Many offices have clerical assistants, and a virtual assistant fills this position for a business through telecommuting. Hiring a virtual assistant isn't an easy task, because businesses need people they can trust to do their job without being able to monitor them (as they would a traditional employee). There are several ways to hire a virtual assistant, including using freelance bidding job sites, individual or private virtual assistant businesses and online services.
Freelance Bidding Job Sites
There are several different freelance bidding sites such as ifreelance and Guru, allowing businesses to post projects to find people who are qualified to help them. This is an excellent way to find a virtual assistant, as many virtual assistants are with these sites as providers. When a business has several different tasks or ongoing work, they may choose to post one or two projects on the site and then continue to work on the bidding site with one person (or go off the site with their project winner for future work). Consider creating accounts with more than one bidding site to find the largest selection of candidates.
Private Virtual Assistants
Many virtual assistants have their own personal websites to market their services and showcase their skills. Finding a virtual assistant this way will require a bit more research, but businesses can go through a variety of portfolio websites to find the person to fit their requirements. These virtual assistants may or may not be available for the projects, so making it a point to contact several regarding the project is important.
Many online services, such as Get Friday and Ask Sunday, help businesses handle tasks, serving as the virtual assistants. These online services have a variety of pricing plans to help businesses get things done. There are monthly plans and task based plans so every business will be able to find something to fit their needs. These services allow businesses to choose a shift and communicate tasks through email, phone and fax. Free trials may be available with some of these services, so businesses will be able to decide if this is the path they want to take.
While some businesses will find the online services to be a viable option, others may find working one-on-one with a particular person will be the most effective way to go. Virtual assistants, as with many other professions, have specialty areas, while some are available to help with general tasks. When looking for a virtual assistant, make sure the ad is very specific as to the needs of business and hours expected. Consider whether a part time or full time assistant is needed before beginning the hiring process, and don't go with the first available option. Develop a list of qualifications required for the position, and judge canididates based on their experience, references, and availabilty. Nuture the relationship with the assistant for ultimate success.