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Last Updated on September 30, 2022
Ready to grow your online business? Check out these 10 tips for hiring a virtual marketing assistant, plus how to avoid common hiring pitfalls.
If you’re an entrepreneur, there’s a good chance you’ll need to hire help at some point in order to grow your business. (Hint: I believe outsourcing is one of the best ways to grow your business!).
But how do you find that perfect person and where do you even start?
In this post, we’re breaking down the steps of hiring one of the first roles we recommend hiring out–a Virtual Marketing Assistant (VMA)–along with detailed examples of the job description and other assets we used in a recent hiring process.
A virtual assistant, or VA, is also sometimes called a freelancer. It just means you operate as an independent contractor to help small or online businesses grow.
They might have a specialized skill set like graphic design, social media marketing, or copywriting, or offer virtual admin support.
If you’re looking to hire support for your business, starting with a VA is perfect. You can set how many hours you want and what projects you want support in, empowering you to take the process as fast or as slow as you want.
There’s never been a better time to hire a VA, with more people than ever before wanting to work virtually from home–you’ll have an even bigger, more qualified candidate pool to pull from!
Ready to find your perfect VA? Keep reading for our top tips!
What is it you really need? This will pave the way for you to write a job description outlining what areas of your business your new hire will help with.
Think about what areas feel overwhelming to you, where you waste your time and where your time is best spent, which tasks you’re good at but not great at, or what really moves the needle for your business. Which tasks can only YOU do?
For now, start general. What’s the core focus for the position you want to hire? Try writing a paragraph introducing the job and the primary function and role of this person.
Here’s an example: We are looking for a Virtual Marketing Assistant (VMA) to partner with our Director of Operations to drive sales and deepen relationships through social media management, affiliate program ownership, public relations, and customer service. This role is an integrated, core function of our team. We anticipate our VMA to have previous marketing and/or sales experience as well as online business knowledge.
Now that you know your needs, it’s time to write down what this position looks like so you can find your perfect candidate.
Before you get into the nitty gritty job description, first think about the personality traits, talents, experience, and characteristics of this person. The more clear you are, the more your prospective candidates can in turn be clear if applying for this position is the right fit for their needs and wants.
Here’s an example of our recent Virtual Marketing Assistant job post where we candidly included EXACTLY the type of person we were looking for:
Real talk: This position and the founder (Kate) have high expectations.
But if you’re the person I’m looking for, you’re the type who gets motivated by high expectations.
Now that you’re clear on the type of person you’re looking for, the next step is to write down the tangible tasks and talents this person will be responsible for, like being great at graphic design or having experience with a particular software.
Here’s an example from our Virtual Marketing Assistant job description:
Once you’re crystal clear on the job description and type of person who fits your position, it’s time to share your team values. What’s the point of hiring someone who seems like the right fit and may have the proper experience if they won’t jive with your company culture?
For inspiration, here are my company’s values. When someone reads this, they’ll know off the bat whether or not they’ll fit in well with our team.
Confidence: Why Not Us?
Growth-Oriented: Always striving for realistic perfection and excellence
Integrity: We Actually Care and Always Do The Right Thing
Commitment: No matter what, we find a way
Always Learning: Interested in continuous self-improvement
Fun + Creative: When you love your work, it doesn’t feel like work
Radical Candor: We care personally and challenge directly
Our Core Focus
Once your prospect knows that they’re a great fit with your team culture, you can encourage and excite them further by sharing your company perks! What is about your team that makes you special? Do you have any company benefits?
Here’s an example of the perks and benefits I offer my full-time employees:
If you’re a one-person show and don’t have any benefits yet, that’s okay. Emphasize other appealing aspects of the job, like having autonomy and being treated like family, like I did above.
Job post ready? Great!
Now it’s time to share it and start getting the word out! I definitely recommend asking your existing audience. If someone is already familiar with you and your values and is part of your community, then there’s a good chance they’d be a great match for your team culture–or know someone who is.
You’d be surprised how many people are skilled in something you may need and dying to work with you. I know I was!
I recommend sending an email to your list and posting the opportunity on social media. Especially for a virtual marketing assistant who you likely want to handle social media, your ideal candidate just might be hanging out in your Instagram stories!
I found my first VA over 3 years ago my emailing my list the job opportunity, and she is still with me today as our Content and Community Manager. This strategy can really work!
Speaking of which, it’s important to think about where your ideal hire is looking for opportunities.
Are they a professional on LinkedIn? Are they in Facebook groups for women entrepreneurs or moms? Are they looking at job boards and sites like Monster.com or working with a recruitment agency?
The more you can think like the person you want to hire, the more likely you are to find them. Wherever you think they are, advertise and post there!
Once you receive all the applications and resumes and pick your favorites, I then email those candidates and have them complete a skills test. These are sample job tasks, like writing an Instagram caption, or creating a graphic in Canva, or doing keyword research.
The skills test reveals SO much! You can see the quality of their work right off the bat and get a sense for how they follow directions (shockingly, most people don’t!), if their style is on point for your brand (and if not, is it something teachable?), and they way they interact with you via email during this time.
Usually this narrows the pool to just a few top choices. Then, the next step is a video interview.
During the interview process, it’s all about asking the right questions and really getting to know your candidate. Beyond their work experience, it’s asking questions that get at the root of how this person thinks and what they value to see if they’ll fit in well with your company culture.
Here are some examples from my recent VMA interview:
Once you’ve completed all the interviews, it’s time to decide and make an offer. This part can feel super hard when you feel like you have more than one candidate that could be ideal for the role, or when no one in particular rises above the competition.
Here’s where I recommend following your gut and intuition. Someone may seem great on paper and maybe even tell you all the ‘right’ things during the interview process, but your gut STILL might be saying no, even if your mind can’t quite figure out why.
I’ve learned this the hard way and have had to fire a few people shortly after hiring. In hindsight, I can look back and realize that I wasn’t super excited about the hire in the first place, or that I felt like maybe there was some risk given their current situation or priorities in life but hired them anyway. This never worked out in the end!
The team that is with me today have all been women that, off the bat, I was beyond thrilled to hire and immediately felt like they were the right person for the position. Getting to know your gut and trust your instincts and intuitions is a skill that takes practice, but we all have it.
Hiring can be stressful, but once you get the perfect person, all the effort is SO worth it and is key to your business growth!
If you’re looking for more insight on hiring a Virtual Assistant or how to learn the skills and become one yourself, I highly recommend you listen to this podcast episode where we talk all about how to become a Virtual Assistant and work-at-home mom!
What are you best hiring tips? Let us know in the comments below!
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We are an LGBTQIA-affirming, interfaith-oriented, diverse organization. We are committed to social and environmental justice, including civil rights, dismantling systems of oppression like the Patriarchy, White Supremacy and Diet Culture. We believe Black Lives Matter.