The Simple System I Used To Hire My First 2 Badass Virtual Assistants

how to hire a virtual assistantIf you’ve read my last monthly income report, you’ll probably know that I’ve started build a team of virtual assistants (VAs) in the Philippines to help me grow my business.

In this article, I’ll show you step by step what I’ve done so you can easily build your own right away using my system.

There are 2 ways you can use to hire your first virtual assistant in the Philippines:

1. Use Virtual Staff Finder (VSF)

Hiring a highly talented and qualified virtual assistant who can do the work for you is not easy. If you don’t want to deal with all the chaos and hassle of the hiring process, Virtual Staff Finder is defenitely the best solution on the market.

Founded by Chris Ducker in 2010, a British businessman who lives in the Philippines for over 12 years, this done-for-you service has helped thousands of entrepreneurs easily find their best virtual assistants with a fixed fee of $375.

I haven’t tried the service but according to the reviews of some famous online entrepreneurs like Pat Flynn, Corbert Barr, Ryan Lee, etc and with the reputation of Chris Ducker himself, I can say that this is really a reliable & high quality service. I will give it a try the next time I want to expand my team.

For more information about this service, check out VirtualStaf! (affiliate link)

2. Do It Yourself Using

Don’t worry if you can’t afford the price of VSF at the moment because I have another solution for you :).

Yes, hiring someone is not an easy task and it may take up a lot of your time but with the simple yet effective system that I’ll be showing you, the task is much simpler.

The only investment required is $49 for one month subscription to This website has the largest database of thousands of Filippino workers looking for online jobs.

Go and check out! (affiliate link)


Why You Need a Virtual Assistant?

As an entrepreneur, you can’t not succeed doing everything on your own. Personally, after working with my VAs for over 4 weeks, I saw many amazing benefits:

1. Working With VAs Changed The Way I Do Business

A business is not a hobby and it has nothing to do with your personal life. Yes, I love what I’m doing. However, if I want to take it to the next level, I can’t treat it as a hobby but a business instead. These two things must be separated.

2. I Saved A Great Deal Of Time And Significantly Increased My Productivity

Time is so precious, especially with entrepreneurs like us. We should delegate all the mundane, time-consuming, and boring tasks and concentrate on more important, money-making tasks instead.

3. I Don’t Have To Deal With Technical Stuff That I Hate To Do

My niche website business requires lots of technical tasks like setting up WordPress sites, running the VPS, using different SEO tools, etc.

Even though I’m pretty tech-savvy, I don’t want to do those tasks as they’re, well, quite boring.

There are a lot more reasons but you’d be better off trying to hire your first VA right now and see for yourself, then you can thank me later 🙂

101 Tasks Your Virtual Assistant Can Help You

[wpsharely id=”1114″]Go and check out Chris Ducker’s post about this.  [/wpsharely]

The Simple System I Used To Hire My First 2 Badass Virtual Assistants

I learned this system from Noah Kagan (#30 at Facebook, #3 at Mint, Founder at Gambit, founder of AppSumo) and it’s proven to work very well to help you weed out all the bad candidates and only interview the good ones.

Here’s the system broken down in steps:

Step 1: Sign Up For An Account At

You can sign up using my affiliate link 🙂 It’ll not cost you more, but I’ll earn a few bucks 🙂 Thank you for that!

To save money, after upgrading your account, go to your Paypal account and cancel the recurring subscription immediately. In my opinion, one month is more than enough for you to hire your first 2-3 VAs. You can always subscribe again whenever you need.

Step 2: Write and Post Your Job Listing.

Having a well-written job desciprtion is critical as it helps you attract the right candidates who are willing to work for your business for a long time.

Here are some tips to help you write an effective job description:

  • Write an eye-catching title to make your job post stand out. Eg: Badass Online Writer Wanted for a Digital Publishing Company (Full time position, $500+ per month salary)
  • Thank them for checking out your listing.
  • Clearly give your expectation right in the start to weed out bad candidates.
  • Describe your business in details.
  • Put up the job requirements up front to filter unqualified people out immediately. Don’t be afraid to be harsh and real because your time is valuable and you only want to spend it on the most qualified candidates.
  • Tell them about the salary/benefits when working with you.
  • Require them to send you a specific magical word or something unique (example below)

IMPORTANT: If you are interested, please send me your Linkedin and Facebook profile via email – Don’t send anything to my inbox.

  • This is to ensure that they are attentive to details and have carefully read your job description. Weed out any resumes from those who don’t follow your instructions.
  • Add in a call to action. “Congrats, you made it to the end. What are you waiting for? Email me – with your Linkedin and Facebook profile.”

Step 3: Using Gmail Filters For Automation

This is what makes this system so effective for hiring good people.

In the description, I required the candiates to send me their Linkedin and Facebook profiles.

Now go to Gmail and create a filter using those settings (image below):

How To Hire Your First Virtual Assistant Using My Simple System

Here’s how the filter works:

  • If the applicants don’t respond with their Facebook and Linkedin profiles, then the emails doesn’t get read (automatically get deleted) because they don’t follow your direction and are not worth your time.
  • Any resume that includes FB and Linkedin profiles will be responded with a “Canned response” (template below)
Sweet! You are one of the surprisingly few people who could follow emailing me linkedin and facebook profiles.
You’d be surprised!
I love you.
Anyway, on to round 2.
Please complete this form. I value everyone’s time so you will receive a $10 payment directly to your Paypal or any other online payment alternative right after you’ve completed this form.
{link to Google form}
– Tung Tran (your email)

To create canned responses: go to “Labs” and turn on “Canned Response”.

