By Sarah Daigle and Jennifer McCool
As Currant Tech grows, there is enough work to lead me to revisit if all the work is being done by the right person. As the principal in my firm, I am often essential to the client work, but not necessarily essential to every part of running the business.
To my delight, I've lucked into an organized nut and operational consultant in one in Jennifer McCool. .
As we were reviewing where I could be more productive, have me, Sarah focus on the right tasks and empower my team to run projects and serve clients directly.
One questions we had was, "What work could / should be done by someone not involved in the day to day representation of Currant Tech?". Some days, this seems clear and obvious; though other days I"m daunted by the task of onboarding someone into the nitty gritty. With Jennifer's support, we are going to work take time to decide if, what and how we would use a virtual assistant.
Follow us in our journey to try out a virtual assistant or two this summer.
We reviewed four companies that offer virtual administrative/executive assistants: eaHELP, UassistME, Time Etc., and Worldwide 101 and discovered that hiring a virtual assistant is much like hiring an in-house assistant. Observe:
1. Decide what you want them to do (job description).
Piece out the specific things you are looking for in an assistant. These companies offer everything from email management and travel arrangements to social media management and graphic design.
2. Decide on your budget.
Figure out how much you would be willing to pay for the services and have a good idea of how many hours of work the tasks will take. Also, decide that having a virtual assistant is worth paying more (upfront) than an in-house assistant. The per hour pay of a virtual assistant roughly averages to $35. This has many variables such as level of tasks assigned, country the company is based in, and whether you have a designated assistant or not. Though that may seem steep, keep in mind that an in-house assistant will use your electricity, drink your coffee, socialize, and may require training which will take time. Many people do not factor this into the per-hour rate of an in-house assistant.
3. Research the companies and what they offer (the talent search).
Now that you have your job description and a budget, it’s time to conduct the job interviews. Three of the companies we reviewed had their services and pricing detailed on the website (eaHELP did not list their pricing). This means you can research which companies offer the tasks you want completed, the hours you need, and how much this will cost you. The tasks offered by each company are very similar and the pricing structure will give you flexibility. Some offer as low as three hours a month to around forty hours a month. You can inquire for larger packages.
4. Read the reviews (job references).
Since each of the companies reviewed offered similar products and comparable pricing (again, based on varying factors), reading reviews of these services is going to be important. Luckily for you someone has done a comparison of the majority of the companies and has this information at http://www.virtualassistantassistant.com. They’re like the scrubbing bubbles – they do the work so you don’t have to!
5. Getting Started (hiring)
Much like a new employee has a trial phase, some of these companies offer a free trial of their services while others will allow you to change your “plan” at any time. Most of these companies also bill monthly and do not lock you into a contract. In addition, some offer rollover of the hours unused – a nice perk if you are uncertain at first of how much time you will need an assistant.
And there you have it! Hopefully, I and my VA will live in digital harmony together.
Wish us luck!