At the start of 2023, 16% of the world’s companies identified as being 100% remote. In addition, the number of people who work from home has risen by 159% since 2009.
This trend shows no sign of slowing down either. It is predicted that by 2028, 73% of all departments are expected to have remote workers, with a significant proportion of these holding the title of virtual assistant.
If, for whatever reason, you haven’t heard of this role, think of a personal or executive assistant who works solely in an online capacity.
Using online communication tools, virtual assistants collaborate with clients and complete assigned tasks remotely. Virtual assistants are becoming popular for businesses and individuals who need extra help but don’t want to hire full-time employees.
Why hire a virtual assistant?
Perhaps you started your own business out of necessity during the pandemic. Or you decided to go freelance because your side hustle took off unexpectedly.
You didn’t have the time to set up your operations effectively and were thrown into the deep end. Unfortunately, inefficiency costs money.
Now that you have the resources to take a breath, sit back, and evaluate your next step, you’re wondering whether you should hire a virtual assistant.
To focus on the growth of your business, you’ll need to delegate and automate as many of your mundane routine tasks as is humanly possible.
Hiring freelance virtual assistants is a simple, cost-effective solution because:
- You’re not responsible for employee-related taxes, insurance, or benefits.
- You don’t need to provide office space or equipment.
- You pay for the work you need when you need it.
What does a virtual assistant do?
A virtual assistant is an independent contractor whose sole purpose is to support your business. Generally proficient with various project management software, virtual assistants are a perfect addition to any business that sells products and services online. Much like a personal assistant in a traditional office-based setting, VAs understand the ins and outs of calendar management, following up with multiple clients, and scheduling meetings.
However, the digital age has morphed the role quite significantly. Getting a resume or two from a dedicated VA that understands the basics of digital marketing, social media management, web research, and search engine optimization (SEO) is not uncommon.
Virtual assistant services even extend to helping you set up processes to streamline your operations and increase your efficiency.
General administrative services
General administrative tasks are the most common hiring for virtual assistant services.
Suppose you can think of tedious, time-consuming administrative daily tasks that you perform during your business operations. In that case, an expert virtual assistant can complete it quickly and efficiently, freeing up your schedule.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of repetitive tasks your freelance virtual assistant will gladly take off your hands.
- Bookkeeping and payroll
- General administrative support
- Data entry
- Bank account management
- Client invoice management
- Business processes reporting
- Email management
- Customer support
- Calendar and schedule management
- Travel arrangements
- Making phone calls
- Cloud computing accounts (DropBox, OneDrive, Google Drive) management
- New employee onboarding management
Business marketing services
Business marketing services are essential to the growth and well-being of your business and are another weapon in your virtual assistant’s arsenal.
From emails to social media platforms, your freelance virtual assistant can plan, implement, and manage your business marketing processes so that you can focus on converting leads into sales.
Here are some of the more important and specific tasks you can expect from an experienced business marketing virtual assistant.
- Blog articles and blog management
- Social media management
- Social media strategy
- Press releases, op-eds, and newsletters
- Content creation such as case studies, reports, brochures, ebooks, and how-to guides
- Industry-specific service and product reviews
- Translation of content marketing material
- Lead generation
- SEO and web marketing strategy
- In-depth competitor analysis
- Website administrative management
- Email marketing strategy and management
Other virtual assistant tasks
However niche your task or project is, there is a dedicated virtual assistant with the necessary skills and experience to help simplify and speed things up for you. While administrative tasks are essential, sometimes you need someone who is more than a data entry specialist.
Virtual assistants work in industries from web design and development, payment gateway and ticketing systems management, video creation, and editing.
Believe us when we say there are expert virtual Assistant jobs available at the click of a button. No task is too obscure or mundane that an excellent virtual Assistant can’t handle.
How to hire virtual assistants
Hiring virtual assistants is a business process that requires time, planning, and resources you cannot spare–talk about a catch-22!
You’ll need to follow these steps for a successful hire:
- Sourcing candidates
- Assessing candidates
- Interviewing short-listed candidates
- Making an offer
Sourcing your virtual assistant
Sourcing your right virtual assistant begins with a well-crafted job description to attract the right candidates. You will likely get many replies from entry-level candidates. If this is not what you want, then make sure you are clear on what tasks and projects need to be completed. If you want an experienced virtual assistant to handle your social media accounts, for example, you need to focus on getting the wording right.
Keep the following in mind when crafting an effective job listing.
- Make the role clear and optimize the job title with relevant keywords.
