Where to Find Virtual Assistants and What to Look For
A virtual assistant is someone who helps you with tasks for your online business, but who don’t reside in the same location as you. No one can run a business by themselves and sometimes you need a little help. Because the Internet puts you in touch with people from all over the world, VA’s are often hired from other countries. When looking for a VA, your first consideration is whether you’d like to hire locally or choose someone from another part of the world.
Home Country vs. Overseas
The advantage of hiring someone from your home country is that there is no language or culture barrier. It’s much easier to communicate with your fellow countryman (or woman). For many online business owners, it’s ideal to work with someone locally who you can call and even meet face to face.
However, the main reason we often hire virtual assistants from other countries is that they’re rates are cheap. In many countries, the dollar (or other Western currency) goes much farther and this means that you can pay little but still pay well. Even though it may seem risky to work with a person from another country, there are many high quality VA services operating from countries you wouldn’t expect. If the VA is experience and professional, it doesn’t matter how far away they are.
Characteristics to Look for
When choosing a VA, there are several key characteristics to look for. First of all, have an idea of what tasks you need done and make sure they have expertise performing them. It’s much easier if your VA already has experience so that you don’t have to spend the time training them.
Your VA should be reliable and trustworthy, but how do you know at first? The best way to measure this is to start with a small task as a test run. If they do it well and in a timely manner, gradually delegate further tasks to them. You can also get an idea of their reliability by asking for references.
Of course, price is a factor. But rather than simply looking for the lowest-cost service provider, decide beforehand about how much you’d like to pay and look for high quality services at this rate. Just remember that you usually get what you pay for, so the lower the rate the less experienced the person will tend to be.
Where to Find Help
The Internet puts you in touch with the worldwide workforce and there is no shortage of places to look for help. Social media is a good way to place an ad. Make an announcement on Facebook or Twitter, or use LinkedIn’s groups. LinkedIn is a great site to use because it’s designed for professional networking.
There are sites specifically designed for finding service providers such as ELance, Guru and Freelancer. You can post jobs on these sites and VA’s will respond. A great place to post an ad is on Craigslist if you want someone more local.
Finally, you can find websites for VA services and contact them directly. They’ll usually tell you on the site exactly which services they offer, making it easier for you to decide what you want to pay for.
The Right Time to Hire a VA
Hiring a virtual assistant is a big step for any online business. It’s something you should do once your business is making a profit and you’ve got the funds to spare. Many business owners set aside a portion of their profits each month just for reinvesting in their business in the form of outsourced help. The time will come when you realize that outsourcing daily routine tasks can free you up to focus on more important things.