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Chapter
3

Map those tasks to skill sets

You’ve made your case for hiring a VA and know what you’d like to delegate. The next essential step is identifying the skills your VA must have, rather than the tasks they need to complete.

In this step, you’ll map tasks to specific skills, and use that list to attract the best possible candidates. 

What are the ways that I can hire a VA?

How you hire your VA will be informed by the skills they need to have. Not all VAs have the same skill set, schedule, or scope. Here are some ways to think about the tradeoffs:

Broad vs specialist skill set

  • Review the list of tasks that you plan to delegate and determine whether it would be more important to hire a VA who can do a lot of different tasks or a VA who has a very specialized skill set. 

  • For example, if the tasks you want to delegate are all financial, you’ll want a VA with a specialized skill set — experience with bookkeeping and billing, mathematical acumen, and attention to detail.

  • If the tasks you want to delegate are varied — like invoicing, sending client follow-up emails, and posting to social media — then you’ll want a VA with a broader skill set. 

Part-time vs full-time

  • How long do the tasks you want to delegate take you each week? Refer to the hours you calculated in Step One, then add some wiggle room. This will give you an estimate of how many hours you’ll need a VA each week. 

  • If the tasks you’re looking to delegate add up to a full-time VA, but you think you only want a part-time VA, then you have two options. You can cut down the number of tasks or adjust your budgetary expectations and consider a full-time VA. 

Synchronous vs. asynchronous

  • Once you’ve decided on full-time or part-time, you’ll need to determine which days of the week and what hours you want your VA to be available. Do they need to be available during your workday or is it okay if they work a different schedule than you? 

  • Once you’ve figured out what hours you need, you’ll want to decide how time zone factors into those needs. How flexible you can be about hours will impact which time zones you can hire from. 

One vs. multiple VAs

  • Most people only consider hiring one VA, but if you have tasks that demand a variety of skills, you might be better off hiring multiple VAs, each with a highly specialized skill set.  

  • For example, if some of the tasks you want to delegate have to do with graphic design and some have to do with billing, you may want to hire two separate VAs rather than looking for one who has both of these skill sets. 

Identifying the differences between tasks and skills

A task is a piece of work that needs to be completed, like sending emails to clients. A skill is a knowledge required to complete a task, like excellent communication skills.

If you’re not clear about which skills are required for each of the tasks you want to assign, you may end up with a candidate that doesn’t fit your needs. So, let’s take each of the tasks you’ve identified and translate them into skills. 

Exercise: Turn your tasks into skills

This exercise will help you build a clear rubric of the skills your ideal VA would have. As you work on this exercise, you’ll probably notice that multiple tasks map to the same skill. This identifies a crucial skill to look for when interviewing VAs. 

  1. Go to the list of tasks that you created in Step 1.

  2. Assign each of those tasks the associated skill. I have provided some examples below.

Head over to the Map Tasks to Skills page of your workbook to complete this exercise for each task on your list. 

When you’re done, a cluster of key skills may emerge indicating what your hiring process should center around. 

What did you learn?

In this step, you learned how to:

  • Identify the difference between a task and a skill.

  • Identify the skills your VA will need to complete the tasks you want to delegate.

  • Make a list of all the skills your VA will need.

  • Identify key skills to base your hiring around.

In the next step, you’ll take those skills and turn them into a rubric you can use to evaluate the candidates that you’ll interview. 

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