Virtual Assistants are the type of employee for many people, and the Philippines are the best place to find them.
After all, Virtual assistants from the Philippines are cheap, high quality, loyal, and multi-talented. What more can you ask for?
Many people are rightly nervous about hiring a Virtual Assistant, so I put together this guide to anwer some common questions about the process.
Do you need a Virtual Assistant?
Before getting into HOW to hire a Virtual Assistant from the Philippines, the question you should be asking is “WHY should I hire a Virtual Assistant from the Philippines?”
One of the best ways to supplement your day job and increase your overall income is to start a side business. A side business can get you a head start on reaching Financial Independence, while at the same time being enjoyable.
Starting a side business can be both fun and financially rewarding. Saving money and investing is great, but the best way to increase your savings is, and always has been, to increase your income.
Unfortunately, running a business is tough. In order to be successful, you have to think of an idea, make a business plan, figure out how to monetize, find customers, advertise, and complete countless other tasks in order to be successful.
When all this is considered, It’s no wonder so many small businesses fail.
The biggest cause of failure?
Lack of capital. It’s always been that way, and countless resources are dedicated to figuring out ways to build capital, and to come up with strategies on how to compete when your monetary resources are limited.
However, in the age of the internet, many business models require little to no capital to run – yet the failure rate is still extremely high.
Take blogging, for instance. In 2012, research was done suggesting that not only do most blogs fail, but 81% of blogs NEVER EVEN MAKE $100.
That stat blew me away when I first saw it. How can this be? Lack of capital can’t be blamed here, as blogging requires almost no capital to run, especially at first.
So, what is the biggest cause for that horrific success rate?
Is saturation the problem? In part, yes.
Lack of original content?
Also likely a factor.
However, what I believe is the biggest reason for the high failure rate of blogs – and small businesses in general – is that the business owner lacks time to put into the business.
Most bloggers have a full time job. This makes sense – if most blogs never even make $100, the bloggers must be making money some other way.
A 40 hour work week can be tiring. When you add in commuting time, family/friend commitments, errands, going to the gym, and getting a good night’s sleep, it’s tough to figure out when you can spend time on your business.
In an ideal world, you (the business owner) would be able to spend your limited time on tasks that are central to growing the business, and could have someone else do the everyday, menial tasks that have to get done, but don’t necessarily need your expertise.
However, if you’re running the business by yourself, you’re stuck doing EVERYTHING. This can get very tiring, very quickly.
That’s where the decision to hire a Virtual Assistant comes in.
What are Virtual Assistants?
Virtual Assistants are, by far, the best way to scale up your business, and at a very cheap cost. For around $300 a month you can have a full-time Virtual Assistant from the Philippines commit a full 40-hour workweek to your business.
VA’s are like regular employees, in that they have all sorts of skills you can have them employ to help manage/grow your business, which frees up your own time to do what you WANT to be doing.
The concept of a VA has been popularized by books such as Tim Ferris’s The 40 Hour Work Week, yet many people are still hesitant to hire a Virtual Assistant.
I don’t think they should be, and I’m going to explain why.
In my experience, there are 6 main excuses people use to explain why they’re scared to hire a Virtual Assistant. I’m going to go over each of these 6 issues, and explain whether it really is a problem, and if it is, practices to deal with it.
Who hires Virtual Assistants?
Anyone from a small time entrepreneur to a huge corporation can use Virtual Assistants.
If you find yourself struggling through simple, time-consuming tasks, it’s probably time to make a change. If you don’t, burnout will become a real possibility.
Since Virtual Assistants from the Philippines are extremely cheap, it’s easy for almost anybody to hire one!
How do I hire a Virtual Assistant?
This is probably the biggest issue most entrepreneurs have with Virtual Assistants: lack of knowledge about how to hire them and train them up.
After all, it’s not easy to trust someone else to work on your business, especially if up until now you’ve been doing everything yourself.
The answer to “Where do I hire a Virtual Assistant” is actually fairly simple. Without a doubt, the best place to hire a VA is from a website called Onlinejobs.ph. Other options, such as Upwork and Fiverr, are solid choices as well, but VA’s from these sites tend to be a bit more expensive, and in my experience the quality of the VA’s is overall lower than what you’ll find on Onlinejobs.Ph.
For a more detailed onlinejobs.ph review, check out this guide I made.
