On my flight home to the UK last month I watched ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’. (the film doesn’t do the book justice, but that’s a whole other blog topic!). Part of the story involves Bernadette trusting a Virtual Assistant (VA) called Manjula to run her life for her. What the film doesn’t show us, is how Bernadette found her VA Manjula.

So, if you are a client thinking about or in the process of hiring a VA, here are my tips on finding the right one for you:

Online reviews aren’t everything! Good reviews are helpful, but just as you would when searching for restaurants, hotels or other services online – don’t only look in one place. Ask people in your network if they have someone they recommend. If they know you and know the VA, they might have an insight into whether you would be a good match. LinkedIn and Facebook groups (for example Boss-Moms and Virtual Assistant Savvies) are also excellent places to find VAs. 

Know what you want! Make sure you know what your needs are and what tasks you will need your VA to do. VAs range from the general to the highly specialized. They will be able to tell you whether what you want doing is in their skillset. A VA can help identify where they will be of value to you, but you will need to have a firm idea of what your repetitive tasks are and what your expectations are – from scope and deliverables to communication, how they will invoice you and how you will send payments.

Be ready to let go! I get it – your business is your life, your baby and your hobby rolled into one. In theory, having someone handle the mundane tasks that keep your business running is a beautiful thing. In practice, even the most boring of tasks (and sometimes especially those) are vital to the success of your business, and it can be hard to let go. VAs understand that (we are business owners too, after all). A great way to pass tasks on and make sure your directions are clear is to use screen sharing software (I use Zoom and Skype, but there are others) to show your VA how you like things done. 

Take advantage of the free discovery call  – this is the single most effective way to see if you click as a team. This is also a great tool to set out how you will work with each other – do you like weekly email updates or ad-hoc facebook messenger chats? Do you like Trello or Asana or Google Docs? Are your tasks time-pressured or can they be done on a more relaxed schedule? All things that can be worked out during the discovery call.

When you find the right VA, you will wonder how you ever managed without one. Get started today. A great first step would be giving us a call! 


  1. Alison Wolf on November 30, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Knowing what you want is so important.

    I have known a business owner to want a virtual assistant but what they actually wanted was someone to work in the office and at a pre-designated location one day a week.

    • Rachel O'Reilly on November 30, 2019 at 1:54 pm

      That’s so true! I have spoken to clients who really want an employee. That’s fine if it’s what you both agree to, but the beauty of being a VA is being able to work anywhere!

  2. Angie on November 30, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    That’s really interesting – I had never considered using a virtual assistant. I’m just a new-to-it freelance writer anyway, so don’t really need one, but if I’m ever in the market for one, I’m certainly going to try to remember this info!

    • Rachel O'Reilly on November 30, 2019 at 2:51 pm

      It can be a game changer! If ever you find you’re bogged down with stuff that isn’t writing, but it needs to be done so you can write – that’s when a VA can help!

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