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What you need to know before hiring a virtual assistant

Caucasian woman standing and holding a clipboard and smiling at the camera now that she has free time from since hiring a virtual assistant.

VG Staff

March 31, 2023

A virtual assistant (VA) is an invaluable asset for any business. As the demand for remote work increases, so does the demand for virtual assistants. With a virtual assistant, businesses can delegate tasks to a professional, skilled individual, freeing up time and resources to focus on other areas of the business.

Having a virtual assistant on board can provide a variety of benefits for businesses. VAs can help with administrative tasks like scheduling meetings, responding to emails, and customer service. They can also help with research and data entry, freeing up time for you to focus on more important tasks. Additionally, VAs are cost-effective and efficient, providing businesses with the ability to outsource specialized tasks without the need to hire additional staff.

In this article we will provide you with an in-depth look into the world of virtual assistants, covering everything from the benefits of hiring a VA to tips for finding the right fit for your business.

Benefits of virtual assistant services

Virtual assistant services offer many benefits as opposed to hiring a virtual assistant directly. Below we’ll list the benefits you receive from a virtual assistant service provider.

  • You’re protected under professionally reviewed confidentiality agreements.
  • You’re provided the tools you need to work successfully with your virtual assistant.
  • You know your virtual assistant has been pre-vetted for quality and efficiency.
  • You’ll always have access to a Client Success team, available to offer you support or guidance.
  • You’ll have access to an online portal with a variety of resources, including training videos and documents and can take advantage of the latest technology to make your work easier.

When you hire a virtual assistant directly, the benefits are similar but may be more limited. You do have the benefit of being able to pick and choose what services your VA provides and when they provide them, but this can also mean that some tasks fall through the cracks or aren’t completed at all. Virtual Gurus provides clients with direct access to the best virtual assistant talent in North America, plus all of the tools and resources we’ve developed during our years in business.

Who should consider hiring a virtual assistant?

Looking down at an African American woman as she sits at her desk smiling after hiring a virtual assistant. She's wearing a white tank top and bold yellow and blue necklace.

Business owners are some of the most likely professionals to benefit from hiring a virtual assistant. After all, when you’re busy running a business, it can be hard to find the time to take care of all the administrative tasks that need to be done. A virtual assistant can take care of these tasks, freeing up your time for the more important parts of the business. No matter what type of business you run, a virtual assistant can help you with tasks such as responding to emails, scheduling appointments, data entry, researching, and more.

Entrepreneurs often need help with setting up their businesses, securing funding, and managing their day-to-day operations. A virtual assistant can help with tasks such as setting up websites, creating marketing campaigns, researching potential customers and vendors, doing competitor diligence, and managing customer service inquiries.

Executives at C-Suite and VP levels  can also benefit from hiring a virtual assistant. Executives are often tasked with managing large teams and multiple projects, attending meetings, and traveling. A virtual assistant can help lighten the load by taking care of tasks such as scheduling travel, organizing meetings and events, and creating reports.

Preparing to hire a virtual assistant

Before you start the hiring process, it’s important to have a clear idea of what tasks you want to delegate. It can be helpful to make a list of all your responsibilities and then prioritize them based on which ones are most important or time-consuming.

Once you’ve determined what tasks are most pressing, it’s time to consider how much time and effort they require–and whether those requirements fit into your budget. To get an accurate picture of how much money will be involved in hiring a virtual assistant, consider these factors:

  • The cost and packages available for each service provider.
  • How many hours per week or month your VA will work on average (i.e., 80 hours/month).

If you’re delegating tasks that require creativity and problem-solving skills, it can be helpful to consider how much time it would take you to do those things on your own. If a task only requires basic clerical work (like filing or data entry), then the cost per hour for that service will be lower than if someone needs to research or write content for you.

Identifying tasks to delegate

  • Listing the tasks you need to delegate
  • Prioritizing the tasks
  • Deciding whether you can delegate the task yourself, or if you need to involve another team member
  • Considering how long the task will take and how often it needs to be done

Delegating a task is one of the most important skills you can develop as a leader. The more effectively you delegate, the more time you’ll have to focus on your own work, and the better decisions you’ll make.

It’s important to note that there are two types of delegation: task and project. For example, if you need to delegate a task that will take an hour or less to complete and doesn’t require any special skills from the person who does it, then that’s a task. If you’re delegating something much larger, such as writing a blog post for your website, then that’s more likely project-based delegation.

