You should budget for outsourcing well before hiring a virtual assistant. It’s is a big step for any business and your business should be making a profit first so you’ve got the funds to invest. Many business owners set aside a portion of their profits each month just for reinvesting in their business in the form of outsourced help. There are several things you should take into account when creating your budget.
Decide what you need.
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To ensure you connect with the best person for your needs, create a profile sheet for your ideal virtual assistant.
Your profile sheet should detail specific duties you want them to perform. Be as detailed and specific as possible. Don’t just put “manage social media. A detailed list may look like this:
Task #1: Write 5 posts each week for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and schedule on all networks.
Task #2: Monitor platforms daily and respond to comments and tweets
Task #3: Increase targeted contacts by 20 per month
Task #4: Publish and optimize 4 blog posts per month.
Task #5: Promote 4 blog posts per month on all platforms.
Next write down whether or not you expect the virtual assistant to:
- Supply graphics to accompany their posts and blogs
- Research new media outlets
The more specific you are, the better your chances of hiring someone with those exact skills. If you hire a social media manager and assume she’ll provide graphics and this is not a service she provides you may be in for a rude awakening. Leaving out details provides room for disappointment and frustration on both sides.
Determine the amount of money you can currently devote to outsourcing.
Be realistic and base your figure on what you can afford right now. This number should not be based on what you think you will be able pay “when you get X more clients” or sell “Y number of products. Most virtual assistants work on a retainer basis so you will need the funds to invest prior to engaging them.
Familiarize yourself with rates for the professional virtual assistants.
The first step is to decide what level of VA you need. (Remember cheaper is not always better!) You’ve seen the ads on Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. ‘Get a Virtual Assistant for $ 7 an hour!’ You may have taken it a step further and looked at a few VA websites or even talked to a few virtual assistants. Did it leave you a little confused when you found pricing from $ 7 to $ 70 and everything in between? So what’s the difference?
$ 7/hr VA’s are usually based overseas.
The $ 7 an hour Virtual Assistant:
(usually based overseas)
- English Fluency. If you plan to use them for social media posting or customer support, do they have excellent English skills? Most do speak English but unless it’s their first language, it will be obvious in any written services. Is this the public image you want to present in your business? Are you willing to proofread all their work before it is published?
- What time zone are they in? Will the time be convenient for your schedule? If you are a night owl or early bird, it may work fine.
- Communication issues. Are they available by phone (or Skype)? Will language and/or cultural differences be an obstacle in communicating your needs clearly?
The $ 15-$ 25 an hour Virtual Assistant
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This VA is typically just starting out in the business. She/he may have years of experience as an employee but not working as a contractor.
If you have typical entry-level tasks you want to delegate, this VA may be an excellent fit. It will also work well if you want to manage her/him closely. The working relationship is typically task-driven. For example:
Ms. VA, I would like you to post this newsletter to my Constant Contact account using this template. Send a test to me and when I approve it, send it to XYZ list on Tuesday at 10 am.
If you have the right entry-level VA, he/she will complete this task and then wait for further tasks from you.
If you know exactly what tasks you need and the steps to make that happen, an entry-level VA may be a perfect fit for you.
The $ 25+ an hour Virtual Assistant
Typically, this is an experienced virtual assistant with extensive industry knowledge. You will often find they specialize in a specific service or niche.
Some may have a multi-VA company. This means they have other professionals that work with them, usually as subcontractors. In this way, they can offer a wider variety of services.
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You should look for an experienced, professional virtual assistant if you a successful entrepreneur who loves the work at the heart of your business. You don’t want to do all the administrative tasks necessary in running a business such as email marketing, social media, webinar and the technology around it, bookkeeping, etc. Or maybe you know what you want to do, but don’t know how to make it happen.
Is this you?
Entrepreneur: I want to offer a webinar on September 1st at 7 pm.
VA: Great. I will get everything set up and contact you if I need more details.
Entrepreneur: I want to create a presence on social media with the intent to become a thought leader in my industry.
VA: Wonderful goal! Here’s what we need to do……..
See the difference? With the experienced VA, you are paying for her knowledge and skill. She is not just task-driven and because of this, she is able to take more off your plate.
For the entrepreneur who doesn’t like or simply doesn’t understand the technical tasks necessary to be an online business, the right experienced virtual assistant will be able to recommend the software and systems that best fit your needs.
Think about your budget carefully so you can find a professional who is a good fit for you the first time. Ultimately this saves you money in the process of researching, interviewing and training.