Help! I Need A Virtual Assistant. Now How Do I Find One?

by Alicia Jay

Things are going great for your business. You’re making money and your customers are happy. However, you have so much work coming in and so many things to keep up with that you don’t have time to breathe! It’s time to partner with a virtual assistant to help you stay on track and move to the next level of your business.

Findina a virtual assistant

How To Find A VA

 

In my post Three C’s to Consider When Hiring a Virtual Assistant, I covered some important aspects of establishing a relationship with a VA. After that, I received many inquiries about how to start the process from the beginning. People wanted to know, “Where do I go to look for a VA? Are sources like Elance and Odesk reliable?”

Here are my answers as a professional in the industry–in “hot potato” form–just cause it’s fun;)

WARM:

There are sites like Elance and Odesk in which you can post your job request. You will receive several replies from people offering to complete your job request with different backgrounds and at varying rates. Here’s my opinion on this. It may ruffle some feathers, but I’m speaking from my experience. If you’re looking for assistance with a quick one-time project then these sites my be just right for you. You will have the opportunity to see how the service provider was rated for past performances and you can choose someone who fits your price range for a quick one-time project.

However, if you’re looking to establish a true long-term relationship with a virtual assistant then this is not the route that I suggest you take.  On sites like this, everyone is really just trying to outbid one another. If you choose the person who can do the job for you based on the one who charged you the least amount of money, chances are that you get what you pay for.

Don’t forget to look at the other benefits you’ll receive in partnering with a VA:

  • More time to work on other money-making projects
  • Being able to rely on someone to get the work done
  • Taking lots of everyday tasks off your plate

HOTTER:

Instead, if you are interested in establishing a long-term relationship with a virtual assistant and have no where to start, I would suggest websites and directories that specialize in partnering people with VAs. There are sites such as VA Hub and Virtual Assistantville that help to locate the right person for you based on the kind of work you need help with.

HOTTEST:

Now, here is my favorite tip for finding the virtual assistant that’s right for you. Talk to others in your industry. Who are they using? Are they happy with this person? Ask your contacts through social media. Tell your colleagues on LinkedIn that you’re looking for a VA. Ask who they would recommend. Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to find a reliable service provider especially if they are being recommending by someone you already know who does what you do for a living. They need the same kind of help you do and they are already receiving it from someone that they like and trust! Then you can contact the virtual assistant directly and decide if you’re a good match for one another.

Have you ever hired a virtual assistant? What was your experience? Do you have any other helpful tips for others?

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About Alicia Jay


Alicia is a virtual assistant specializing in transcription. She loves to help her clients make the most out of their audio posts, webinars and teleclasses by re-purposing them with transcripts. Her clients include entrepreneurs, business coaches, health and fitness experts and other virtual assistants. She blogs about news in the VA industry as well as business and customer service tips.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Dorman

For hottest all you had to do was put your picture and your contact info; you would have had more opportunities than you could handle. You would need to hire a VA to handle all your requests………..:).

I think getting the info out is huge because many businesses don’t have a clue where to seek help. And then when they locate, how to vet it.

Sounds like rock and roll to me and hopefully your word of mouth and internet presence is really helping you grow.

Good to see you and Happy New Year to you and your family.
Bill Dorman recently posted..Did you ever grow up?My Profile

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Alicia Jay

Aawww Bill,

You made me blush! Your comments are welcome any time! Ha ha!

Yes, I’ve found that the toughest thing for many people is getting started and where to look for help. Hopefully this post will shed a little light on the subject. Happy New Year to you as well!!

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Gail Gardner

I totally agree that hiring someone from a bid site and selecting the cheapest bid will get you just what you’re willing to pay for – mediocre if you’re lucky – and a really bad experience if you’re not.

The very best way to find someone great to work with – and that is what you should want to do because anything less is risking YOUR business – is from recommendations from others who have actually worked with them who are sharp enough to evaluate their results.