Understanding the costs associated with hiring a virtual assistant

The costs associated with hiring a virtual assistant can vary depending on the type of work you need to be done. If your business requires specialized support, such as legal or financial services, then you may have to pay more than someone who’s just looking for general administrative tasks.

Virtual Gurus makes it simple for you with a flexible monthly subscription–all costs included. No surprise fees are lurking around the corner. Packages start at 10-hours per month and go upwards depending on the amount of support you need each month and can be adjusted as your needs change.

Hiring a virtual assistant with one of our flexible monthly subscriptions provides you with more than just your virtual assistant. Included in your package you’ll find:

  • Dedicated Onboarding Specialist
  • Ongoing Client Success support
  • Access to our pre-vetted Talent pool (add additional VAs for more services at no extra cost!)
  • Virtual assistant vetting, training, and coaching
  • Confidentiality coverage
  • Project management tools through our Talentplace platform

Researching virtual assistant services/options

Don’t jump straight into hiring a virtual assistant before you evaluate your options. You can do this by exploring the available services, comparing their offerings and deciding which option lines up with your needs. Here are some questions to ask when evaluating a virtual assistant service:

  • How much does it cost?
  • What are the payment options?
  • What services do they offer?
  • Where are the virtual assistants located? Will there be timezone issues?
  • Are these services what you need, or do you need something more customized?
  • How will this service provide value to me and my business?
  • Can I get better results for less money elsewhere?
  • Do their reviews and recommendations look good overall?

When researching virtual assistant services, you’ll want to look at their pricing structure, the types of tasks they can complete for you and how long it takes them to complete them. Ideally, your VA will be able to offer both quick turnaround times and high-quality work.

Look for quality over price when choosing a virtual assistant service or person — don’t just go with whoever charges the least! You may find that paying more upfront saves money later on since you won’t have to pay for rework or fixing mistakes made by less-skilled virtual assistants who aren’t as knowledgeable about what they’re doing.

Writing a role description

You will want to write a role description that clearly outlines the tasks you wish to delegate, the skills required and the time commitment you are willing to make. A quick example is that if a task takes less than 10 minutes a week, consider outsourcing it instead of doing it yourself.

Below is a list of items Virtual Gurus recommends you take into consideration before you begin hiring a virtual assistant.

  • Industry experience
  • Education
  • Timezone preferences
  • Availability (daytime, evenings, weekends)
  • Experience in specific tasks, tools or platforms

An example of a good starting role description would be “I am looking for a virtual assistant to help me with creating and sending out a weekly newsletter. I would like the VA to be available Mondays through Fridays between 9 am and 5 pm Eastern Standard Time. The ideal candidate should have experience in email marketing, copywriting and design.

Finding and selecting the right virtual assistant

Caucasian woman with blonde hair is holding her phone while sitting in front of a laptop and writing on a notepad.

Now that you’ve chosen the virtual assistant service best for you, it’s time to begin the process of hiring a virtual assistant. Once you have a list of virtual assistant candidates to evaluate, you’ll need to narrow down your choices. The first step is to determine whether or not you should interview them directly or trust your Onboarding Specialist to provide you with a direct match.

If your business is small and has few employees, interviewing each candidate may be more cost-effective since it gives you an opportunity to get to know them better and see how well they fit with your company culture. However, if there are many applicants for the position, this process can take much longer. In these cases, using a direct matching process like the one Virtual Gurus offers may be preferable; instead of spending hours interviewing each person individually.

We understand that choosing the right virtual assistant can be a difficult process. That’s why we have an extensive vetting process for all of our candidates to ensure that you get the best possible match for your needs. We also provide ongoing support throughout your relationship with your virtual assistant to ensure you both have continued success.


 Evaluating candidates

Once you’ve found a few candidates, it’s time to start evaluating them.

  • Look for experience in the industry: A virtual assistant should have experience working remotely. If they don’t, make sure you ask questions to evaluate their capacity to work autonomously. You may also want to consider the virtual assistants experience in the specific industry of your business.
  • Look at communication skills: Communication skills are important when hiring any type of employee because they may be communicating with customers and colleagues on behalf of your company. When working remotely, this becomes even more important because it’s hard to express tone through written communication and body language is nonexistent through this method of communication.
  • Evaluate time management skills: It’s also important to make sure that candidates understand how your business hours work and can manage their own time accordingly (i.e., not staying up late working). This will help ensure that deadlines are met without sacrificing quality workmanship or timeliness in completing tasks requested.

