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When Is the Right Time to Hire a Virtual Assistant in eCommerce?

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Many eCommerce business owners have asked about when to hire a virtual assistant. The simple answer is when you need one. But the key here is maximizing that move, getting the most out of it, just like you do with any decision in business. It’s all about the value.

When to Start Hiring

Think about how many hours you spend working on your eCommerce business. Think about how many hours you spend on other work. Does it leave you with enough time for your personal life? Do you need to spend more time with family, or to get quality rest? If you find that you have run out of time, then you need to hire a virtual assistant now.

The best time to hire a virtual assistant is when you are already using just about all of the time that you have allotted to your business. If you are running that business full time, then that means 8-10 hours per day. If the business is a sideline to supplement your regular income, then that’s however many hours you have to spare for work outside of your regular job. But I said almost all of that time. Remember, you will need to spend some time working with any new hire to get into a good flow.

Leave yourself 1-2 hours a week for at least a few months until you have established a good dynamic between yourself and the new hire. This is for the additional work that you need to do when you hire a virtual assistant. You will need to spend time looking for the right one, which includes creating task descriptions and interviewing candidates, onboarding the best one, and running through a discovery phase then a trial phase for at least two weeks, and continually monitoring that worker until you are both confident that everything is going well. You will also need time to maintain communication with the worker and hold regular meetings to get updates.

Hire a Virtual Assistant

So if you’re reached that point where you have just about run out of time in your day, go ahead and hire a virtual assistant. On that note, here are a few tips on what to look for in the right candidate.

Experience

You don’t have a lot of time to spend sorting through a wide variety of candidates, or teaching someone how to do various tasks. This is not the best use of your time. You need to hire a virtual assistant who already has experience doing the tasks that you need to get off your plate, whether it’s listing products, fulfilling orders, answering customer inquiries, or whatever else you need help with.

To attract experienced candidates without having to read through hundreds of applications, the first step is creating a task description. Outline the main elements of the task and bullet point what each part entails. This will give prospective applicants a clear idea of what you expect them to be able to do. Anyone who doesn’t know how to do all of that will be discouraged from applying. Then you will only have to look at the qualified ones.

Fit

You can’t hire a virtual assistant based on experience alone, especially if you see the relationship as a long-term one. The right candidate is someone who is a good fit for your company. Next, add some information about your business above that description you just created. This gives candidates an idea of who you are and what the business stands for. This way, applicants can decide if it’s something they want to be a part of. If they don’t like what they see, they will not be interested, and you can automatically weed out anyone who doesn’t fit in with your culture or values.

You can find several examples of good eCommerce task descriptions on Amazon Jobs. Read through a couple and see how they achieve the goal of attracting candidates with the right attitude and experience. After you have collected several applications for your task description, you can interview the top ones and hire a virtual assistant who best fits your company and the role.

Onboard!

Once you hire a virtual assistant that has the right eCommerce experience, it’s time to see if they can really do what they confirmed to you during the interview. Work closely with them for the first week or so to see how they manage the various aspects of your eCommerce store that you have described. Getting these tasks running smoothly in the hands of the worker is the most important thing as you begin, and as you go on to hire a virtual assistant for other tasks. The right person who can work independently will allow you to stay focused on more growth.

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