To watch the video recording of the session, just click here.
Virtual Assistants (VAs)
Inside The 4-Hour Workweek Tim Ferris talks about the concept of hiring a VA (a virtual assistant) to help you leverage your time.
You either have time or money, but you usually don’t have them both.
If you’re still stuck working full-time and not nearly enough time to work on your own business, then you’re in luck.
A virtual assistant is someone who will work for you, without having to be chained to a specific geographical area. The common approach is to hire a virtual assistant from countries like the Philippines where you can bring on your first Full-Time employee for around $500/month, sometimes even less.
VAs come in all different forms as people all have different strengths. You can find a general VA who can handle administrative type tasks like organizing your email inbox and helping you schedule calls, or you can hire someone to help you out with your social media strategy.
Carter and I had hired a few employees for around $3/hour in a previous business to help us with some customer support, which was amazing.
Why Hire Someone?
If you’re just starting out in your business, you might be wondering why you’d want to even consider hiring someone. However, the way I see it is that you’re going to be hiring someone to work for you in your business at some point down the road, so you might as well start now and gain the necessary skill-set of managing employees.
Our recommendation is to hire a general VA just to help you out with some daily tasks. Whether it’s helping you out with your business, or even your personal life! Imagine sending an email to your personal assistant asking them to send flowers to your significant other for their birthday or your anniversary.
It’s your very own personal assistant! How cool would that be?
Hiring a VA frees you up to work on higher leverage items, whatever that work may be for you. If it means that you’re now free to go out and get more sales leads, or create content for your next book, or spend some time networking… whatever helps your business move forward on its main goals, that’s the whole point of having employees.
Another obvious benefit of hiring a VA is to get rid of the tasks that you DO NOT enjoy doing.
On-Boarding a VA
Okay, so you’re sold on having a VA, but how do you go about bringing them on board and training them?
First let’s talk about how to find a VA.
The first resource is odesk.com, it’s a marketplace that allows you to post jobs and find VAs. Another resource is elance.com, it’s sometimes a good idea to post your job on both of those websites so you can have a big pool of applicants.
If you want to skip the entire process of finding the perfect VA, there are actually services in existence that will do all the heavy lifting for you in terms of finding qualified people. Chris Ducker has a great service called Virtual Staff Finder that does this work for you. They will go out and find 3 people who match the exact job profile you’ve outlined and give you their résumés as well as their contact info for the interview.
Now let’s talk about how to train your VA.
The best way to train your new VA is to record a video of yourself performing the task you wish them to perform. So walk them through and explain what it is you’d like them to do while you record yourself doing it.
To record your screen, you’ll want to use a program like Camtasia Studio. It’s exactly what I used to create countless videos and products that I’ve sold over the years. It’s a one time fee to buy the software, and I’m sure you will get a 100x ROI on this investment. I’ve already sold over $40,000 worth of my training program for which I used Camtasia to bring into existence.
Also, when you record the task you’d like your VA to carry out, it’s handy for if that VA were to move onto other opportunities sometime down the line. You’ll always have those training videos on hand to bring the next VA up to speed quickly!
Pro Tip: Use Craigslist
You might be thinking, why would I post a “for hire” ad for an employee on Craigslist? Wouldn’t the applicants be at a much higher price point? The answer… yes… but, companies have also created automated systems that scrape the Craigslist posts and will likely reach out to you to offer candidates at a much much lower price point.
Be sure to use the right keywords such as “Virtual Assistant” and “Work from Home” in your ad to be sure these scrapers will pick up your ad.
Note: There’s no such thing as the “magic bullet” VA who can do the tasks of five different human beings. Be sure to separate your jobs just like you would if you were hiring a person in your hometown.
Tips When Hiring a Virtual Assistant
One thing that you can do to make sure that you are hiring the right person is to put the following into your job post: insert a blurb, either at the start or the finish, which asks the person to respond with something like “I’m human.” This ensures that the person responding is not a robot.
The second thing you can do is to make the applicants perform some sort of a test that relates to the job posting. Usually you don’t want to give them a test that will take a very long time so something under five or 10 minutes of work is usually ideal. This will help weed out the vast majority of the applicants who would not have been a good fit for the job in the first place.