Ultimate Guide to Hire a Virtual Assistant

Today we bring you The Ultimate Guide to Hire a Virtual Assistant which we believe will be very helpful to you.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) to help you in some business tasks is a crucial decision. Yes, you can find a lot of virtual assistants in freelancing job sites such as oDesk and Elance, but choosing the right one for the job needs thorough preparation and analysis. A simple mistake could cause huge problems in your small business and you might find it hard to solve them.

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First of all, don’t be blinded with the benefits you can enjoy once you hire a virtual assistant. While it is true that you can save time and money if you hire one, these are not the only factors that you should consider. Note that your main goal is to earn more profit, and not to save something. And to make sure that your sales will increase, you need to use your investment properly.

Consider virtual assistants as among your best assets and your collaborative business partners. To be able to do that, you must understand the different techniques on how to hire a VA who can really help you grow your business. Although it may be quite similar to hiring physical employees, there are some strategies that are entirely different. Below is a comprehensive guide and tips that you can use to achieve your goal.

Choose the task that really needs a virtual assistant 

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Never ever hire a virtual assistant just to satisfy your laziness. Although it is understandable that you want to add more time for you to rest, don’t use this excuse when hiring a VA. Instead, list all the tasks in your business and carefully analyze which task or tasks that really need to be outsourced. Consider the time that will be saved, and the effort that you put while you are doing it. However, make sure that your business will not suffer that much once the virtual assistant made a mistake. If the task is delicate, it’s better if you do it by yourself or delegate it to one of your current team members.

Know what expertise that you need from your virtual assistant

After making a final decision on which task you will outsource, you will now know the type of virtual assistant that you need to hire. Be clear and specific when writing your job listing ad. Create a checklist for the criteria that you need in a VA, and clearly specify the minimum requirements. Different VAs have different fields of expertise. What do you need, graphic designer and a web designer? These two individuals have different careers, in case you don’t know. In addition, don’t expect that you can hire someone who is an expert of everything that a VA does, just because you thought you can save money. There is no such thing as all-around virtual assistants, although some might claim they are.

Know how much you should pay

how much does virtual assistant cost Generally speaking, the salary of virtual assistants depends on the type of job, as well as the field of expertise, years of experience and location of the virtual assistant. However, there’s a never ending debate about the salary difference between US-based VAs and Asians, particularly Filipinos. So to make sure that your price offer is neither too high nor too low; put more focus on the skills, experience, quality of service, and attitude of applicants. You should also understand that rates for web content writers and VA with technical work such as web coding are higher than those in administrative work. After you compare prices, you should also set your own budget and spend it reasonably.

Prepare interview questions

Don’t post your job opportunities unless you have already prepared the interview questions and hiring tests that you will give to applicants. Otherwise, you will be buried with tons of applicants and you will not have enough time to prepare them properly. For the interview questions, make them simple but relevant. Besides asking his professional history, you can also prepare a problem that might occur if you hire him. If his computer crashes while doing a project, what will he do to make sure that he can still meet the deadline? It’s also better to know more about the applicant’s personality and how he expresses himself. This is why it is still better to conduct two sets of interviews – through email and via Skype.

Prepare skills test

Besides the interview, you should also test the quality of their work. You can do this not only by asking them to show you a sample of their work, but also by giving them online skills test. The first thing you should know is their ability to understand instructions. For the test proper, write a step-by-step procedure on how to complete the test and when they should finish it. But don’t treat them like school children. Avoid giving them very basic instructions so that you can also test their analytical abilities. To test their sense of urgency, you can give them a strict time limit. Just make sure that it is still realistic.

Choose the right freelancing job site

Choosing the right freelancing job site is not easy. Some of them may have good data encoders, but have poor writers. Read and understand the Terms and Condition before joining them, especially the fees and other deductions. Make sure that they have excellent customer service and are protecting both the clients and virtual assistants. Also, read some reviews about them so you’ll have an idea on what you might experience from them. Choose the one that offers both per project base and per hour basis and decide which one fits your needs. But don’t be fooled with sites that offer unreasonably low bidding prices; as you might not get the quality of the service that you need.

