Running a successful blog takes a lot more than just writing on a regular basis, and that’s why at some point you’ll need to hire a virtual assistant.
From admin work and fixing technical issues to implementing your marketing strategy, there’s plenty of work to do. All of these additional tasks often leave bloggers in a ditch, feeling like they’re straying from the job they love: creating amazing content.
Running a business is simply a lot of work, but when you start delegating tasks, you’ll have more time to focus on your most crucial projects.
So, why not get a virtual assistant to take some things off your plate? When you assign the time-consuming tasks to your VA, you get more time to efficiently deal with the activities that really matter and bring you revenue.
- Creating drafts for your new blog posts
- Creating content for social media and running your social accounts
- Uploading content to your blogging platform
- Formatting content (looking for images, adding links, structuring articles, etc.)
- Uploading videos to YouTube
- Getting in touch with others on your behalf (outreach, email, etc.)
- Link building and SEO
But finding the right person is hard, so here’s what you need to consider when hiring someone to help running your blog:
1. Carefully assess your needs and budget
If you find yourself focusing on the day-to-day so much that you occasionally lose sight of the big picture, you need a helping hand.
You might be thinking that your business is way too small and that you can’t possibly afford to hire someone else. While that’s an understandable fear, in most cases, it’s simply not true. In fact, if you’re running a small business, the truth might be that you can’t afford not to hire a VA, especially when you can get one for $7-$14 per hour.
Many bloggers waste too much of their time doing repetitive tasks, completing the responsibilities that suck the life out of them, or trying to tackle enormous projects alone. The effects are straightforward: you’re always tired, yet you never get to devote time to the tasks that really matter.
It might just be that this is hindering your revenue potential. Decide how many hours you need (or can afford at this moment and commit to getting help). You can get a lot of stuff done with a virtual assistant even if you have $300 – $600 per month to invest.
2. Create a list of needle-moving tasks you need help with
When you delegate some of the boring, repetitive tasks, you make more room for the important stuff.
Virtual assistants can help you complete a huge variety of tasks depending on the particular arrangement you make. If you find the right candidate, you may be able to get rid of all the tasks you felt were redundant or just too time-consuming.
As a blogger, you have a lot of projects that could use a helping hand:
- Administrative Tasks – checking and responding to emails, responding to blog comments, moderating posts, helping organize your schedule, keeping track of your published and unpublished content, and finding affiliate programs for your blog.
- Technical Maintenance – making backups of your database and keeping your tech up to date.
- Social Media Upkeep – scheduling content, running social media ad campaigns, creating posts, and interacting with your audience.
- Content Planning and Creation – keyword research, online research for blog posts, finding images, adding tags, writing descriptions, and similar non-specialized content-creation tasks.
- Marketing Campaign Maintenance – like scheduling and sending out your promotional emails, tracking your analytics, keeping in touch with your affiliate programs, and much more.
3. Decide on what kind of virtual assistant you’ll need
You will not find the right person if you don’t know who you’re looking for. Before you can start your search, you need to figure out exactly what you need from a virtual assistant.
Here’s a handy checklist – answer these questions as precisely and in as much detail as you can:
- What are the exact tasks you need your VA to do?
- Do you need them to work in an office or remotely, and do you need them to be available locally (even if it’s just occasionally)?
- What are your budget and preferred payment methods?
- Do you need a native English speaker, someone bilingual, or a non-native English speaker to complete the tasks?
- What kind of skills and insights do they need to have beforehand and what you can train them to do?
These considerations will make your life so much easier when it’s time to invite somebody to your business. Know exactly what you need, and you shall receive it.
4. How much does a VA cost?
Of course, there’s no single answer to this. You may find fresh recruits from foreign countries charging as little as $3 per hour or a seasoned virtual assistant with a long history of high-profile assignments charging $50 – and everything in between.
In fact, your next VA may not even charge by the hour (though that’s the most popular method). Depending on how much work you can offer them on a daily basis, you may make a deal to pay your VA a fixed monthly salary or charge each project or task separately.
But if you’re looking for an entry-level candidate to help you with basic blogging-related tasks, you should expect to pay something around $7 – $20 per hour, depending on the level of skill and geographical location of your candidate.
Personally, I’m working with an assistant from the Philippines, and she’s great!
5. Where do you find great VA candidates?
You can find plenty of candidates both online and offline.
