Outsourcing Virtual Assistants: Step-wise Guidance For Entrepreneurs

Hiring a Virtual Assistant is the first and foremost decision as an entrepreneur. Unless you have someone in your team to whom you can delegate specific tasks, your valuable time and energy will be wasted on activities that do not contribute to the growth of your business.

 

Entrepreneur vs. Solopreneur

A team is a key difference between a sole proprietor and a business owner/entrepreneur. The business owner does not do everything himself. Instead, they build systems and hire people to do things for them. These are just some ways to expand your business and continue the process of growing even when they are not working.

Appointing a team member is important in transitioning from a sole entrepreneur to a business owner. Having other people on your team helps you to have more time so that you, too, can focus on the activities that have the most impact on your business and income.

In this writing, I will guide you through the steps in hiring a virtual assistant and share some tips and tools to help you effectively manage virtual assistants.

 

Use a virtual assistant so you can focus on what’s important

Once you have hired your first virtual assistant, you can follow the same steps until you complete just one role in your business, create new positions, and identify more tasks to hire more team members.

But for now, let’s hire your first Virtual Assistant.

 

The pros of hiring virtual staff

Outsourcing remote team members can greatly impact your productivity and business growth if you appoint one virtual assistant or create a team of virtual employees.

Here are some key benefits of hiring a virtual assistant:

 

You don’t need a physical office

Depending on your location, renting an office space can be very expensive. However, a virtual assistant can help you build your team while minimizing costs. Except for a few software tools to connect and manage your virtual employees, the direct cost of hiring a virtual team is the amount you pay for their time.

 

Virtual assistants are cheap

A virtual assistant is an affordable way to hire permanent employees. Most virtual assistants work as independent contractors, and depending on where they live, their hourly wages may be much lower than what your local staff would cost you. For example, the cost of a virtual assistant in the Philippines is generally less than that of a North American virtual assistant for similar tasks and responsibilities.

 

Not limited to local talent (Absolute Best Recruitment)

Not all entrepreneurs have access to a local talent pool of qualified candidates for a specific role. Virtual assistants can technically work from anywhere worldwide as long as they have an internet connection. Not appointing someone at the local level increases the number of potential candidates for specific roles. Virtual assistants use remote work tools and can work from anywhere.

 

Assignment helps prevent exhaustion

Assigning specific tasks and responsibilities to others is a big step in preventing burnout. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs think that they should do everything themselves, and ultimately, they do it. This leads to more work days, lack of concentration, tiredness, and less time for personal life.

 

Spend more time on your strengths

You cannot be the master of everything, and you should not try to be. For every task and process, you need to run your business (including functions you don’t like or dislike!), Other people specialize in those tasks and enjoy them. Hiring people gives you the freedom to focus on activities that make you happy and good.

 

Focus on high-value, income-generating ventures

Finally, when you appoint a virtual assistant, you spend more time focusing on activities that add significant value to your business than those assigned to your virtual assistant. In other words, you can spend more time focusing on activities that directly affect your income.

“Your most precious resource as a human being (not just a business owner) is TIME. The less you commit to, the greater your focus. The greater your focus, the more impact you can have with the time you’re given. For this reason, everyone should hire at least one Virtual Assistant.”

– Matthew Turner

 

Types of virtual assistants

One of the main questions you ask yourself when considering hiring a virtual assistant is what it will do for you.

With the right training, skills, and tools, the virtual assistant can do any task that does not need their physical presence, which, if you think about it, is a lot.

However, there are different types of virtual assistants, and it is crucial to know which type of virtual assistant is best for the tasks you plan to outsource.

 

 Virtual assistant for general tasks

The most usual type of virtual assistant is a general virtual assistant (also known as an available virtual assistant). A typical personal assistant can take on important day-to-day tasks and operations to run your business but does not need to focus on its development.

The tasks you assign to a general virtual assistant are technical and repetitive, such as managing email or scheduling trips, scheduling appointments, entering data, searching, scheduling posts on social media, and more.

 

Specialized Virtual Assistant

A specialized virtual assistant is a person who has very specific skills and is more qualified to own and oversee particular processes in your business. They are more expensive than regular assistants because they already have a special skill set and require a little extra training from you. Functions such as customer service, bookkeeping, video editing, and project management, for example, are more suited to a particular VA.

 

Outsourcing tasks vs. Outsourcing tasks’ outcome

With a generic VA, it’s best to outsource specific tasks and methods, and you should provide them with training on how to perform those tasks and procedures properly.

