Many business owners tend to do everything themselves. Wrong! Not only that you'll have less time for other things in your life but it can also affect your business growth. By the way, you will very likely spend your time handling the emotionally draining and boring jobs that you don't enjoy at all.

This is why many e-commerce entrepreneurs are hiring virtual assistants, giving a huge amount of their work to individuals or agencies who are ready to take on the weekly or daily tasks. Although these tasks can help you run your business they aren't necessarily concentrated on the growth of your business. An own virtual administrative assistant is a kind of like you have another pair of hands when working something. 

How to Know If You Are Ready to Engage a Virtual Assistant?

It’s not difficult to know when you really need a virtual assistant. If you are experiencing stress every single day as well as other “good” problems related to success, it's high time to consider employing a virtual assistant.

You'll definitely want such an assistance if you have: 

  • Realistic expectations — Before deciding what to outsource, it's critical to understand the difference between the non-outsourced and outsourced versions of work. That's why you should always maintain realistic expectations.
  • Clear tasks — Before starting to cooperate with a new virtual assistant, make sure to clearly define all the tasks and measurable activities. Be specific when providing the tasks to your VA. For example, you should tell your assistant to schedule ten tweets per day, reach out to a few guest posts on a regular basis, and leave comments on 15 blogs every day, rather than simply ask him to increase website traffic.
  • Overarching strategy — Hiring a virtual assistant is a good choice if you need to pass off some of your regular tasks to someone else. However, if you do not have time and/or knowledge to develop a high-level, overarching strategy, then an expert consultant is considered to be a better choice.
  • Time to train and teach a new VA — As with other new employees, learning a VA to do the job properly may take a lot of time. To teach someone how to perform some tasks, you must clearly understand the entire business process. If you don't have time for live talks, consider creating videos and documents that enable you to talk with your virtual assistant while walking through drafts. 
  • Disposable income — If you have the disposable income or revenue to hire someone who can help you back your time. Whether you need someone for a full-time job or a job that only takes 3 hours a day, it's a good idea to employ a virtual assistant. That will save you time anyway.

Did you go through all these steps? Do you meet all five requirements? If so, you are all set to hire a virtual assistant!

What Types Of Jobs Can a Virtual Assistant Handle?

Regardless of what kind of business you are in, an assistance by a professional is always welcome. A personal assistant can help with a variety of tasks like management of social media, administrative tasks, online sales, as well as your purchase when buying a home, real estate, or business space. You only need to determine what you can outsource to him.

Here are some of the most common things and tasks a virtual assistant can do for you:

  • Social media management
  • Store management
  • Customer service
  • Personal errands
  • Cold calling
  • Research
  • Data entry

As for the administrative assistant, they can do the following jobs:

  • Email management
  • eCommerce management
  • Customer information management
  • Data management
  • Transcription services
  • Documentation and presentation
  • Itinerary planning
  • Miscellaneous assistance services
  • Research 

In addition, a virtual administrative assistant can provide other services, helping clients with:

  • Technical troubleshooting
  • Calendar management & appointment scheduling
  • PDF conversion
  • Merging and splitting of documents 
  • Spreadsheet creation 
  • Call screening
  • Google Drive & Dropbox organization
  • Planning meetings

Where to Find and How to Employ a Virtual Administrative Assistant?

Don't know where to find your first virtual assistant? Just follow these steps and you will get the best one for your business.

Look at the right places

There are 3 unique options:

  • Full-time administrative assistants who focus 100 percent on your business;
  • Part-time employees or team for ongoing needs only;
  • Short-term, specific tasks;

When it comes to ongoing assistant support, your best choice is to look for the online services. Those services typically manage the basic tasks like managing social media accounts, managing emails, writing website content, and organizing travels. Most of those services are based in the United States and Central America. Bear in mind that the rates are significantly higher when working with an US-based team (starting at over $20/hr). Alternatively, you can hire multiple individual assistants.

If you are in pursuit of a full-time administrative assistant, look toward Asia to get low-cost, highly educated workers. The Philippines are also convenient to work with, as they speak English pretty clearly and offer affordable services. While the Filipino contractors are more suitable for customer facing interactions, Indian assistants are better for technical backend jobs.

The third option is to find a virtual assistant on Upwork. There, you can find a wide selection of talented workers who handle short-term, part-time, and full-time jobs.  

Choose a virtual assistant standing out from the crowd

You will get a lot of applicants shortly after posting your job. To pick the best candidate, you need to filter through all of these applicants. Make use of the following three tricks to substantially reduce the list of applicants and eliminate the low-quality assistants.

Ask the candidates to take relevant online tests

Require a certain phrase or word to be included in their response

Interview shortlisted candidates and require references

If you have followed all the steps described above, chances are good that you will find the right assistant for your business. 

How to Manage Your Virtual Administrative Assistant?

Once you have hired a virtual assistant, provide him with the required documentation and instructions. Then establish preferred communication channels (via emails, Skype, Google Hangouts, and the like). 

Trust is a key part of the partnership between employers and employees. That being said, be sure to give your assistants a limited access to your social accounts, online store, website, or whatever else they will use to perform the jobs. Don't give them login credentials to access your accounts. Wherever possible, edit the permissions of every team member and restrict access for some of your admins.

Note that every person has a different mindset and skill set. While some people need a detailed structure to work productively, others can work on their own without hassle. Here are some examples of qualities required to be a good fit for a job:

  • Facebook experience
  • Zendesk experience
  • Oberlo experience
  • Shopify experience
  • Wordpress experience
  • Dropshipping business experience is a plus
  • Compassionate and courteous and  customer service
  • Problem-solving ability
  • excellent English communication skills

It’s a great pleasure to teach and train someone to do something if he is willing to learn new things and work hard. However, if somebody doesn't like to take on new tasks and challenges, you'll not get a real value from him or her.

If you have put a lot of time and effort into training your new VA, but things don't work out yet, you should let him go. And do it quickly. There are many other virtual assistants waiting for the job opportunity.

Time Tracking

It is a daunting challenge to monitor all virtual assistants all the while in order to find out how much they really work per hour. Yet, it's possible if you enforce time tracking. 

There are quite a few free time-tracking tools, such as AccountSight, Toggl, Hubstaff, Tick, Trigger, and so on. Besides, some VA services use their own software to track the time. These tools have specific time-tracking features. While some take screenshots at regular intervals others export the time with numerous integrations.  

Ideally, your virtual assistants should be able to independently work without a lot of oversight. Even so, you should check in with your VA from time to time to rest assured that there's a way to improve their work or streamline the process if needed.

Once your virtual administrative assistants become comfortable with the tasks and get familiar with the entire process, you may expand their duties and outsource more tasks. Otherwise, you can hire additional assistants to handle other aspects of your business.

Bottom Line

When starting a private business, there are plenty of things to do like responding to clients, advertising your services or products, managing social media, fulfilling regular orders, and much more. 

Even though many entrepreneurs regard outsourcing as an "unnatural" practice, it can help their business stay afloat all the time. So give up as much of your job as you can, passing off some of your duties and tasks to virtual assistants. It will help you achieve the elusive work-life balance, allowing you to focus on both your business and your family.