Most entrepreneurs struggle to grow their businesses because they need to wear many hats. In most cases, they are covered up by data entry, DIY accounting, emailing, and scheduling which should not be the case. Hiring a freelance virtual personal assistant can free them up from these non-managerial tasks. So, instead of being trapped, you can now have time for strategic planning in levelling up your business. There are so many freelancer sites that offer services of a virtual assistant. But it may be challenging to find the right fit you need. This guide can help you with how to source an exceptional freelancer.
Make a list of the common tasks you want to outsource
Take a hard look at the things you do daily. Which of these tasks do you think to cover most of your time? Group the tasks according to which are more important and less important to you as a business owner. You may also want to group them based on where you excel and where you need improvement. Below is a list of the most common tasks you can outsource to a virtual assistant:
- Answering support tickets
- Booking appointments with clients
- Calendar management and scheduling
- Content creation
- Creating basic reports on deliverables and sales, etc.
- Database building like updating email or contact lists on your CRM
- Email management – filtering, replying to, and sending emails.
- File management – organising and sorting files
- Following up with clients/customers
- Hotel and flight booking
- Liaising jobs between you and other team members
- Occasional inbound and outbound calling
- Occasional research on certain topics for blog posts, newsletters, or others
- Participating in discussion forums or message boards on your behalf
- Personal errands like purchasing gifts for loved ones online
- Preparing PowerPoint presentations as needed.
- Setting up auto-responders
- Social media management
- Taking down minutes of meetings
- Transcription of audio recordings, podcasts, voicemails, and video recordings
Write the task description you want to outsource and the qualifications you need for each task
Create a description of each task you expect a virtual assistant to perform. To attract exceptional freelancers, be as detailed as possible. These pieces of information are important for possible candidates to determine if they are a good fit. So, it may also help to give an overview of the qualification and skills needed for the job.
Choose a hiring partner
The best way to advertise your need for virtual assistants and other outsourced positions is through a freelance marketplace. Like hiring agencies, they can help you source exceptional freelancers. Choose a hiring partner that serves your niche. It helps float your classified ads to the right set of eyes. They can do a preliminary screening of qualified candidates. Their services don’t end with the hiring process. They can help you with some HR works like contract signing and onboarding.
Conduct initial interviews
Once candidates for virtual assistant start sending resumes, you can create a shortlist by checking their qualifications and previous work experiences. You may also want to do some background check yourself based on the character references they have provided. A good rule of thumb is to eliminate applications without character references. It’s a clear sign that the applicant is not confident enough to share who he/she is and how he/she works.
Request the applicant to do a trial task
You’ll never know if a candidate is a good fit without seeing him/her in action. A trial task is a good gauge if an applicant is a good fit. For a virtual personal assistant, the best trial task is to ask the candidate to research a topic and create a report out of it. You can provide some simple guidelines on how to report to see if he/she could follow simple instructions.
Conduct a final interview
Initial interviews can help you screen applicants for your virtual assistant needs. A final interview will help you set an applicant’s expectations before onboarding. To source an exceptional freelancer, you must set the right expectation the first time around. You can also build rapport before entering an employee-employer relationship.