How To Hire A Virtual Executive Assistant

In-office workers have assistants. Remote workers also do. So how do you hire a virtual executive assistant, as a business leader who manages a remote team? You’ll learn all about that, plus much more. For a start, let’s talk about who a virtual executive assistant is. 

Who is a virtual executive assistant?

A virtual executive assistant is basically an assistant who helps a busy business executive with their workload. 

If you’ve ever wished you could clone yourself so your clone can do some of the things you don’t have the time or energy to do, this is your moment. In other words, a virtual executive assistant does all the things a business owner would otherwise have done. 

What does a virtual executive assistant do for you?

There are a number of things that a virtual executive assistant does for a business owner. Some of them include: 

Managing your schedule

One of the most time-consuming things a business owner does is managing their schedule. Usually, they have several appointments a week. They also have decisions to make to take the business forward. That schedule changes frequently based on the different issues that creep up from time to time. A virtual executive assistant is poised to manage this complex, changing schedule. 

Leading your remote team

As the business leader it is the job of the CEO to lead the entire remote team. That means checking in on them to see if they have any challenges. It also involves making sure everyone is working towards the company goal. It is a demanding job. But a virtual executive assistant helps to do it. 

Handling your travel arrangements

Making travel arrangements can take many hours. Phone calls have to be made to book the most suitable flights. Hotel reservations have to be made. A hall to host guests has to be arranged. Food and other refreshments have to be planned and everything has to be confirmed in advance. The assistant handles all these. 

Email and phone handling

Reading and responding to emails from other businesses and individuals is also something a virtual executive assistant does. These emails may be from customers, business partners, news organizations, and so on. They may also make phone calls all through the day, so email and phone handling can be a full-time job on its own. 

Professional networking

No company operates in isolation. There are always similar businesses that have an impact on the success or failure of your firm. Getting to know the leaders of the organizations at conferences and other professional settings is important. Sometimes, the setting is a bit more informal. All the same, if the event is virtual, an assistant can attend in place of the CEO. 

Clearly, you’ll save a lot of valuable time when you employ a virtual executive assistant. So how do you go about hiring one? 

How to hire a virtual executive assistant

In order to hire a virtual executive assistant, you need to be sure that you need one in the first place. What better is there to do this than to look inside your business? 

List the tasks that consume most of your time

Take a close look at all the things you do within your business that takes up most of your time. It could be receiving phone calls and replying to emails. It could be writing and sending emails. It could also be organizing events. Write them out and see what task you have left after subtracting them from your daily activities. 

Find out how much time it takes to finish them

The next step is to figure out how much time it takes to do each of those tasks that are time consuming. You can turn on a timer while carrying out these tasks. This will give you an idea of how much time you will be saving when you do hire a virtual executive assistant. 

At this point, you’ll probably be convinced that you badly need the help of an assistant. You may already see how much easier your life will be and how smoother your business will run with a virtual executive assistant helping out. It’s time for the next step. 

Write a job description based on the information you’ve gotten

Using the information you’ve gotten so far, write a job description that is tailored to your specific needs. Make it as detailed as possible and include the outcomes you desire. Remember to be reasonable in your expectations and don’t expect a new hire to do things as quickly as you would, especially at the beginning of the work contract. 

Decide on a budget for the role

This is probably the most unpleasant but important part of the process. To some extent, your budget determines the skills level of the virtual executive assistant. You also don’t want to spend more than you can afford to. Pick a number that is in line with your current revenue. Don’t be too cheap and don’t go too high. 

Prioritize attitude next to skills

Skills are a must-have for any virtual executive assistant. But don’t make them all that matters to you. Next in importance to skills is the right attitude. Remember: Skills can be either learned or polished. With that in mind, here are some personality traits that represent the right attitude: 

✔️They should be observant – A lot happens in your business every single day. Decisions are made and changed. Crises come up and they are dealt with. Your virtual executive assistant must carefully observe what’s going on and deal with them accordingly. They should also take note of your style and adopt it.  

✔️They should be considerate – At times, there will be a need to do things they have never done before. Your virtual executive assistant must understand that this is part of the business. Since they are standing in for you and must be willing to do all you would to make your business continue to thrive. 

✔️They must be great communicators – For all the tasks your virtual executive assistant handles to be done well, they must be great communicators. They must know how to ask the right questions. They must also accurately pass their thoughts and feelings across to you. 

