How can health & fitness coaches hire a VA?
Have you ever seen these posts in a business networking Facebook group? Or put one up yourself?
“I need a VA. Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations?”
“I’d love to know anyone who could recommend a fab VA for my business.”
“I am looking to hire a virtual assistant. Does anyone have a company they went through to hire one? Or tips that could help me out when looking for one?”
The post gets hundreds of comments from VAs pitching or just dropping their website or social handles. And you’d bet the original poster also get inundated with unsolicited DMs. Imagine the time the OP would have to spend going through every one of these comments and DMs and then trying to filter through them to determine who to consider and who not to. The time spent doing so would defeat the purpose of trying to outsource. They would waste so much time for very little return and be even more confused than before they posted.
I want to help you avoid this confusion and frustration. Stop you from ditching the thought of outsourcing because it is ‘just too hard’. I want to provide you with tips to help you find the perfect person to work with you with the least amount of stress.
I've broken down the process into three areas to help reduce the overwhelm:
- Job Description
- Interview and Selection
So let’s get to it:
Writing an accurate and detailed job description is crucial if you want to have qualified candidates. You have to eliminate the unsuitable and unqualified applicants before they even come to you. You first need to understand what you require from a VA, including the tasks to be undertaken, the values you expect the VA to possess, and your must-haves and nice-to-haves. If you haven’t already checked out my previous blogs on determining these things, you can do so here and here.
When constructing a job description, look to include the following:
A clear job title is crucial in attracting high-quality applicants for your VA role. This will come down to the tasks you would like them to complete. ‘Virtual Assistant’ as a title is very general and will attract many applicants that may not be suited to the tasks you want to outsource. Using something more specific is better to ensure that you get the quality and skills you require in a VA.
Include a short bio to give the applicants an understanding of your business. Explaining who you are, what you do, your mission and values can help potential VAs determine whether they align with your business.
Overview of the job and responsibilities or duties
A detailed yet concise overview of the job should be provided. A good overview will give potential applicants an understanding of what is required and what you will expect of the successful VA. Also, list all the responsibilities or duties to be performed, ensuring you are 100% clear on all tasks.
Skills, experience or qualifications
You should describe the skills, experience, and qualifications you require from applicants. These might include software proficiencies, personable skills, and values.
Information on how to apply
Do not forget to include how you would like to hear from applicants. If you don’t give them a way to apply, you will receive queries via numerous different methods. Decide whether you would like them to send you an email, complete an application form or DM you through your social media platforms. Choose the manner most convenient and efficient for you. Stick to one, so you can keep all applications together and don’t miss any.
Where do you even start with advertising for a VA? There are numerous options and places to find VAs. If you are looking for low-cost options, you might find people on Fiverr or Upwork. Be prepared that while you may find a VA charging a cheaper hourly rate, many people report that they end up spending more time (and therefore money) on explanations, answering questions and revisions to their work.
So then, how do you find a suitable VA for you and your business? Using a combination of places can ensure you get high-quality applicants. The best sources are:
Reach out to friends, family or trusted acquaintances for recommendations or referrals. If there are people that work in similar ways to you, reach out and see who they use. And don’t be afraid to ask why they are referring that person to you. What are their strengths and weaknesses? How have they helped your friend or family member, and how has it made them feel?
If you are part of a local business network, speak with other members. Alternatively, select a couple of Facebook business groups you have joined and post the job description you created above. Ensure you are very clear on how you would like to hear from people. If you don’t want DMs, then specify that upfront. Take note of the group rules around job adverts or postings. Always follow the admin rules.
Directories or job posting websites
There are a plethora of directories and job posting websites. You just have to do a quick search of Google to be overwhelmed with options. If you are in Australia, the two leading sites are Find-a-VA and Virtually Yours. Both are free services connecting business owners with high-quality and professional Virtual Assistants. Other Australian options are Digital Mum's Directory and VA Directory.
Interview and selection
Now that you have advertised and are starting to get applications, it’s time to begin the selection process. Block out plenty of time in your calendar to look at the applicant submissions. You’ll need time to review, shortlist, interview and then select the successful applicant. Here are some tips for each step:
Review applications and shortlist applicants
Collate and review all applications received. When reviewing the applications, consider your job description and the suitability of the VA to complete the required tasks. Assess any testimonials provided and look for evidence that the applicant is capable of performing the advertised job. Shortlist the top two to three applicants for an interview.
Interview shortlisted applicants
Contact each applicant to organise a time for an interview or consultation. The purpose of the discussion is to determine whether the VA has the skills and experience to complete the job. Remember that anyone can look good on paper. You need to determine whether the applicant can confidently express their ability to do the job. Even more critical is their interpersonal skills. It is crucial that you feel comfortable with them and could have a good working relationship together.
Detemine successful applicant
Once you have interviewed all shortlisted applicants, it is time to determine which applicant is successful and your new virtual assistant. Weigh up the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate. Did you gel with one particular applicant? Do you feel you could have a positive working relationship with them? After deciding, you get to share the great news with the applicant! Your new VA should then send through a service agreement or contract for your consideration and signature. Don’t forget to advise the unsuccessful VAs and provide feedback (where you are willing to). You want to stay on good terms with those you choose not to work with as you may like to use their services further down the track.
Onboarding a Virtual Assistant
So you’ve hired your VA. Now it’s time to onboard and train them. Gather the following documents ready for your onboarding and training session:
- Standard Operating Procedure documents (SOPs)
- Branding documents (if required)
- Access to any required systems or software
- Logins and passwords they will need
Schedule the training session with them via video call (Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams) and share the above documents ahead of the session. You can then take them step-by-step through the process and procedures, allowing them to ask questions to clarify. Determine how and when you will communicate on work tasks and progress. It is good practice to record the session and send this to them for future reference.
Once trained, be sure to regularly contact your new VA (using the agreed method) to ensure that they are comfortable with the tasks. While it is good to stay in contact, don’t micromanage every task, as this will defeat the purpose of outsourcing in the first place! However, be available for any questions they may have. A good VA won’t take long to settle into your business. You can then enjoy having the assistance and support to drive your business forward.
If you’ve found value in the information contained in my blogs and are considering outsourcing, I’d love to have a chat with you. As well as being highly experienced in administration and technology, I have the knowledge and understanding of the health and fitness industry. My nutrition and fitness coaching background could be that extra advantage you are looking for to elevate your business to the next level. Reach out to organise a time to chat and see if we're a good fit.