One of the biggest steps forward in my internet marketing career has been learning what tasks only I can do and what tasks I should outsource. The more I focus on what ONLY I can do, the faster my business grows. Or as the "Quit Your…
If you're looking for a cheap virtual assistant, chances are you’re a solopreneur doing your first round of VA hiring.
Or maybe you’re doing your second or third round but you want to avoid prior mistakes and do things better this time around.
You’re getting to the point in your business where:
But you don’t have that much money coming in from your business yet, and so you don’t want to spend too much money outsourcing.
You’re looking forward to a future where you’re resting easy on a Sunday afternoon knowing that your VA army is handling things for you - ala “The 4 Hour Workweek”.
You’re looking forward to being a real, honest to goodness entrepreneur that employs and manages other people, instead of just being a solopreneur.
This post will help you get there - but the answer may not be what you expected…
If you'd prefer to listen to this content from the video above, play it or download it from the podcast episode below.
Take the phrase “cheap virtual assistant” out of your vocabulary for the time being.
Yes, you don’t have much money. But cheap isn’t what you really want - because cheap VAs often bring with them a host of problems that will end up costing you more time than they save you.
Don’t misunderstand - you can get incredibly useful VAs for low hourly rates.
But if you focus only on the hourly rate a VA charges without considering the whole picture of what working with them will be like, you’ll probably experience some “outsourcing challenges” like I’ve experienced over the past 6 or 7 years.
Trust me on this one - I’ve spend over $75,000 over the past 7 years hiring VAs.
What you’re really looking for are VAs that are going to give you an incredible bang for your buck, even if you end up paying those VAs a few more bucks per hour.
In other words, you're looking for very valuable VAs that are also affordable.
“You need a strong team, because a mediocre team give mediocre results, no matter how well managed it is.”
- Bill Gates
There are a couple of big wins that come from hiring VAs. You can:
However, if you hire poorly, you’re going to have to deal with:
The way you get the good stuff without dealing with the bad (too much) is by picking great people to begin with, and then giving them full time work so that they have a “teammate” mindset instead of a “freelancer” mindset.
One thing you need to understand is that hiring is a tricky process. It’s a skill that you can develop with time, but you’ll probably have a few learning experiences along the way.
Great hiring is a mixture of emotional intelligence, having great hiring practices, and trial and error.
Do you want to have a team of freelancers, or a team of people who are committed to the success of your business?
Because when you hire full time VAs, they view themselves as a teammate and feel attached to the success of your business.
But when you hire part time VAs, they view themselves as freelancers. That means if another client comes along that pays slightly more, they will either prioritize that client’s work over yours or drop you altogether to work for them.
He said that when you work with full time teammates, you get a synergistic effect of 1+1=3.
However, when working with freelancers, you’re always dealing with their incentives to make more money, right now.
(If you’re not familiar with the DC, it stands for the Dynamite Circle and it’s a community of location independent entrepreneurs that has it’s main event each year in Bangkok. You can see my wife Melanie and I at the membership site mastermind below:)
All of this to say: it’s much more effective to hire for the long term because it gets other people really committed to the success of your business.
Logistically, there are three places you should look online to hire incredibly valuable VAs that are affordable:
Don’t be fancy when describing the role you are hiring for. Just be super specific in sharing the deliverables you’ll be looking for and what skills are required to give them.
However, there are a couple of "hacks" that will help help you find the cream of the crop once you have 50 applications to your job posting:
Using an easter egg is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re hiring detail oriented VAs. And the beauty of the “easter egg” is that it’s so simple to execute, but oh so effective.
All you have to do is to put a key phrase somewhere in the middle of the job description that says something like:
“At the beginning of your application, please include the phrase “I’m your next rockstar VA” if you want to be considered for this position.”
Don’t bold this. Don’t make it stand out (but don’t intentionally hide it either).
Then, when you’re sorting through all the applications, you can quickly look at the top of their proposal to see if they included the easter egg or not.
If the applicant didn’t include the easter egg, DON’T HIRE THEM!
If someone can’t execute on directions in the job application, why would you think they will do so when they are working for you?
Asking your applicant VAs to do a few simple tasks for you is another hiring hack that will work wonders for separating the wheat from the chaff.
For example, in the job description you can say, “please go to 16 Personalities, take the free test there, and tell me your results.”
Another one to use: ask them to do a free English grammar test and to resport their results (if English proficiency will be relevant to the position, which it almost always is).
If you’re hiring for a position that involves writing of any kind, you want them to have a decent score.
But honestly, the main point of these exercises is to see:
Asking for an application video is really powerful if you only want to deal with "A Players" when it comes to outsourcing.
All you have to do is ask your applicants to shoot a quick, under 3 minute video using their cell phone or their laptop. Ask them to share a bit about themselves, why they want the position, and ask them to show you their workspace in the video.
The video is SO useful for a few reasons:
If you hire smart, try to hire full time, and learn from your inevitable challenges along the way, you can scale your business beyond your efforts and get a VA that provides you incredible value for your money while also being affordable.
What have been your experiences with hiring VAs? Let me know in the comments?
Miles is a full time internet marketer who sells information products and a niche membership program with his wife, Melanie. Together they have created a lifestyle business that allows them true location independence and this blog where you get to see behind the scenes and see how they have built their online business from scratch.