Weeks before his business was set for explosive growth, Matt Solomon, founder and CEO of the Center For Enlightened Business, got some bad news.
His virtual assistant, someone he relied on for a thousand different things, was taking a new job. Not in two weeks, but in two days. She was leaving at the end of the week with only an hour of availability for her remaining days.
Talk about bad timing.
The time and energy necessary to hire her replacement would be a huge vacuum for his team, and possibly stall the growth he was eyeing in the near future.
If you are Matt, you are suddenly faced with finding the best replacement, and you don’t have a lot of time to figure it out.
In this post, we’re going to share exactly what to look for — and how — to find the best virtual assistant for you. Fast! Just like Matt.
So what’s first?
Let’s start by figuring out what to look for in a virtual assistant.
What Makes For The Best Virtual Assistant?
If you were going to write a job description for a virtual assistant, what would you include?
- The best virtual assistant will have the right attributes. They stay focused. They are creative problem solvers. They pay attention to detail.
- There’s no substitute for character. That includes having a team-player personality, as well as being trustworthy and honest. Integrity is a must-have. Your virtual assistant will be in your email and finances, responding to clients and vendors. It’s an extremely high-trust position.
- You have a work culture already in place. Great virtual assistants are a culture fit. They work how you work. They work with your team. Everything clicks.
- Did we already mention being trustworthy? Because that’s a big one. It also means you trust them enough to step back and focus on important work. You don’t need to micromanage them, or double check their work.
- The best virtual assistants are highly responsive. That’s part of being a good communicator. Time is money, and they know a fast response time matters for the bottom line. They’re even good at making sure the ball stays rolling from start to finish, by following up with your team.
- The best virtual assistant is proactive. They often intuitively know what should be done, or what you’re going to want, before you do. They’re resourceful, and figure out how to get things done even in a pinch.
Most importantly, they care. About your business, your team, your goals, and you.
What Skills Does A Virtual Assistant Need?
There’s no perfect checklist for all the skills the best virtual assistant will have. Your organization is unique.
But there are a few must-have skills that aren’t optional.
First, there’s great communication.
Whether through email, text, or on the phone, the message has to get through clearly and at the right time, without any white noise. A virtual assistant also has to ask the right questions without being afraid.
Next up are the skills that generate efficiency and productivity.
A virtual assistant is organized and productive, even under pressure. They have a knack for time management (even yours). We’re talking about multi-tasking and being resourceful.
Finally, a virtual assistant needs to be skilled at self-learning.
They need to learn your work style, your systems, and the tools you use. Being good with tech is important, but instead of a list of software or apps, you’re looking for past experience that indicates flexibility and an ability to learn quickly.
What Can A Virtual Assistant Do For Me?
Maybe you think a virtual assistant basically arranges travel, or fires off email. Maybe they set up virtual meetings and notify the team. It’s basically an admin position, right?
Except it’s not. Don’t let the “assistant” part confuse you.
Yes, there’s the executive administrative assistant doing all that (and more) for C-level execs.
But virtual assistants are also able to handle customer support. They can run social media marketing, and provide writing and editing services. You can even turn them into project managers, or let them do your bookkeeping. And some provide multilingual support if you have a global team or customer base.
There’s no position in your organization where a virtual assistant couldn’t be plugged in. Not one.
How Much Does A Virtual Assistant Cost?
When you wonder about cost, you’re probably taking a simple approach where a set budget defines everything, including the definition of cost.
There are other costs to consider, though.
A virtual assistant saves you time, which saves you money and increases opportunity cost.
If you turn to a virtual assistant service, you can save the cost of hiring and all the headache that goes with it. Consider that each new hire costs about $4129 and 42 days of your time to get into place.
A virtual assistant who is an independent contractor costs less than full or even part-time regular employees. But let’s not forget the hassle with staying compliant with remote work laws. When it comes to legal independent contractor compliance, how you use your virtual assistant is the difference between a 1099 and a W2. Get it wrong, and it’s expensive.
The gold standard, which takes all of this into consideration, is subscription staffing.
By subscribing to highly qualified remote talent, you only pay for the hours you need and you let the company providing the service take care of their W2 employee compliance issues.
Read more: How Much Does An Executive Assistant Cost?
The Best Next Step To Your New Virtual Assistant
A friend suggested he look into Boldly for a virtual assistant using the subscription staffing model. Though he thought it was a huge chance to take at a delicate time, he took the leap.
In less than a week he was up and running with a rockstar assistant. His daily workflow didn’t miss a beat. And best of all, he was able to focus on growth rather than admin, completely setting him free to focus on the highest return work.
Getting started was easy, and it can be for you, too. If you’re looking for the best virtual assistant available without any hassle or time constraints, talk to us today.
You can learn Matt’s full story here.
May 2022 Update: Times have changed, and Virtual Assistants with this level of expertise are now typically called Remote Executive Assistants.
Topic: Remote Executive Assistant
Updated on October 12th, 2023