A How to Guide on Hiring Virtual Assistants, Freelancers, and Contractors
Guest Author: Connor Gillivan, CMO & Co-Owner of FreeeUp.com
One of the biggest challenges every entrepreneur must face is that of hiring people. While it is perfectly understandable to want to do everything on your own since this is your baby, after all, there will come a point when you need to swallow your pride and start trusting others.
It’s tempting to try to do things on your own because it’s faster and easier and it doesn’t incur an additional cost. While this may seem true, the cost is greater than you know, especially in the early stages of your business. And even if you have some “free” time then, things are bound to change as your business begins to pick up momentum.
Pretty soon, you’ll discover just how valuable it is to bring in additional help.
But why should you wait for that time when you can start preparing for it today?
Why Should You Hire Virtual Assistants?
This is perhaps one of the biggest questions every entrepreneur needs to ask themselves and believe it or not, some of the answers are already staring them in the face. Sometimes, they only realize it when it’s already taking a toll on their productivity and well-being.
Too Much Time Spent on Repetitive Tasks
As the CEO, your time is best used on high-value tasks or tasks that directly impact the success of your business. Low-value, repetitive tasks like inbox management or reaching out to influencers via social media shouldn’t be part of your to-do list anymore because this is something you can pass off to someone else.
Connected to the first one, the possibility of getting overwhelmed is another reason to hire virtual assistants who will help you run your business.
You’ve probably found yourself in situations where you’ve been working the entire day but still failed to allot time for activities that are geared towards your business’ expansion.
Your business needs your skills and focus. You’re not going to be able to provide these when you’re going out of your mind trying to figure out how to fit everything into your schedule.
Despite being the “brains” behind the business, there will always be aspects of it that other people can do better than you. Whether it’s an entirely new process or a task that requires a very specific set of skills, bringing in experts will go a very long way.
You may know how the business works, but do you know how to properly promote it over Facebook? Do you know how to do SEO so your business can be found easier? Is creating eye-catching graphics something you can do?
Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your business is to bring in people who are better than you. This is a golden nugget that builds good leadership.
What Can Virtual Assistants Do?
To understand how crucial hiring a virtual assistant is, one needs to understand exactly what they can do and how this can help your business.
There’s been a big misconception among business owners as to what exactly a virtual assistant has to offer. The general consensus is that they can do pretty much everything under the sun. While part of that may be true at some level, the best way to define a VA is an assistant who works virtually, i.e. not at your office (if you even have one). So that in itself doesn’t really say anything at all about what they can do.
That being said, let me explain further the three commonly understood categorizations of VAs:
- Specialist VAs are those who have niched down in specific areas such as newsletter design, bookkeeping, project management, graphic design, Amazon SEO, WordPress development, social media marketing, and blog writing. These are the experts. They don’t normally do tasks outside of their niche expertise.
- Personal VAs are more focused on personal assistant type tasks like appointment setting, scheduling, email management, and booking flights. They usually don’t have specialized skills, whether hard or soft, outside of this scope.
- General VAs are sort of a mix between a specialist and a personal VA. They do a variety of administrative type tasks in specific areas. For instance, one could work with WordPress sites doing post assignment and scheduling while another could do partner research and outreach for newsletter features while maintaining the newsletter schedule.
So you can find a VA for pretty much anything you need done. You just can’t expect one person to be able to do everything, unless it’s the general administrative type of tasks that a general VA takes care of. Mind you, general VAs do also niche down to a certain extent. For instance, you can hire a general VA with experience using this and that software, but you can’t expect any general VA to be well-versed in every kind of software out there.
Which Tasks Should You Outsource?
Now that you have a better understanding of what VAs do, the next step is to determine which tasks you should outsource.
Every business has a long list of tasks and processes that require attention. To help you decide which ones to delegate and which ones to keep doing, the best thing to do is to classify the tasks according to the following categories:
- Tasks you should do – high-value tasks you’re good at and you actually enjoy doing
- Tasks you should not do – low-value tasks that are not the best use of your time whether you enjoy doing them or not
- Tasks you don’t want to do – tasks you dislike doing that others can cover without compromising quality
- Tasks that you can’t do – tasks you don’t have the knowledge or skills to perform
Listing down all the tasks according to their respective categories should give you a better idea of which to ones to outsource to virtual assistants.