But on top of everything that has been mentioned above; don’t forget that virtual assistants are humans, too. They deserve some respect. They also need money and enough time to rest. They are your partners, not your slaves. In fact, some of them are also entrepreneurs just like you.

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How to create a highly successful outsourced project team

Today we will look at how to create a highly successful outsourced project team whether it is for your personal project, business project, or a client’s project. Outsourcing efforts and initiatives never just happen by chance. Instead, support and leadership will be required from the top of the organisation. That means to get viable outsourcing arrangements in place, effective well-managed teams will be required to plan and implement.

Outsourcing is usually a five-stage process with each stage being centred around a key business question, in this way:

  1. Is the opportunity appropriate? Will this outsourcing opportunity make us more competitive
  2. in the marketplace, or will it dilute our uniqueness?
  3. Is this opportunity real? Can we develop a business case which will confirm quantitatively that genuine benefits will be delivered.
  4. Can we craft a good deal with a qualified provider? That is, can we reach an agreement with a good service provider that will be consistent with the benefits we anticipate will come?
  5. Can we execute? Will we be able to modify our internal processes to integrate this outsourcing arrangement beneficially?
  6. Can we provide ongoing management for this agreement? Once the outsourcing arrangement is in place, will be able to keep it moving forward or will it stagnate?

project team leaderMost outsourcing projects will require a series of teams, which will evolve over the life of the agreement. The early planning and evaluation is typically handled by an ideas team. As the project moves toward implementation, more operational people usually get drafted in. Then a transition team may be required, followed by an assessment and management team who will analyse and adjust the project long term. External advisors and consultants may also be called on as required.

As with most business activities, the role of the project team leader is critical. What are the characteristics of strong outsourcing project leaders? They need to:

• Have the ability to embrace and champion change.
• Have previously earned credibility within the organization.
• Have a desire to manage others, not simply do things.
• Have the ability to build trust in others.
• Have good communication and negotiation skills and aptitudes.
• Possess good strategic management skills.
• Know how to manage and market new processes.
• Have very good process expertise and know-how.

As you can see the roles of the project team leader is very important in ensuring the success of an outsourced project team. Hence you need to make sure that the leaders with the desired skills and characteristics are available to do the job before starting to recruit the outsourced project teams.

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Virtual Assistant – Assistant of the New Age

In every business, there will always be some cold, hard facts that we cannot ignore and one of those is that all companies need workers or assistants. If we stop to think about it, the companies almost cannot function without one because often times there is so much work to be done and it is impossible for all that work to be done by one person. But the guidelines surrounding how help was recruited have changed and companies are now going through the route of hiring virtual assistants.

work life balanceThese virtual assistants have been around for quite some time but have become more common in recent times. Retirees are now finding ways to make money from home even after retirement and persons are now finding it easier to maintain a job and even go to school or take care of a family. It is a win-win solution as it provides work-life balance to the workers and flexibility for the employers. imaIt is a new age picture of the best of both worlds.

The geographical boundaries that were once present between and employer and an employee have been long gone and owners are now are to use a hands-on approach in finding the best fit for their company. If we think about it in its entirety, then this is the best thing that could have happened because you would still be in direct control of all the operations surrounding your business while at the same time, not having to foot all the costs and overheads surrounding you getting the team that you would want to represent you and to work on your behalf.

Surely, having a virtual assistant is not always positive. Sometimes, it is easy to get side-tracked and lose control of operations, especially when the work load becomes heavy. Having a virtual assistant would also mean that you would need to trust them with a lot of confidential information. Therefore it is safe to say that building a good rapport with your virtual assistant is essential to the sustainability of any business with a virtual presence and a virtual assistant.

virtual workplaceUltimately, this decision has to be a real long-term investment in order for it to be a successful decision. This holds true as there has to be constant communication between you and your assistant of choice and guidelines and boundaries would have to be clearly stated if it is that you want what is best for the company.

