When you are ready to start growing your business, you will inevitably encounter the need to hire some help and build a team. For a food creator, hiring a virtual assistant (or VA) can be a great place to start.
“Virtual assistant” can mean a lot of different things. You might be looking for a generalized VA to manage emails, schedule your calendar, and handle other administrative tasks. Or perhaps a more specialized VA (think social media manager or email marketing manager) is a better fit.
If done strategically, hiring a virtual assistant can take certain tasks off of your plate and allow you to focus on the responsibilities that you enjoy, and that benefit your business, the most.
If you think you might be ready to hire a new team member, we’ve put together a handy, step-by-step guide to get you started!
1. Brainstorm the tasks that you want to outsource.
The first, and perhaps most important, step to building your team is determining what parts of your job you need, or want, someone else to do. Ask yourself these questions:
- What parts of my job drain me?
- What aspects of this job do I dislike?
- What are my weaknesses? Could someone else perform certain tasks better than I can?
- What’s keeping me from doing the parts of this job that I enjoy?
If there are certain responsibilities that keep popping up as you answer these questions, those are the tasks you should consider outsourcing.
You may find that the tasks fall into a similar skill set and could be handled by one hire. Conversely, you might have a list that reflects several totally different skill sets, in which case you could consider hiring several different part-time virtual assistants.
Need some inspiration for tasks to hire out?
- Social media scheduling
- Photography or videography for your blog or for sharing on social media
- Responding to social media comments or emails
- Adding data fields to old recipe cards
- Categorizing recipe posts
- Drafting email newsletter broadcasts or sequences
- Keyword research
- SEO optimization for older blog posts
- Graphic design for holiday gift guides, Pinterest pins, or your website
- Recipe testing
2. Determine your budget and how you will compensate your team member.
Once you’ve figured out what tasks you’re going to ask your virtual assistant to complete, the next step is to set your budget. In general, the more specialized the skill set you’re hiring for, the higher the hourly rate will be. Upwork provides a handy chart with the breakdown of the hourly rate you can expect to pay for various types of virtual assistants.
There are two main approaches to paying a part-time virtual assistant: by hour or by task. For example, if you’re looking for someone to complete a one-off task (i.e. categorizing your blog archives or photographing a certain set of recipes), paying a set-rate for the task might be a better option than an hourly rate, since you’ll have an exact number to budget for from the get-go.Want to learn more about the business of blogging?
3. Develop an onboarding process.
That’s right — before you’ve even hired your new team member, it is critical that you think through your onboarding process to make it as seamless as possible for you and your new virtual assistant.
The next time you complete the tasks that you’re planning to outsource, create thorough process documents that explain everything someone completing that task for the first time would need to know. We at Food Blogger Pro love Loom and Google Documents for this!
Taking the time to get an onboarding process in place now will make training new employees much easier and more efficient later.
4. Draft a job description.
Now it’s time to write your job description. The more specific the job description, the better! Specifics will help ensure that your applicants are the best match for the position you’re filling.
- A brief description of your brand, blog, or company
- The qualifications and experience needed for the role
- Expectations and responsibilities:
- Tasks or deliverables
- Hours/week or hours/month
- Time period (until no longer needed, 3-months, a year)
- Job status (employee vs. contractor)
If you’re looking for a concrete example of a job listing, our Email Marketing Expert Allea posted a really comprehensive job listing earlier this year that covers all the bases!
5. Post the job listing online!
You’re officially ready to share your job listing with the world! Sharing the job listing with the people who already follow you and know your brand is a great place to start. Post the job listing on your social media accounts and blog, and include the job listing in your email newsletter!
You can also post on job boards, like Upwork or LinkedIn. Lots of Food Blogger Pro members have had success looking for VAs on the Food Blogger Pro Forum, in the Food Bloggers Virtual Assistants Facebook Group, or on Tastemaker Conference’s Freelance + Jobs page!
Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth. Talk about your job listing with other food bloggers, friends, and family members! You never know where you’ll find the perfect match for your position.
6. Interview potential applicants.
While not always necessary, we recommend conducting interviews with your top applicants. They can be short and informal, but will ultimately help you select the best candidate for the job, and the best fit for collaborating with you!
Try to ask all applicants the same set of predetermined questions to keep the interview and decision-making process as fair as possible.
7. Hire your virtual assistant!
Congratulations! You did it. Now use all of your newfound spare time to grow your business (and maybe relax a little bit, too!).
P.S. Here are a few other hiring resources we wanted to share!
- How To Hire A Good Virtual Assistant (The Ultimate Guide) – EmilyPerron.com
- How To Use Your Zone Of Genius To Hire The Best Freelancers – EmilyPerron.com
- Running Your Food Blog Like A Business – Food Blogger Pro
- How much does it cost to hire a virtual assistant? – Upwork
- The Food Blogger Pro Podcast Episode 246: Hiring – Building a Better Team with Moses Balian
- The Food Blogger Pro Podcast Episode 286: Build Your Team – How to Write an Eye-Catching Job Listing and Hire the Right People with Emily Perron
- Five Tasks Every Food Blogger Should Outsource to a VA – Dianne Jacob
Have you ever hired a Virtual Assistant for your blog? Any tips to share?
Interesting article. However, determining budget is different than compensation. A client (the blogger) might have an idea of their max spend, but they aren’t the one setting the price for the VA. The VA themselves is a business and will more than likely be setting their own rates. I really think this post should be split into how to hire an employee vs working with a contractor. There are some definite overlaps, but this is often confusing for many bloggers.
Hi Helen! Thanks for the feedback. While the VA would definitely be setting their own rates, the blogger/client can determine how many hours they might be able to afford to hire the VA for at those rates (i.e., their budget). There is also a wide range of rates among VAs depending on experience, so once a blogger/client knows their budget, they can “shop around.” Hope that clarifies that!
We go into lots more detail about hiring in our Business of Blogging course, for anyone who wants to know more, and linked to the really comprehensive IRS article about hiring an employee vs. a contractor (since they can clarify it better than anyone!).