It should be noted, however, that hiring Specialized VAs is usually more expensive compared to hiring Personal or General VAs because you’re paying for honed skills and niche experience. I say usually because it also depends on where they live and where you hire them from.
Where Do You Find Them?
One of the perks of being a business owner today is the accessibility of freelance marketplaces where you can hire virtual assistants without making long-term commitments. Dozens of websites offer deep and talented pools of freelance virtual assistants that you can hire either on a project basis or more flexibly over a longer term.
Each of these websites allows business owners to meet and eventually hire virtual assistants depending on their needs and requirements. Though there are similarities in the services each of these websites have to offer, it’s best to do your research about each of them before deciding which one you should partner with to help you find the people you need.
What’s the Hiring Process Like?
Though not necessarily applicable to all websites, there are generally two models of services that are currently being offered.
There are services like Upwork that send you a list of virtual assistants that match your requirements that you can interview and personally assess. Then there are services like FreeeUp that send you pre-vetted candidates that have already gone through a pre-vetting process.
This works perfectly well with different business who have varying preferences when it comes to hiring people. It doesn’t matter if you are the type who wants to be heavily involved in the hiring process or if you don’t have the time to filter resumes and interview candidates because there’s something for everyone.
Speed-wise, there’s nothing much to worry about because these websites can practically send you a person to interview within 24 hours after you send your request. Depending on the outcome, you may actually be working with the person you hire within 48 hours or less.
As for those services that offer pre-vetted freelance VAs like FreeeUp, you can be assured that the candidates you get sent are top-quality and well-matched. This does save you a lot of additional time if you’re looking at the process as a whole.
In addition, FreeeUp prides itself in having the top 1% of freelancers in its pool, and guarantees that in the event that you don’t find the candidate to be a perfect match, you will get assistance in refining your request and be sent another one ASAP.
How Much Do You Pay Them?
If you’re doing this for the first time, one of the things that is probably bothering you is how much you need to pay for virtual assistant services.
Outsourcing tasks is relatively cheaper compared to hiring someone in-office because you’re not paying for office space, equipment, benefits, or any other overhead. You also don’t pay monthly salaries because freelance virtual assistants work on an hourly or project basis, meaning you only pay for actual work done.
The price point usually starts at $5 for basic level personal and general VAs though you may find a couple of personal assistants who are willing to go lower. I wouldn’t recommend doing that, though, because based on experience, hiring someone willing to work for less than $5 usually means they come along with issues like poor communication and attendance or skill set deficits.
The sweet spot would be between $10 and $50, depending on the skills and level of expertise you need. This is a good place to start if you’re looking for higher-level assistants who can help you grow your business.
It’s also worth noting that location plays a huge role when it comes to virtual assistant rates. There are typically two types you can choose from. You can either hire virtual assistants from the West or virtual assistants located across other, developing parts of the world. For instance, being native English speakers and residents of the United States, US virtual assistants charge a lot more compared to non-US ones.
Outsourcing tasks to virtual assistants is one of the best decisions you could ever make as a business owner. Not only are you giving yourself the chance to focus on high-value tasks, but you are also putting your business in a good position to dominate the competition by hiring talented individuals with top-notch skills that can contribute to your business in a very big way.
You have to be ready for the changes that will come as your business evolves. Hiring the best talent available at the right price is one good way to prepare for it. You don’t need to take the big risk of missing out on opportunities by waiting until it’s too late.
Working With Us
If you’re ready to give outsourcing a shot, you can hire a freelance virtual assistant in a few easy steps:
- Sign up for a FreeeUp client account and complete the setup – it only takes a few minutes.
- Log in to your account and click “Submit Request” at the top of your dashboard. Then fill in the details about the project. This includes information about your business, the skills and level of experience you need, your budget, and how you want to be introduced to the freelancer.
- Wait for FreeeUp to send you a match, usually within 24 hours.
- Connect with the freelancer to set a time to have a quick chat to see if they’re the right fit.
- Hire the VA or request to meet another one.
About the Author:
Connor Gillivan is the CMO and co-owner of FreeeUp.com, a rapidly growing freelance marketplace making hiring online simpler. He has sold over $30 million online, has hired hundreds of freelancers to build his companies, is a published author, and is the owner of ConnorGillivan.com. He currently lives in Denver, CO.
Please note that Eventual Millionaire is an affiliate of FreeeUp. FreeeUp provides freelance services to business owners around the world and compensates their affiliates when referrals are made.
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