One of the most important decisions you will take as a solo entrepreneur is hiring your own personal assistant. Unless you add someone to your team who takes care of certain tasks, you will find your self wasting your time on a lot of tasks that could be delegated to someone else. If you want your business to scale up, you need to stop doing everything by yourself. You need to find someone who offers their virtual assistant services. And you need to do it right.
But how do you do that? It isn’t that hard! Here we share with you a list of steps you need to follow in order to hire an online personal assistant.
Step 1: Write down the jobs you do not want to do
List down all those tasks and assignments which you have planned on delegating. These tasks are not just “things you don’t like to do”, but things that take up a lot of your time and shouldn’t. Think of the processes that go behind those tasks (a good question to ask yourself is “what do I normally do to accomplish all my tasks?”) and create a document for training your future virtual assistant. This type of document is known as “Standard Operating Procedures” and having one written down is essential for you. We recommend using OneNote, or similar programs, where you can organize your information in different tabs and sections. Make sure the platform you use for this document supports images and video. Video and image demonstrations of the tasks will make the content easier to grasp. Remember to also note down some requirements, such as skills you want your assistant to have, or availability at certain times of the day.
Step 2: Write a description of the job and post it online
Now that you know exactly what you want from your new assistant, you will have to work on writing down a description of the job. Make sure that your description is accurate and thorough. This description should include information about your industry and your clients, the skills and/or level of education required, a list of all the tasks that you expect them to do, a list of all the software or tools that they should have access to, references and samples of previous work, and an hourly rate for the job along with the time availability required. When your job description is done, you to publish it online (Craiglist, Upwork, Guru and other similar platforms are a good idea) and get going receiving applications. You can even use Facebook and look for groups of freelancers of virtual assistants. Make sure people can reach you via the platform and that you provide accurate contact information.
Step 3: Examine the applications and arrange interviews
Go through all the applications and select between 8 to 12 people who you consider would be a good fit for the job. Contact them and ask them to have an interview via Skype or Hangouts. If you are using a platform such as Upwork, you can use the video-chat option that is already included in the service. It is really important to have a video interview because it is the closest to a real-life one. If any of the candidates refuse to a video conversation, you should cross them off your list. Once you have agreed on interviewing them, prepare a list of questions that you would like to ask your candidates. Do not limit the questions to work. You also want to know a bit about the person, what things they like, what they do in their free time, and what their values are. That will give you an idea of how they are going to interact with you and will help you see their strengths and weaknesses. It will also help you avoid choosing someone who does not really fit your mold.
Step 4: Test your candidates and give the top two candidates a trial period
Rather than instantly committing to hiring one candidate, make a list of all of them and rank them. Pick the top 4 or 5 for a test. This test should demonstrate their abilities solving the problems they will face when regularly doing the job. Once you see how well they performed, choose the best two candidates, and start a trial period with both of them. Why both, you may ask? The answer is simple. The interview process takes a long time, and if you were to do it and later find out that the candidate that you tried is not the best fit for the spot, you would have to start over again. Reading applications and interviewing candidates is really tedious, so you are minimizing risks by testing two of your candidates. Of course, they will have to work half the time, but you will be able to see who works better and with whom you feel more comfortable working. As regards time, 30 or 60 days are a good amount of time to be able to compare how both of your candidates work. Such trial periods incentivize people to do a great job, especially if they know there is competition. Before the trial, have your candidates sign a formal agreement.
Step 5: Hire your virtual assistant and relax
Once the trial is done and you have chosen your personal assistant, it’s time for you to relax. Many solopreneurs overwork themselves and are at risk of burnouts. Think of hiring an assistant as a signal that your business is growing. It is an investment in both your mental health and your business. Now you have more time to focus on yourself and to start new projects.
We hope that this step-by-step guide has helped you make up your mind about hiring virtual assistant services. Remember that your personal assistant is the first person you are going to hire for your company, but not the last one!