Are you thinking about hiring a virtual assistant but you don’t know where to find great talent? Then stick with me until the end of this article, because I’m about to go over four places to hire a virtual assistant and five places you probably should avoid. By the end of this article, you’re going to have some places that you can clearly start listing your RFPs to start getting proposals for your jobs.
Over the years, I’ve hired hundreds of virtual assistants to create dedicated teams, to help me in supporting my businesses. I save at least 50 hours every single week due to the systems that I’ve created with my virtual assistants, because of that experience, I’ve seen my fair share of good places to hire VA’s right and bad places to hire. VA’s.
As a heads up, whenever I reference VA for the rest of this article, I’m referring to a virtual assistant.
The first place when it comes to hiring a virtual assistant is Upwork. In my opinion, Upwork is the Mecca of freelancers. The reason why is because you’re going to get a massive talent pool, you get a full communication platform, as well as an easy to use time tracker and a fully controlled escrow system for you to maintain your buyer protection as a client. One of the downsides to Upwork though, is that they do take a ton of fees from your freelancers. When you’re first starting out with them, Upwork’s free account is more than serviceable. You’ll be able to create your request for proposals immediately. And actually you get some free invites that you can use to check out some other freelancers and try to get them to apply for your job.
One of my biggest tips that people don’t do when they create proposals is that you should use every single free invite that you are given by the platform. The reason why is because you can actually filter through for the types of freelancers that you think could be good fits for your job. When filtering, I like to use a set of criteria such as an 80% or greater for job success.
When I’m looking for a more specialized job, I will take that up even more to 90% or higher. I also make sure that they have billed at least an hour, that they’ve been active on the site recently in the last month or so, a`nd they fit certain keywords in terms of these skill sets that I’m looking for. This can be a really easy way for you to identify talent quickly, send those invites out and get some really good talent in place.
Another tip that I can give you is that if you’re looking for content writers, sometimes just searching the phrase college writers or college students can be a great way to find some content writers. These are going to be more transient freelancers for you in that they’re eventually going to graduate or other things will come up in their college lives that forced them to take a step back. But in my experience, I’ve found that college students are a largely underemployed population that loves to do great quality work as long as you give them the direction to do so.
The last tip that I can give you is that when it comes to hiring virtual assistants, like I mentioned, in my prior article on how to hire a virtual assistant, I really like to hire from the Philippines. Quick reasons why is because the Filipino people are incredibly loyal people, they’re easy to work with, they speak English fluently and they have really competitive rates. It’s typically anywhere from three to $10 an hour for some great quality work.
The second place to go over as Onlinejobs.ph. This is one of the largest online job bulletins for the Philippines. And like I said, I really like to hire from the Philippines. And so Onlinejobs.ph gives you a huge database of just Filipino workers. One of the downsides to online jobs is that there is a fee to list on their site.
That being said with a free account, you are able to sift through the talent and just get a sense of the sort of talent that’s available on the site. From my experiences, I’ve found that the pro plan is more than sufficient for most of my VA needs. And what that allows you to do for $69 a month at the time of this recording is to list three job listings, as well as contact 75 potential candidates. Like Upwork, you do get a time tracker and they do have an easy pay system.
That being said, unlike Upwork, on Onlinejobs.ph you actually the full conversation with your virtual assistants. And so what that allows you to do is if you want to pay them directly via PayPal, you can do so. The main benefit to that for your freelancers is that they can avoid those huge fees on Upwork. Onlinejobs has some great filters you can use as well. You can filter through those who have gone through the ID verification system. You can filter by different fluency levels of English as well as a wide range of skills.
The nice thing about the platform is that freelancers are given a set number of stars and they have to rank their skills based off of these. So they can’t just give themselves five stars for every single skill on the planet.
They have to actually position in their profiles to highlight their strengths. If you decide to try out onlinejobs, I’d greatly appreciate if you use my link here, it helps support this channel.
Lastly, a quick tip for you when you’re using OnlineJobs is you should make sure that you use the templates that are available when you upgrade your account. It allows you to really cut down the amount of time that it takes you to provide descriptions or followup test tasks for your potential candidates.
One of the and practices on Onlinejobs is to conduct video interviews. I personally don’t like to do those, but what I do like to do is I like to use those test tasks that I mentioned in my, how to hire a virtual assistant article so be sure to set those test tasks up so that you can see some work samples from different freelancers.
Facebook groups, the third place that you can find a virtual assistant. There are a ton of groups online for stay at home moms as well, specific virtual assistant or online working jobs that you can use to list your potential jobs proposal, similar to Onlinejobs, there is going to be a vetting process involved here that will probably be a little bit more involved than just using Upwork.
