Virtual Assistants: What do they do and how to hire one

It’s natural that as a company grows in size, their business demands also increase. Business owners find themselves working longer and longer hours to stay on top of daily tasks.

In this position business owners are faced with 3 options…

  1. Limit business growth and stick with what they are able to handle. 
  2. Hire a new employee to help with growing demand.
  3. Outsource the growing demand to a virtual assistant.

The vast majority of businesses want to grow, so option 1 doesn’t appeal.

Option 2, hiring a new employee, is costly, restrictive and time consuming.

This is why option 3, outsourcing to a VA is the perfect, cost effective, solution for companies of all sizes. 

Outsourcing to a VA requires very low overheads and commitment. Work is completed by a VA remotely and on a flexible contract. And it has been reported that virtual assistants can save businesses up to 78% in operating costs! (Truelist)

So, what is a virtual assistant?

“A virtual assistant is a person who provides support services to a business from a remote location. Administrative tasks are most common for virtual assistants, but they may also assist with any other elements required by the business.” (The Balance)

What can a virtual assistant do?

Gone are the days when a VAs work was limited to basic admin and diary management, a VAs capabilities far surpass that:

  • Customer service
  • Bookkeeping
  • Personal assistant
  • Project management
  • Data entry
  • Social media management
  • Email marketing
  • Email management
  • Research
  • Graphic design

& anything else that can be completed remotely…

Where would you find a virtual assistant?

Now you have identified how a VA could help your business, it’s time to find one! But where…?


The best option is to ask your network for referrals. You’d be surprised at how many businesses use outsourcing services. In 2018 over a third of small businesses outsourced a business process! (Truelist) Try posting on LinkedIn or Facebook business groups.

Freelance Marketplace

On freelance marketplaces you can post the job that needs doing and freelancers will pitch to you. While the rates often seem lower on these kinds of websites you can end up paying more than anticipated when you consider the platforms marketplace charges.

Use a virtual assistant service

A virtual assistant service is similar to an online agency. You can explain the work that needs doing to the agency and they will provide their most suitable virtual assistant for that job. The real perk here is that if you have changing business needs the virtual assistant you use can change accordingly. (You wouldn’t want to use a data entry expert for graphic design or visa versa!)

How do you know if you’ve found the right virtual assistant?

Here’s a checklist:

  • Do they have the required skills and experience for your requirements?
  • Have you checked their references or client testimonials?
  • Have you seen a sample or their work or had them complete a mini-trial?
  • Have you met them on a video call?

If you can confidently say yes to all of the above it’s looking positive!

The hiring process

Once you’ve found a virtual assistant or agency that you feel you can confidently work with it is time to hire one.

Set your expectations

Work out EXACTLY what you want from your virtual assistant.

  • The tasks
  • The timeline
  • Communication methods
  • Your budget

Draw up a contract

A contract is there to protect both you and your virtual assistant.

In the contract outline the expectations described above, and you may wish to include an NDA here too.

A benefit of working with a good virtual assistant agency is that they have streamlined onboarding processes, including contracts to save the business time.

Once the contract is in place and you have assigned your tasks to your new virtual assistant you can relax in the knowledge that there is now an experienced professional taking care of them.

You now have the time to focus on growth!

If you are interested in the virtual assistant services offered by Zest please get in touch.