Today we’re going to start off by talking about what sets an All-Star VA apart from good or even great VAs, go through an example of an All-Star VA I personally use, and then give you 5 tips on how to find an All-Star VA yourself.
What is an All-Star VA and How Can I Find One?
An All-Star VA is a highly talented and motivated Virtual Assistant who is self directed, works well with you, and is able to add value to your business in a very short amount of time, usually for an extremely affordable rate.
Finding an All-Star Virtual Assistant can greatly boost your productivity and allow you to expand your business while freeing up your time to focus on the areas you are best at. They allow you to work *on* your business, not *in* your business. Not only this, but an All-Star VA will not only allow you to complete the specific task or tasks you had in mind, but actually help you expand your business, because you will be able to directly incorporate their talents and skills into new areas of your business.
An All-Star VA will become more valuable over time, because as they learn more about your business, you will both find new ways they can be of use to you. Their results will be quick, and the impact on your business will be immediate.
Finally, an All-Star VA will be another member of your network of experts you call on for your business. Your network of business contacts is like a muscle that strengthens and grows over time as you build and use it. The larger your network, the stronger your business will be.
In today’s example, I’m going to talk about one of my All Star VAs.
Her name is Nhorleen and she lives in Saipan. I ran across her on Odesk, when she applied for a job to edit some photos at a previous job. Basically there were some machines that I needed the background removed, and it wasn’t the easiest job because of the complexity of the outline.
I didn’t know from the onset that she was an All Star VA because she didn’t have a long track record on Odesk. She was offering her services very inexpensively which is quite common when starting off on Odesk, but looking at her profile, her work looked excellent. It’s not too uncommon to hire a VA inexpensively to do graphics work for you, and see they have an excellent portfolio, but then be disappointed by their work – anyone can put anything in their portfolio. So I’ve learned to keep my expectations fairly low for this type of application with a VA with no strong track record, but fortunately, when the price is inexpensive and you don’t spend a lot of time on one project, you can afford to try a number of VAs, and the reward is quite high when you do find an All-Star VA for very inexpensive.
Nhorleen ended up doing an excellent job, and a week later, she did an outstanding job on a second project as well.
A number of months later, I had a very difficult photo touchup project. I had a picture of two football fans that I needed not only the background image changed to show a different stadium, but also the clothes they were wearing to reflect the new team color. What made this additionally difficult, is that I wanted it to appear that they were wearing shirts with the logo of the new team, and with creases and folds in the clothes, this is not an easy task. You can see the picture at www.yourfirstvirtualassistant.com/allstar.
Additionally, I had a very short deadline for this project of less than 24 hours. She delivered excellent results in a very short timeframe. Without an all star VA like Nohreen, the project would not have been possible. I would not have even thought of doing a project like this in the first place, because I wouldn’t have known anyone with the amount of talent at a price I could afford, let alone in such a short amount of time.
That’s the power of an allstar VA. You can get things done you never had thought possible done, which leads to more and more things in the future. This leads to how do I find an All-Star VA?
How Do I Find an All-Star VA?
Tip 1: Look for Initiative in the Application
When VAs are applying for a job you posted, there are a lot of tell-tale signs that an All-Star VA might be applying. First, they might take a special interest in your job post. You will get a lot of cut and paste cookie cutter 3-4 sentence replies from VAs who *say* they are the perfect fit for your job. Reading over a few of these you will realize that most likely the VA didn’t even look at your posting.
Some replies will even mention details listed in your job post, or refer to the title of your job “Dear sir, I have read your job posting, and I am very qualified to be a Poodle Web Researcher. I have done this ame type of work in the past.” What are the chances that they have done any web research on poodles, dogs, or other animals in the past? Pretty slim. Far more likely they simply had a script auto reply, or they just cut and pasted the title of your post into their reply template.
Now compare this to “Dear sir, I just came across your post, and think I would be an excellent fit. I own a small dog myself, and recently conducted a search for the humane society.” You can tell that they actually read the post, gave it some thought, and might actually have relevant experience. The fact that they took the time to write a specific reply shows initiative, genuine interest, or both.
You do have to be careful in that just because a VA expresses interest and thinks they have the skills to help you doesn’t mean they are necessarily a good fit, nor that they are really that good, but it’s a start.
Other examples of initiative include taking the time to include an attachment to their application with relevant experience – especially when you have not prompted for this type of experience.
Occasionally, and this actually happened to me this week in fact, a VA will go out and answer your question, do some or all of your required work, and then give you the results even before they are hired. This not only shows real initiative and is a risk on their part that they might not get paid, but is also an excellent business tactic on their end because it appealing to your good nature to hire them. How can you not hire them if they just went through the trouble of helping you before they were even hired?
Tip 2: Post a Number of Small Jobs
You can run across VAs like this simply by posting a bunch of small projects across a wide variety of topics. Web research, graphic design, document editing etc. You just need to go out there and look for them, and you’ll find them. Adding things such as easter eggs to your job description where the VA has to include a specific word or phrase in the reponse is an excellent way to find the type of detail oriented trait that many All-Star Virtual Assistants possess.
Tip 3: Go out and Search for VAs Directly on sites such as Odesk.
Of course, there will be some All-Star Virtual Assistants that aren’t as detail oriented, or even have a bit of a tough time. You can find them by looking through lists of Virtual Assistants and keyword research. As another example, I sometimes do 3d renders, and this is an area that really takes a create eye to make objects look photo realistic.
Digging a bit into a VA’s online profile, you can often times spot VAs with a lot of talent or relevent experience. The great thing about the fact there are over 1 Million VAs online looking for work is that finding and working with that top 1% of VAs means there are still 10,000 out there working, with more coming online every day. And with many job postings getting 20-50+ applicants, you’d be suprised how often you will run into an All-Star VA.
You can search for those who have taken a specific test and rank in the top 5% for a given skill. Then filter by rate and find those undiscovered VAs whose rate has not shot way up yet and they are looking for their first break.
An all star VA can be well established or just starting off, but just understand that for a more established VA you’ll typically pay higher porices, while an inexperienced vA has not yet been proven, but the right ones could provide excellent value and just as importantly you’ll be able to establish a relationship as one of their first clients which can serve both of you well on down the road.
Tip 4: Hire VAs to find VAs
Another way you could find these types of VAs is to hire other VAs to help you with the search. Give a list of criteria, and have them search. For instance, I’m looking for someone with the keywords automotive, mechanical, and solidworks or autocad 3d. You can then have your VA make a list of prospects, ranked by experience, tests taken, feedback, etc.
Once you have a VA that’s good at doing research for you, put them to work to search for additional VAs. This is true leveraging in action.
Tip 5: Ask People You Know If They Have Any Virtual Assistants they Suggest
Sometimes you can get good leads from people that work with VAs on a daily basis. You can find some great VAs that way. I wouldn’t suggest always asking a VA if they know good VAs, because everyone always knows a buddy who does this or that. I’m always happy to give people suggestions for more effective ways to find an All-Star VA.
New Service Launching This Summer For Finding All-Star VAs
I keep hearing a number of people who say they just don’t have time to search for a VA, but have a project they could really use one for. I’m actually going to be launching a service this summer for people who don’t have the time or interest in searching for their own All-Star VA themselves and would like someone to step in and help them find one or multiple VAs. You can find out more about this at http://www.yourfirstvirtualassistant.com/services