virtual assistant is a professional who provides services from a location outside of your office. This person may work from their home office and communicate with you via the Internet, phone, email or fax. Hiring a virtual assistant is ideal if you need an extra pair of administrative hands, but finding the right person for the job can prove challenging.

If you need to quickly hire a virtual assistant, here are a few tips to help narrow down the search.

1. Where does the assistant live? The location of the virtual assistant is irrelevant if you plan to correspond solely via the Internet or telephone. But if you require face-to-face meetings with your assistant, choose someone that lives within a reasonable distance from your place of business.

2. Hours of availability. Many virtual assistants are entrepreneurs or independent contractors who set their own hours. This is beneficial to their business, but if you need someone for specific times of the day, select an assistant that can accommodate your needs. Most often, the virtual assistant’s hours will be no different than yours!

3. Means of communication. There are various ways to communicate. However, you and your assistant should be on the same page and able to use the same methods of communication. For example, if you prefer Skype for conferences, make sure that your virtual assistant has a computer with a webcam, if applicable..

4. Ability. Virtual assistants have different strengths. Some are excellent researchers and writers, whereas others are exceptional in areas of customer service or web deisgn. Choose an assistant that can best serve your business. Or, if you have a variety of needs, choose a virtual assistant company that has a VA team.  Most often, these teams will be comprised of various experts such as web designers, bookkeepers, social media strategists and online business managers who can help facilitate a variety of growing areas in your business.