Hiring a virtual assistant will improve your business and your life!
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:
- You're running out of personal bandwidth to make your business grow
- You’re getting tired of doing some repetitive tasks over and over
- You could really use some help
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 easily 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…
You're Looking for Incredible VA Bang for You Buck
If you'd prefer to listen to this content from the video above, play it or download it from the podcast episode below.
We have limited budgets when growing our businesses 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 money.
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 spent 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.
Working With Great People Will Make A Great Business
“You need a strong team, because a mediocre team give mediocre results, no matter how well managed it is.”
- Bill Gates
There are are many benefits of hiring virtual assistants. You can:
- Stop doing tasks you aren’t good at or don’t enjoy
- Spend more time on what you love doing
- Grow your business much faster than you could alone
However, if you hire poorly, you’re going to have to deal with:
- Spending a lot of time communicating with your VAs
- Wasting money on work that you can’t use
- The frustration that comes from constant micromanagement
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.
Full-time Teammates Vs Part-Time Freelancers
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 all together to work for them.
Benefits of Hiring Full-Time
Jonathan Kennedy talked about this phenomenon at his DCBKK 2016 talk on scaling his Shopify support company, Hey Carson.
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 me 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.
5 Steps to Hire Great VAs
Choose Where You Will Find Your VA
Logistically, there are three places you should look online to hire incredibly valuable VAs that are affordable:
- Fiverr.com. Fiverr is good for single, simple tasks, but I wouldn’t recommend using this site to find a full-time VA.
- UpWork.com. UpWork is great - but they do charge high fees. So once you find a rockstar VA or two you’ll want to move them off the site.
- OnlineJobs.ph. This is the only place I now hire from, all of my long-term enhance my life, reduce my stress, show up every day VAs have come from Online Jobs. Here's a full onlinejobs review I wrote for a deeper dive into this platform.
Posting The Job Description
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 is a couple of virtual assistant hiring hacks that will help you find the cream of the crop because you will receive many applications to your job posting:
Hiring Hack #1: Use An Easter Egg
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 attention to details s in the job application, why would you think they will do so when they are working for you?
Hiring Hack #2: Give Them A Few Simple Tasks To Do
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 report 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:
- Do the applicants actually DO these simple, quick tasks I’m asking for?
- HOW do they do the tasks? For example, with the personality test - do they just tell me “I’m an INFP” or do they link out to the full report?
Hiring Hack #3: Ask For A Short Application Video
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:
- You get to see if they actually make the video. In my experience, between 1 in 10 and 1 in 30 applicants will actually make the video… so if they do it that’s a HUGE positive sign.
- You get to see how authentic/honest the applicant is on camera.
- You get to uncover their motivations - if they say something like, “I have a new kid on the way and I need money” that’s a pretty awesome sign because it shows that they’re really motivated to hustle for you and work for you in the long run.
- You get to see their workspace. They don’t need anything fancy - but if they’re a graphic designer, and you can see they have a massive LCD screen at their workspace, that’s a better sign than if they’re working off a 13-inch laptop.
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?