How to hire a virtual assistant (VA): 8 tips from a VA who has hired 1000s of VAs for other professionals

How to hire a virtual assistant

“Hiring a VA is a complete waste of time, it’s impossible to find the right person, they never get it right, and you’ll spend more time explaining the task than just doing it yourself.”

I’ve heard this so many times.*

But let me tell you why this isn’t true: I was managing virtual assistants before remote work was cool, and I can categorically say that hiring the right VA will change your life. 

Here’s why:

  • Nearly 60% of virtual assistants have a college degree, which means you have a good chance of hiring someone who is well educated, organized, and professional.
  • 87% of VAs work for hourly wages, freeing you up from having to allocate funds towards salaries
  • Virtual assistants cost 78% less than full-time, on-site employees, so you don’t have to worry about providing things like benefits, worker’s comp, etc.
  • A virtual assistant can sort your emails, schedule appointments, and plan events. And if you use a VA in a different time zone, they can check off important tasks while you sleep.

For example, at Cardinal, I have an awesome VA named Princess who resides in the Philippines. Princess manages our marketing campaigns, which has given me time back in my day to focus on keeping our project management application (Asana) tidy and reminding the team of deadlines.

The biggest mistake I’ve seen people make is hiring the wrong person, which ultimately leads to a failed relationship. 

Here are my top tips for finding the right match: 

  1. Hire like you’re trying to find your soulmate. This person will know a lot about you, impact a large part of your life, possibly interact with your family and colleagues, and, just like a partner you team up with for life, this is a long term committed relationship. If you approach this like a short term dating prospect or just “playing the field” you will suffer. 

  2. Leave the past behind. If you have tried hiring VA’s before and it hasn’t worked out, don’t bring this attitude into this new relationship. Instead, focus on what you learned from it and look forward. Chances are, they’ve had some bad experiences too. However, don’t be afraid to ask for references or speak to past clients.

  3. Don’t be cheap. Just like how you dated your eventual partner, treat them well, and you will be rewarded. With VA’s you definitely get what you pay for.

  4. Know what you want. Be clear about what you want from them: How much availability you want, what level of communication you expect, what type of work they will be doing, and whether time zones are important or not. Decide early on if you are open to a long distance relationship or if you want someone local.

  5. Communication is the key to any successful relationship. Communicate regularly, ideally daily. Give feedback and be open to receiving feedback. Listen as much as you talk, because chances are they have done this before. Treat each other with respect, this will go a long way toward a successful relationship.

  6. Define Success. In a perfect relationship, both parties are working towards the same end goal. Mixed signals are a surefire way to failure, frustration, and a major loss of time and money.

  7. Use technology. I recommend a work management tool such as Asana, Monday, or Click up to create and assign tasks, track due dates, update progress, and mark tasks complete so everyone is clear about where they stand.

  8. Don’t ghost them. If it’s not working out, be upfront and tell them. Don’t waste your time or theirs by continuing with a relationship that is going nowhere.

At Cardinal, hiring quality VAs is just another way we simplify and improve our business.

It helps us focus on the important things and be successful in the work that matters.

Like serving you. 

If you’re interested in talking more about VAs, commercial real estate, or cycling, shoot us an email or give us a call. We’re here for you. 

And if you need a recommendation for a VA, feel free to reach out to Donna at

*Hi! I am Donna, I’m the efficiency expert at Cardinal. I work remotely and split my time between my home in Ireland and my home in the South of France. I have been supporting Cardinal for over a decade, which shows how remote relationships can last. BTW: I have visited Cardinal twice…I love Charlotte!

Real estate transactions can be fraught with frustration and pitfalls.

Sometimes the hardest part turns out to be working with your broker, the person who is supposed to help you through the complexities. Veteran commercial real estate broker and client advisor John Culbertson discovered that brokers’ interests aren’t always aligned with those of their clients. He realized there was a better way to advocate for clients and get the deal done.


Stay up-to-date with Cardinal Insights, our award-winning newsletter.


Our clients get senior-level attention.

We’re grateful for our clients. They are extraordinary leaders who have achieved tremendous results. When we think about the companies and people we are fortunate to work with, we are blown away.

Ready to get started?