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How many times have you thought to yourself, “There’s no way I can do all of this!” Sure, you love your blog, and you love writing and creating beautiful content, but there is an awful lot of down-right drudgery when it comes to blogging – whether it’s scheduling social media shares, gathering research, or formatting your posts. You may have thought about hiring a virtual assistant – a VA – to handle some of this work for you. But bloggers tend to be independent, and let’s face it, your blog is your baby.
It’s scary to think of handing things over to someone else who might not care about it as much as you do. There’s no doubt that managing a VA from afar presents challenges. But by taking the time to hire the right person, and maintaining good lines of communication, you’ll find that hiring an assistant can be one of the best steps forward for your blog and business.
Beginner’s Guide to Hiring and Managing a Virtual Assistant
If you’ve never hired or managed anyone before, that in itself can be a scary step. So we’ve put together some tips to help you with hiring, managing and motivating your virtual assistant.
Before You Hire A Virtual Assistant
Before you even start looking to hire a VA, you need to have a good idea of what tasks you want them to do. Most bloggers hire VAs to do repetitive work so the blogger can focus on creating content and building relationships. Some things you may consider having a VA do:
- Keyword research
- Competitor research
- Formatting and scheduling blog posts
- Manage social media accounts
Once you know what you need your VA to do, you’ll be much better prepared when you actually find someone.
How To Hire A Virtual Assistant
Hiring the right VA is going to be a different process for each blogger. If you’ve never hired anyone before, it might be an intimidating process. Here are a few things you should do:
- Hold a live interview via Skype or other video messaging. It’s always best to have a face-to-face interview.
- Explain the exact details – your video chat can be more of a broad overview of tasks, but you should also have an exact job description in writing.
- Likewise, explain clearly what the hours and pay are. Since your VA may very well be in a different country than your own, make sure that it’s clear how they will be paid and in what currency.
- Ask them for their references. A VA with experience should have references from past or current employers. How many clients do they currently have?
- Ask them why they are interested in this job. The answers here are usually pretty revealing. If they can’t come up with a better answer than “I need the money”, they probably aren’t the right fit for you.
- Ask about any specialized training they have: Are they well-versed in WordPress, word processing, spreadsheets, social media and so on?
- Make a note of how clearly they speak English, if it isn’t their native language. How are their writing skills?
What To Do After You Hire A Virtual Assistant
Once you have a VA, it’s important that you maintain open lines of communication. Get to know them! Hold one-on-one video chats at least once a month to discuss any issues that may have popped up, or any changes you wish to make.
Be sure that you give your VA ample opportunity to discuss any of her own questions or concerns with how the work is going.
You’ll inspire more loyalty and better work if you take the time to get to know your VA. Ask questions about her life, and let her know how much you appreciate a job well done.
As work progresses, make sure that you set realistic goals and time frames for work you need completed. Have a system for overseeing progress – for example, keep spreadsheets of social media posts so you can see what has been completed. For longer term projects, it’s a good idea to break it up into smaller tasks with shorter deadlines – that will help prevent any surprises further down the road.
Whenever possible, make sure that you recognize your VA for a job well done. Occasional perks and rewards can be greatly appreciated. Something as simple as a Starbucks card can really help make your VA feel like a valued employee.
As your blog and business grows, you’ll soon find that the help of a qualified virtual assistant is invaluable. It can be challenging to find the right person for the job, but if you take the time in the beginning to communicate and train, you’ll be rewarded with a loyal and reliable employee.
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