Step 4: Using Google Form To Survey The Candiates

This step is crucially important. The candidates who passed the filter must complete this step and you’ll choose the ones to interview via Skype.

Put up your contact info in the response email and give a specific deadline because we wan’t to know if the applicant is reliable.

Write questions that show actual work that they’ll be doing and can reflect their qualification. (i.e. “Please write a 500-word SEO optimized article about “how to start a blog”)

Don’t be so serious and make the form all about work. Ask about their hobbies, morning routine, books they like, etc.

There are 15 questions I ask to my applicants:

  1. What is your typing speed?
  2. What is your internet speed?
  3. What’s your background, experience and do you have a specific skill set?
  4. What are your main communication methods?
  5. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  6. What were some of the trainings you’ve had the past six months?
  7. What were some of the books you’ve read the past six months?
  8. You have a deadline when your computer suddenly crashed. What would you do
  9. What are your plans for the next 5 years?
  10. What do you usually do outside of work?
  11. Do you exercise everyday? If yes, which kind of exercise?
  12. What is the first thing you do in the morning?
  13. How do you stay productive and organized?
  14. After hearing about my business, What questions do you have?
  15. Listen to this song ( – What do you think about it?

Step 5: Selecting The RIGHT Candidate

After the deadline is due, sorting through the answers and pick the top 3 that you like the most, then send them a follow up email (“Hi X, you’re one of the very few that has made it to the final round, I’d like to do a voice chat with you at “insert time here” )

Then you interview them via Skype, I prefer voice chat as you can know more about their personalities through face-to-face chatting.

Take notes when interviewing so you can always come back later and decide which is the best fit for the position.

I always put everyone on a 2-week trial to see if they are reliable for the job.

Once you have hired the right employees, give them training, invest your time and be with them closely for the first 2-3 weeks, give immediate feedback to help them understand the job.

After that, you can sit back and enjoy the great experience of having highly talented and well-trained people working for you and helping you grow your business.

Here’s a great guide on how to hire,train and work with virtual assistant from the Philippines by the Virtual Varlley team.

Over To You

Now that you’ve learned my simple system to effectively hire qualified people.

Building a team of people to help you grow your business is not an easy task and it may require tons of time and effort.

However, it’s our job as entrepreneurs, so don’t hesitate to go out of your comfort zone and take the first step as it will greatly benefit you and your business in the future.

Have you utilized virtual assistant to grow your business? If not, what is holding you back? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Leave a comment below!

Tung Tran

Tung Tran is the founder of
  • I agree with Chris’s saying that we cannot handle all work alone.

    If we really want something big then we will have to divide our work, because an experienced person can do that work more efficiently.

    One of my friend also suggested me to try, and I seen their services which are awesome.

    You are right on the point that it can save a lot of time and we can get more work down in short time.

    Great article Tung.

  • I like how you have multiple filters to speed up the hiring process.

    I’m accustomed to filtering applicants in oDesk with instructions in the job posting, but your process will definitely help when I hire a VA for writing or for basic wordpress setup.

    In your experience, how much would a dedicated writer cost? And how many articles would they produce in a month?

    • My writer’s salary is $300 a month. She can write 2-3 high quality articles per day but we can always train them and help them do the work better

      • That’s not too bad at all.

        For whatever reason, I thought it would be more expensive than that.

        Thanks for that little piece of insight.

  • Hey Tung!

    Nice guide you put together. I’m not at a level to hire VAs yet, but I’ll check this guide when I am.

    I did hire a write off of Elance about a month ago. I used many of the tricks you mentioned, but did one mistake. I was looking for a writer who can write good reviews for technical products. In my job description I said that a sample would be nice, but is not necessary. Almost half of the applicants didn’t submit any samples. From now on I’ll always require a sample. As you mentioned it shows that people can follow directions and secondly, which is important when hiring writers, you can see if you like their style of writing.

    One other trick I used is that I saved everyone who I liked even a bit. Some applicants weren’t really all that good at English, so they weren’t a good choice for a niche site I’m building, but if I ever start building a blog network and require cheap $5 articles, they would be more than fine.

    Just wanted to share my experiences with out sourcing.

    Good luck with your VAs,

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences Goran. I appreciate it!

      Your niche website business are growing very fast so if you have a lot of needs for articles, hire a full time writer 😀


  • Hi Tung,

    That is perfect! Like you, I’m a big fan of Jon Haver and am really impressed with how he’s outsourcing all this stuff. So I’ve been leaning toward outsourcing a lot more now.

    I just started outsourcing batches of articles on Odesk and Elance, and I think the next step will be to hire a VA to help me scale it up.

    Thanks for the tip on filtering the emails. I had no idea you could do something like that, and I will definitely start organizing my emails like that.

    Congrats on taking your big step into VA outsourcing. I’m excited to see how this change will affect your earnings over the next several months. And I hope to jump on that bandwagon with you before too long 🙂

    Aloha, