By now, I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about how valuable a tool a virtual assistant can be to a business owner. But I’m also sure that, whatever you’ve learned, you have just as many questions about it as you have answers. Well, I’m here to tell you you’re not alone. In fact, I get tons of questions about virtual assistants all the time. Here are 6 of the most common and most important questions I have answered about VAs in the past, compiled for your convenience.
1. Where do you find a virtual assistant?
Indeed, finding a virtual assistant is not hard. Hundreds, if not thousands of virtual assistant companies are advertised online. If you’re looking to hire through a virtual assistant company, a simple Google search will present you with a long list of potential service providers. Of course, Virtual Done Well is one such business. And, while I may be biased, I’m confident that our different approaches to managing VAs produces better results than our competition. But, by all means, do your own research to select the best one for yourself!
Of course, you may be looking for an independent, home-based virtual assistant. If that’s the case, you should search freelancer marketplace services such as Fiverr or Upwork.
Lastly, and certainly not least, look to experience to guide you. If you have friends or acquaintances who use virtual assistants, ask them where they got theirs, and ask if they’re satisfied with the service. If they’re happy, then chances are, you will be too.
2. From what country can you, or should you, source your virtual assistant?
Firstly, it is possible to hire a virtual assistant domestically. However, if your purpose in seeking a VA is to save money over a traditional, in-house employee, you have little motivation to go domestic. One of the biggest financial benefits of hiring a virtual assistant is the savings you can get from doing business in a much lower-cost economy. While you can save money on overhead expenses through a domestic VA, it won’t compare to what you’d save by hiring abroad.
Most virtual assistants working from abroad are based in India or the Philippines. There is also a small minority that is based in Eastern European countries. From my personal experience, I find the Philippines to be the best fit. That’s because English is already widely spoken there, so you’re likely to get a VA who is more proficient than those who live and work in India or Eastern Europe. Likewise, the culture of the Philippines is more similar to our own than most other countries. This means you’re likely to have a VA with values and a work ethic that are most similar to yours. That being said, there are a lot of fantastic virtual assistants who work in all sorts of places, so once again, you should do your own research before you decide.
3. Which is better, a home-based or office-based virtual assistant?
Let’s start by defining the terms. A home-based virtual assistant is simply a VA that works at home, and independently. You do business with them directly, with no middle management. Office-based VAs usually work in an actual office, for a virtual assistant company with whom you contract.
My experience with home-based VAs didn’t go very well. I had people who supposedly worked for me full time, who also had other clients. They had frequent power and internet outages. If they got sick, I’d have no support until they came back. And on occasion, I had VAs go missing in action, never to be seen again! The main problems with home-based VAs were a lack of oversight, and poor technical infrastructure.
By comparison, my experience with officed-based VAs was like a breath of fresh air. With a company like Virtual Done Well, your VAs have a proper office where they work. They have supervisors and managers, they get full IT support, and can even seek help from colleagues if they get stuck on a task. A few workers still work from home, but still answer to a management structure and get support when needed. And, in the end, it’s a better overall working atmosphere. VAs in an office environment have social connections that make them happier and more productive on the job.
4. How much will a virtual assistant cost?
In general, you can expect a home-based virtual assistant to cost slightly less than an office-based VA. But the difference is small, and the quality of service may be significantly lower.
For an office-based virtual assistant that works exclusively for you, full time, you can expect to spend between $800.00 and $1,000 U.S. per month. If your VA company want more than that, they’re asking too much. Some companies do offer VA services on an hourly basis, but these services can be problematic. VAs hired by the hour are not exclusively dedicated to one client. In fact, they may work for many in a given day. That can create conflicts of interest. And it can also result in an unreasonable workload on the VA, which can reduce their productivity and cause them to quit on you.
5. How can I find, hire and manage a virtual assistant?
This is a topic that I have covered in great detail on our YouTube channel. So, rather than reinventing the wheel, I’ll provide the link to the video series, here.
6. How do you pay your virtual assistant?
The answer to this question depends on whether you’re hiring a home-based or office-based VA. For an office-based VA, the process is simple. It’s a matter of a bank transfer to the VA company’s bank account. The VA company will take care of all the required HR tasks and related employee benefits.
Paying a home-based VA, or tips and bonuses for an office-based VA, can be a little more challenging, but not insurmountable. You can use online services such as PayPal, Payoneer or Xoom.com to send money and get receipts. I’ve had some experience with Western Union, but I’ve had too many problems with them, so I don’t use them anymore.
If you’ve never hired a virtual assistant before, I’m certain you’ll have a thousand other questions before you pull the trigger and take advantage of the enormous benefits of hiring a VA. And we, here at Virtual Done Well are here to help! Click here to contact us and get answers to all of your VA related questions!