In the Amazon FBA circle, Virtual Assistant (VA) is an offshore worker who works remotely for your Amazon Business. They use their Amazon knowledge to assist other Amazon sellers in managing and growing their businesses.
They can work full-time, part-time, or on a contract basis (for example, per task). A virtual assistant can assist you with a variety of activities, ranging from administrative work to Amazon listing production, product research, and whatever task you can outsource in your Amazon FBA operations.
For most Amazon businesses, outsourcing is a game-changer since it is flexible, inexpensive, and effective. The cost and optionality of having a VA make it quite attractive. The cost of an Amazon VA range from $3-$8/hr depending on the experience of course.
Most Amazon VAs are located in the following countries:
The short answer is that they can do almost all Amazon-related tasks. But you need to segment your Amazon-related task from the easy to the difficult. By segmenting your business operations into tasks, it will direct your VA hiring decisions.
For example, for a specific skill-based task like graphics design, you would need to hire a VA with a graphic design skillset. If the task you want to outsource is of high importance and is relatively difficult then you would want to hire a more experienced VA.
Skills Specific Task:
Before hiring a VA you probably want to list all the tasks you want the VA to do. The key is to be specific.
You need to be specific not only in the list of tasks but also within the task, you want to be specific in terms of the process.
The honest truth is that VAs cannot handle tasks without very specific instructions laid out for them, kind of like microwave instructions. It needs to be that specific!
It is also best that you actually do these tasks yourself for a while, so at least you are in the know and have a better ability to vet the skills of the VA
I won’t go into great depth in how you can train your VA, instead, I’ll simply give a framework for how to train your VA
Create your own SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)
A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a document that contains step-by-step instructions for employees to follow when performing a technical, repetitive activity at work. Consider it a step-by-step guide to completing a task.
SOPs are developed for a group of employees who will be responsible for completing the work. If there are no standards, each person may perform the task in his or her own unique way. It shows by the way of best practice based on previous experiences.
If you want a copy of an SOP template you can download a copy here.
So take the time to think about the specific task you want to outsource then create a detailed SOP around it.
You basically have two training choices. Either train them yourself or hire a pre-trained VA.
For pre-trained VAs, you can expect to pay an upper range of the salary band. This is where doing the task yourself will help you vet the pre-train VA that can do the job
If you are training the VA yourself, the work that you did before hiring the VA (such as the SOP) will come in real handy. You show the VA how these tasks are done exactly and give them an SOP to train with. Have the VA do the task at least for 5 iterations until the work is done to your standard. If not, re-train the VA and iterate on the SOP until you have gotten it right with your VA. But if even with lots of training the VA is still not up to standards you may have to let the VA go.
Recognize what you want the VA to do and what they’ll need to complete it. You must also be able to do these procedures on your own. If you can’t do these processes yourself, you don’t even know what the VA’s doing is right or wrong. This is basically a recipe for failure.
You can hire an Amazon virtual assistant through FreeUp. The website originally was set up to service Amazon Sellers. Only the best 1% of freelancers are accepted into FreeUp’s roster after they interview and analyze thousands of applicants. They feature an Amazon seller section where you can get help with listings, products research, customer service, and more.
Be cognizant of holidays and customs, such as the Philippines’ 13th-month pay. Create a Google calendar for public holidays in the area where your team is located.
It is difficult to manage someone all the way on the other side of the world and also not being physically present. Time tracking tools allow you to monitor the VA’s work via keystrokes and screenshots. These time trackers will keep the VA honest.
My team is paid via Transferwise. This is done to keep currency conversion fees to a minimum. Every month, I pay my team on the 1st. I wanted to pay them monthly to save money on fees, and to reflect my payroll schedule here in Hong Kong, but your VAs would appreciate getting paid more regularly like bi-weekly.
It’s not easy to expand your staff. It will take some time, but the benefits will far surpass the effort. I began by employing one virtual assistant, then grew to 5 from there. For the reasons stated above, I recommend hiring an administrative assistant to take care of the easy task as your initial hire.
Eventually, one of my VAs took on the position of manager. This frees up a lot of my time. Without these VAs, I honestly believe I could not have expanded my business to the extent it is currently today.
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