- Identify your unique company culture and include a company summary.
- Include a short, engaging overview of the role.
- Use bullet points for responsibilities and qualifications.
- Stay clear of superlatives and extreme modifiers.
- Focus on growth and development opportunities.
- Avoid gendered language that reinforces biases.
- Proofread, edit, and rewrite the job description as necessary.
How to attract the best virtual assistants
In this day and age, you’ll need to get creative and innovative to attract top virtual assistant talent. Competition for the ideal client can get pretty heated, and with the labor market, as it is, candidates usually have more than one offer on the table.
To reach as many virtual assistants as possible, you post your job description in places with lots of engagement.
- Professional platforms like LinkedIn
- Virtual assistant staffing companies
- Freelance marketplaces
- Recruitment agencies
- Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) providers
Checking out freelance sites
Websites like Upwork and Fiverr have plenty of willing applicants, and many small business owners are attracted to them because of their low hourly rate. However, finding an experienced virtual Assistant on these platforms can be tricky. Often candidates are unvetted and require excessive management.
Assessing your virtual assistant
Once you have sifted through the numerous responses to your job listing, it’s time to assess the likely candidates.
Vetting and assessing your virtual assistant takes quite a while, and you’ll need to develop appropriate tests to ensure you get the proper executive assistance.
Your ideal virtual assistant should check the following boxes at a minimum.
- They have exceptional communication skills
- They are familiar with current technologies like desktop sharing and cloud services.
- They have in-depth experience with word processing, data entry, and various administrative tasks.
- They are pros at maintaining online calendars and scheduling appointments.
- They have excellent organizational and time management skills.
- They have a reliable internet connection.
- Past clients will vouch for them.
As a bonus, look out for virtual assistants with specialized expertise in digital marketing, web research, website development, and social media management.
While there are excellent virtual assistants without a bachelor’s degree or decades of experience under their belts, you should focus on candidates who demonstrate a practical understanding of a code of ethics such as the one published by the Canadian Association of Virtual Assistants (CAVA).
Finally, remember that independent contractors who are members of organizations like the International Virtual Assistant Association are sought after and can be verified in a searchable directory.
Interviewing your virtual assistant
Now that you’ve narrowed your choices, it’s time to schedule interviews with the candidates.
Gone may be the days of hundreds of hopefuls streaming in and out of your office, but attracting remote international talent has its own challenges. Depending on the role’s requirements, you may need to conduct multiple rounds of video interviews.
While technical skills are essential, so are a communication style and an attitude that fit you, your team, and your business.
You may be pressed for time but try not to rush this phase of the hiring process.
Offering the position
Considering the growth of remote work in many sectors and industries around the world, hiring global talent should be a breeze.
Instead, international recruitment can be an overwhelmingly complicated process, and you need to cover all your bases:
- Compliance and local tax laws.
- Local labor laws and regulations.
- Time tracking.
- Rates and salaries.
Compliance and local tax laws
Whether you and your virtual assistant are in the same country, the services offered must comply with local and international anti-money laundering regulations and tax laws.
Large financial institutions are not the only ones under scrutiny from regulators.
Local labor laws and regulations
You need to ensure compliance with international labor standards as well as local labor laws in your country of operations.
Depending on where your virtual assistant is based, their local labor legislation may impact the employment contract you offer them.
Because you are often not in the same location, it’s vital that anyone providing administrative services is accurately tracked, as you only want to pay for actual time worked.
Rates and salaries
Virtual assistants command a wide range of salaries. This is dependent on a variety of factors.
- Niche or specialization
According to ZipRecruiter, an average virtual assistant’s salary in the United States is estimated at $58,139 a year or approximately $27.95 an hour.
Salary negotiation is another part of the hiring process that requires experience, knowledge, and finesse.
Let Quickly Hire find your virtual assistant
We take the headaches out of your recruitment process by combining the Quickly Hire freelance marketplace and our team’s decades of professional experience and industry knowledge.
Our goal at Quickly Hire is to find, assess, and match skilled professional virtual assistants with trusted organizations like yours for lasting successful partnerships.
Quickly Hire negotiates rates and salaries for you–our team makes offers and provides you with backup plans if your first choice declines.
With the Quickly Hire virtual assistant service, you can hire and manage your global dream team with a click of your mouse.
Invest in your business and outsource the small stuff to a Quickly Hire virtual assistant expert so that you can focus your resources and energy on growing your business efficiently, quickly, and sustainably.
Remember, time is money.