There are hundreds of thousands of virtual assistants in the market right now. You’ll be overwhelmed trying to filter through all of them in order to find the perfect virtual assistant for yourself.
Right now, there are 5,000 virtual assistants on Upwork, 74,000 virtual assistants on Guru, 26,000 virtual assistants on Freelancer, and 5,000 virtual assistants on PeoplePerHour, according to The Week. Note that these statistics don’t factor in independent virtual assistants who work for themselves or for private agencies.
You have a lot of choices.
Hiring through a freelancing platform
You can start hiring a virtual assistant through a freelancer platform, such as Upwork or PeoplePerHour. The positive side to these types of freelancers is that you’ll often find work for cheap. The market is highly competitive and virtual assistants tend to lower their rates in order to find work.
Upwork often prunes its freelancers, due to lack of skill or capability. This pruning means that the virtual assistants you come across are usually higher quality since Upwork gets rid of freelancers who aren’t landing jobs.
Another positive to using freelancer platforms is that you don’t have to pay everything upfront. Traditionally, virtual assistants who work independently will ask you to pay for the whole month ahead of time so they don’t have to worry about chasing you for payment (which is a common issue that virtual assistants deal with). Having a middleman like Upwork allows the virtual assistant to bill you by 10-minute increments and you pay for the work done.
You also don’t have to worry about contracts when working on these platforms, unless you want to add additional contracts such as non-competes or non-disclosures.
Hiring through an Agency
There are two types of virtual assistance agencies.
The first kind of agency is the type that recruits virtual assistants and then allows you to hire them through the agency. You would most likely be paying the agency to work with the virtual assistant and the virtual assistant would be paid through the agency.
A positive to hiring through an agency is that you get to skip the scouting work yourself. Scouting is a skill. When it comes down to wading through thousands of virtual assistants, you may be better off asking someone to do the searching part for you. You can tell the agency all the skills and requirements you have for the virtual assistant and the agency will find the perfect assistant for you.
Then you can talk to the potential virtual assistant through the interview process and go from there.
Another type of agency model is when you hire a project manager and their full team. This is usually someone who started out as a virtual assistant and scaled their business by subcontracting their work out to other virtual assistants.
You’re basically hiring a whole team of people who can do anything you ask for. If you need graphic design, they have a person for that. If you need copywriting, they have a different assistant for that. It’s usually more expensive to hire a whole team but it saves you the headache of needing to hire individuals on your own.
Hiring an Independent Virtual Assistant
An independent virtual assistant is an assistant who has their own website, contracts, and billing. You wouldn’t hire them through a platform or an agency.
The positive side of hiring an independent virtual assistant is that you know they’re serious. Someone on Upwork or working through an agency might decide one day that virtual assistance isn’t for them and run off. This isn’t always the case, but it could happen. A virtual assistant who has their own website and business shows that they’re serious. They wouldn’t invest money into building a whole virtual assistance business and then disappear. There’s a lot more at stake for those virtual assistants.
These types of virtual assistants can be found through LinkedIn, Facebook groups, Twitter, or word of mouth. They’re usually marketing themselves on social media, so if you’re looking for an independent virtual assistant, all you have to do is ask.
Here’s a template that you can follow:
Virtual assistants who work with [your niche], I’m hiring!
I’m looking for a virtual assistant in the [hourly rate] budget range who is able to:
-List out tasks that you’d be asking the virtual assistant to do
To apply, [instructions to apply].
P.S. You can see my business here: [insert website]
Adding your website is important because it allows your potential virtual assistant to see what your business is about. This gives them an opportunity to come up with questions to ask you during the interview and helps them gauge whether or not they’re capable of helping you.
Where do you think you’ll hire your first virtual assistant? Let us know in the comments below.