HOW TO HIRE, TRAIN, AND
AFFORD YOUR FIRST VA

 
 
FRE cover.png
 

RESOURCES MENTIONED

TRANSCRIPT

Click here to download the PDF Transcript

00:26 If you saw the title of this podcast and thought, this isn't for me, my business is too small, or I'm just not making enough money yet. If you're thinking those things, this episode is especially for you whether you are just starting out in business or had been at it for a while, you're in the right place because hiring a virtual assistant is going to benefit you and your business immensely. In fact, if you really want to see growth in your business this year, I don't think there's anything more important that you could do. We all hide behind the busy work. Sometimes fooling ourselves into thinking we're accomplishing so much or we figured we might as well do it ourselves because by the time we explain it to someone else, we could have already finished the task at hand. Or if you're like, I was, you might be thinking, wow, I can barely manage myself, don't know what I'm working on from day to day in my business, so how in the heck am I going to be able to manage someone else?

01:26 The truth is we spend our days doing the tasks that are not revenue producing and therefore we are not going to hit our revenue goals. It's really that simple. So I've developed a system for hiring, training and managing virtual assistants that has been an absolute game changer for my business and I am so excited to share every bit of it with you here today. I hired my first full time VA who's still with me and my part time graphic designer, also still with me at a time when I certainly didn't feel like I could afford it. Now I see that I should've done this from the start. I should've factored the cost into my business as something as important as wifi or even electricity. Now, this episode is going to focus on hiring someone in the Philippines, but I want you to know that this system will work with a VA anywhere.

02:21 The difference really is going to be cost, so this is what we're going to cover, setting up your system before you even look for a VA, how to create a practically automated onboarding and training system, where to find a great VA, who the who you can afford, how to write your job posting, how to interview, implementing your training system, what tasks to assign, and day to day management. It's a lot, but we're going to get through it pretty quickly. Also, I've put together a step-by-step workbook with templates and links to all the resources mentioned today. Just text VAWORKBOOK, all one word to 44222. That's 44222 the place we need to begin is in laying down the foundation for our new hire. Taking these first steps before you ever hire someone is going to save you a lot of headaches down the road.

03:22 OK, so I know one of the biggest concerns that people have on hiring a VA and rightly so is in exposing themselves. We need our VA is to access our accounts, but we don't want to share our passwords and that's exactly right. You should never share your passwords. So this program, LastPass is a program that allows your VA to access accounts that you want them to access, but they will never know your password. I use the team's version, it's very affordable and I haven't given it a second thoughts since signing up for this. Basically the software allows you to put any accounts you want them to be able to access into a folder. They click on the account within the folder and it lets them in, but it never lets them see the password and so for any reason, if that person doesn't work out for you, you just simply revoke their access to that one folder and they'll never have access to any of your accounts again.

04:23 The next really important tool that I use is called Hubstaff. Hubstaff is basically an answered prayer for anyone who's a bit nervous about working with someone remotely. This is where you can oversee every single thing that they're doing and I mean everything and you can also pay them through this platform and even rebill your clients. So let me explain a little more about how this works. So you can set the application to take screenshots of your VAs computer screen every few minutes. It seems very invasive. I know, but when you're working with someone halfway around the world, this is really a great comfort, especially in the very beginning. Not only that, as someone who's running a business, you need to know how much time is being spent on what particular tasks. This helps you budget and plan so much more efficiently and most VAs in the Philippines are very familiar with this program and they're OK with it and as they settle in and you begin to develop trust, you're going to use it less and less as a monitoring tool and more as a way to just check in from time to time.

05:30 Just making sure that everybody's on task with the amount of time they're spending on each task. You can also see the urls there visiting and the percentage of time that they're spending their. You can assign certain tasks and ask your VA to make sure and assign the right task to the clock as they work. Again, this is going to help you understand how to plan and budget for tomorrow. So for example, I have a task set as newsletter because we do a couple of different newsletters in my business, so every time my VA goes in to work on that newsletter, she sets the clock for that particular task and when she's done she clicks it and we could see exactly how much time is being spent on the newsletter because one of my newsletter is really only sent to a couple of hundred people. So at some point I'm going to look and see how much money I'm spending for this newsletter to be written.

06:22 How many people are actually opening this email? And at that point I'll be able to decide, OK, maybe this newsletter is a dumb idea. And I also love Hubstaff for the payroll feature, you can set it to automatically pay your VA at the end of each week and is so, so convenient. You can also alter the setting. So for example, you will never pay more than x hours a week. So if you have an agreement with your VA that they're only gonna work 20 hours a week, you can set it so there's no way that they accidentally go over that amount. OK? The next thing you want to get if you don't already have it, this really has to be even outside of VA management. My all time favorite digital tool these days it's called Loom, l o o, m as in Mary. It's free. And if you're currently using something like Camtasia or screenflow to record your screen, this is different.