✔️They must be proactive –  Your virtual executive assistant should be able to act in anticipation of future needs. All the traits mentioned above will make it possible for them to do so. They cannot be the type of people who sit and wait for challenges to arise before they take action on issues. 

✔️They should also be reactive – In addition to being proactive they should be reactive. When problems arise, they should be willing to take quick action towards solving them. When speed is required they must act in haste. If diplomacy is required they must also display that quality. That’s how to keep the ball rolling. 

The next thing to do when you want to hire a virtual executive assistant is to connect with the right talents. How do you do that?

Reach out to the right talents through a virtual staffing agency

You might be tempted to put up a post on social media or a freelancer platform about your job vacancy. You’ll get tons of applications and have to sift through all of them. In the end, there’s no guarantee that you’ll find a suitable candidate. The only thing you’re sure of doing is wasting a lot of time and man-hours. A much better option is to use a virtual staffing agency. 

When you use a virtual staffing agency, you are guaranteed zero waste of time and man-hours. You can also be sure that you will get the right fit without losing money. Candidates are vetted before you even get to interview them. It’s a great option that is becoming increasingly popular among business owners. 

If you’re still wondering whether getting a virtual executive assistant is the right decision for you, this list of 4 reasons will help you make up your mind. 

3 reasons why you should hire a virtual executive assistant

1. You’ll save time and money

Most likely, you make many times more money than you’ll ever pay your virtual executive assistant. So why get your hands dirty with tasks they can do? Their hourly rate and yours is a world apart. You’re actually wasting time and money when you do those tasks by yourself. 

2. More work will get done 

When you hire one or two virtual executive assistants to work with you, you’d be surprised how much work will get done in less time. Your clients will think you’re some sort of jedi CEO. You’ll send more emails and reply to and more calls in a short period of time. Of course, increasing efficiency will bring in more money to your company over time. 

3. They help you skip boring tasks 

Some tasks are just too tedious or boring. Managing databases might be one of them. Another might be answering emails or phone calls. You can skip all that when you hire a virtual executive assistant. That will give you time to do fun things like attending events, podcasts, and generally networking. 

6 reasons why you will not regret hiring a virtual executive assistant

1. You’ll work a lot less than you currently do

How many hours a week do you work? Whatever the figure is, you can make it much less with a virtual executive assistant. They’ll do all the heavy lifting while you oversee everything from time to time. Isn’t this the dream of anyone who’s putting in long hours each day? These days, smart work is more valuable than going through all that trouble. 

2. Your business will run without your constant attention

When you start a business, you dream of living the life of your dreams. No bosses. No compulsory 9-5 work. But some business owners end up working far more than 40 hours a week. Even taking vacations is almost impossible for them. If that describes you, there will definitely be nothing to regret when you hire an assistant. 

3. That feeling of being trapped will be gone 

Instead of the feeling of freedom an entrepreneur should have, you may be feeling trapped in your business. It may feel like 24hours a day is not enough to accomplish all your big goals. You may not even have enough time to spend with your loved ones. All that will change when you get the help of a virtual executive assistant. 

4. There will be no need to work while you’re on vacations 

When was the last time you took a vacation? Did you end up working on your laptop or answering business calls at some point? When that happens, you tend to switch from holiday mode to work mode. It’s not fun. Having a virtual executive assistant to stand in for you will eliminate that problem. 

5. Your productivity will increase 

There are so many productivity-enhancing apps and methods these days. Everyone seems to be trying to outdo the other person. You’ll be skipping this game and going straight for the prize when you onboard a virtual executive assistant. Your productivity will go through the roof right away with another experienced hand on deck. If that isn’t a major attraction, nothing else will ever be. 

6. It will be an easy way to increase your revenue 

Economic pressures are forcing many companies to look for ways to increase revenue. Hiring an experienced virtual executive assistant is an easy way to increase your revenue. While you’re looking at all the other ways to do so, don’t ignore this simple way. It can make a world of difference for your company. 

The cost of hiring a virtual executive assistant

It costs anywhere from $8 per hour to $30 per hour. It’s a good idea to look for a mixture of fair price and great experience when choosing a virtual executive assistant. Keep this in mind when deciding on a budget. 

The most successful business owners know how important it is to get the help they need to grow their business. They don’t try to do it on their own. This is what separates them from the others. Getting a virtual executive assistant is one way they get that help and reach their goals.