Hiring your virtual assistant (commonly known as a VA) is an exciting and nerve-racking task:
— Exciting because it shows that your business has successfully grown to a level that you need assistance, and now you are moving from being a solopreneur to building a ‘team’.
— Nerve racking because you are adding an expense, hiring a stranger (most of the time) who will have your personal and business confidential information, and giving up control over many tasks you were used to doing yourself.
Also, you must be asking yourself: “What questions should I ask a VA during the interview process if I have never hired one?”
You can find the answer to almost any question you are asking yourself about the process of hiring a VA on the internet.
On the other hand, I feel that a few topics are left out of those articles, and that is why I wrote this blog for you.
Here are 7 aspects you should be aware of when hiring your first VA:
1. Most VA’s work on a retainer system:
If you are not familiar with this term, it pretty much means you pay upfront for the VA services.
You may still find VA’s who will invoice you at the end of the month – mostly VA’s new to the business, but seasoned VA’s will charge you before starting working for you, for sure.
2. Sign a contract:
You should not share your information, passwords, or anything until you sign an agreement with the VA, for your own and the VA’s protection. The VA may sign your agreement if you have one. If not, she will definitely have one for you to sign.
3. Share passwords, give email access, and give access to areas with sensitive information:
It is very likely that before you realize it, your VA will have almost all your passwords, your credit card number(s), access to your email(s), your address, and also access to areas with sensitive information about you and your customers.
You want your VA to be as independent as possible and do the work without depending on you. So giving her all that information may become inevitable, even if right now you don’t think she will need them.
You should consider signing up for a safe password sharing system like LastPass, which offers a very good free plan. Here is my blog on sharing passwords and setting up LastPass. Check with the VA what secure password sharing system she uses.
4. Minimum of hours a month:
Most VA’s will have a minimum of hours a month, so if you are planning to hire a VA for two hours a month, you may have a hard time finding one. My monthly minimum is 10 hours, for example.
5. Time spent on email and phone calls are billable:
Any time a VA spends doing something for you is billable time. So don’t be surprised at the end of the month when you receive the time report that you are paying for the phone calls you had with her during the month.
6. You will have to train your VA:
Most likely, you will have to spend some of your time training your VA on your likes and dislikes, where you store files, what tasks you want done and how you want them done, etc.
It is important that you do not hire a VA when you are overwhelmed with tasks. Just because you just hired this very experienced VA, it does not mean she will start to do tasks for you automatically and independently right off the bat.
My article Should I Wait Until I Am Busy to Hire a VA? discusses this topic in more detail.
7. She will give you suggestions on how to improve your business and systems:
Excellent VA’s will, very politely, give you suggestions on ways to improve your business. More than that, you may see yourself being nicely ‘yelled at’ by your VA because you are not following through your goals or just took a client that will give you loss and no profit. VA’s become your business advocate, and they will take care of your business as if it were theirs.
When interviewing VA’s, make sure you cover the topics above just so you both are on the same page. Here is a more comprehensive article to give you ideas on what to ask when interviewing a VA.
Fabi is a mother and a virtual assistant. She assists business owners with setting up systems to distribute their content online to build the know, like, and trust relationship with their audience and eventually generate more sales. Click here to contact Fabi.