How to Ask the Right Questions and Hire a Virtual Assistant with Ease

How to Ask the Right Questions and Hire a Virtual Assistant with Ease

If you are researching questions to ask a virtual assistant, I am guessing that you are considering taking that leap and hiring one? Congratulations, you are one step closer to enjoying more time and more freedom in your life and business.

Still not sure if a VA is for you right now? Hopefully this blog post will help get your head around the hiring process and give you the confidence to go ahead and get started.

The virtual assistant world has grown massively in the past nearly 7 years I have been a part of it. More and more people are branding themselves as virtual assistants offering a vast array of services and expertise. This is of course a fantastic opportunity for you as an entrepreneur, coach or consultant, as you can benefit hugely from highly skilled people to support you and your business. Equally it means there are so many people to choose from, which can be overwhelming. So where do you begin?

Getting Started

Before you even consider signing a contract, there are a few things you need to consider to make sure you are in the right place to hire a VA:

  • Get really clear on EXACTLY where you need help
  • Identify the MUST HAVE personality traits, who do you work best with? What type of person are you looking for?
  • Write a job description outlining the tasks so you can easily identify the skill set you need, this will help you hire for the role rather than just the tasks.

You could easily hire someone to help with your tasks on sites such as Upwork and Fiver. Although I wouldn’t recommend that necessarily, my first port of call would always be to ask your network for a recommendation before using a freelancing site to hire someone. More often than not you will find there are a number of VAs in the groups you are members of on Facebook or someone in there will at least know a VA and be able to recommend them. Lastly my suggestion would be to use social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to find a VA using hashtags or a quick search.

My personal favourite is to go with a recommendation, as this is likely to increase your chances of finding the right virtual assistant for you. Now it’s time for some research

Questions To Ask A Virtual Assistant

Once you have found a few VAs, undertaken some social stalking, shortlist your favourites and then interview them. Most VAs that are running serious businesses will offer new clients a free Discovery Call to see if you are the right fit to work with one another. Use this call as your chance to find out as much as you can about them, to make sure you are on the same page and share the same values. To help you get started here are 20 questions to ask before you hire a virtual assistant.

So here are a list of the questions to ask a Virtual Assistant before your hire them:

  1. How long have you been working as a virtual assistant?
  2. Why did you decide to become a virtual assistant?
  3. What do you enjoy most about your work?
  4. What is your background, experience and do you have a specific skill set?
  5. Do you work as a freelancer or do you have your own company?
  6. What time zone are you located in?
  7. What are you normal working hours?
  8. How many clients do you have?
  9. Will my work be subcontracted to someone else?
  10. What are your main methods of communication?
  11. What is your turnaround time on projects?
  12. How soon can I expect you to respond to an email or voicemail?
  13. Do you charge for time spent emailing or on the phone?
  14. How is time billed? In 15 minute increments? By project?
  15. How much do you charge an hour? Do you offer retainers?
  16. How do you invoice?
  17. Are you willing to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement?
  18. What software/programmes do you use and are experienced with?
  19. What security measures do you have in place? (Password, Data, Backup etc..)
  20. Do you have any client testimonials?
  21. Out of everything you do for clients, what is your favourite? Where is your zone of genius?
  22. Do you have insurance?
  23. What happens if you need to take a day off sick?

These questions to ask a virtual assistant are intended to get your started, I am sure you will think of your own as you go through them, ones that are more relevant to you and your business. However, hopefully these 20 questions are enough to help you feel less overwhelmed and more in control. I’ve created a copy of them for you to download HERE.

My Top Tip

Always go with your gut. If it feels right and you think you’ll work well together, chances are you will. The times I haven’t gone with my gut instinct are the times when things haven’t quite worked out the way I wanted or expected and I’ve ended up kicking myself! If you still aren’t sure, give them a trial project before your hire them, ‘date’ them and see how they perform. Then you’ll know if you can trust your gut or not!

Are you looking for a VA? Do you need some advice? Let’s grab a coffee and have a virtual chat. You can book a call here.

How to Conduct a Business Systems Audit for Growth

How to Conduct a Business Systems Audit for Growth

How to Conduct a Business Systems Audit for Growth

You might not even be aware, but running an online business involves a lot of processes and systems. Every task you perform is linked to a process and a bigger system.

