As my business grows, I’m finding I need some help as I mentioned in an earlier post. Now I’m knee-deep in wading through all of the great options I now have to select from for hiring a virtual assistant. So I’m looking for a good VA. Following is the process I’m going through. These steps can be helpful for you if you’re looking for a good assistant, a good massage therapist, a good child care provider, or anyone to help you.
1. Decide on your needs. What specifically do you need this person to do for you? Make a list so you will know if a person can meet all your needs or not. For example, with my search for a VA, I need someone who knows how to do techie kinds of things so I can stop pulling my hair out over that “stuff” and get back to doing what I love to do– coaching, teaching, and writing.
2. Decide on your priorities. First I want to jazz up my website’s home page so there is less text and more focus on guiding visitors through the site. Second I want to publish my first ezine (um, like yesterday). Third, I want to have some of the articles I’ve written submitted to online article submission services.
3. Start your search by contacting friends and colleagues. This is where your network (the people you know) come into play. Put it out there that you’re looking for a good [blank] that can offer [fill in your answers from number 1 above]. And do they know of any? Chances are if your friends and colleagues know of a way to help you out, they’ll let you know ASAP.
4. Expand your search by going online. Visit websites of places that offer training for what it is you’re looking for and go to their referral pages. Follow the directions for finding a referral. Those who are interested in working with you may be able to contact you through those sites via an RFP (request for proposal) that you can create. I created an RFP today and already have four responses– one of which may meet all my needs perfectly.
5. Visit the websites of any referrals you get. Take the time to find out as much as you can about anyone you want to hire or work with. Don’t jump at the first person who looks good. Take the time to evaluate each one. This is where your needs and priority lists will come in handy. A person may be great at what s/he does, but if that person doesn’t do what you need, then you can cross them off your list — for this time, anyway. Maybe for a later project you could re-visit anyone you cross off.
6. Email everyone who looks like they might be a good fit, asking for clarification of anything you need to know about what they offer. Provide more information about who you are and what you need, too.
7. Based on the feedback you receive via the emails, select a few of your final candidates and call them. Chat with them to see if there is a good connection and if you think you could work with this person. If the service you’re looking for has a location near you, go visit and check out the place. Now is when you need to listen to your intuition. If “something” tells you this isn’t quite right, even though on paper it seems like it could be, LISTEN TO YOUR GUT. Every time. Get a sense of how you feel around this person. It’s important. If you feel intimidated or confused or belittled or have a hard time getting the answers you need, move on. You have to feel totally comfortable and at ease. Tell everyone that you contact when you will make your decision.
8. Ask for referrals– and contact them. Sure you like what you see and hear. But you need to do this last step. One of the referrals may tell you something important that you need to know that will influence your decision. You want a minimum of two referrals.
9. When you decide to hire someone, be sure to sign a contract. You’ll both know what to expect of one another, have all the fees and due dates detailed in writing, and any other terms should be clarified.
I’m well on my way to finding someone to help me in my business. Maybe using these steps you can find some good help too!