Your business is growing and that’s always a good sign. But on the flip side, you’re realizing that you are starting to forget to do small tasks or you just wish you had someone to keep you on track with deadlines. As you browse the internet, you keep finding information on Virtual Assistants.
What is a Virtual Assistant (VA)?
In my own words, a VA is someone who runs their own business, virtually contracting out their expertise in any type of administrative field. Virtual Assistants work with entrepreneurs, executives, small business owners, bloggers, and anyone who needs administrative help so that they can focus on their own tasks and not get bogged down in details. There are even VA’s out there to do personal tasks for you too.
But how do you find a Virtual Assistant?
Surprisingly, when you search for a VA on Google, the results are paltry and there are lot more results on how to become a VA, not their webpages. I find that most business owners have no idea how to even begin looking for a VA and stumble around until they find a VA haphazardly. Sometimes the relationship ends up going well, sometimes not. This article is to point you in the right direction on how to find the perfect VA for your business and lifestyle.
First, and most importantly, write a list of what you are seeking help with. Is it calendar management? WordPress maintenance? Do you need a whiz on compiling spreadsheets? Perhaps it’s market research? Whatever it is, making a list of the tasks you need assistance with will help you narrow down the appropriate VA’s to contact when you find them.
Now that you have that list compiled, I believe these are the best places to search and find a VA:
1. Linked In. LinkedIn is great for professionals who want to view a VA’s experience and past work history before contacting them. If they have published any posts, it gives you a chance to see their style of writing. Searching on LinkedIn pulls up numerous VA’s that you can sift through to find some that could be good for what you are looking for. Type in “Virtual Assistant” on the search bar and click “People with Virtual Assistant Titles”. A great thing about LinkedIn is that you can filter based on connections or area. If you filter by connection and find one through a 2nd connection, you could reach out and find out how they know the VA and if they would recommend them.
2. Virtual Assistantville. Virtual Assistantville is a great webpage where you, the business owner, can submit an RFP for free and have VA’s submit proposals. You can then wade through the proposals and talk to the few that seem like the best match for you. There is also a directory where you can find VA’s based on their specialty. Since VA’s have to pay to be part of this directory and to see the RFP’s submitted, the pool of VA’s will be small but more serious about their business. Similarly, another place to look is the International Virtual Assistant’s Association, where you can also submit an RFP. Their pool will be even smaller because their member fees are even higher for VA’s.
3. Twitter. Most people don’t even realize what a valuable asset Twitter is for finding a VA. I find it the most comprehensive tool for being able to pull up a bunch of VA websites and sifting through until you find a few that could match what you’re looking for. On the search bar of Twitter type in, “#virtualassistant”. Many VA’s advertise their services with tweets and that particular hashtag. You can click on their photo, which takes you to their profile and it should have their webpage link within. This is, by far, the fastest way I have found for browsing multiple VA webpages.
4. Freelance websites. For those of you who are budget conscious, finding a VA through a freelancer site may be the way to go. You can post a job on sites such as Odesk, Elance, Freelancer, PeoplePerHour, and others and find a VA that could be willing to do your assignments for as little as $5/hour. I have worked with one or two clients from these sites that have been fantastic, but I have heard horror stories from people who have worked with VA’s that would disappear for days at a time, miss deadlines with no explanation, or turn in sloppy work. I do not wish to turn you off entirely from these sites as there are great people on them, but buyer beware.
5. Referrals. Referrals are the best way to find a VA, but I saved this for last because sometimes – you really don’t know anyone who has worked with a VA. But dig around long enough and you may just find someone who knows of a great VA. Another option would be to reach out to any internet forums or groups you may be part of and ask if anyone there has recommendations. Ask them to be honest on the pros and cons of working with said person and go from there.
Growing your business to the point where you know you need a Virtual Assistant is a great problem to have. But finding the perfect VA should not be another overwhelming task. So what are you waiting for? Find that perfect Virtual Assistant so that you can start freeing up those hours in your life to focus on running your business.
Kiri has been working in the administrative field since she was 15 years old. What started off as a part-time job after high school blossomed into a full-time business when she realized she loved supporting people but wanted more flexibility than corporate America provided. Currently a Virtual Assistant for almost four years, she is constantly striving to figure out ways to make other people’s lives easier. Kiri is a Mount Holyoke College graduate and currently lives outside of Boston, MA with her family. In her spare time she blogs about Star Wars, drinks tea, and eats olives.