So if it is that you are just starting your company or you are even thinking about ways in which you can down size from your current structure, this is one of the best moves that you could make and it is surely one that will pay off in both the short run and the long run. The move, just like any other change in life will take some adjusting but it is definitely not something that is hard or impossible to do. Once the proper business evaluation is complete then moving forward should be a breeze and you will be sailing the ship to success in no time.

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What To Look For When Hiring Your Virtual Assistant

What To Look For When Hiring Your Virtual Assistant - In this day and age, everyone is operating as much as is possible from the confines of their own home to save on the overheads that would be incurred with employing persons to come into offices daily. One of the most common areas of expansion is in the avenue of virtual assistants. But one of the main concerns that companies have expressed time and time again is that they have not yet mastered the art of finding out when they have an excellent choice and when they have found a bad apple.

virtual assistantThe qualities of a good virtual assistant are really quite the same that you would expect of any assistant. You want someone who is trust worthy and can handle the administrative side of the businesses operations. You also want someone who is more than willing to go the extra mile but at the same time, keeping up with your scheduling requirements and giving a quick response to emails whenever they are necessary. Your virtual assistant would need to have all these qualities and more. The only difference between the two is that one would be available in a physical office and would only be available in a virtual space.

Before making a selection, you would have to then look at what your potential candidate has offered and match that against what it is that you are looking for. If they fall short but are open to receive training then the option would be yours as to whether or not you see this person as someone that you are willing to work with. On the other hand you may also ask them to do a trial service as a way of testing their aptitude before the real work begins.

virtual assistanceIn finding the ultimate choice, you want to ensure that there is compatibility in the way in which you guys can relate to each other. Listening to each other and communicating effectively will become more and more important with the distance playing a huge factor. Use the test run as a space to air all your concerns before making an official hire. That way, whenever you do make a selection, both you and your virtual assistant will always have a point of reference to go back to when fine tuning the characteristics and fixing the short comings where they may lie.

So don’t be afraid to make that bold step and go out for what you want. Make you need for a vacancy clear so that the right candidates can apply and you can start moulding your company the best way that you see fit. If done the right way, this could result in lasting relationships being built while at the same time taking your company to new dimensions. With the global recession taking a hold on everyone’s resources, a decision such as this one could turn out to be one of the best decisions that you could ever make. It just might save you and your company.

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The Good And Bad About Virtual Assistants

The Good And Bad About Virtual Assistants - Since the early 2000’s this global trend has taken over the virtual air waves and it has not stopped; in fact it has grown even more as more and more companies are finding ways to cut costs while at the same time increasing operations and productivity. This trend is the trend of virtual assistants. They come with the good the bad and the indifferent; some things you may overlook and others just might deter you from making this choice for both you and your business.

virtual assistantWhen most companies are looking to make a decision such as this, they try to weigh the positives versus the negatives. In this situation the positives are some really amazing ones. With resources being scarce these days, the idea of lowering overheads is one that companies almost will jump to immediately. Think about it, if you can get the same tasks done in the same or even less time without the costs associated with setting up and administration, you are already setting your organisation up for a bold move into the future.

Having a virtual assistant would also mean that a virtual presence would need to be created and maintained and this could also mean that your business can begin to even look at new avenues for expansion that would take your company to higher heights. It’s a good thing to dream but it is even better when that dream is something that can be realised.

Of course, to everything there is a flip side. One of the major negatives surrounding virtual assistants is their level of trust worthiness. Getting a virtual assistant would mean that you would have to trust someone who may not even be in your geographical space with confidential information about your company as well as trust them to make decisions on your behalf. On the face of it, this may not be so bad at frost, but it can become a sore in the business if communication strategies are not clarifies and everyone is not fully aware of their roles and responsibilities.

virtual assistant helpIf one thing is certain is that the inventors of the internet are human. This means that anything that we create has flaws. Technology can sometimes be unreliable and this can pose a problem for you and your company if the right contingency plan is not in place. Planning ahead becomes crucial when you have a virtual assistant. This means that is then event that something happens and your virtual assistant becomes unavailable for some time, the show can still go on.