In order to use OnlineJobs, there is a $69 monthly fee. However, one month should be enough to find a VA (and to store the emails of all your backup choices in an excel sheet which you can use if you want to hire a VA in the future), so in reality, it’s just a one time $69 fee if you cancel after that first month.
This fee is absolutely worth paying. On other sites like Upwork, you’re paying a percentage of the VA’s salary to Upwork each month, which makes those sites fees much more expensive than Online Jobs in the long run.
All the VA’s on this site are based out of the Phillipines, and most are very capable. If you write a job ad detailing what you expect the VA to do, and it isn’t anything unreasonable, you can usually expect 100-200 applicants within a day or 2.
What should i ask a virtual assistant in the job ad?
Here are some things to include:
- Clear, concise instructions on what work you expect to be done.
- What schedule you expect them to work.
- How often you will pay them (twice a month is usually fair).
- Ask about prior experience, and why they left/were fired from their last job.
- Ask what their internet speed is and if they have a plan for what to do if there is a blackout (these are fairly common in the Philippines, so it’s best to get ahead of the issue).
In addition, ask whatever you feel is important to know for the specific role you’re hiring for. This can be asking for specific skills, personality traits, or anything you can think of.
Don’t be afraid to get wacky! Sometimes, the weirder and more specific a question is, the easier it is to vet potential employees off of their answers.
Of the initial applicants, some won’t answer your specific questions (meaning they’re probably just mass applying to jobs without looking at the details), and some will be written in very poor English. These applicants are the first ones I eliminate.
After this, look at the remaining applications you have and choose a pool of 5-10 candidates to interview.
Ask them for their Skype information, and conduct a Skype interview where you pretty much just go over the questions you asked in the job posting, but in more detail. You can also ask about anything that seemed worrying to you on their application.
The call can be anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes. Length isn’t important, as long as you get all the information you need out of the interview.
After this, all that’s left to do is choose one to hire! Remember to save the contact information of all the promising candidates that you rejected, as you may need to hire another VA in the future.
How much does a Virtual Assistant cost?
VA’s usually can be found at a $2/hour rate. This comes out to $250-$400 per month if they’re working full time, and $150 if they’re working part time. In addition, there will be the one time $69 fee that you’re paying OnlineJobs, and a very small fee that Paypal takes whenever you send them their paycheck.
This means that the total cost to hire a Virtual Assistant is $69 up front, and a few hundred dollars each month. In the grand scheme of your business, they are surprisingly affordable.
Note: It may seem weird paying someone only a few hundred dollars and expecting them to work full time, but rest assured most VA’s are extremely happy to find work that pays that amount.
The Phillipines have extremely low paying jobs available when compared to countries like the US, so paying a few hundred dollars while allowing your VA to work from home and keep a flexible schedule is a great deal for many people.
At the rates you’re paying them, they can afford a nice life in the Philippines, especially if their spouse works as well.
Just make sure to be nice, pay on time, and maybe give a few bonuses here and there (even a $10 would do the trick and greatly help foster loyalty), and you’ll be rewarded with a happy, loyal, hard working employee.
How many hours do Virtual Assistants work?
If you’re hiring a Virtual Assistant from the Philippines as a full time employee, expect them to work at least 40 hours per week.
If you’d like, you can be lenient with them on when these hours are worked – for example, many prefer to work on Saturday so that they don’t have as much work to do the rest of the week.
If that works for your business, there’s no reason not to allow it.
If you’re worried about tracking your Virtual Assistant’s hours, onlinejobs.ph has a feature called timeproof, which tracks their amount of time logged in and takes screenshots of their screen every so often.
Personally, I’ve never found it necessary to use software such as this – in general, Virtual Assistants from the Philippines tend to be very honest.
Process for Determining if you should hire a Virtual Assistant
First, calculate how much your business made per month over the last 3-6 months. Then, evaluate your goals. Are you happy with the business at this level? Or are you ready to start growing it to the next level?
If you’re making more than what a VA would cost per month, and are actively trying to grow the business, then the next thing you should look at is how a VA would contribute.
Are you spending all your time on tasks that you don’t enjoy, and aren’t “growth oriented” tasks? Are there things that you want to be doing that will grow your business, but you simply don’t have the time to do them?
If so, you would be justified in spending a large portion of your current earnings on a Virtual Assistant – even as much as 50-60% of your income in some cases.