07:15 So it's a screen recording device, but it allows you to record your screen instantly and when you're finished recording, it gives you a link that you can share immediately. There's no uploading or downloading or exporting or any of that. And you're going to see why this tool is so important for this process in just a little while. The next tool I recommend getting is Trello. Trello is what I use to set up my systems for working with my VA. You can use the free version, but honestly even if you have to pay, it's very inexpensive and it's. It's an amazing, amazing platform. So now that we've gotten all that stuff set up or going to go and find our VA, this is the part You've been waiting for. Now, the site that I've gotten in the workbook is a site in the Philippines, but again, you do not have to hire in the Philippines.

08:04 The steps that I'm going to show you will work anywhere. The difference will be cost and I have to say I lived in the Philippines for several years and I've found the people there to have a very strong worth work ethic and they really value education very highly. It's also worth noting that it's a very catholic country, so in December you need to prepare accordingly and that means like your VA is probably not going to be around much at all through the whole month of December. They actually start planning for thanksgiving there. I mean for Christmas, they're like in September. Ok, so here's an example of a job that I posted for my graphic designer. I have an amazing, amazing graphic designer, so this is how it reads. Please read this post carefully. I am looking for a full time graphic designer for up to 20 hours per week.

08:57 There is a very particular style that I'm looking for. If you go to www dot x, y, z.com or www.abc.com, and download one of their free workbooks or checklists, you'll get an idea of the style that I like. Clean, bold, fresh. If you're interested in this job, please take the following document and turn it into a beautiful pdf and I put a link to the very plain, I think it was like a google doc into that ad. Then email it to me. I'll put my email address in the subject line type. Here is your beautiful design. Jen, in the first paragraph, tell me why you want this job. Include a link to some of your other work. This is an ongoing position. I want to work with you for years, not weeks, serious applicants only now. I ended up with a lot of responses to this ad, but only about five of the responses had followed, followed the directions.

09:59 How did I know this? Because there were only five that used the directive that I gave about the subject line, so all the people that didn't use the subject line went straight into the trash. I saved myself a ton of time. I didn't have to sort through all those emails. The five people who did respond correctly. We're all really good applicants, but two really excellent and using my system, which I'm going to reveal to you, I was able to see which VA was the perfect person for the job. Now, what I am about to tell you may shock you when hiring someone from the Philippines, you can expect to pay and get someone very qualified for about four to $6 per hour. Very qualified, yes, very qualified. As I stated earlier, there is a strong value placed on education in the Philippines. Don't be surprised to see someone with a masters degree in mathematics apply for your position, but here's how I approach compensation and I ask you to consider this as an option.

11:04 When I hired my first VA, I wanted to start off with a full time person. I knew this was going to bring me the greatest results the quickest and a hundred and $60 a week was something that I could handle, but I wanted the person to stay with me for a long time. I wanted her to be invested in my business. I mean, isn't that why anybody sticks around anywhere? We want to feel some sense of proprieties ownership, so what I do is first of all is I think of my VAs more as virtual partners. The distinction makes more of a difference than you might think. Also, I offer incentives, so as I make money, so today for example, when we hit a certain revenue goal or a certain number of email subscribers, they receive a bonus and it's made all the difference. Other perks include the ongoing training and tools that they have access to, which we're going to talk about in just a minute.

11:58 So now that you've narrowed down a few candidates, you're going to schedule your skype interview video or audio doesn't matter, but audio might make things a little less awkward. So some of my favorite questions to ask are, tell me about yourself. What do you know about my business? What are your other commitments? Why are you interested in? Let me go back to that one. Why? What are your other commitments? The reason I asked this question is because I was looking for people, especially with my full time VA who would be committed only to me. I didn't want a VA who was working with five other people just like me because if I was hiring full time, I really wanted that to me full time for my graphic designer who's part time. It was less important, but I still wanted to know what the other commitments were so I can see if this was something that was really going to be doable, ok, why are you interested in this job?

12:58 What is your favorite type of work and what else should I know about you? That's one of my favorite questions because it and also the first question, tell me about yourself because you'll get a lot more information than you would've ever even thought to ask like they're going to tell you things you may have never thought to ask. If the interview is going well and you think this person is the one, go ahead at that time and let them know what you're offering for payment, what you're willing to pay, what your offer is, and it's a good time to mention the perks. If you're going to offer the incentive bonuses, like I suggest this is a good time to mention it because it may be that you both, the two of you are really not thinking along the same lines at all and this would be.

