How to Hire the Best VA (and Get a Good Night’s Sleep for Once)

Running one business while growing two more requires a lot of time and a ton of focus. In fact, keeping up with it all takes everything I’ve got some days.

It happens to all of us sooner or later. You start your business on a wing and a prayer, figuring it out as you go. Beginning with an idea, a simple product or service, and a client or two, it’s fun!

Exciting even. :)

And you can handle everything on your own at first. Marketing. Customer Service. Sending out invoices. Updating your website. Networking. Social media. Planning programs. Paying taxes.

That’s the life of an entrepreneur, right?

But when word gets out that you’re good at what you do (and it will), business will pick up. It certainly happens for my clients! And if you’re not careful, it will easily feel like a runaway train that can run right over you.

Your business may suffer as you drop first this ball and then that. Your kids might forget what you look like while you’re locked away in the office. Sometimes, it even effects your health.

When I began waking up at 3 a.m. on too many nights thinking about those to-do’s, I knew it was time to get help. So I hired a VA, a virtual assistant.

That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Now, I work with my private coaching clients in depth about this, because finding the right person is critical. The wrong person (or the right person doing the wrong things) will only add to your misery.

On the other hand, getting this right
will change everything for you.

There’s a lot involved in hiring well, but here are some quick steps for starters.

1.Get really clear about what you want them to do.

Capture all the things you do (or should do but don’t) in a week’s time. Group them into natural categories and notice which tasks drain your energy the most. That’s where you want help first.

What kind of technical skills should your VA have? WordPress or Joomla? Creative design or spreadsheet management? Customer care or copywriting?

2. Get equally clear about the personality that works best.

Be careful about hiring just based on who you like. What else matters? Do you need a creative intuitive or a deliberate planner? Big picture thinker or detail manager? A simple task manager or a high-level collaborator?

3. Gather prospects, and narrow your choices.

Write up a detailed description of the kind of person you’re looking for. Outline key skill sets and personality strengths you need, the role they will play in your business and the kinds of tasks they’ll do.

Post that online at sites like Assist University, or Upwork. As the inquiries come in (and they will), study them carefully. Go over their websites and notice their online presentation.

Do they have the kind of professional presence you’re looking for? Do they have the kind of experience you want them to have or the skill set you’ll need?

Thank them all, but narrow your list to two or three candidates. Then, set up a get acquainted call with your finalists.

4. Send them on a test drive.

My favorite way to explore an important relationship like this is to give them a test project to try. It shouldn’t be too big or require too many hours, but it should require the skill set you need the most. And yes – you should pay for their time.

I asked my current VA to work on a logistical problem that I hadn’t been able to solve. When she came up with an elegant solution that worked, I was hooked.

5. Don’t make a commitment – yet.

When you’re ready to hire, ask them to commit to a 90 day trial so that both of you can see how you do together. Schedule, in advance, a conversation for that 90-day mark. Together, discuss and determine if this is a relationship you both want to continue. If not, let each other go with grace and good wishes.

But if it’s working out well, then relax, settle in for a long term relationship.

And get some sleep. :)

Photo Credit: Dawid Cedler on Flickr



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