Your goal is to grow the business into either a full time income, or a significant side income, so avoiding a couple extra hundred $$ of expenses in the short term isn’t so important.
You should never hire a Virtual Assistant if you aren’t making ANY money yet – decisions like that are how small business owners end up getting into debt – but as long as you’re making enough to cover the salary, and think hiring a VA will greatly increase income, I say go for it.
What services can a Virtual Assistant do?
Virtual Assistants can do pretty much anything – sometimes even better than you can! Here are some examples of services Virtual Assistants can provide:
-responding to emails. You can start them off with some templates and have them only respond to the emails that the templates directly answer, and slowly have them answer a greater percentage of the emails as they gain your trust.
-Doing background work on your website, such as finding images, doing SEO, maybe some lead generation… what you would need them for here is really dependent on your business model.
– Thinking of posts for social media, or doing research on hashtags, groups, and other ways to increase your reach on different platforms.
-Uploading items to your e-Commerce store, and keeping track of margins, sales, orders, and other metrics.
These are some examples of simple services, but there are so many more. The best way to find things for them to do is by simply running your business and making a note each time you have to do something that you don’t want to be doing.
Whatever that task is, it’s very possible it can be delegated once you hire a Virtual Assistant.
One rule of thumb I try to follow is to make sure you’ve done the task you want to delegate yourself for long enough that you can easily answer questions about it.
How do I train a Virtual Assistant?
Virtual Assistants won’t know exactly how you like things done right away, so being patient and answering their questions is the best way to get the results you want in the long term.
To do this correctly, you have to know the ins and outs of whatever task you’re delegating – don’t try to hand off a task that you have no idea how to do yourself.
So, make sure you’re comfortable doing the task, then do it with them over a Zoom call.
Once they’ve watched you complete it, let them try, and point out any mistakes they make.
After they get the hang of it, let them do it on their own, and check their work once they’re done. Do this until you’re confident they understand the process.
Once they do, you’ll have more free time than ever!
Isn’t giving a VA access to my username and password a security risk?
This is another common concern people raise. However, I believe the risk is a bit overblown.
VA’s are usually honest, and often have nothing to gain by using your website’s username and password for any purposes other than what you hired them to do.
Conversely, they know they’ll be fired if they take advantage of you, so in my experience this pretty much never happens.
If you want a VA to do something for you that involves giving them access to Paypal, or you want them to buy things for you using a credit card, security becomes a bit more important.
Paypal allows you to set permissions when you add a user, so make sure to only give your VA the permissions they need to complete the tasks you set for them.
Sometimes, you might want your VA to buy items from a website such as Amazon. If that’s the case, the best practice is to not give the VA your full credit card number, and instead only give them the 3 digit code on the back.
The website will usually not show the entire credit card number, and will instead only show the last 4 digits, and ask for the 3 digit code to confirm the purchase. By only giving the VA the last 3 digits of our card, it ensures that they can only use that card on this website and from your account, making it easy to go over their purchases and confirm that everything looks right.
And, in a worst case scenario, you can call the credit card company and tell them a transaction was fraudulent, and they’ll almost always refund you.
Will a Virtual Assistant just steal my business idea and go off to start their own business?
News flash: your idea probably isn’t that great and original.
Even if it is, it may require time, risk, upfront capital, possibly can’t even be done from the Philippines due to regulations, and again, probably isn’t even that great an idea, to begin with.
This is probably the most overblown concern people have with hiring a Virtual Assistant, and isn’t really worth worrying about.
I can do everything myself! I’m a GREAT entrepreneur! Why do I need a Virtual Assistant?
This mindset is common and is a great mindset to have when starting a business.
However, there comes a point in time when you simply don’t have enough time to do everything. Everyone only has a limited amount of hours each day, so eventually you WON’T be able to do everything yourself.
Hiring a VA before you reach your tipping point can be beneficial for the business, as well as for your mental health.
Bottom Line: Hiring a VA isn’t as hard or scary as most people think
This guide sums up all the main questions I hear from people considering whether to hire a Virtual Assistant.
All are valid questions, but all are able to be answered and dealt with.
In short: hiring a Virtual Assistant doesn’t have to be a scary process, and can greatly help to grow your business.
If you think you’re ready, start looking for one on Onlinejobs.ph now!
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