Systems don’t last forever, sadly. They are in fact an ever evolving part of your business that change as you build, grow and scale. With that in mind, it is a good idea to audit your business systems every quarter to six months by blocking out time in your calendar to take stock.

Time to step into your CEO shoes.

WHY YOU NEED TO AUDIT YOUR SYSTEMS

The whole concept of systems might seem overwhelming, but our everyday life is full of them. The way you clean your bathroom, do your washing, even putting your children to bed at night, is your own little process or system. But systems don’t last forever. Your children grow up and things need to change.

Sometimes systems just stop working.  It isn’t because they weren’t good systems in the first place, but rather our needs shift and our systems need to adjust in line with those changes.

Before the whole world was thrown into a pandemic and covid-19 created a new normal, my grocery shopping was disorganised. I didn’t meal plan. I frequently dragged my two children to the supermarket in search of food and inspiration. When the government told us that we were to “Stay home. Save lives. Protect the NHS”, suddenly things needed to change. So we actually started meal planning, making a list of the things are needed for those meals and then going shopping once a week, our one essential trip. I’ll be honest, it has been a complete game changer. The stress of looking at the fridge and wondering what the hell I am going to cook, and then making a desperate trip to the supermarket has stopped and with a new process in place it has suddenly become so much easier, even more joyful. And it is a process that is here to stay.

At times it can be very obvious that things aren’t working out and something needs to change. Other times you might not be fully aware that things are broken. This is why taking the time to check-in and review is so important, so you can actually ask yourself – is this really working? Or could this be done better?

Whilst conducting a business systems audit in itself isn’t really rocket science, blocking out time to go through every process with a fine tooth comb, is pretty dull and boring. But it is essential. Take the time to ask yourself whether the systems and tools that you DO have in place are being used and leveraged to the best of their ability or if there are further systems and tools you need to look at implementing. Doing this will save you time (and subsequently more energy) and will help you move your business forwards.

Having clear systems and processes in place will remove the overwhelm each time you have to tackle something you dread, such as client on-boarding or writing a blog post. It might not be the most fun or sexy task (like creating graphics in Canva), but trust me, taking the time to go through this will be worth it in the end because you will be able to remove yourself from a lot of the ‘busy’ work and that is the end goal we are all working towards.

Whilst conducting a business systems audit might not be rocket science, it is pretty dull and boring. But oh so worth it to see your business grow the right way, without the stress and overwhelm.

HOW TO AUDIT YOUR SYSTEMS 

The best way to approach a systems audit is to break it down into three parts: Reflect, Review and Refresh. 

STEP ONE: REFLECT

Make some time to sit down and reflect on the past 6 months. Ask yourself these questions:

 

  • How do you feel about the past 6 months?
  • What has worked well? What hasn’t worked so well? 
  • How do you feel about your business over the past 6 months? What are you happy with? What needs to be improved?
  • How was your work/life balance?
  • How did you spend your time over the past 6 months? How do you feel about that?
  • What did you prioritise over the past 6 months? How do you feel about that
  • Have the past 6 months bought you closer to your big goals, your big picture vision or taken you further away?

STEP TWO: REVIEW

Time to walk through and review all of the systems in your business and ask yourself these questions:

 

  • How do you feel about the systems you have in place? Are they working for you?
  • What systems and tools are working well? What aren’t working?
  • Do you have recorded processes and systems for ALL parts of your business?
  • Do you feel like something can be improved?
  • Are there people or automations that can replace some parts or even some steps?
  • Is there a step that doesn’t make sense?
  • Is there a step that is missing?
  • Has something shifted or changed in your business that now renders a particular step obsolete?

STEP THREE: REFRESH

Now you have identified what is and isn’t working and the areas for improvement or change. It’s time to implement. Re-record any videos you have created, rewrite the checklists, update the documentation, tell all team members about the changes and run through them. Either test them yourself if you don’t have a team or get your team to run through them and check they are working.

Now the only other thing left to do is to schedule in another business systems audit for the next quarter or for six months time.

 

I’ve created a Business Systems Audit Worksheet for you, that you can print off and reuse every 3-6 months. Click here to download it now.

If you want to join other like-minded female entrepreneurs who want to create a simplified and streamlined business that enables them to focus on maximising you impact, income and influence come and join the Facebook Group.

