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A Guide To Getting Hired By A Virtual Assistant Company

Michelle Dale - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I often get asked questions about building a team in a virtual assistant business, but I also get asked how virtual assistants who don't have the desire to have lots of clients and build their own business can join another virtual assistant company as part of a team, so now I'd like to share an approach you can take if this is for you.

There are various options and approaches you can take depending on the business you're looking to become a part of, but if you're looking to join a team of virtual assistants in a company where the business owner, perhaps started as a virtual assistant and developed and scaled up their business, I'd consider the following to be one of the best approaches.

I really don't want to sugar coat this, so...

Enquire and Be Up Front

To get the attention of a VA company you need to first of all enquire with them via their email address or contact form. When you do this emphasise your skill-set, and clearly indicate what your capacity is, for instance 10-20 hours per week in virtual tasks. From my perspective, you don't need a CV or fancy qualifications on paper, what you need are the skills and to show your ability / reliability in action.

Suggest a Free trial

I suggest you offer a free sample, trial, whatever you want to call it at first because this will give you the best chance of securing something, anything. Remember you're asking to be a part of their team, and they'll have certain ways of working which will require them to use their own time and resources to integrate you in as a part of that team, in any capacity. Now you may get lucky and the person may be looking for someone exactly like you to join their team, but most of the time, they'll be in a position where unless they are actively looking for a team member, they may not be too keen on using their resources to bring you in, and it can also be a hassle when it's not totally necessary. The best thing you can do is have the opportunity to demonstrate your work so the person can see what you're capable of - if you're the one approaching them, then it seems fitting to offer to do something to get your foot in the door, so to speak, particularly as they may not be looking for someone.

Expect 1/2 The Rate

Once you've suggested a trial period, and if it's accepted, you'll need to be prepared for being offered around 1/2 the rate that the VA company charges their clients, should they hire you afterwards. There are several reasons for this:

1 - The VA you're providing services to must of course, make a profit.
2 - They are the one spending time and money on marketing to bring in clients so you have work.
3 - They are the ones paying for and maintaining the systems that you'll be using to help service those clients.
4 - They are the one that must take full responsibility for any mistakes that you might make or when a client has any issues or problems arise which aren't necessarily billable back to them, even if you've billed the VA for them.

If the VA doesn't use this 1/2 rate rule they can quickly go out of business if they aren't careful, and this would equate to no work/money for you.

Start with an Intake Period

While you're learning all the various different tasks it's likely that the VA company will need to place another team member alongside you to quality control your work, double checking that it meets the standard of the company before it goes back to the client - then if there are issues that person will coach you into fixing those before you get to the point where you can work on your own. Please note, this isn't due to a lack of trust, or questioning your ability, it's because of the incredible amount of responsibility the owner of the VA business has towards their clients and ensuring the consistency and quality of the work delivered - remember it's their livelihood too, and with multiple team members this isn't always easy, so during this time they won't only be paying you, they'll also either be using their own time to quality control or paying another team member to do this, hence why it makes sense to have a month or so at a reduced rate to cover the additional expense during that time as you get used to the working environment.

So be prepared for this potential lower pay training period, prior to normal paid work because no matter how skilled you are, there will be an investment of time required from the people hiring you. 

In conclusion, the above will be a viable way forward with most VA companies, and it provides a guideline of what to potentially expect (this is not the same as starting a business and working with an average client), particularly for smaller organisations comprising just a few team members. It's important to keep in mind that this approach doesn't always work, for example I've actually turned people away offering free service to VMF for a variety of reasons, namely because I'm already at the number of team members I need.

Don't be discouraged if you don't get an immediate acceptance from your selected organisations as the timing must be right, and every organisation is different.

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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