As always, there is a good and bad to everything and in this case, the good definitely outweighs the bad. And once you have found your perfect candidate, you should be on your way to success in no time. Start small and build your confidence, you might not find the perfect fit on the first try but they are definitely out there waiting on you to put out that vacancy so that they can apply

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Nurturing Your Business With A Virtual Assistant

Getting the most out of your day and operating at optimum levels at all times means that sometimes help is needed. Virtual administrative assistants are a great way to nurture your business while getting the job done. Their skills and tasks can be as extensive as you need them to be and in the end it will be to the benefit of your company as well as their personal growth. The age of technology has made it a lot easier to monitor and evaluate your company and see where it is that you need the most help and you would then be in a better position to identify the tasks that you would require your virtual assistant to complete.

virtual administrative assistantData- Capturing and storing is one of key areas that you can use the skills of your virtual assistant the most. They can update old records and create new ones and having these tasks done by someone else would mean that you would have more time on your hands to make crucial decisions that just might affect the direction of your business in the years to come. Think about the transcription of a meeting or the collection of data from a research or a survey, instead of you spending the time to evaluate this information yourself, you could employ the help of your virtual assistant and get the job done in half the time, sometimes even less.

Organisation is also another way that your virtual assistant can nourish your business. They can help you to keep the books as well as manage your emails. They can help you to put the most important things first while not forgetting to sign off on the others. They can arrange meetings and even transcribe them after the meeting is done so that all parties involved can be made aware and will be kept up to speed. Transparency and accountability are two key things that are important to any company and by separating these crucial duties; you will be better able to see the whole picture.

virtual assistantOne of the characteristics of a good virtual assistant is their ability to conduct research that would help you to make decisions. Getting the right information from the right places can shorten the time that you would inject if it is that you were trying to get the job done on your own. Attention to detail and proper presentation will also help in this regard. They could conduct the preliminary research and then give you to evaluate; who knows they just might have suggestions of their own that would help your company to strive. A versatile virtual assistant will not only make your life easier but will also add value to your business and it is this unique value proposition that will enable your company to get from one dimension to another.

The right person can make a huge difference in the operation of a business. One good way to ensure the upward mobility of your business is to work smart and strategic in completing the tasks at hand.

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Great Ways To Work From Home

Are you looking for a way to make money from the confines of your home? Do you want something that is structured but at the same time does not confine you to one specific office space? Do you pay attention to detail and are curious to learn about new companies and industries? There are some great ways to work from home to achieve this, and one of the easiest is being a virtual assistant which might be just the right job for you.

benefits of working from homeI couldn’t imagine a job with better working conditions. Willingness to learn and adapt as well as a little formal training is all that you need and you are already on your way to earning an income from your home or coffee shop. Think about it, you get to invest your time into maintaining the operations of a business and being the right hand of the owner or manager. Essentially, you are constantly in training and learning how to be a better business leader while at the same time helping to keep the business afloat.

Its really the best of both world and it is a luxury that not many people get to reside in. You get the opportunity to constantly correspond with persons; possibly individuals from all over the world. The company’s electronic filing would be completely in your hands and you would also be required to set appointments, transcribe for meeting and process word documents. Additional job descriptions depend on the company that you would be working for but oftentimes they would provide additional training for the things that they would want you to know that would be specific to that organization.

work from homeWhat do you need on hand to start? A computer with a fast internet connection, a phone line that can be used to make calls, both locally and internationally, a printer, scanner or an appliance that would encompass both and a fax machine. These are all needed if it is that you are serious about the job and your aim is to be as successful as you can. After all, this just might develop into your career.

Harnessing and constantly developing your skills is what will help you to remain relevant in this field and in any other that you intend to engage in. You should be a master at communicating at all different aptitude levels. You should also be organized and have the ability to multi-task as many times you would be required to be working on several documents at a time as well as communicating with persons via the telephone or emails. Excellent typing skills will also benefit you but if you are not as great as you would like to be, you will get better in time.

Ultimately, being successful is life is about working smart and working hard. If you believe that the criterions above fit you perfectly a true test would be to start applying to jobs. You may never know where this decision might take you. Take a chance and step into a place where you can get to enjoy the best of both worlds.

