Managing Virtual Assistants
There will always be somebody in the world that can complete a task for less expense than you can and more efficiently than you can. Let’s talk about how we find and manage virtual assistants and exactly what our process is. There are virtual assistants available in the United States and overseas through the power of the Internet. If they are in the US, then the language barrier is not a problem, but they do tend to be more expensive. The international virtual assistants end up being significantly cheaper, and usually have the exact same skills, if not better skills.
The easiest place to find a virtual assistant, or someone to help you with a task, is a company like e-lance.com, guru.com, or freelancer.com, all free websites that you can use to find someone to work for you. Just make a post that describes what you are looking for and then people bid on your project. Typically we will test out a few different people to make sure they fully understand the project and that they provide us with good work. We normally pay them for a test, especially on a smaller project such as a logo or flyer. We don’t mind paying a few extra dollars to make sure we get a quality person.
Next, try to assess their work against a checklist of skills in order to determine their capabilities. Communication with the virtual assistant is important in this process. It can help you determine if the person has potential for full-time versus part-time employment depending on your project needs. There are benefits of both. Part-time virtual assistants usually operate on a fee for project basis, whereas full-timers are paid weekly or monthly and remain available to handle tasks as they arise.
We manage virtual assistants through a management software, Asana, but there are many other programs available, such as Basecamp. We use the free version of Asana and put together different tasks as they come in. The virtual assistant returns the work to us directly through the software.
Our staffing level includes a full-time designer, because we do a lot of design work in-house related to logos, updated business cards and fliers, and social media and website tasks. We used to handle these operations on a project basis, but now it makes more sense to have a full-time designer in house. We pay him $200 a week. We have web developers that manage our WordPress blog and hosting on an hourly fee basis as needed. We also have a video editor who is paid each week and manages both short and long video projects for a flat fee. We do have coding needs that are a bit more advanced and require more direct communication with the specialist.
Lastly, we have virtual assistants completing data entry and writing tasks for us. Examples include exporting data from a .pdf to an Excel file, entering a list of names into a database or filling out forms. We also have two writers who produce blog posts and convert audio files into written content. We produce articles, blog posts and copywriting this way.
The sky is the limit with outsourced tasks. These skilled professionals are much better at their specialty than we are. Make sure you take care of your virtual assistants, pay them on time and treat them with respect just like any other employee.