Have you ever wanted extra help to stay organized and on top of all of the different activities you have going on?
Whether ou’re a busy parent with LOTS of things going on, or a business owner like myself, how does having the help of a full-time personal assistant sound?
This will be a different type of post in which I’ll share how I’ve started using a Virtual Assistant to help me run LIFT Enrichment, but this information can DEFINITELY help families as well.
Having a VA requires some up front work, but once you get your VA up and running, you can save up a LOT of time over the year with menial tasks you don’t want to do at a FRACTION of the cost of hiring a professional assistant that’ll cost you $20+ per hour.
What To Do With A Virtual Assistant
I run a business, and a virtual assistant can help do a LOT of administrative tasks such as: making graphics for newsletters, customer service emails and reminders,, posting to social media, sending out bulk emails, organizing camp registrations and much more.
For a FAMILY you can have a Virtual assistant: organize your purchases each month to reflect on your budget, research hotels or airlines for travel, remind you of upcoming activities, organize your calendar and even make calls on your behalf to local businesses.
What if you had someone you could call between 10am-6pm each day who is there to help you with your daily tasks?
The first part to determine if a VA is right for you is to Brainstorm the activities a Virtual Assistant could do for you!
Get out a piece of paper and ask yourself, what do I need help on a daily or weekly basis that I could train someone else to do for me?
How A Virtual Assistant Works – Pricing and Budgeting
There are many types of virtual assistants, and they can cost anywhere from $4 per hour (based in India or the Philippines) or $10, $15 or $20 per hour based in the US or other countries.
I recommend you start with the inexpensive option, and that’s what I did.
For help with administrative tasks and customer service you can get a FULL time virtual assistant based in the Philippines with conversational English skills for $500 a month working for you, 10am-6pm Mon-Friday. When times are tough, just like now, it helps ease the monthly expense burden when I used to have people do the same type of work for $22 per hour. (which costs $3,700 per month!)
Here’s how I found my virtual assistant, Roselyn, who has been working with LIFT Enrichment for the last 3 weeks
- Post a job on https://www.onlinejobs.ph/ which is $69 per month. You’ll only need to do this for one month, and then cancel.
- Describe the work and list your first name at the bottom of the post. Include 1-2 questions for applicants to answer in their cover letter like: What’s your experience as a virtual assistant? What’s your greatest professional accomplishment?
- Kick back as you get LOTS of messages sent your way
Tip: There are lots of VAs that work for big companies like Spectrum and ATT and Verizon that are used to the “graveyard” shift from 1am-9am Philppine time. This works out to 10am-6pm PST. I recommend hiring someone to work with you during the daytime for you.
How To Screen a VA
- Delete any applicants that aren’t sending messages addressed directly to YOU by your first name. You know these applicants aren’t detailed oriented are just sending a copy/pasted a response.
- Take the remaining batch of applicants and look at their resumes and cover letters. If you like what you see invite them to email you with a specific subject line (like VA- your name) and include a cover letter. This takes the process off of the onlineph portal, just because I prefer communicating through gmail.
- Go through the emails and pick a block of time to do interviews in the next few days. Invite your preferred camps for a VIDEO interview and stagger them every 15-20 minutes.
- For GREAT screening questions go read the book “Who” by Geoff Smart.
For the First Interview
- If they’re late, don’t move forward
- If they show up and look unprofessional, don’t’ move forward. For some reason I noticed female applicants were more consistently professionally dressed than male applicants. Some guys showed up to the interview in a tank top or looking like they just got out of bed. It’s not a good first impression!
- Ask them a handful of questions and tell them the interview won’t go on for more than 10 minutes as it’s just a get-to-know you interview
My favorite questions include:
- What are your goals working with my company?
- When I talk to your former boss, how would they rate your professional performance on a scale of 1-10?
For the Second Interview
- This interview is for your top 5 candidates and is typically 45 min- 1 hour. Go into detail on each positon they have on their resume
- End with asking for them to EMAIL introduce you to their professional references
For the Reference email: Ask each reference how they would rate the candidates’ performance on a scale of 1-10. Get at least two email references from their former supervisors!
At this point, you should have a really well-screened candidate and can offer one of them the job!
Working with a VA
For parents or businesses, you should have a list of things you’d like to delegate.
The key is to make a clearly written process for each task, on something like a shared google doc.
Example: I have written down how to take this exact post, that’s in a draft form in a google doc and how to a graphic, format it into a wordprss press post, put it in mailchimp and post to Facebook. I used to do all of these tasks myself, but now my VA does them all..
Have at least 1 weekly phone call: This person should have good English! Be sure to checkin with them for a solid, formal meeting once a week.
Have a daily checkin as well: This can be done by email and with a phone call as needed.
For parents: You can have your VA send you reminders on what’s on your calendar or if you need to pickup something from the dry cleaners
For business owners: You can have your VA report key stats. I look at virtual cooking camp registrations each day and need the latest numbers.
My experience and things to watch out for
- Doublecheck work that goes out the door. I delegated too much too soon, and needed to create more detailed processes for my VA
- Call them when it’s too tricky to just email them.
- Use freedcamp.com or a similar program that creates tasks with deadlines and clear instructions!
- Be patient! It takes time to onboard a new person
Results so far:
- I can now focus MUCH MORE on the key parts of my business. I.e. I can create the content and not worry as much about taking the time to format and post it. Results? More content and less stress
- Customers are getting faster email responses, than when I was doing it by myself.
- I don’t have to make graphics! I don’t enjoy graphic design, so this makes me happy 🙂
- I can call her during the work day for quick updates
- I get a daily report on key metrics (camp signups)
Parents: If you run a side hustle or just need more help staying organized, I highly recommend a Virtual Assistant!
“Do you want your kids to have a FUN camp experience, develop culinary skills and cook healthy meals without having to leave the safety of your home? Do you want to get some VALUABLE free time each morning as your kids explore the culinary industry, do art projects, and make their own breakfast with a LIVE chef teacher? LIFT Enrichment’s Virtual Cooking Camp is a week-long half-day camp where your kids can have an action-packed camp experience, learn to make over 15 healthy recipes AND eat vegetables in new ways. Click here for the details.”