Because of the fast-paced industry to which they belong, many small business owners can sometimes get overwhelmed that they consider it as a welcome option to get help from skilled individuals, like virtual assistants, in managing certain tasks.
In relation to that, if you are trying to find a great virtual assistant, check out these tips on just how you can do that:
Who Qualifies As A Great Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant is someone who can accomplish a business owner’s tasks through online transactions. Some might say a virtual assistant is just like a secretary, but some business owners may assign work that falls outside a traditional secretary’s common responsibilities.
For example, aside from organizing the schedule of the boss, the virtual assistant may be also required to do the following:
- Check emails
- Write replies to those emails
- Formulate content for the website of the business, which could mean writing articles according to certain specification or even doing some graphic works
- Communicate with the clients for various financial transactions
- Do fund transfers into accounts of clients or virtual employees
A virtual assistant, despite living in a different community, city, state, or country, is someone who has the boss’ trust and who has to be responsible enough to safeguard that trust. That is why it is so important to find the perfect virtual assistant.
How Can A Client Find A Great Virtual Assistant?
In order to find the right virtual assistant, a client has some options, such as:
Going to freelancing websites
Today, there are a myriad of online platforms where a business owner can post a paid ad seeking the services of a virtual assistant. All the client needs to do is to do a simple search online, and voila! Many websites will pop up, and from which they can choose from. The client can then sign up as a project owner (or other similar titles) and post his ad. Take note that you might have to pay a fee first before you’ll be allowed to post an ad.
You might be surprised by how many freelance virtual assistants are in your social circle. Just be sure you specify what kind of virtual assistant you’re planning to hire when mentioning this to your peers and colleagues. You might also want to be specific whether you’re looking for a male or a female virtual assistant.
Going to freelancer groups on Facebook
Facebook is the most well-known of all social media sites, and, not surprisingly, many freelancers take advantage of such popularity in order to find work. You may be able to find freelancer groups that would allow you to post ads seeking the help of a virtual assistant for your business. You can also scout through ads posted by actual virtual assistants in many of these groups. Before taking any action, however, just be sure that these things are allowed by the groups’ admins as rules may differ from one another. A fail-safe strategy is to directly talk to the moderators of these groups so you’d know what and what not to do.
Posting an ad on your Facebook wall
If you have a sizable following on FB, this is a great way for you to find the virtual assistant that you need. The good thing about this is that you will not need to get permission from anyone else. But, be sure your ad doesn’t contain stuff such as racist or sexist descriptions, or, else, your post will be deleted or your page will be reported or be taken down. Make sure as well to safeguard your own privacy by conducting applicant interviews via chat.
What Skills Should An Ideal Virtual Assistant Have?
Has reached at least second year of college
A virtual assistant does not necessarily have to be a college graduate, but should have some credited units at least to the second year of a four- or five-year college course. This would help you know what to expect from the virtual assistant when it comes to knowledge and skills.
Is skilled in taking notes during online meetings
This skill is very important because the last thing a business owner wants is to have their train of thought interrupted by the virtual assistant because the latter is having a difficult time catching the flow of the conversation. If the business owner agrees to it, the virtual assistant may be able to use Skype text chat for the online meetings so that everything is written down. This is also useful in cases where the conversation has to be transcribed for record keeping.
Knows how to do financial transactions
This may mean computing payroll of the virtual employees and conducting deposits and fund transfers. It may also mean paying utilities and other bills of the business owner, which they are too busy to attend to themselves. The range of financial tasks may depend on the trust placed on, and the skills of, the virtual assistant.
Able to handle basic word-processing programs like MS Word
When the applicant says, “I know MS Word,” does that mean the applicant knows how to type data into a file and then save it and nothing else? Or, does that mean the applicant knows how all those tabs at the top of the file page work and how to use them as well? It is important for the business owner to find and hire a virtual assistant that will not make any errors with a simple word-processing task.
Has excellent communication skills
This is very important because many business owners may need the virtual assistant to do vital communication tasks for them, especially if they are rushing to an urgent meeting or a business transaction that requires immediate attention. It is also important that the virtual assistant knows how to communicate well to avoid crucial mistakes, such as writing the wrong words in emails. A simple grammatical mistake can mean disaster in business if it leads to misunderstandings with clients.
Has sound computer skills
A virtual assistant must have great computer skills because all transactions and tasks are done via a computer. Aside from word-processing programs, the virtual assistant also has to know MS Excel or similar spreadsheet programs, and MS Powerpoint or other programs for creating business presentations. The business owner might also have other computer software that they will require the virtual assistant to master.
Has great touch typing skills
It isn’t surprising that many potential virtual assistants find this requirement to be awkward, especially if they haven’t been in the business for very long. However, it is very important to know touch typing because the business owner will need someone who can think and type at the same time, which is essentially what touch typing is. If the virtual assistant is used to pecking at individual keys hesitantly, that has to change because there are many other applicants who have already developed their touch typing skills to perfection.
Knows how to write content in English
No, a business owner isn’t looking for a Shakespeare, but for someone who knows how to write well. This means having basic knowledge in grammar, punctuation usage, and the like so that the virtual assistant will be able to make some content, especially when another employee tasked with that quits all of a sudden, and the business owner needs assistance in writing right away.
Other Considerations When Looking For A Virtual Assistant
You need to be clear about your job offer.
What this simply means here is that you should state the terms of the job offer as clearly as possible. That way, there will not be any miscommunication between you and the applicant.
Be prepared to negotiate.
A virtual assistant is a freelancer, so the terms of payment might differ from applicant to applicant. If you quote a fair price and the applicant wants to ask for a higher amount, ask the applicant why you should pay that much. The higher amount may be because the applicant is bringing more talent and skills that you are not aware of but may benefit from.
Be sure about the schedule you will ask the virtual assistant to adhere to.
This means that you should take into account time difference especially if the virtual assistant works from a different community, city, state, or even country. Check if the virtual assistant will be able to do your tasks hours before you start work, and if this fits into the terms of the contract.
If you are searching for a virtual assistant, it is important to have a clear idea of who and what you are looking for. Nowadays, a virtual assistant is more than just a secretary. An ideal applicant should be educated up to at least second year of college, skilled in note-taking, and able to handle financial transactions for the business owner. Not only that, but a virtual assistant also needs to be knowledgeable about word processing programs, can communicate well in English, and is able to operate a computer easily. Lastly, the virtual assistant needs excellent touch typing skills, and should be able to write fairly well.
The said qualifications make your business transactions so much easier to handle, as well as allows your virtual assistant to stay longer with you for your mutual benefit.