outset, then I’d give them a wide berth.
- CHECK THEIR WEBSITE – check their website and see what services they are offering, and whether they are a match for what you need. If they are a “jack of all trades” then they are potentially also a “master of none”. I encourage my startup VAs to niche into a specific area, and offer something that they are really good at. This means you’re working with an expert in the field, and they’ll know a heck of a lot more than you will about the area they’re working in.
- DO THEY HAVE A LINKEDIN PROFILE – check for testimonials, and view their work history. This should ideally be in line with what services you want them to provide you with.
- ASK FOR REFERENCES – the same as if you are working with someone on-site, your should not hesitate to ask for references, and then CHECK THEM!!!! Easiest thing to do is to get phone numbers and call people.
- MEMBERSHIPS – are they affiliated with specific Virtual Assistant organisations such as The VA Institute, Virtually Yours Virtual Assistants, 121 Temps, AVAA, AAVIP. Being a member of any of these should indicate that they are operating professionally (as opposed to a hobby).
- HOW DO THEY CHARGE – think about what you need… i.e. are you going to have flexible (varying) requirements from day to day or week to week. If so, perhaps an hourly rate is a good way to go. If it’s a consistent or fixed level of service (such as social media management / posting, website maintenance etc), then a package could be the way to go. Have a good idea of what hourly rate you would be prepared to pay, bearing in mind that Australian VA rates can vary from around $35 to $70 per hour (depending on the niche or service area). Remember, you are not paying any employee related costs, or providing any equipment, and you generally only pay for the time spent working on your project. Also, if you’re paying by the hour, don’t be afraid to ask your VA to send through a timesheet with their invoice.
If you’re not sure where to find a VA, there are some great sites you can visit to start your search. You can source quality Australian Virtual Assistants through networks such as The VA Institute, Virtually Yours Virtual Assistants, VA Placements, VA Directory.
Working with a VA can be such a liberating experience provided you find the right VA. Once you have, I guarantee you will never go back to the traditional employee / employer model.