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Best Ways to Manage a Virtual Assistant

One of the best options for entrepreneurs of the new age is hiring a virtual assistant to help you to get the job done quickly and effectively but without all the hassle surrounding having an assistant waiting for you at your office. But this also means that you are going to have to employ various ways to manage your virtual assistant that would also help your business to be transparent and open to anyone who may join your team further down the line. Simple tips can go a long way and make the relationship between you and your virtual assistant one that is sustainable. Here are some of the best ways to manage a virtual assistant.

clear job desc

The first step is to make your expectations of your virtual assistant very clear and allow them to voice their expectations of you. A detailed description leaves very little room for ambiguity as they will be aware of what is required of them and what the confines of the business relationship are.

Constant communication is a must. Understand that they would not be in the office out front and set guidelines for operating within that spectrum. You can even opt for a secured messenger program that would help with the security of your conversations and the disclosure of confidential information. Give you virtual assistants room to ask questions as the worst this that can happen is the event of a life changing mistake that occurred as a result of miscommunication. Constant communication means that you will have to communicate every day, multiple times a day. Using a program that will help you to track their hours can be very helpful. Set a timetable that is inclusive of work hours and day-offs so that you can also begin to structure yourself and get the most out of your virtual assistant.

Maintaining adequate files will also help to relationship to get better as well as the flow of operations and using the cloud is one of the best options that is available to date. This also allows for ease in continuity in the event that something abrupt should happen. In essence, this is your contingency plan so that when everything starts to go wrong, you still have documents that will help to get you back on track.

continuing partnershipYou want to have your virtual assistant with you for at least one year. This way, you will have sufficient time for them to be comfortable in the environment and then assess their performance. Firing quickly will only result in a decline in production as you will be taking two steps forward and one step back due to constant training. Set a personal timeline that will help you to determine the things that they should be able to master in a given period of time.

At the end of the day you want to do all that you can to secure the sustainability of your business.

These tips are sure to set you up for success and help to grow not only you but your virtual assistant as well.

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Virtual Assistants and the World of Human Resources

Today we will discuss about relationship between virtual assistants and the world of human resources. Anyone who is the least bit familiar with the world of human resources knows that the Human relations department of any business is the department that handles the recruitment process and the initial correspondence into a company. They handle the interviews, ask all the hard questions, shortlist candidates, interview again and then make a final selection based on who best fits the criterion that they have outlined for a particular position. But increasingly, as technology is taking over and more and more individuals are taking the reins of their own companies and becoming more technological, the need for human relations managers is declining and the need for virtual assistants is increasing.

human resources and va

This trend will have lasting effects on the world as we know it today. And if it is that your intention is to survive and be the best at what we do then we have no choice but to adapt. Adaptation means that we will no longer limit ourselves to what we learnt all those years ago but we will constantly be trying to find new ways to improve and expand the dimensions of our business. A part of that expansion includes but is definitely not limited to using a virtual assistant to help with the daily operations of the business.

Hiring a virtual assistant means that you will have to opportunity to hire someone from anywhere in the world as long as they can work with your timeframe, are willing to adapt and are eager to learn. If we think about it, one of the ways in which companies have remained successful over the years is by adapting best practices from all over the world and the only way that they could actually do that is by allowing input to come from individuals worldwide. So think of hiring a virtual assistant as that opportunity.

virtual assistants recruitmentIf as an organization you want to remain traditional in some ways, you could also ask your human relations manager to hire a virtual assistant for you. Once that is settled, all that would be left is for you to work out their payment schedules, ensure that you are both comfortable on the agreements and then let the magic begin. Everything else will come in time as long as you are open to the changes. For you, your company and the resources that you may have available, this just might be something that will work out for your benefit in the long run.

Ultimately, virtual assistants have challenged the notions that we had created about human interaction into the world of work. But this change can be a great one with even more positives than you may have initially thought of. Of the many trends that are arising and going viral daily, this is definitely one for the long and one that will become beneficial to all parties involved. It’s a bold step but it is also one that will yield great rewards for you.

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