Two other things to watch out for:

1) Glowing reviews on LinkedIn do NOT necessarily mean the person is wonderful. Someone that was personally recommended to me turned into a nightmare for a client and she has tons of recommendations on LinkedIn. Some people ask to be recommended as soon as they get the first job – before it is even completed – so APPEARANCES can be deceiving.

Others ask many people who know them but haven’t actually USED their services to provide testimonials. (Many people will recommend anyone if they’ll recommend them back.) Be sure to notice whether a recommendation says WHAT they did and WHY they are being recommended – or is just glowing fluff.

Some of the best people I know have few recommendations there because they’re busy working and not campaigning while many who have a huge number there are better at spin than substance. (That is true offline, too!)

2) Think about what access you’re giving someone and the worst that could happen while they have it. Whenever possible do NOT give them YOUR username and password if you need them to work someone – create one just for them so you can remove it or change passwords.

If you can’t – then consider putting in a temporary password for while they’re working and then changing it as soon as they’re done. Yes – more work for you at first – but better safe than sorry.

We all need to become familiar with those who do exceptional work so we can recommend each other. There are only so many great clients and it is wonderful when you have a team of people who regularly work together on different client projects. You get to know each other, how you work, and can provide better support.
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Alicia Jay

Hi Gail!

Wow-I couldn’t have said it better myself! Above all, I feel that finding someone through word-of-mouth of a trusted source is really the best way.

You brought up some really good points regarding reviews and testimonials as well as protecting yourself. People may be too quick to hand over their username and password to someone who is supposed to be helping them. Make sure you can really trust the person! Using temporary passwords while the work is being done is a great idea!

Thanks so much for stopping by and Happy New Year!

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Cheng

Just wondered if anyone else on here uses Elance, oDesk etc in the capacity of ‘transcription/admin support’.

I was recently awarded a job, which was clear dictation but the volume of recording/turnaround time was ‘tight’ to say the least. Affable client though…

I am not sure how I will continue charging for work! On this occasion I just took a risk and submitted an hourly rate ‘proposal’ which was accepted, but as I now wait for payment I’m realising how much I will actually receive, once the Exchange Rate takes place.

I have been on ‘Forex’ all morning, converting USD and GBP and still cannot come up with a reasonable rate that does not look too ‘outrageous’ to a potential US client but leaves me with enough money to say it was worth doing the job!!
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Theresa Torres

Hi Alicia,
Aside from being a blogger, I also do part time work as a virtual assistant and sad to say, I have to agree with you about Odesk.
Although there are a lot of contractors who provide excellent service and are looking for long term relationships with clients, there are also many who are just into the numbers game and they hurt the chances of the serious workers.
I agree with your hottest tip. If a VA comes highly recommended, that’s one less headache for a business owner.
Thanks for your tips. Happy New Year!
Theresa Torres recently posted..Balance Transfer Game: What You Should KnowMy Profile

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Alicia Jay

Hi Theresa!

It’s always nice to meet a fellow VA whether you’re full or part-time! My clients and myself have not had the greatest experience with those kinds of sites when looking for a long-term trusted and reliable relationship. While I’m not saying to avoid those sites altogether, I recommend that people use caution.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Virtul Assistant Ecommerce

Thanks for sharing these thoughts. This has been very helpful to me. Looking forward to read more informative topic.

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Anna

I suppose giving a good, detailed info, personal photo and of course your expectations will be the best… Good luck
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Alicia Jay

Hey Anna!

Yes, giving a virtual assistant a lot of details coupled with your expectations always helps foster the relationship. Good to see you here again!

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Andrew Smith

I think this post is suitable for everyone who is interested in valuable resources, thanks for the post, keep up the good work.

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sarah

Excellent advice!

I have found Odesk next to useless as people are looking for a quick fix for no money and as you say, you get what you pay for!

I find recommendations best as well.

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Alicia Jay

Hi Sarah!

Yes, I remember when I started out that so many people recommended sites like Elance in order to get my feet wet. However, I didn’t like what I experienced there and have since heard many people say the same thing. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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