Managing your virtual assistant

Once you’ve chosen your assistant, don’t set it and forget it. It’s important to set up a solid structure for how you intend to manage your virtual assistant and keep your processes running smoothly.

  • Set realistic expectations.
  • Make sure that you understand what you are getting for your money. You should have a clear idea of what tasks the virtual assistant will be performing and how long it will take them to complete those tasks. If there is anything unclear about any of these things, then it’s best to ask questions so as not to waste time or money later on down the road.
  • Maintain a good relationship with your virtual assistant company. At Virtual Gurus, we check in with our clients regularly to see how they’re doing and make sure they’re getting the most out of our services. We want to hear from you!
  • Your feedback is crucial! We won’t know when you need our support if we don’t hear from you. Don’t shy away from providing constructive feedback, your virtual assistant and virtual assistant service provider both want to give you the best return on your investment and save you time in the long run.

Setting expectations

Setting expectations is the most important step in any project. It’s crucial to set clear goals and objectives, define scope, and establish timelines and milestones from the start.

Setting clear goals will help you define what success looks like for your project so that you can measure its success or failure along the way. Make sure everyone involved knows exactly what these goals are before moving forward with any work on the project so there are no surprises down the line when things don’t go as planned–and be sure not only to communicate them verbally but also put them in writing!

Virtual Gurus has a direct link to our feedback survey right in our project management platform – Talentplace. This makes it easy for you to request support or give your virtual assistant recognition for their hard work.

Establishing a timeline

Establishing a timeline is one of the most important steps in hiring a virtual assistant. You need to set a timeline for the project, tasks, deliverables and meetings.

Setting a realistic deadline will help you avoid getting caught up in the details at the expense of the overall project. If it’s something that can be done overnight or over a weekend, then great! But if not (and most things won’t), then make sure your virtual assistant knows how much time they have before moving on to another task or project.

Establishing communication protocols

Communication will be the backbone of your relationship with your virtual assistant, so it’s important to set some ground rules. While some clients prefer email and others prefer phone calls or even text messages, there are some basic guidelines that should be followed by everyone:

  • Make sure that you document your virtual assistant’s contact details, such as their phone number and email address.
  • Keep a copy of your virtual assistant’s working schedule so you know when they’ll be working on your tasks, and the best time to get a hold of them.
  • If possible, get into the habit of replying to emails within 24 hours (or whatever timeframe works best with your schedule). This shows that you value their time and work ethic–and will make them feel more comfortable working with other people who expect fast responses!

Benefits of virtual assistant services

Older, Asian man with glasses looking at his laptop with plants behind him.

  • Reduce overhead costs: You can eliminate the need for a physical office and all of the expenses that go along with it, including rent, utilities, furniture and supplies.
  • Increase productivity: A virtual assistant will be able to work more efficiently than you do because they don’t have to worry about anything other than completing their task at hand. They won’t waste time with water cooler chat or coffee breaks before getting down to work on whatever projects you need to be done next.
  • Save time: When moving forward with hiring a virtual assistant, you’ll find that they’ll be able to complete tasks in less time than it would take you personally (or even with an in-house employee). This means that any time saved by using this type of service will directly translate into higher profits for your business!

Summary of key points to consider when hiring a virtual assistant

  • Virtual assistants are a great way to free up your time and expand your business.
  • If you don’t have the time or expertise to do something, hire someone who does.
  • If you’re not sure what you need, hire a virtual assistant service to help you figure it out.

As your business grows, you’ll need to hire more people to keep up with that growth. This is why Virtual Gurus provides flexible packages that grow with your business, whether that means you need more hours each month, you need more virtual assistants or both!

Final thoughts

Hiring a virtual assistant can be a great way to get more done, but it’s important that you do your research and select the right company and the right person for the job. Ask about the company’s policies on training, ongoing support and other issues that might come up during your virtual assistant’s tenure. If you’re looking for a long-term relationship with an experienced virtual assistant who can help you grow your business, then Virtual Gurus is the right choice!

VG Staff

We connect you with the right talent so you can delegate and save time, confident your projects are in capable hands. Our remote team of skilled Virtual Assistants does it all, from bookkeeping and marketing to data entry and administrative support.

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