In the current climate of remote work, hiring a virtual assistant to help with business needs is becoming increasingly common. But did you know you can also hire a remote personal assistant to help in your personal life?
Whether you’re a busy executive or a stressed-out single parent, a remote PA can help you stay on top of your daily duties and responsibilities without burning out. Delegating your least favorite tasks can help you be more productive and manage a healthier work-life balance.
Why Hire a Remote Personal Assistant?
A remote personal assistant is an extra (virtual) set of hands to assist with necessary, repetitive, and time-consuming daily tasks and responsibilities. They help with the individual tasks you don’t have time for or don’t want to do, such as scheduling dentist appointments or ordering groceries. Delegating these tasks frees up your time to focus on more important things, such as growing your business or spending time with your family.
A remote personal assistant can help with:
- Managing your inbox and taking calls
- Organizing your family calendar
- Scheduling appointments
- Making reservations
- Planning meals and ordering groceries
- Coordinating service providers
- Booking travel and holidays
- Organizing events
- Conducting research
- Getting refunds or canceling subscriptions
- Selling or buying items online
- Financial management
- Basic small business tasks
But why choose a virtual personal assistant rather than an in-person assistant? There are many benefits to hiring someone to work for you remotely.
Benefits of hiring a remote assistant include:
- No Overhead Costs. Remote personal assistants don’t require physical overhead such as an office, transportation, or food.
- Flexibility. You can hire a remote PA only for the hours you need.
- Wider Talent Pool. Not needing someone local increases the number of qualified candidates you have to choose from.
Before You Hire
One of the biggest mistakes people make when hiring a remote personal assistant is a lack of preparation for what it entails. Hiring an assistant isn’t an immediate fix. It requires an initial investment. You’ll reap the rewards further down the line.
Before you hire an assistant, ask yourself:
- What am I looking for in a virtual personal assistant?
- Which tasks do I want to delegate?
- How will I work with a remote employee?
- Can I afford to hire an assistant?
- Do I have time to hire and onboard a new assistant right now?
If you’re unprepared when hiring an assistant, you may choose the wrong person. And even if you do hire the right virtual PA, a lack of readiness can result in them having nothing to do or performing tasks incorrectly at first.
You must have the time, funds, and an initial plan of action before you hire. Below are some tips on preparing to hire a virtual personal assistant.
Clarify What You Need
The first thing to do is clarify what exactly you need from an assistant. Which tasks do you need done? How much can you afford to delegate to someone else?
Make a list of tasks that:
- You Don’t Have Time For. The mundane and low-value tasks that take up too much of your valuable time.
- You Don’t Want to Do. The tasks that you dread and don’t enjoy doing yourself.
- You Don’t Know How to Do. The tasks that are outside your skill set.
These are the things you should outsource to a virtual personal assistant. Rank these tasks in terms of importance to know what to delegate first.
You also need to consider your budget at this stage. Do you have the funds for a full-time virtual assistant? Or should you hire someone on a part-time basis? You can always start your virtual assistant on just a few hours a week. If things work out, you can increase your budget from there.
Create a Solid System to Help You Work Together
Next, you should implement a system to help you work with a remote employee. Having a solid system in place already will make onboarding a new virtual employee much quicker and easier. Start by creating some Standard Operating Procedures and templates.
Standard Operating Procedures are how-to manuals for performing ongoing tasks. Create a detailed step-by-step guide for how you like each essential task done. These procedures can be a document, screencast, or whatever works best for you.
Templates, on the other hand, provide a guide for your virtual assistant to fill out paperwork, create documents, or write emails on your behalf. Templates offer a working example of your communication style so your assistant can best replicate it.
Pick a Standard of Communication
It’s also vital to choose a standard of communication to use with your remote assistant.
How will you set up your assistant’s tasks and send them any templates and documents? Consider using an online project management tool such as Trello, Monday, or ClickUp.
Also, how will you check in with your assistant? Would you prefer keeping a constant flow of communication open via an app such as Slack or Teams? Or would you like daily/weekly face-to-face check-ins via Zoom?
Pick the means of communication that works best for you. Then, when you hire your remote assistant, clarify your preferences and set them up on these platforms immediately.
Decide How You Will Track Performance
Finally, decide how to track your remote assistant’s performance. How will you ensure they’re performing tasks to your expectations?
When setting tasks, have a rough idea of how long each should take. Doing this will help track your assistant’s hours and ensure they’re being productive with their time. Remember that some tasks may take slightly longer in the beginning while they get used to them.
You can also implement a rating scale for monitoring performance and encouraging accountability. And don’t be afraid to offer feedback and constructive criticism when needed.
Hiring a Remote Personal Assistant
Now that you’re ready to hire a remote personal assistant, it’s time to begin the hiring process.
Create a Job Description
The first step in hiring a remote assistant is creating a job description. You can use all the decisions you’ve already made above to help guide you.
A job description should include:
- Duties and responsibilities
- Tools/apps they’ll need to use
- Required skills and experience
- Preferred qualities
Once the job description is ready, you can put it out into the world. You can either do this on your own using sites such as LinkedIn. Or you can use a dedicated assistant placement service like LifeSquire.
The next step is conducting interviews with any potential candidates.
You can perform interviews for a remote personal assistant virtually using a video service such as Skype or Zoom. Scheduling a virtual interview already gives you an idea of how well you can communicate with a person in a remote capacity.
During each interview, don’t only focus on qualifications and experience. Yes, these are important. But you should also get to know potential assistants more personally.
Ask about their interests and hobbies. Learn about their goals, values, and working style. You’ll be letting this person into your personal life, so you must feel comfortable with them.
Do a Trial Run
When you pick a top candidate, you don’t have to commit to a permanent contract immediately. Offer them a trial period at first. This period could be 30, 60, or 90 days.
A trial run will allow you to see how well you work together. It also gives your new PA extra incentive to do a fantastic job and learn the ropes as quickly as possible.
How LifeSquire Can Help You Find a Remote Assistant
At LifeSquire, our virtual assistant placement service can help match you with the perfect remote assistant to suit your needs and budget. Our experienced team vets, trains, and manages all of our virtual personal assistants.
Contact LifeSquire today to find out more.