13:41 This would be the time to figure that out before you go any further. If the person is the right person, they sound ok about the compensation, send them an email and offer them the job. Attach an agreement, and mentioned that the first week is only a trial period. This is also stated in your agreement. There's a template agreement in the workbook that I created. Remember just text VAWORKBOOK to 44222. So now it's time to talk about onboarding. And I get to explain the trello board system and the screen of quarter now. So for about a week before you hire your VA, uh, and if you have more time than that, all the better. You're going to begin recording your screen. All the tasks that you do in a day. For example, if you're creating blog images in canva, you click the record button the loom.

14:34 Remember it's called loom. You're going to click the loom button and just start talking. You're talking to yourself, but that's ok. So you just start talking out loud. As you work through the process, you just narrate the process. So you'll say, uh, here I am in Canva, this is our dashboard, this is where you'll find our company brand colors. This is where you find our logos. This is how I like to create a blog image. And then when you're done, you just click the stop recording button, it gives you a link and you're going to paste it onto your trello board. You might name the card that you pasted on blog graphics or blog or branding, but the point is after you do this every day, just as you complete the task that you're already doing nothing, nothing new, it's just the stuff you're already doing in your business.

15:19 You're going to have a complete training board for your new hire. I also like to record a welcome video that says hi, and then you're going to stay at your overall expectations, the culture of your business, your, your, um, just whatever you think is really important for your new person to, to learn and know that you don't want to forget making that recording. Make sure that you sort of cover all your basis after you do this every day. Um, as you complete this task that you're already doing, you're going to have a complete training board for your new hire and if that person doesn't work out, that training board and all that stuff that you recorded is there for the next person so you don't have to miss a beat. So you hire your new VA, you give them a link to the training board, they watched the welcome board.

16:07 You ask them to watch all the videos or give them some specific tasks. Again, you can record them as videos and put them on the trello board and give them about a week to get through it all. This buys you time to sow, which is always a good thing, like you're going to be a week ahead of them. Now if you end up with two great candidates as I did, you can really easily just duplicate that board with the click of a button and give them access separately. I did not tell my two graphic designer candidates that they were in competition with each other, but I did mention of course, that there was just. It was a one week trial period and what was astounding was this the work they submitted when they initially applied, they were equally good candidates, but in the interviews one was much better than the other, mainly because one of my applicants was extremely shy and introverted.

17:02 Now, once I assigned them each to their separate project boards on trello, the difference between their work was just unbelievable. The person who I thought didn't do well on the interview outperformed the other candidate by a mile and what I mean by outperformed is that I would put down one task that said, please create a workbook with this information, or please create a checkbook or please create a graphic for social media. Whatever it was. The person who I thought was shy and didn't do well in her interview just knocked it out super fast with no questions, was able to really work with very little oversight from me and very little direction from me. Whereas the other person was super slow, very indecisive, was emailing me constantly with question after question and that just isn't going to work for me. But if I would've just based it on the samples, I would have perhaps, or the interview I would have perhaps pick the other candidate and then she wouldn't have worked out.

18:05 I would've seen that really early on actually, and I would've had to start from scratch so I saved myself so much time doing it this way and I really can't recommend this enough. So after you hire your VA and they watched the videos and you give them their specific tasks and you've bought yourself some time, you're going to be creating new tasks for them. And also when it comes to task, if you feel like you aren't sure that you can keep them busy, you really missing a very important point. You know that there's a thousand things you have to do on a, on a one day like you're to do one day list, right? Like we all have that sort of that big list of things we know we need to do like google analytics like you, you've known forever that you need to get google analytics up on your website and it's been on your list for ages, but other stuff keeps coming up, so guess what?

19:00 You don't have to be the one that shows your VA what to do. You can buy a google analytics course for them and that's what I was saying earlier about the perks. This is another perk for your VA. You can buy google analytics course for them or sign them up for a webinar and have them learn how to do it. I called this wish list tasking and it works really well because you both, when they're learning new, very marketable skills and your business is reaping the reward of those new skills. So there should never be a time when your VA is waiting from work for you. Wish lists are the way to go. Now for day to day communication, I like voxer, v o x, e r, it's a free texting app and it also works sort of like a walkie talkie. Um, that's what we use when we like, we need to get ahold of each other right away.

19:48 Like, you know, my VA might say, oh, you know, the website seems to be down and I can't access it or something that's just seems like more urgent. We will use that for sometimes we use skype or what's app, but for project management and day to day we keep it all on trello. So that was a lot. I know if it was helpful and you'd like to learn more. I do have a one hour recorded workshop that lives inside of the Front Row VIP, which is my private membership site. It's a place where entrepreneurs go to learn the latest, greatest, most practical tips and online business marketing and productivity. And not only is there a library of fresh courses and workshops and trainings like the VA workshop, we have three live coaching calls each month and a community of smart, supportive entrepreneurs. That is simply unlike any other community you will find anywhere to learn more, go to frontrowvip.com and remember for the workbook text VAWORKBOOK to 44222 and I'll get it right over to you. Thanks and see you next time.