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How to Find JV Partners That Don’t Suck

How to Find JV Partners That Don’t Suck

How to Find JV Partners That Don’t Suck

No matter how proudly you embrace the “solopreneur” title, there comes a time when you absolutely must reach out for help. And for smart business owners, that help often comes in the form of JV partners.

Also called affiliates, JV partners act as your own private sales army, spreading the word about your products and services to a whole new audience—theirs. Not only do you reach people who might otherwise never encounter you, but you also benefit mightily from your JV partners’ existing relationships. By promoting you, an affiliate is endorsing you to her audience. She’s saying, “I know this seller; I trust her, and you should, too.” 

But even with all those many benefits, coaches and product sellers sometimes struggle to find great partners. Sure, lots of people will register for your affiliate program, but the Pareto Principle is alive and well when it comes to JV partners: 20% of your affiliates will do 80% of the work. That means your goal is to recruit higher performing partners. 

The only question is, where do you find these great partners? 

When it comes to JV partners: 20% of your affiliates will do 80% of the work. That means your goal is to recruit higher performing partners. But, where do you find these great partners? 

Pick Your VA’s Brain

Chances are good that your VA works for other business owners in similar niches. If you’re a business coach, she very likely works with several other coaches, and she’s in a position to know…

  • Where her clients are in the business development cycle (ideally you want established partners, not newbies)
  • Their audience demographics (so she’ll know if they’re a good fit or not)
  • Their willingness to promote (some people simply don’t do JV partnership, so it’s a waste of time to approach them)

Look to Your Best Clients

Especially if you’re a business coach, your clients might just be your biggest fans—and they’re in a position to recommend you to friends, family, social connections, and elsewhere. 

Be sure your clients all know that you offer a referral/affiliate program, how to sign up, and what the benefits are. 

Your Competitors

It’s true—your competitors might just be your biggest affiliates, if you give them a chance. 

In some circles (such as business and relationship coaching) clients tend to “graduate” from one coach and move to another. This is normal and to be expected. And when you’re on good terms with your competitors, the coach their ex-clients move to might just be you. 

Don’t be afraid to look in unusual places for your next JV partner. You really never know who can connect you with potential clients and partners. Think about all your relationships—from your team to your social circles to your competitors and colleagues—and consider all of their relationships and how far that might stretch. Then pick up the phone or draft an email and start leveraging your contacts!

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How to Boost Passive Income with Automated Follow Ups

How to Boost Passive Income with Automated Follow Ups

How to Boost Passive Income with Automated Follow Ups

As any smart business owner knows, the key to passive income is a well-established (and full) funnel.  

So of course you’ve optimised your opt-in pages and monetised your download pages and encouraged more buyers through well-placed upsells and downsells 

But what about the follow-up? Do you contact customers about the products or services they didn’t buy? Do you encourage them to use the products they have purchased? Are you making sure they know about all your other wonderful programs?  

If not, you’re missing the boat. But the good news is, this can be easily managed with just a bit of simple automation, and when done right, it will smoothly lead your customers from one purchase to the next, at the exact right time for them to take advantage of your best offers.  

Know your audience and your products exceptionally well. Study your stats. Know your open and click rates. Pay attention to the promotions that work, as well as those that fall flat. With information in hand, you’ll be better able to effectively segment your lists and make the most of all the parts of your funnel. 

Segment Your Audience 

Many autoresponder services allow you to target emails based on reader action. Want to send a follow up email to those who clicked a specific link? Create a segment and mail away. Want to re-engage with those who haven’t opened your emails in a while? Easy to do, and you can potentially recover subscribers who have gone missing.  

In more sophisticated systems, such Converkit (which is the Email Marketing System I use and LOVE), you can dig even deeper, and move people from one series to another based on their buying habits. That way you’ll never promote a product that a reader already owns. Not only that, but you’ll always be able to offer the best next thing, no matter where a subscriber is in your funnel.  

Still another way to segment your list is according to what they do not buy. If a subscriber has been on a list where you’re promoting your top-level coaching program, and she has not yet purchased, it may simply be too expensive for her at this time. Consider moving these readers to an autoresponder series promoting a lower cost option instead.  

All of these tactics require that you know your audience and your products exceptionally well. Study your stats. Know your open and click rates. Pay attention to the promotions that work, as well as those that fall flat. With information in hand, you’ll be better able to effectively segment your lists and make the most of all the parts of your funnel. 

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