to Hiring the Best
At our MasterMind meeting this month, one of the members said he’d seen a meme as follows: “If you don’t have an assistant, you are one!” This concept hit me like a sack of potatoes across the noggin. I have a black belt in delegating, and I had a full-time VA/Graphic Artist in the Philippines and multiple part-time workers around the world.
But I realized that I was far from delegating everything I should be. I went to work immediately with the goal of becoming even more generous to the gig workers of the world. I’ll tell you the results I got from hiring virtual assistants at the end of the article.
Why Should You Delegate To Poorly Paid Workers In Other Countries?
There’s no overhead! No Social Security, Medicare, workers compensation, payroll expense, benefits, unemployment insurance, or legal nonsense.
You can hire a full-time worker for as low as $450 a month, all in.
Gig workers are likely to have the same or better skills than local workers making $15-$20 an hour that actually cost you $20-$30 an hour when you add in the overhead.
You can hire part-timers who have a specific talent when you don’t have a full-time need. Gig workers on Fiverr and other platforms often have a very narrow skillset. Keep this in mind as you do your search.
If You Think Hiring Virtual Assistant Is Amazing - Here’s How You Start.
Like any other position, create a job description. What do you want to be done? Website design or website SEO? Technical proofreading or full-editing, bookkeeping or accounting? Once you have a rough idea, go to Fiverr and look at some keywords and read some gig descriptions. This will further refine your thinking.
Fiverr and similar platforms offer various ways to hire workers. While I prefer doing my own search, you can also post the job and receive quotes from various candidates. If you do your own search, look for workers who have completed many jobs already, have a high rating, and might even be level 2 or 3 candidates.
Check out the gig workers' various offers, the costs, and everything else about the worker. The reviews are very helpful.
When you find a good prospect, always send them a message before you begin to negotiate. Layout many details of your need. Don’t hesitate to copy-paste this initial correspondence. Then, paste it into the message option on other prospective gig workers. You want to see how they respond and communicate. You can also use the message process to see if they are qualified to do what you specifically need.
Once you find one or more workers you like, give them a sample job. See how they handle it. Like any other employee or supplier, you may need to work through some issues on the first job. Your goal is to see if they are competent and a good fit.
It is against the rules to take your conversation off of Fiverr, so don’t take a risk of losing your opportunity on Fiverr by asking for other ways to communicate. Sometimes your worker will need to give their email or other information to gain access to accounts. Or you may need to do the same. Be certain to only use that for the task.
During the job, communication is essential if you want a long-term or repeat relationship. Encouragement and clear direction go a long way in a remote environment. But you should also be ready to give constructive criticism.
When the job is completed, be sure to provide a review of their work. As noted above, their next job may come to them as a result of your review.
Don’t hesitate to negotiate everything. Don’t be surprised if your worker is a good negotiator. It is the nature of this type of platform. Some will ask you for your budget. Never give your budget. The first person to give their price loses. Ask them to provide you with a quote. Waiting to respond to their quote for an hour or a day may see a new response with a lower offer. Or you can proactively say that you can’t go above a number lower than their offer.
Get the app. You can do almost anything on the Fiverr.com app as you can on the website. You will commonly be communicating at odd hours, so it is great to be able to do that through the app.
Using other methods for hiring Virtual Assistants:
Another way to hire a virtual assistant is through agencies that specialize in matching you with great professionals. There are hundreds of companies that have trained workers ready to do their jobs. Moreover, many of them will work with you to design scripts for incoming or outgoing calls. They have managers to oversee the work, provide quality control, and give you reports on output.
You might also want to use a platform like 99Designs.com. With this approach, you pay a set fee to have thousands of designers compete to create your brochure, book cover, or other art project for as little as $299. From the submitted ideas, you can choose one artist and then have them complete the project. After the project is done, you can feel free to see if they’d like to do more work for you, and there is no obligation to pay 99Designs for the privilege.
Possibly you don’t want to manage your VA. You’d rather just assign the task to a company and let them oversee the day-to-day. This works great for customer service VA. It is very likely that this individual will be able to find you other types of talent from among his/her associates. They will be very careful to bring you, good workers, as they understand their own job could be on the line if the new person is a problem.
Ask your business associates for referrals. You network with dozens or hundreds of other small business owners, including suppliers, customers, neighbors, and those you meet in local business organizations. If you are ready to try a VA, ask around to see if some of your associates are using a VA to get a referral. Maybe they are using their VA part-time and you could add more hours. Maybe their VA can make a recommendation.
Other Considerations for Working with a Virtual Assistant
You’ve concluded that hiring virtual assistants for projects or hiring part-time or full-time VA’s who live and work from home in locations all around the world makes sense for your company.
As with any employee, there are many factors that will impact how well they do for you. While saving 50-80% on the cost of the employee will make up for lower efficiency, why should you allow for that?
You want maximum output from every employee. It is better for you and your company. It is actually a much better deal for your employees. Employees like to feel useful, appreciated, and that they are filling your expectations.
You want to establish your expectations clearly. You want to motivate your offshore employees using all the same approaches you do with people in your building or working remotely domestically.
You also want work rules designed to establish clear boundaries and reasons that might result in promotions or demotions.
You also want to know the expectations, hopes, and desires of your remote workers, as you should with domestic workers. Do they expect pay raises? Do they expect reviews? What about promotions? Are they looking at your job as a long-term relationship?
Here are a few more ideas about your working relationship:
Your VA is almost always in a different time zone. Are they going to be willing to work to suit your time preference? Many top-rated gig workers are in the Philippines, India, and Pakistan. They will tend to be 16 hours ahead, so their daytime starts around 4:00 Pacific or 7:00 Eastern. You need to have an agreement or be willing to interact during their schedule.
If you pay by the hour, you may wonder if they are working the promised hours. If you pay by the project or piece, you may wonder if you have overpaid. This is a dilemma with any remote worker. Open communication about these issues is always going to be the best remedy.
Bonuses are expected in some countries and not others. You can usually find the traditions online.
As with any employee, hire slow and fire fast. Taking your time with the hiring process can save you time in the future. Nothing is less productive than finding, hiring, and training someone new after another worker didn’t work out. On the other hand, firing an international worker is far easier than a domestic employee. If they are not doing quality work, not reliable, or you think cheating you in any way, move on.
What impact has my new search for assistants made on my business? A week later and I have hired five more gig workers and cleared my desk so completely that I had time to pass along these ideas.
Moral of the story:
Don’t be an assistant. Hire MANY!!!
If you want to try working with Fiverr.com to improve your productivity, here is a link.
If you’d like to try a contest with 99Designs, here is the link.
If you would like to prospect for clients on Linkedin with an automated system, here’s the best possible expert.