How to hire a VA... and Carry On!
So you are struggling a bit with all your admin and need an extra pair of hands. You have researched virtual assistants and just don't know where to start. Let's have a look at how to make this easier for you!
Virtual assistants can be located everywhere and by everywhere, I mean on the internet. There are several places you can have a look: LinkedIn, Facebook, some advertise in a local magazine/paper and sometimes through Instagram or Twitter. So decide on your platform and put 'virtual assistant' in the search box.
Best to look at a few at a time and compare. So find about 3 or 4 and see if they have websites for you to look at, besides their social media page. A good idea is to either write them down or copy and paste the details into a word document for reference. If you are certain that you don't want them to ever show up at your front door/office, then location is not an issue.
You have your list, now what!? Well, most of the VAs that have websites will have either an email address or a 'contact me' page. Drop them an email and set up a 15-30 min call to have a chat, they are usually quite friendly. Have some questions to hand that you want to ask them and mention what you are expecting of that person. Most people don't know how long they need their VA for on any kind of basis, so the VA should be able to guide you as to how many hours are required based on what your needs are.
When it comes to booking a VA's time, there are a few options. One option is by the hour as and when you need them; this can be tricky as your VA may not have availability at the time you need them. Another is by block booking hours, say 10, 15, 20 hours per month. When you block book, chances are if you have not used those hours in the month, the VA won't carry them over to the next month. It is a bit of trial and error for a while, but you should be able to settle on an amount of time after a few months of working together. If you are block booking, you can book regular slots with your VA, every Monday at 10 for 2 hours, for instance.
Most VAs are self-employed, they run their business as they wish and pay their own NI and tax. One thing to note is to check they have insurance just in case something goes wrong (and we all hope that it doesn't!). Before you start working together, you should also have signed a simple contract with dates started, how many hours you require, notice periods, etc.
Another way of hiring a VA is to go through a specified VA agency. These are OK, but the price you pay per hour is not the price the VA receives. Some VAs actively avoid these companies and at the end of the day, the agency can only supply you with people that have signed on to work for them. So your choice as to what is better for you.
Hiring a virtual assistant can be quite a personal thing; it is important that you are both 'singing from the same hymn sheet' and you have trust in that person, so don't be afraid to shop around. Your first choice might not be your best choice and you must get along with that person.