With specialized VA, it is best to outsource specific results. A dedicated assistant should be more skilled than you (that’s why you hire them!) in particular tasks and processes that are part of their role. Since you rely on their knowledge and experience, it’s best to tell them what to do, not how.

For example, increasing Twitter followers by 10% per month is a result. But, for instance, importing blog posts from Google Drive to WordPress is work. I hope you can spot the difference.

 

You can become the CEO of your business

In addition to hiring a team right after you launch your business, you will have responsibilities for many different roles. In other words, you wear many different hats, so your time is spent on various tasks and responsibilities.

You need to assign specific tasks and duties to others to become the CEO of your business and to devote your time to the functions for which the CEO should spend his time.

This is simple math.

For example, if your goal is more than $ 100,000 in annual revenue, you cannot expect to achieve that goal by spending time doing tasks worth $20 per hour. The math doesn’t match unless you can work 5,000 hours in 12 months (which is not possible); the math doesn’t match. So you will have to spend your time on activities with a higher hourly rate.

One of the reasons entrepreneurs oppose hiring is because they see hiring other people as an expense rather than an investment. If you have ever felt this way about hiring, the following exercises may be helpful for you.

 

Calculate your target price per hour

The hourly target rate is the rate at which your time as the CEO of your business must be valued to achieve your revenue goals. To calculate your hourly target rate, look at your monthly (or annual) income and divide it by the number of hours you work. For example: $ 250,000 (annual income target) divided by 2,000 (working hours) equals $ 125 per hour. Every action in your business is worth a dollar. As an entrepreneur, your job is to identify the activities that contribute the most to your business and spend most of your time on those activities. Therefore, any task or activity that falls below the target hourly rate must be delegated to someone else. If you do not meet your income goals, I can almost guarantee you do not spend enough time on high-value activities.

 

High and low-value tasks

Low-value jobs are essential to running your business but do not directly contribute to revenue growth. For example, low-value tasks include bookkeeping, customer support, project management, graphic design, editing, etc.

High-value functions are those that directly contribute to revenue growth. High-value tasks include marketing, lead generation, sales, launching new products or services, and building strategic partnerships and joint ventures.

The fastest way to upsurge your income as an entrepreneur is to assign more menial tasks to others and fill your schedule with as many significant tasks as possible. Then, use the revenue generated from high-value jobs to pay for outsourcing to low-value jobs.

 

How to select functions and procedures to delegate

Every business has extensive tasks and methods involved in running the business. To help you choose which missions to outsource and which ones to continue, start by categorizing these tasks and processes.

 

Every function and process in your business belongs to one of 4 categories:

1. Things you need to do: You enjoy doing them and the high-level tasks that are good for you.

2. Things You Shouldn’t Do: Low-value tasks that don’t make the best use of your time, even if you’re good at them or enjoy them. (This is the hardest to outsource!)

3. Things you don’t want to do: Things you don’t like to do but someone will do.

4. Things you can’t do: Things you don’t have the knowledge and skills to do properly.

 

“The tasks you hate doing or can’t do should be at the top of your list of things to delegate. The harder tasks to part with are the ones you can do and may even enjoy doing, but realistically, shouldn’t be doing them.”

– Nick Loper

 

How to get a Virtual Assistant

Hiring virtual staff for specific roles in your team is different from hiring freelancers for particular projects.

When you assign a freelancer for a specific project, that project has a start and finish date. And since most freelancers work with multiple clients, you will not always be their top priority.

When you hire a virtual assistant, you hire a team member. Although the tasks assigned to them may change over time, they will play a significant role in your team. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find them on a separate site. Many virtual assistants are looking for work on these sites that meet your needs.

 

Six steps to set up a virtual assistant

 

Step 1: List the tasks you want to outsource

Start by listing all the tasks and operations you plan to assign your virtual assistant. Then, assuming you are doing these tasks yourself, create training documents (also known as standard procedures) for these tasks. If hiring a professional virtual assistant, document the results you want them to achieve, rather than specific tasks or actions.

Step 2: Create a job description

Once you have a list of tasks assigned, you will need to create a job description for the role you are responsible for. The general virtual assistant job description should not include tasks requiring special skills. All tasks assigned to available virtual assistants must share the same skill level and hourly rate.

 Your job description should include the following:

Basic information about your business (your business, what you sell, and who your customers/clients are)

Level of education, experience, and required skills

List of duties and responsibilities

List of any applications, tools, or programs they will use.