What you’re going to need to do is you’re going to need to have a system or process that’s set in place as to how you’re going to field those applications. Otherwise, you’re just going to have a ton of one-off individual Facebook messages, where you’re going to have to have way more conversation than you need to before you set up a test task.
So what I recommend you do, if you are going to hire on Facebook, as you set up something like a Google form or a survey link that essentially serves as an applicantion form, for those that are potentially interested, then follow the community guidelines of whatever group you’re listing with that link to that particular form so that you can have a more organized way to sift through applicants.
When it comes to paying your virtual assistants, you’re likely going to need to use PayPal or some other payment platform that’s third party. You’re gonna need to figure that out on your own, so make sure that you understand this before you go hiring a virtual assistant on Facebook.
My biggest tip when it comes to hiring a virtual assistant on Facebook is make sure that you focus on optimizing your initial listing to hook as many people as possible. You want to start as well in many conversations as possible and as many applications as possible so you get the most possible applicants to filter through in your shortlist.
The fourth popular place for hiring a virtual assistant is Fiverr. Personally, I don’t really like Fiverr quite as much for VAs specifically because I find that Fiverr is better for one off projects.
For example, if you need help creating a logo for something or some sort of graphic design or some sort of one-off editing, Fiverr can be a great place here. And the reason why is because the freelancers on Fiverr create set packages for the sort of work that they want to give clients instead of the other way around in which clients list out proposals for work and then freelancers apply.
That being said, there is a place where you are able to list custom work. It’s just not as intuitive as the base model of their business, which is where freelancers set out with set packages of the sort of work they want to do for clients.
I tend to avoid Fiverr for this reason because I find that the virtual assistant services that you find on Fiverr are very much positioned from the standpoint of what the VA wants to do, as opposed to being able to actually build a working relationship with the virtual assistant that is guided around the things that I want my business and what I want my virtual assistant in my business to be doing.
In fact, I have experienced being on the other side of the market as a seller, I used to be a Level Two seller on Fiverr reading college application essays back in college. And one of the things that I hated the most was getting custom proposals because it required me to deviate from the set proposals that I had in place on my shop.
What that means is that oftentimes you’re going to have one off requests, or different requests than what you’re used to doing as a Fiverr seller. So what I’d say here is that I would use Fiverr as your fourth place to look for a virtual assistant, if you’ve already exhausted the first three places.
There are two things I think are really important when looking for places to hire a freelancer, the first one is how deep is the talent pool. If you can’t find applicants easily, it’s not really easy for you to compare work between each other, especially when you’re using the test task process that I outlined in my prior article.
The second consideration is what is your access to the virtual assistant. Who owns the actual conversation thread with the virtual assistant? Is it the platform that you’re using or do you actually have a direct line to that virtual assistant? If it’s important for you to have that direct line, then a platform like Upwork may not be the best solution for you.
That’s it for my four places to hire a virtual assistant.
5 Places to Avoid in Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Now let’s jump into the five places that I would avoid if I were hiring my next virtual assistant. As a full disclaimer, if you found success hiring in these next five places or are affiliated with these next five places, take everything that I’m about to say with a grain of salt, they simply reflect my own personal experiences in hiring virtual assistants.
Freelancer and Guru
The first and second places to not hire a virtual assistant are Freelancer and Guru. The reason why I don’t like hiring from either of these sites is honestly because I’ve never had success hiring from either of these sites. Whenever I posted on these platforms and I’ve tried three or four times on both these sites consistently, I would always get a ton of spam applications. People would either fall into the bucket of not having read anything in my listing or after giving them an actual test task, and then passing that test task, not being able to follow instructions, to save the life of them.
That being said, the merits of both of these sites is that they do offer free accounts, which means you can list for free. If you happen to find a great virtual assistant from either of these sites, good job for you, props to you.
It’s something that I just never was able to pull off in several years of trying it. I actually waited a few years before trying Guru again, and I believe my last attempt was in 2019 and I still wasn’t able to get any good talent from that site.
The next few are ones that I considered to be part of the VC crew. In my opinion, these companies have raised way too much venture capital money. And as a result, they have to charge exorbitant fees for the actual value they’re providing in order to please their investors.
The first one of the VC crew is Magic. They pitch themselves as a remote based crew of college educated workers that can help your business 24/7. They target, CEOs and executives where they bill $35 an hour weekly, which allows you to have no weekly limit to the chat or tasks that you give your worker.
