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Successfully Hiring a VA

Many physicians have learned how to hire a virtual assistant successfully. And all of us who have, know how much work it is to train a good VA.

Many assume that when you hire a VA, you can immediately begin to offload tasks to them, which frees you up to focus on other tasks. That’s not been my experience. The first thing to consider is that you just took on a second job (and for some, a fifth) of training this new youngin.

It’s not that the VA doesn’t know how to complete tasks, but they don’t know how you want tasks completed. And we forget how genuinely anal and obsessive we are about how to get something done.

The Learning Curve of Hiring a VA

First, you must interview 5-10 different VAs, which isn’t bad. You get a great sense of how communicative someone is and how much of a bullshit artist is another.

The next step is to pick one task and sit down and write out an outline of how that job should be done and its many different iterations.

Now you have to screen share and live video with this VA and do that particular task together. You have to ask questions, answer questions, and offer guardrails for a job well done and a job that is considered a failure.

Next, you must accept some setbacks and failures and learn your particular communication style with this new human being. Because, yeah, it’s not a robot; it’s a real person with real problems and an individual learning style.

Your Increased Workload

Every time I’ve hired a VA and it’s gone well, it’s because I did most of the work with them, and then eventually, they took it over. My business inefficiency, however, made it unprofitable to keep the VA on.

The first few months you’re doing all the work yourself and you’re having them shadow you while paying them. Then, slowly, you can assign one task to them that’s quite repetitive, and even then you’ll have to answer questions, offer feedback, and clearly express your expectations.

For every successful VA hour, you’ll have spent 3 hours training them. And only once that investment has been made over several months will you reap the profits.

Is it Profitable?

Let’s say you have a Private Online Medical Practice and you have 75 patients – you are making okay money but not enough for hookers & blow. But you know that you can grow this beast if you just have more free time.

You bring on a couple of VAs and spend 10 months training them knowing that you will add another 50 patients to your practice. In this case, yes, there is the opportunity for profit.

But if you are barely getting by turning a profit and don’t have a growth strategy then bringing these people on to take work pressure off of you will likely only add financial pressure to you.

Steps For Hiring a VA

There are far better people to listen to when it comes to successfully hiring a VA but I’ve learned this and I’m sticking to it.

1. Find a Reputable Source

Find a good VA company and stick with them. Yes, there are many others but chances are you’ll find a good person somewhere. Select a few and extend interviews.

2. Interview 10 VAs

Not 2 or 3 but 10. The first 5 interviews you do will be ineffective and you won’t separate chaff from the wheat. But the next 5 you’ll have a reproducible system.

Everyone thinks they can do a lot more than they actually can. Like me, they think they can teach others how to hire a good VA when in fact they can barely see patients half-decently.

3. Agree on Payment Terms

You will hire 2 VAs and then you’ll need to agree on how much to pay them and how to pay them. Don’t offer to pay less because you are training them, that won’t go over well.

And for every job or task moving forward, you’ll agree on an amount of time to get something done based on your own baseline (multiplied by 3-5) and agree to check in at certain checkpoints to avoid a $1k bill for transferring a file.

4. Write Out a Job Description

Want to teach a virtual assistant how to assist? They need to know what to assist you with and how to assist you. That’s your job.

Log into Canva using **** credentials. Don’t delete any old files. Copy previous file, label, edit title based on information on website **** and download file and send to folder ****. Review for any errors and mark on spreadsheet *** that file is done.

5. Walk the VA Through the Job

Now you need to video call and screen share and show the person how it’s done. And they’ll ask questions. God save you if they don’t because then you’ll have to teach and think for them until they get the courage to ask you questions that seem obvious to them.

6. Let Them Take on Small Chunks

They won’t be able to do the entire job but they can pick up somewhere where you left off and if they end up with poor results is because you didn’t train them right. So you go back to the drawing board and figure out what you did wrong.

7. Measure How Much They’ve Improved

Every week share a document with them where you write out exactly what tasks they learned new that week. The number of tasks and their skills should grow slowly over time and if not then either you hired a bad VA or did a poor job of training a VA.

8. Add More Tasks

Every week you have to assign a little more.

I think you’re ready to try to pay these random bils I showed you after checking to make sure that the services were delivered as promised. Let’s have you start with these 3 and add these 3 next month.

You can have them pay a bill, book a flight for you, stay on hold to dispute something, edit a PDF, and type out a lengthy course description and edit it using Grammarly. No job is off the table just because you hired them to help you run your practice initially.

9. Adjust Pay Accordingly

Every quarter you’ll meet and discuss their pay. If they claim to be great at managing your WordPress and they don’t even know what a plugin is, you can say that you’ll decrease their pay until they learn that skill and then you’ll be happy to raise their pay.

And once you are also having them teach your daughter how to knit a beany you’ll offer to raise their pay because of all the extra tasks they have mastered.

10. Have Them Train the Next VA

Your successful VA needs to write out their exact job description along with screenshots. Then they’ll be training the next VA that comes on to do some of the tasks so the original VA can take on tougher tasks.

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