Making business easier: how to hire a virtual assistant

Hiring a virtual assistant can be a great way to increase the productivity of your business while reducing your overall operating expenses. Once the best kept secret of online entrepreneurs and tech startups, more and more people are beginning to see the clear advantages that VA outsourcing can offer.

You’ve no doubt heard about those benefits by now, perhaps because you saw an article about virtual assistants on TV, or read about them in books, magazines, or online. Perhaps some of your competitors are already reaping the rewards and you want to get in on the action. Whatever the reason, if you’ve decided you want to hire one, but aren’t sure how to go about it, read on.

Find a virtual assistant
The first step to working with a virtual assistant is finding one. This can be an obstacle in itself. Instinctively though, the first place anyone will start looking is on Google as it is such a broad term that you are better off using a search term related to your specific requirements, ideally something as narrow as possible, for example , “Arizona virtual real estate assistant.” “. If you find a business, be sure to Google their name and check out their social media profiles.

This way, you’ll get a better perspective on the type of person or organization you’re dealing with. Some, you’ll find, are freelance virtual assistants, self-employed full-time, or they may be stay-at-home moms working part-time. Alternatively, you may also come across multi-VA companies. These come in many different shapes and sizes, although the most common are VA agencies or subcontracting agencies.

A VA works in a similar way to a recruitment or temporary work agency. The employer contacts the agency who then assigns a VA to work with the employer directly, based on the employer’s specific needs. Some agencies even allow the employer to interview candidates directly. With an outsourcing agency, instead of being assigned individual virtual assistants, the employer deals with an experienced project manager. The PM then handles everything on behalf of the employer. Many employers find this method to be a more efficient use of time and resources. This is particularly true if the VAs are located in a different country/region than the employer, for example a US-based company that subcontracts the work to India, or if the nature of the work is outside of the set of the employer’s skills and therefore find it easier to delegate to someone better qualified.

Finally, for those who prefer a more hands-on approach, you can also find candidates through freelance websites like Elance or Here the employer creates a project, along with a description, requirements, and budget, and then individuals or companies bid accordingly. The advantage here is that the employer can view feedback from previous employers and discuss the project in more detail with the candidates before awarding the project to the most suitable bidder. Freelancing sites also allow for milestone payments and dispute arbitration, making them a great way to immerse yourself in the world of outsourcing and virtual support in a safe and controlled environment.