While taking on new clients, I have been doing a lot of research. I have read a number of articles about how the entrepreneur should find and hire a the “perfect virtual assistant” to help provide them relief. I did not find many articles written for the entrepreneur detailing for them exactly how to attract the perfect virtual assistant.
So, this article is written to help you find your dream team member. There is a “perfect for you” virtual assistant!
The Perfect Virtual Assistant
Hiring the perfect virtual assistant demands some of your time and attention to detail. The perfect virtual assistant, unfortunately, cannot read your mind or between the lines.
Many times entrepreneurs and small business owners are left disenfranchised in their decision to hire because clear expectations were not developed at the beginning of the relationship.
Because I’ve been looking for new clients, I’ve responded to many RFPs (Requests for Proposals) in the last several months. In August I wrote the blog post 3 Tips to Submitting a Killer Request for Proposal. In that post I suggested these 3 strategies:
- Pricing Strategies: What is your budget?
- What Are You Really Looking For?
- Be Willing to Say No!
Today I want to go more in-depth. What components are needed so that you can build your dream team?
Step 1: Give A Compelling Reason For The VA To Apply
Just like it is important to have a compelling headline for each of your blog posts, it is also important to have a compelling reason for me to apply. Recently I received a RFP for a WordPress site development. There was no lead into the RFP and really no reason for me to give it my attention.
I often hear entrepreneurs say that they don’t get very many responses. Give a reason to apply. Here is an example:
“A growing consulting group has an exciting position available for a WordPress web designer. A designer is needed who can make our current website rock. An added bonus would be sprucing up the language and making it more user-friendly.”
Present your job as an opportunity for you and the prospective service provider.
Step 2: Tell Who You Are
Often when RFPs are submitted it will only have the company name. No web address, no contact name; only a generic email address. If you are a business then you need to put more information within the RFP.
Display that website address. This gives me the opportunity to learn more about you, your business and possibly your goals. It also allows me to gather more information about what you do.
Have a name associated with the RFP. Am I responding to the business owner, personal secretary, 3rd party head hunter? Personalize the RFP to the correct audience.
Then tell why would I want to work with you? Are you excited, passionate about what you do? Here is an example of someone excited about what they do and how I can help them:
“Global business services provider in the Northeast USA focused on serving creative entrepreneurs and small business owners requires a well-rounded WordPress designer to upgrade our current website, improve our copy and make the site more user-friendly.”
Within the RFP above, you’ve told me what your company does, where you are located (this is important if you want someone in the same time zone) and who your target market is. This tells me as a service provider that you are organized in your thinking and know what you want in a site.
Step 3: What Is The Job Description
It amazes me how many RFPs are listed without a clear deliverable. What are you really looking for? Have a clear goal or purpose in mind. Have you taken the time to write what you need or do you just have a general idea that you need RELIEF? Although I can appreciate your desperation and I am here to offer you relief, I need to have a clear understanding of what relief is needed and set the right expectations.
I urge you, don’t jump to step 3, make sure you have steps 1 and 2 covered first. I recently dealt with a potential client who asked me to organize her speaking engagements, travel, etc. At the end of the process and after I had provided a service agreement, I was then told that my services were needed to find speaking engagements. Although I would have excelled at the logistics of the speaking engagements, dealing with the venues, travel I could not in good faith agree to find speaking engagements for this client because it was outside of what she had hired me for. That is not my area of expertise. This client may circle back around to me after she finds those ideal speaking engagements. Unfortunately, I really can’t be of service to her now, putting her policies and procedures into place.
Include Whether You Want A Task Manager or Role Owner
Include in your job description whether you are looking for a task manager or a role owner.
I am an awesome task manager. You give me a list of things to do and I am the person to get them done. A task manager comes back to you with questions and possible solutions. Although I am awesome at being a task manager, I rock at and prefer being the role owner.
The role owner is given a specific role to fill. They are given the freedom to develop a plan of action and make decisions on their own. This allows you to handle your tasks.
Make sure you specify in your job description which you are looking for. Frustration will decrease if you and your service provider are on the same page.
Some Potential Job Highlights
What type of person are you looking for?
- Leader or Follower – Do you want them to be a leader in their own right or are you looking for a follower?
- Experienced or Beginner – Do you want a high-level expert or is just beginning okay?
- Mindset – Is mindset important? Do you work better with someone who is proactive and positive?
- Dedication – Do you want someone who will work with you exclusively or do you just want a few hours a week?
Highlight specifically what projects you need help with. Here are some examples:
- Project plan development and management for marketing campaigns and product launches
- Increase conversion in on-going campaigns
- Schedule and track all 3rd party partner promotions
- Set up and track on-going social media activity for specific campaigns and traffic generation to blog, YouTube, partner promotions
- Keep website, opt in pages and other marketing collateral up to date
- Set up and support campaigns in shopping cart
- Track stats of all promotions, marketing efforts and program sales weekly
- Contribute to the overall health of the company by taking ownership of role, suggesting and implementing improvements and driving for outstanding results.
As you can see specific goals and lists are noted for accountable action.
We all have unwritten desires in our quest for the dream team candidate. Make sure you think about this and the type of person you want to work with you. Here are some examples:
- Ready to make a solid exclusive commitment to the business owner, is emotionally connected to the company’s vision and is ready for the role of right hand partner.
- Truly passionate about the success of this business and making a solid impact towards the growth of the business.
- Results oriented, a self-starter, will take direction yet think independently.
- Exceptionally responsive and strives to reply to requests in a timely fashion
As you can see by the additional qualifications, this client is looking for an exclusive relationship, wants someone who can own the vision of the company, is quick on their feet, self-starting and very responsive to the client communication and needs.
Step 4: Compensation
This section is controversial. I work as a high-end service professional. When I respond to a RFP it is good to know and understand what potential clients are looking for.
If you are looking for someone who is going to charge you $15 per hour, I am not the right person. As a service professional I put a lot of time and effort into responding to RFPs. So you can imagine how frustrating it is to go through the process of discussing needs and then say “Oh! You are more than I can afford”.
That is why the job description is so important. Make sure you are attracting the right bracket of service professionals for the job description you have posted. Your task managers are going to cost you less than a role owner. That needs to be reflected in your compensation expectations.
Remember you get what you pay for!
So remember you need the following 4 steps to attract your perfect virtual assistant:
- A compelling reason to apply
- A discussion of who you are
- Clearly detailed expectations about the job
- Detail your compensation