Why your startup needs a virtual assistant

Running a startup is hard. Startups rarely have enough money or people working in them. This is why most startups are encouraged to have a lean approach to their growth and their way of operating. All costs should be kept at a minimum. 

To ensure that costs are kept at a minimum, a startup must resist the desire to hire experienced senior-level people. Adding them to your team would be great because senior-level people offer valuable wisdom and experience. However, senior-level talent costs more than an arm and a leg for startups.

Leverage thought leaders to train a virtual assistant at your startup

The good news about hiring at startups is that there are dozens of outspoken thought leaders behind every role a startup could need. You can simply copy and paste their advice through a virtual assistant. Thought leaders in the startup world have YouTube videos, recorded interviews, and even direct publications that a founder or a startup team could read to get the gist of how to perform a role they wish they could hire for. You can leverage their content to develop a good framework of the work or tasks needed to be done to start growing your startup in new areas. 

And that’s exactly where a virtual assistant enters the picture at a startup. Startups can hire and train virtual assistants to handle the duties of a role that would otherwise be fulfilled by an expensive hire.

Training a virtual assistant

Training a virtual assistant takes about a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the complexity of the role and job functions they will take on at your startup. This process also depends on how well you understand the role you want them to play in your startup. There are a few styles or methods for training a virtual assistant: 

  • Using only written communication (emails and documents).

    This way is effective because most virtual assistants are more comfortable having a living resource they can turn to at any moment. This will help them remember and master objectives or procedures regarding their work.

  • Live calls

    Using live calls can be essential when complemented by written communication that a virtual assistant can fall back on. The live call can be a great opportunity to discuss the contents of the written documentation as well as an important time for comments in real time.

Trusting the virtual assistant to figure it all out on their own

That is also a direction to take. However, you need to be mindful of the type of virtual assistant that you have hired and their ability to figure things out on their own. Going this route means leaving the virtual assistant to study thought leaders and develop their own framework of tasks to be done to fulfill a new role.

Finding the right virtual assistant

Finding the right virtual assistant can take time and patience because not everyone has the right combination of work experience and zeal for the work you have to offer them. As the client or employer of a virtual assistant, it is up to you to gauge whether they have the right combination of experience and excitement for your work. 

Keeping this in mind, you can begin your search for a shortlist of candidates by posting jobs on platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, or Dollar Talent. Casting your net as wide as possible across these platforms will ensure that you are not missing out on anyone who might have the right experience and interest in what you have to offer. It’s up to you to cast your net very wide and even wait a few days to a week to make sure you have given your job posts enough time for freelancers to consider applying. 

Another thing you might want to consider is the time zone that a virtual assistant will be working from. Does it overlap with the hours you need them to work? Is the timezone too different from yours? Those are questions to ask yourself when deciding who to hire. 

You can avoid making an expensive hire by simply understanding the work that your ideal hire would have to do at your startup and then training a virtual assistant to perform that role. A virtual assistant can save you a lot of money, at the same time, they tend to be agile team members who juggle tasks as fast as a startup requires. 

How much does a virtual assistant cost?

This is how much it costs to hire a virtual assistant depending on the platform or website you look at:

Platform nameHourly price range
UpworkU$8 to U$30
WingassistantU$5.93 to U$7.48 
FiverrU$5 to U$20
BruntWorkU$4 to U$8

Remember to work with a virtual assistant that you can afford in the long run. It might be counterproductive to work with a virtual assistant when you know you might have to drop them a few months or weeks later. It is advisable to look on Upwork if you need a hyper-specialized virtual assistant but if you need a generalist, Dollar Talent is a great choice for hiring a virtual assistant. 

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