Answers to the top 10 questions people ask me about outsourcing

Virtual assistants (VAs) are the most in-demand workers for businesses nowadays. Employers are looking for a right-hand to delegate tasks to while they take their business to the next level or just simply have some time to unwind and enjoy life stress free.

Here are the top 10 questions that people ask me before they indulge in hiring a VA.

  1. What can a VA do for me?

A virtual assistant can be like Santa’s little elf working behind the scenes to propel your business while helping you become more effective and efficient. Committing to having a VA is an investment.

It is very important to have all your VA’s tasks clearly decided and outlined before you start. Invest some time on communicating with them regularly because it is one of the key secrets to building a relationship with your VA and it will help them understand the way you think.

Some common VA tasks are data entry, social media management, email and schedule management, accounting, research, transcriptions and so much more! Download our “100 Things a VA Can Do For You” PDF to get some more ideas!

You can always train them if you want them to do or learn new skills that could benefit you more. Again, “invest time” and it will return to you.

2. How do I make sure I find the right VA for me?

Finding a perfect match is not as hard as you think. You just have to give spare time on getting to know your VA by going through interviews, or ask for feedback from previous clients. It may take some time to get to know your VA and vice versa. Using a recruitment service or VA agency can make the recruitment process so much easier for you as they have already done the hard work in assessing and on-boarding the VA. We have prepared a list of great questions you can use in interviewing your VA for the first time here to download.

The important thing is the more time you spend in the beginning screening the right person, the better it will be for you in the long term.

3. How do I communicate with my VA?

Communication is very important. Most commonly used ways of communications are Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp and other task management tools such as Asana and Basecamp.

It would be best trying out each one before hiring a VA and seeing which you personally are comfortable with. Communications, instructions and messages must come clear.

I always suggest setting a weekly start of the week “huddle” where for 15mins you run over the tasks and priorities for the week and then you are all on the same page for the week. It’s also great to make sure you set boundaries around work hours so you and the VA know when you can be contacted.

I always ask the VA how they best like to communicate. This way I know they will be responsive to me as it is their normal way of communicating.

4. Do I need to have minimum hours every week?

This depends on what you agreed on. VA’s offer both full-time and part-time services and they charge hourly. Depending on your needs, you can hire a VA on a per-project basis and pay them hourly or go with a fixed-price if you have a short-term project.

At Virtual Elves we have no minimum hours, no lock in periods, and no recruitment fees to make it easy for you to get started!

5. How do I work with a VA when they are in another country and not next to me?

It can seem strange if you have never worked remotely with a team before, but if you consider the arrangement no different and communicate the same way you might if they were in the office you can break through that mindset. It’s easy these days to jump on Skype or Google Hangout and talk on video call – treat it as though they are sitting there with you.

The beauty of the Philippines is that the time zone to Australia is maximum 3hrs behind so it makes it easy to communicate real-time.

VA’s love to work remotely for the same reasons we do – no traffic commute, flexibility and comfort and are dedicated to work in multiple time zones depending on which country you are in. You can use a time tracker that would track the time they log in and log out to ensure time is being spent properly and productively.

6. What should I know before I start giving a VA tasks to do?

Before you start giving your VA tasks to do you should consider the following:

  • Have a plan. Be sure to have a clear idea of what tasks you want them to take over for you. You can undertake our Task Audit Challenge HERE to work this out.
  • Prepare a job description for the role you are wanting them to fulfill
  • Prepare your systems and processes to get ready to train and bring the VA on board
  • Make sure the first 4 weeks you have allocated time to train and on board the VA – there is nothing worse than dropping your VA in the deep end!

    You will not find a perfect VA as they are humans too so prepare yourself to be patient enough to guide them whenever they make mistakes as the first couple of weeks will be a “learning process”.

7. It feels like I am taking advantage of them paying such a small wage? Is this ethical?

VA’s have different hourly rates depending on their “experience and expertise”.

They know what they are worth and if you agreed on a certain price then they will not take it negatively.  Ultimately, it’s down to you to decide what you are happy paying for you VA but always keep in mind that the industry continues to change immensely and “cheap labor means less experienced VA’s”. Always remember that what you pay for a VA in the Philippines is going to be substantially less than in Australia, however be reassured that the VA is more than providing for their family by being able to work from home and being paid above their standard wage.


8. How do I show my VA what I want them to do for me?

There are tons of ways on how you can delegate your tasks to your VA’s. The goal is to bring clarity to avoid mistakes. A very good way is to do training videos. Show how you do it over video and have a shared file where you put all your training videos that is accessible to your VA.  A great video recording tool is Loom. You can download it here.

Stress the important things that need to be considered. Having these videos will make you confident enough that your VA can do the tasks exactly how you do it. Saves time and is effective!

9. How do I pay my VA?

Payment methods and options depend entirely on you and your VA. In Virtual Elves, our VA’s are required to run the time tracking tool every time they work on your tasks. The VA will then invoice us with that timesheet every fortnight and we invoice you fortnightly based on that timesheet. Terms of payment are 7 days. In most cases with standard hours per week we will arrange a direct debit payment through your credit card to make it easier. If you are working direct with a VA ask them how they prefer to be paid to ensure it works for them.


10. Am I obliged to pay for Internet, equipment, and health benefits?

That’s entirely up to you. Since we are working online, VA’s already know that these essentials are what they need before working online. But of course they will love you and brag about you if you remember their birthdays and or Christmas. Any small gesture will be appreciated in any way you deem appropriate.

So there we have it, hopefully this has helped answer some of the pressing questions you may have had around outsourcing to a VA. As always you can speak directly with our Founder Kristy Smith if you would like to explore hiring a VA with Virtual Elves. Click HERE to book a FREE 15min call.


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