I think the idea of virtual assistants is great. The problem is in the term "Virtual Assistant."
Virtual - they work from another location.
Assistant - they help with something you are doing already.
This is very broad. If you try to hire a Virtual Assistant, you will find out just how broad.
Virtual Assistants can be everyone from low cost people that barely speak English to high end business consultants and coaches that offer to guide you as an assistant. Instead of selling "Virtual Assistant" services, there needs to have focus and clarity. For example, the Virtual Buzz Assistants or Virtual Marketing Assistants that focus exclusively on creating Internet visiblity.
By specializing, clients know what they are getting and they are less likely to request additional stuff like ordering flowers or booking a hotel. You do not want marketing professionals doing that for you and more than you want a travel agent doing your Internet Marketing - but many Virtual Assistants try to be all things to all people.
So if you are hiring a Virtual Assistant to help with your marketing, here are some tips.
1) English Fluency
2) Ethical Practices
3) Industry Experience
If you can find a virtual assistant that has worked with a client in your industry before, even if it was not completely successful, they still have a head start with that experience. I would always pay more for someone with industry knowledge.
4) Track Record
5) Clear Plan
To begin with, you need to have a clear goal in mind. Not something like increase sales, that is too broad. Something like increasing website traffic by x or increase search engine visibility for specific keywords. If you are specific with your goal, a good Virtual Assistant with Internet Marketing experience will be able to put together specific activities that will lead to accomplishing your goals.
6) Willing to Learn
When many people look for a Virtual Assistant, they are looking for a Virtual Expert at a Virtual Assistant price. Hiring a Virtual Assistant to do Internet Marketing can be a very cost effective option, especially with the constantly changing Internet landscape. You have to be willing to hire someone that has specialized and to be involved with them to clearly plan and execute your goals.
To find out more about what Virtual Buzz Assistants do, Visit the Virtual Buzz Assistant Network
Ron McDaniel is author of Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing and writes the Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Blog - with over 900 Buzz Marketing articles available FREE.
Ron is a national speaker and frequently speaks to groups of non-technical business owners on how to make the most of the many free Internet tools that are available to them.
Ron also runs the Virtual Buzz Assistant Network, where he brings together Virtual Assistants trained in Internet Marketing with Business Owners that need Internet Marketing support.