My challenge with Magic is that if you’re pitching something as having unlimited chat or unlimited tasks, that’s just marketing. You have that same feature with all four of the platforms that I outlined earlier in this article as a places to go to hire a virtual assistant. As long as you have some way to communicate with your virtual assistant, you have the same feature set that Magic is pitching here.
Do you know how easy it is to make a free Slack account and just start talking with your virtual assistant? It’s not hard at all, and it’s not worth $35 an hour weekly for this sort of service. But look, if you just raised big round or you have a ton of money to burn, be my guest in trying Magic. I just don’t think that you get all that much value for the $35 an hour when you could actually use that $35 an hour and hire five to seven virtual assistants on Upwork to do five times or seven times the work.
And as a fun fact, according to Crunchbase, Magic has raised $12.1 million. So if you’re wondering why it’s $35 an hour, it might be because they’ve raised all that much money and they need their margins to work.
The next place to avoid when hiring a virtual assistant is Zirtual. If you thought that magic was expensive, you’re going to hate Zirtual. The pitch for Zirtual is very comparable to magic. You get somebody that’s college educated as well as lives in the US. You’re also going to have what they call direct contact with the virtual assistant. And you also get set up help when you’re setting up tasks for the first time. You’re also promised two hour response times within your business hours, whenever you’re working with somebody from Zirtual.
Let’s get into why Zirtual is not budget friendly. Their Entrepreneur plan is $449 for 12 hours of work. That is the equivalent of $37 an hour. If you’re willing to pay somebody $37 an hour for 12 hours of work a month, you might as well just hire somebody part-time. Or if you don’t want to do that, go on TaskRabbit, look at the marketplace there for something more competitive and set up the tasks that way.
There are so many better ways that you can spend $37 an hour for 12 hours with your business. Also, I don’t know about you, but when I was starting out my small businesses, having $449 lying around was not exactly easy to find. So this isn’t super friendly for those that have a limited budget, but still want to be scaling a virtual assistant to help them out with their business.
The other thing to consider is that Zirtual had issues in the past in terms of how they treat they’re employees. I’ll let you Google that for yourself. And also they’ve raised $5.5 million when I looked at Crunchbase. Again, high correlation between those companies that have raised a ton of money, and their necessity for raising prices in order to meet the expectations of those investors.
The last place to avoid when it comes to hiring a VA is FancyHands. It’s very similar to the prior two places in that their pitch is that they are virtual US-based workers. FancyHands is actually one of the original requests a month or tasks month companies dating back to 2010 and an impressive feat of theirs is that they’re actually bootstrapped, which means they’ve never taken outside funding. In terms of pricing, five requests a month is priced at $29.99, as of the time of this recording and it scales upwards to $149.99 for 30 requests. On their site,
You can see examples of requests that people make. They’re typically things that are one off tasks that you don’t typically do on a schedule, such as calling store to see if an item is in place or trying to find an item. Honestly, I don’t have that much against these guys. The only thing is that I just think that you can better spend your time building a working relationship with a longterm virtual assistant that doesn’t require you to be restricted by the number of requests that you can make with that particular assistant. It’s just not conducive to have an artificial quota of requests that you can make with a service.
Instead, you should have a fixed price or an hourly option that allows you to fully scale a virtual assistant with your business. Similar to Zirtual, FancyHands have had their issues in the past in terms of how they treated their virtual assistants. I’ll let you Google that for yourself and form your own opinion here.
A couple of bottom line thoughts that I have when it comes to these services. The first one is if you really value having US-based talent that much, then by all means go for one of these services. I can completely respect that. However, to me, these companies are simply charging an arbitrary premium because they’re pitching themselves as US-based talent. And in many cases, they’re not passing along this premium to their virtual workers. I think there’s a lot more value pulling from a global talent pool because you can create a win, win situation in which your VA can get paid their normal rates, and also save a lot of money.
There are two things that I want you to remember when it comes to your virtual assistant and your virtual assistant’s success.
- The first one is that their success starts and stops with you. If they fail. It’s typically because your SOP is not clear enough. So make sure that you are setting them up for success.
- The second thing that I’d like you to remember is to be open-minded about the global VA talent pool. You can find a lot of value in a lot of great work from those who learned English as their second language, and it doesn’t have to inhibit the ability to get the job done.
If you liked this article, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week. I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. Also, feel free to share this with anybody that you think might benefit from these nine places to find your next VA.
That’s it for this time. In my next article, I’m going to go over how to manage and train your virtual assistants.