TWELVE STEPS TO HIRE A VA FOR YOUR BUSINESS
You can’t run a coaching business all by yourself.
That’s what I realised in March when I started considering hiring a virtual assistant.
In the first few months of this year, I became much more visible online, especially on Facebook. I started a FB group and my posts on challenges and fun of an expat mom appear regularly on my page and in several groups on FB. Also, I’ve been growing my mailing list and trying to learn about landing pages for my coaching programs. Last year, I created my own website, but some technological aspects of running an online business are just too much for me. This all takes a lot of time when you want to nurture your clients, run live workshops, be creative in your business, and also take care of your family.
In late January and February I often felt exhausted and frustrated with menial tasks that would never end. Things that would probably take half an hour for a skilled digital expert would take me several hours.
I decided that something had to be done. And it definitely had to be before April because that’s when we were planning our family vacation and I would be away for 2 weeks. I didn’t want to spend my holidays designing a landing page.
So in late March, I decided to hire a VA. I must admit I didn’t do it the “right” way. I didn’t interview several potential candidates, I didn’t have a shortlist, nor did I have a formal trial period.
The way it happened was more organic. I worked on a few projects with a friend of mine from Poland who’s much more savvy in online marketing and technology than I am. She was helpful and I saved time that I could spend on my business or with my family instead. So I decided to hire her for as a VA. For me, it’s very important to trust and like someone I work with.
And it’s been great. Since working from home is often lonely, having VA to chat with every few days is a godsend. I can bounce ideas off of her and we can brainstorm together.
There’s one caveat: my VA doesn't speak English and my work is mostly conducted in English. We’re both Polish and that’s the language we use to communicate. It would be an advantage to have a native English speaker but for me it’s actually nice to speak Polish, since I'm surrounded by foreign languages all the time. So the language issue is not a problem, at least for now.
Hiring someone when your business is still growing is a bit of a stretch financially. But the amount of stress and frustration taken away from me is worth every penny.
So here are some of my tips if you decide to hire a VA:
1. Create a list of tasks you need help with;
2. Write down a list of expectations about your work together;
3. Start by word of mouth and if you can’t hire someone that way, try UpWork, Freelancer or Guru;
4. When you choose one or two candidates, speak to them on Skype or FaceTime to see them in person;
5. Be patient and take your time to find the best candidate;
6. Make sure you can trust her or him and that you like talking to them;
7. Check their referrals and experience to make sure they have the skills you need;
8. Make sure your VA is ready to learn new things and doesn’t lag behind the fast-changing digital word;
9. Have a check-in chat every month to see that you’re both happy with your collaboration;
10. Be forgiving if they make a mistake. They are human, just like you;
11. Make sure they understand your business and your short-term and long-term goals;
12. Don’t be afraid to delegate even when it seems scary.
It’s been less than 2 months so my VA and I are still in the very beginning stage of a business relationship. We’re still learning about each other’s styles, demands, weaknesses and strengths.
But I know that I wouldn't go back to not having an assistant.
Having more free time to do things that are more significant is rewarding and liberating. I feel calmer and happier, knowing that I don’t have to waste my time on tasks I find boring or overwhelming.
What are your thoughts?
Let me know if you want to brainstorm how a VA could help you and your business.
PS. Since I wrote this post, my VA informed me that she’s concentrating on copywriting and can’t work for me anymore. Luckily, I have time to finish some of the projects she’s been helping me with.
And to look for another VA. My hiring tips may come quite handy:).