Who uses a Virtual Assistant? How and why?

16 Replies

I have used many virtual assistants for different tasks through companies like Upwork. I have a real estate syndication business, a podcast, and many tasks I need help completing. How did you find a VA you could trust, was qualified (capable of completing a wide range of task well), was motivated even though they were not full time, and did not cost a fortune? Are there companies you have had success with? What tasks do you expect them to do? Do you pay them by the hour? Are they located in the US? Do you give them sensitive information so they can pay for and book travel arrangements? Any help is appreciated!

1. Disk or personality test  - agreeable + conscientious 

2. IQ test  - 100-120

3. Screen shot of internet speed

4. Screen shot of work area - look for tidiness 

*I havent had success with this in particular but I know people who swear by hiring engineers as they can follow processes and have to be intelligent. 

Put ads on upwork and PH jobs then interview anyone who submits and completes these criteria. 

Anyone good test with - how would you respond to this complaint and where would you find x y z info. test for common sense and creativity.

Shortlist 2/3 - test out best one for a 2 week period - if they are good hire. if not go onto next one. 

Also a huge plus if they have worked in the industry before 

If they are liasing with clients you might want someone from the US. I found it better to pay someone a few thousand dollars a month and get someone pro active you can trust vs a few hundred dollars but have to worry about them. It also means you don't have to worry about them leaving 

Hi @Whitney Sewell . We've used VA for nearly two decades. Did it poorly at first, but gotten better at it with time. Now I wouldn't even consider working without them!

This topic is worthy of a book, but I'll limit my best advice to three points:

  1. Get Yourself a great Chief-of-Staff Before You Consider Adding More Staff - Yes, you can probably hire VA's to perform nearly every task you now do, but resist the initial urge to bring on a gaggle of specialists. Your first hire should be an awesome general assistant whose main job is to help you become more productive. That typically means someone to manage your calendar, schedule all your appointments and generally help keep you on-target and focused throughout the day.
  2. Resist the Urge to Hire Yourself - Yes, do use the (free) DISC Assessment (Google "DISC Test") to screen applicants, but before you do, take it yourself! Your top Lieutenant needs to complement you. If you're High-D and High-I, you need a High-S and High-C to keep you grounded. Problem is, if you are High-D&I, you'll relate to and enjoy chatting with other D&I's like yourself during the interview process. Just know that those D&I folks will make a horrible top assistant for someone like you because they have the same weaknesses you do!
  3. Let Go and Let The VA Work - If you're going to spend the money to hire a VA, get over yourself and give them all the training and access and info they need to do their job. Then, don't second-guess them. Give them room to fail without the risk of losing their job. Remember: Their failures are almost alwaysyour fault, usually due to inadequate or ineffective communication.

Good luck!

Wow @Daniel Harbuz and @Mitch Messer!  Thank you so much for your thoughtful responses. 

I have used Upwork for many things but would like someone to me more committed and in the US like you said Daniel. 

I want someone that is motivated to be an awesome assistant like you said Mitch.

Have you ever used or heard of Belay? They are a VA company that I would like to use but they seem very expensive. They start at $1500 per month for 40 hours a month. Approx $36 per hour.

I like them because they put a lot of effort into matching you with the right assistant.  They have a network where all their VAs can communicate to assist each other in learning how to do tasks better.  They make the transition very smooth if you have to change VAs.  

What are your thoughts?  Should I pay that much for someone that is top notch and I won't have to worry about, or should I try to find someone cheaper?  

Great ideas! We have tried Upwork, too and there are a lot of great talents there but I don't want to spend time hiring VAs myself. I do have a company that I hired that gives us access to a team of VAs and they delegate the tasks we let them do to VAs that are specialized in those tasks. It's also affordable. Let me know if you need help

Originally posted by @Andrew LeBaron :

@Daniel Harbuz and @Mitch Messer great inputs! Wow! This input right here by @Mitch Messer   1. Get Yourself a great Chief-of-Staff Before You Consider Adding More Staff - is so spot on, in fact, we found our Queen Bee. Almost 3 years ago, we found her and she became the most integral part of our operations. Now, she handles a team of VAs doing all the heavy lifting for us. @Whitney Sewell our VAs are from the Philippines and they even arranged our booking arrangements when my partner went there last July with his family!

Andrew, would you be willing to PM me the name of the VA person/group/company you're using in the Philippines? Thanks!

www.onlinejobs.ph - This a a good place to start. 

Advice is to cast the net wide and then really drill down until you find someone awesome. 

Pick top 3 people and give them a task. then one week trail. Usually only one will complete everything to a good standard. 

OnlineJobs.ph is one of the best VA portals out there, since their pricing, expertise and English skills are on average the best compared to so many other foreign workers on UpWork, Fiverr etc..

US and European VAs are unfortunately way too expensive on any of the portals. The key, whatever price or country, is to spread a wide net when searching for the right candidates. Allow time and frustration during your recruiting and onboarding phase. It may take weeks or months. Apply all the tips above. There's no way around it. 

Once you've found THE ONE, hire them full time so they don't have to fill up their calendars for other clients. You do have a great chief of staff now with the best work ethics, skills and loyalty and also have a responsibility to take care of them financially. However it's nothing compared to to pains and funds you would need in the USA or Europe.

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