Thinking about hiring a virtual assistant? Congrats—you’re about to take a big, exciting step in the growth of your online business! If you go about it the right way, adding a virtual assistant (VA) to your team—even if you’re a team of one right now—can bring major peace of mind and help your business grow. I definitely sleep better these days than I did back when I was juggling #allthethings in my biz alone a few years ago!
A VA is an independent contractor who works on administrative, business development, client/community relationship, or social media tasks…and beyond. If you’re feeling bogged down by aspects of running a business that you’re not great at and/or don’t love, outsourcing these to a VA can free up serious time and brain space for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Another option is to hire a virtual assistant company — also called an agency — who will help match you with a VA who is a good fit for you and your business. (Pssst! You can check out seven of my tips for how to hire a virtual assistant legally right here.)
Handing off day-to-day tasks means you can focus on the big picture things that matter to you and move the needle forward on your business. Win!
The Virtual Assistant Legal Documents You Need For Hiring
But how exactly do you go about onboarding this brand new hire for your business, and doing it in a way that protects your business and has all your (legal) bases covered? Well that’s exactly what I’m covering in this blog post — the documents you need to onboard a Virtual Assistant the legally legit way.
Oh, and if you’re considering working as a virtual assistant yourself, the job has some truly great perks. You get to choose who you work for and what projects you take on. You’ll be able to manage your own schedule and work from anywhere in the world, including your PJs at home (I highly recommend this option). You should ALSO read this blog post all the way to the end, to be sure that the business you’re interested in working with is legally legit and has the proper documents in place before you start working for them.
Get Organized & Prepared
The more you have systems in place, the easier it will be to onboard your new virtual assistant and ensure that their time (and your time!) is well spent. First, get clear on what tasks you do best. For example, writing legal templates and sharing my voice and perspective on social media are at the heart of my business, so I’m not outsourcing those anytime soon. On the other hand, design, scheduling, and copywriting are areas where I definitely go to experts for help. Sure, I *could* tackle them myself. But there are only 24 hours in a day, and I wouldn’t have any time for big dreams and plans (and meal prep, and gardening, and cuddling Huddy Buddy) if I were constantly in the weeds.
You can always test out a VA for a one-time project or fixed period of time, like 30 days, as a trial run. Remember, a good working relationship involves lots of communication. Especially in the beginning, it’s better to err on the side of overcommunication.
Virtual Assistant Legal Documents
Next, it’s time to get your legal ducks in a row. The best place to start is with my DIY Independent Contractor Agreement. You can download this instantly (ok, the process takes about 15 minutes) to set the rules and terms for your VA and protect your business.
Basically, this is a legally binding virtual assistant contract (or a web designer contract, or any freelancer contract) that outlines the terms and conditions of their work for you. They are not an employee, which means they work at their own pace, during their own time, wherever they like. (PJs are a bonus.) You’re not offering them employee benefits like health insurance, paid leave, or unemployment, but they are free to work for other businesses.
The VA contract lays out important information like:
- Payment terms: how much and how they will be compensated
- Deliverables: what constitutes “work”
- When and how either party can terminate the contract
- What they need to do to protect your business’s confidential info and your personal data (there won’t be a non-compete clause or a non-solicitation clause like in many employment contracts, but there’s definitely still room to protect yourself)
- Bonus: it’s easy to understand so there are no mysteries
Once you grab the contract template and fill in the blanks (names, fees, and such), send the contract to your VA. Once they sign, you do the same, and make sure to get a complete, fully signed version for your records.
But before you roll your eyes and think “I don’t have time for a contract, I need my VA to start working for me like, yesterday!” let me explain *why* you really do need that document signed before they begin working for your business.
Why You Need a Contract
Of course, you hope to trust everyone you bring on to work with you. But things can go south for all sorts of reasons, some of which are total surprises or personal emergencies they don’t have control over. A legit contract protects you and the business you have put your blood, sweat and tears into building. By laying out the nuts and bolts of your expectations with your VA, you’ll be setting up both of you for success.
It also details exactly how and when you can revoke their access to aspects of your business that contain sensitive information (LastPass password saver is your friend here!).
Remember, it’ll take even the very best VA some time to get up to speed, and that’s okay! Take things slow and allow the working relationship to grow gradually, and you’ll accomplish awesome things as a team.PS If you want to be REALLY confident you’re doing this the right way, join my free workshop ‘5 Steps to Legally Protect & Grow Your Online Business’ to ensure you’re standing on solid legal footing as you grow your little team and hire your first team members! Grab your spot here.