How To Hire a Virtual Assistant

By August 19, 2014 Hiring No Comments

It makes good business sense to hire a Virtual Assistant when you consider the myriad of tasks that come with running a business. If you try to do all of them, you’ll spend more time working IN your business rather than ON your business.

So, what should you consider if you’re wondering how to hire a Virtual Assistant?

One consideration in working with a Virtual Assistant is whether to hire an overseas VA (for the purpose of this article this would mean a VA in a country with a lower standard of living and hence a lower hourly rate), or working with one based in your own country (or at least a VA based in a Western country).

The truth of the matter is that when you compare both side-by-side, you get a completely different experience and results.

The most obvious difference is the cost. An overseas VA may cost as little as $5 – 8 an hour, while Western world hourly rates can be upwards of $45 an hour, and in the region of $80 per hour for advanced skills such as internet marketing.

One thing to remember is that ultimately it may not work out cheaper to work with an offshore Virtual Assistant. Digging a little deeper, there are other differences which will not come to light until the working relationship is established. There is a possible language barrier and cultural differences, as well as different time zones.

You need to factor in additional time to explain tasks if there is a language barrier. Differences in nuances are magnified when you are working virtually, where the written word is relied upon to a greater extent. This even applies to straightforward projects such as formatting documents or creating Powerpoint presentations.

Spending hours going back and forth on Skype and email can really eat into your time, and a 20 minute review could turn into a 3 hour one if misunderstandings have occurred.

The worst case scenario is when you have to rewrite or redo the work yourself. It’s fine if you have to make a few tweaks here or there but if you find yourself redoing the majority of the work, then rather than saving you time, your VA is costing you a great deal.

So in reality, while an offshore VA looks much “cheaper” on paper, it may turn out to be quite different in terms of the time you may need to invest, not to mention the added stress.

Take some time to analyse the exact tasks you’re thinking of outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant. Are they particularly complicated, requiring lots of instruction? How much initiative would the VA need to take in order to get a quality result? Could there be potential misunderstandings when it comes to explaining what needs to be done?

Ask yourself whether it may make more sense to hire a VA who speaks your language. Yes, the hourly rate will be higher, but it’s not all about the upfront cost. It’s important to avoid false economies, as outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant is an investment in your business. Rather than being a source of frustration, a mutually beneficial VA relationship will result in time savings and reduce stress.

 

 

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