5 Steps to Hiring Your First Virtual Assistant

Hey guys, Cody here…

So in Part 1 of this little series, we learned what outsourcing is and what tasks you may want to begin outsourcing. Tasks including hiring someone to write content, do market research and work on marketing and posting on social networking sites. Make sure you go check out that post then head back over here.

Now it's time to go online and find our virtual assistant…

Step 1: Applicants Apply for Job Posting.

While there are many websites out there that are directly offering outsourcing, I highly suggest you go to Upwork.com. This site act as ‘middleman’ providing security for you, your small business and the freelancer – by helping track a job's progress and only guaranteeing payment when it's completed.

I normally use Upwork.com to help find technical help for web programming, design, real estate virtual assistants and content writers.

Step 2: Reply to Ones that Seem to Have Potential

Once you get some decent-looking applicants, you're going to want to send them a more detailed pre-written email outlining the job and asking them for their experiences and references.

Now, make sure you pre-write this email and save it because you're going to be sending it out to a bunch of different applicants and saving it and having it handy will save you a ton of time.

Step 3: Verify Past Work Quality

Each applicant should send you some examples of their work such as blog posts, recent real estate related articles, websites that they've search-engine optimized, or any contact information of any other small business they have worked for in the past.

Step 4: Receive and Follow-up with Referrals

Call their referrals and verify they are dependable and skilled.

Make sure that any virtual assistant that you hire is a good writer. This is absolutely mandatory.

They also need to speak English well... Otherwise, you're going to make the same mistake that I did when I first started outsourcing. I lost both time and money because I just couldn't train anybody properly who couldn't speak English well, and we couldn't understand each other.

Step 5: Hire and Begin Delegating Job Duties

Now that you have screened, hired and given your new real estate virtual assistant a bunch of things to do, here are some helpful tips to think about:

  1. Only give your new VA bite sized to-do lists. That way, they can stay focused and send you easy-to-understand updates on their progress.
  2. I have found screen capturing software like Camtasia to be extremely helpful when trying to explain something technical that I want them to do online. So, for example, if I want my social networking done for me a certain way, I just create a quick Camtasia movie showing them how I want them to interact with potential connections. This way, there's no misunderstanding of what I want them to do. These programs cost around a $100 and are well-worth the investment.
  3. Never assume they will know what the final product will look like. They will get it wrong every time. My VAs have made some mistakes that I didn't catch until it was too late. For example, once I asked them to post some recent real estate news links as well as some good quotes on my outsourced Facebook pages throughout the week, and one morning I woke up and found that they'd posted more than 300 quotes in a row, like, in connections. (Yikes!) They all thought I was absolutely crazy. So the lesson is to be extremely specific in what you want your VA to do.
  4. Don’t give them complete freedom to do what they want.
  5. It should take around 1 month before they “get” your system and requirements. Be patient.
  6. Have them send weekly follow-up reports with links to anything they have posted on your behalf. Now it’s their turn to be specific.

Final Advice

Now, I've been using virtual assistants from India and the United States on and off for the past few years. I've found them to be very helpful as long as:

  • You take time to develop a system. From hiring to training in job delegation, everything has to be spelled out so they don't waste your time or your money.
  • It's my belief that you will not become truly happy or successful until you master the art of delegating mundane job tasks so you can focus on actual investing and deal making.
  • It doesn't hurt to use incentives like giving your VAs bonuses if certain milestones are met. You have to remember, some of these people only make a few thousand dollars a year, and if you take good care of them, they will be dedicated and work hard for you and your business.
  • I highly suggest you only outsource once you have mastered the job yourself. How else can you really know how to train someone else unless you’ve worked through and created the system yourself?

Now, I'm not here to tell you that being a real estate investor is all fun and games, because it's not. It's a ton of hard work, but well worth it once you start cashing those big checks.

Well I hope I gave you guys some nuggets to fill your noggins’. Until next time…

Keep it Classy,