Step 3: Post your job description online

Once the job description is ready, your next step is to post it online and begin taking applications. You can use a virtual assistant recruitment service or guide like Perfect Virtual Team, where you can find the best-skilled professionals.

Step 4: Review applications and schedule interviews

Review incoming applications and schedule interviews of top 5-10 candidates. I recommend video interviews with the best candidates. A video interview is the best way to interview someone. You can quickly find a person you like and interact with through video calls. If someone doesn’t want to do a video interview with you, it’s a red flag, and you shouldn’t hire them. When interviewing each candidate, please do not ask them about their work experience and skills. Instead, ask them about their goals and hobbies, how they like to work, and how to manage them. In addition, you can ask your candidate to complete a free personality test. This will help you to understand their values, strengths, and how they work.

Step 5: Give your best candidates a test

Before you nominate a specific candidate, give your top 3 candidates a task to complete as a test. However, choose the type of work that will be part of their routine responsibilities and see how well they perform. If the candidates need to complete a real task, it will help you decide on the best candidate.

Step 6: Give the best applicant a trial period

Select the best candidate for the job and begin the test period (30, 60, or 90 days). The trial period gives the virtual assistant extra incentive to do a great job for you, knowing that it will play a permanent role in your team. Ask them to sign a formal service agreement to avoid any discrepancies in the future.

 

Tips for administering your virtual assistant

Appointing a virtual assistant is just the beginning. Once you’ve added someone to your team, it’s your job as a leader to help maintain productive, professional, and mutually beneficial relationships with your employees.

Performance appraisal

Most importantly, you should judge success based on the performance of your virtual assistant. To do this, ensure you have clear expectations and key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, if they meet your expectations, do you care how many coffees breaks they take throughout the day?

Don’t get caught up in the details

If you have clear expectations from your virtual assistants and evaluate them based on how well they meet those expectations, they need not be carefully managed. Yes, some programs allow you to “spy” on your virtual assistant’s computer screen or track the time spent at work. However, these things are unnecessary when you have confidence and expectations with your virtual assistant. You may be doing something wrong if you don’t want to be managed the way you are managing your virtual assistants.

Schedule a check-in

Use interactive tools like Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams, or Slack to instantly check in with your virtual assistant. This can be at the beginning or end of their workday, every other day, or even weekly. Do what works for you. Use this time to ensure they know on what project or assignment and that no one or anyone (including you!) is stopping them from completing the day’s tasks.

Order weekly reports

At the end of each week, ask your virtual assistant to send you a report of what they did that week. Give them a form to use to send you their reports. Here are some questions we recommend your virtual assistant answer in their weekly reports and any specific metrics or KPIs responsible for tracking them.

What tasks or projects have they completed?

How much time did they give to each task or project?

What are they still working on?

Did they have any issues or challenges?

Do they have any evaluation questions or ideas for you?

Do they need additional training?

Create a feedback culture

Build a culture of trust and open communication with your virtual assistant (and anyone else you work with). Inspire them to share ideas, ask questions and give feedback regularly. Doing so will help you learn to be a better leader and manager, helping you build mutually beneficial relationships with your team members.

 

The best tools for outsourcing and managing virtual employees

Hiring someone you may never meet may seem strange, but with the right tools, you can build and maintain productive and enjoyable relationships with your virtual employees.

Communication, project management, file sharing, and security (password protection) are the main tools needed to work effectively with virtual assistants, and remote team members are communication project management, file sharing, and security (password protection). Below I have listed some of our favorite tools for each category.

Check out some online business tools if you need more software and tools to help you run your business.

Communication tools:

Google Workspace

Zoom in

Project Management Tools:

Google Drive

Dropbox

LastPass

 

Use a virtual assistant so you can focus on what’s important

If you feel tired while building your business, you are not alone. Most entrepreneurs work long hours because they have not learned how to use their time and work effectively. Many entrepreneurs believe they can do everything themselves, which is why they do it. They fill in the gaps in their work ethic, often with the risk of burnout.

Your job as an entrepreneur is not just to create jobs for yourself. Self-employment freelances are the purpose. An entrepreneur is a person who builds systems and hires people to help them run their business.

As you grow your business, you may not be the only virtual assistant to be added to your team, but it should be one of the first. Using a Virtual Assistant focuses on activities that have a greater impact on your life and work.

 

“One of the things we can do to avoid burning out is to become more effective delegators. At first, it’s hard letting go, but trust me, folks, once you start letting go of the steering wheel a little, you’ll want to hire a full-time driver sooner or later!”

– Chris Ducker