You’ve probably heard the saying “Good help is hard to find!” That can be especially true for small-business owners when they’re looking to hire a virtual assistant. While virtual assistants are not as prevalent as other occupations, it is a field that is growing in popularity and new VA businesses are popping up daily. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because it means that the market can be more competitive and you, as a business owner, are able to find better assistance for your business. It can be a bad thing because it can be difficult to find a quality VA, especially if you’ve never hired one before.
That’s why I’m sharing things to look for and things you don’t need when you’re searching for a quality VA. Keep reading to find out more!
Characteristics of a Quality VA
Hiring someone for your small business can be nerve-wracking. You have poured your heart into building your business, and now you plan to trust someone else to help you grow it even more. That’s why it’s so important to find someone who has the necessary characteristics to compliment you and your business.
The first must-have in any quality VA is a positive attitude. You will, hopefully, be working with this person for an extended period of time, and you want to be sure this person is pleasant to be around. I don’t mean over-the-top, never-gets-upset, annoying positivity, but you definitely don’t want a person who is a grumpy drudge whose bad mood spreads to everyone they meet. This is your business, and you should be able to be happy while working it!
Another thing you should look for in a quality VA is a professional demeanor. This person will be representing you in whatever areas you hire them for. You are running a business, and you want to make sure that they positively contribute to that impression in the interactions this person has with your clients and other businesses. You can observe this in how they present themselves to you through email and other conversations that you have with them and through their website. If there are lots of misspelled words, grammatical errors, and slang, you might want to pass, unless that’s the impression that you want for your business. One thing to note – I do not mean that a quality VA has to be formal. You want someone who represents you, not a big corporation, so find the one who fits you best.
A third characteristic that a quality VA has is they are coachable. At some time during your working relationship, you will have to give some constructive criticism or guidance to your VA. That’s a part of being a business owner! What you want in those situations is a person who is able to receive that guidance gracefully and willingly without getting defensive. A quality VA is open to receiving constructive criticism and is willing to change as needed to do what is best for your business.
Always remember that this is a two-way street. A quality VA deserves a quality client who is willing to discuss these things frankly without defensiveness on either side. A great way to be sure that you can keep your quality VA is to be open to listening and valuing their ideas.
A fourth, and maybe most important, characteristic of a quality VA is reliability. You want to make sure that you hire someone who does what they say they will when they say they will do it. This can be the biggest challenge when finding a VA. It’s a good idea to see testimonials from past clients or other individuals to look for consistency in their work. You can also tell a lot about a person by the interactions that you have with them during the initial hiring process or trial period. If they frequently miss deadlines or don’t respond to emails or calls within a reasonable time period, you might want to keep looking.
Necessary Skills of a Quality VA
When you’re hiring a virtual assistant, it is so important to consider the skills your VA should have. Every business is different, so every VA position is a little different. You know your business, so it is essential that you think about the skills that your business needs. I would recommend spending time thinking about your business needs and figuring out the specific skill set you want for a quality VA in your business.
One set of skills that you should consider is the communication skills needed. A quality VA should be able to clearly present ideas to others. You want to be able to understand their written and spoken communication. This makes it so much easier to understand what they are trying to tell you.
Communication skills also include the ability to listen and complete work according to your directions. If a person cannot (or more likely will not) follow the directions that you give to them, they probably aren’t the right VA for you. A quick way that many people check this is to give some specific instructions on how to apply. In this article, the author discusses that as much as 40% of job applicants don’t follow directions when applying. You definitely want to get a VA that can follow directions!
Other things to consider are the technical skills that you want your virtual assistant to have. A quality VA should have many of the skills that you need for your business. Any VA should have basic computer skills such as the ability to send an email, create documents, and interact over the phone, through text, or on chat platforms. Beyond that, you have to think about your business to consider what technical skills your VA needs.
Other skills that a quality VA should possess vary widely from business to business. If you need a VA for social media management, their skills are very different from a VA for web design. If you are looking for a virtual assistant to do your marketing, they will need very different skills than you would look for in a VA for general admin tasks. You know what your business needs, and you should look for the VA that has many or all of those skills!
Please remember this important note about the skills of a quality VA. No virtual assistant has ALL of the skills you will need for your business. You will run into excellent virtual assistants who might be missing some of the skills you need. In this situation, you have two choices. You can either teach the fabulous VA the skills they are missing or hire another quality VA for those tasks. There’s no rule that you can only have one VA for everything.
What You Don’t Need to Have in a Quality VA
We’ve talked about several things to look for to find a quality VA. There are also things that aren’t necessary to get a quality VA. While these things might be nice, you can miss out on an excellent VA if you only consider individuals that have all of these things.
One thing that is not necessary for a quality VA is extensive experience. Since being a VA is a relatively young field, there are many people who don’t have years and years of experience. If you only consider a VA with lots of experience, the number of virtual assistants available becomes much smaller. That means you are less likely to find a VA with the availability you need. You are also likely to have to pay A LOT more for a VA with significant experience.
Hiring a newer VA opens up the field a great deal. There are many out there who have worked hard to develop the skills needed to be a quality VA. These newer virtual assistants often give extra effort because they want to establish themselves in a field that is becoming quite competitive. They are also more likely to have the availability to support your business, and they usually cost less than a VA with loads of experience. As a small-business owner, this can be a serious win when you begin to consider hiring a VA!
Another thing that isn’t needed when looking for a VA is to find one person who knows how to do everything. As mentioned before, you are more likely to find a quality VA when you look for individuals that specialize in certain areas. Frequently, when virtual assistants specialize in a certain area, they are more knowledgeable and passionate about that area. It is highly unlikely that you will find a VA that knows how to do everything that you need for your business. There is now the possibility for your VA to learn a new skill or you could hire another VA for this purpose. There are positives and negatives for both, so you have to consider what’s best for your business.
Summing It Up
Now you’re ready to find a quality VA for your small business! When hiring, you should consider the characteristics and skills you want you VA to have, as well as what areas you might not need to focus on. When you find the person that closely matches what you’re looking for and has the things I discussed, you’ve probably found a quality VA for your business.
Of course, I should mention that I am a virtual assistant myself. If you are looking for a quality VA, I would love for you to check out my services here (shameless plug 😉). I offer packages and reasonable hourly rates, and I specialize in Pinterest management, blog management, and email management. I would love to talk with you about your current VA needs!
Now it’s your turn. What is most important when hiring a quality VA? What did I leave off the list that is essential? Comment below or head over to my Facebook page to discuss it!
Until next time,