If you need a VA to work with you locally, you might want to first and foremost rely on word of mouth and recommendations by people you know. But if that method doesn’t help you find that perfect candidate, you can post an ad online for an abundance of incoming applications.
First of all, you may get lucky if you post your ad to a freelance marketplace like Upwork, Freelancer, Craigslist, or Guru. All of these websites work as a sort of marketplaces where you post what you need as an employer and get applications from the freelancers on the network.
The downside (and the upside, depending on how you look at it) of this kind of marketplace arrangement is that you may not be allowed to take your business outside the platform, which can potentially bump the price a bit. In turn, the platform gives you and freelancers partial fraud protection, which is always a good thing when hiring unknown people.
Social media websites like LinkedIn and Facebook are great resources whenever you need to hire or look for work, and finding a virtual assistant is no different at all. You may post your ad on a LinkedIn or Facebook group like VA for Hire – Content for Bloggers, or simply post the ad on your profile and let your friends and colleagues share it.
Virtual Assistant Service
If all else fails, you can simply get an assistant assigned to you by a VA service. In many cases, you simply pay a monthly fee and get a dedicated number of hours that you can use each month. Zirtual and U Assist Me are two of the services that can do that for you.
6. Include the right info and questions in your ad
Crafting your ad correctly right is the surest way to get as many high-potential candidates to apply as possible.
Besides, including all the relevant info will reduce the number of incomplete applications you need to sift through and discard.
Include most or all of these pieces of info to get a high number of applications by well-fitting candidates:
- Include the position in the title or the first sentence (virtual assistant or VA in this case).
- Require a quick cover letter.
- The scope of work and responsibilities they would take.
- Location: whether you need them to work remotely or locally.
- How much work do you offer every week?
- Write about the skills and personality traits you’re looking for – explicitly say what’s mandatory and what’s simply nice to have.
- If applicable, you can mention you want to see examples of their work in a portfolio or resume.
- If you offer training, mention it. If you want to go through a trial period first, mention that too.
- Mention how much you’re ready to pay, or ask them to send you a price quote with the application.
- Write about your timeframe: when the application process is closing, what’s the recruitment timeline, and when you need them to start.
- Finally, include your contact info or a link to an online application form.
Of course, you don’t need all of this information to make an informed decision, so ask only for the info relevant to your business and the tasks that you would need the virtual assistant to perform. You’ll quickly start noticing patterns in your applicants.
7. Do your interviews right
Once you sift through your applications and discard the incomplete or unfit ones, you can further narrow down your list.
Unless you luck out by getting a really good applicant that’s perfect for hiring right away, chances are you’ll need to do a couple of interviews. Interviewing 6-7 candidates will probably narrow your selection down to 2 or 3 really good candidates.
You should do your interviews by speaking to the person – email and chat communication leaves a lot to be desired. However, if you’re introverted, interviewing via phone or video can be very intimidating, especially since you need to take the position of power. Not much can completely offset that sort of anxiousness, but coming prepared definitely helps.
8. Pick the right person for the job
This is perhaps the hardest step – especially if you have 2 or 3 really good candidates. There’s really no single right way to do this: follow your gut, use a random number picker, choose the one with the most pleasant voice – just make your pick and try not to dwell on it too much.
Just remember always keep a backlog of other potential candidates just in case your first hire doesn’t work out.
9. Provide training and resources to your new virtual assistant
The chances of finding the perfect candidate that knows everything in advance are slim at best. You’ll have to have at least a short training period until your new assistant is ready to do the job right independently.Apart from helping them master the general skills, they’ll need, you also need to properly introduce your VA to the particular details about your business. For example, you may use a particular tone of voice and style in your email communication with clients, or you always have a siesta at 4 PM so you don’t want them to bother you – there are many details you’ll need to polish up before your work together can truly run smoothly.
10. Communication is key
In the beginning, you’ll need to be extra careful when communicating with your VA. A particular task may seem simple enough for you – but there are always small habit differences that may ruin your entire day.
That’s why you need to make sure everything you need is communicated clearly – and get your VA to repeat it back to you and ask any questions they may have. Checking your communication may seem to be a lot of work at the start, but it makes everything easier once they’re on board.
Just like with a regular employee, remember to monitor the progress of your new hire, to make sure that everything is getting done on time and according to your specifications.
After two or three months of the adjustment period, you should get along pretty well and get stuff done much faster.
Do you how other tips on this subject? Share them in the comments!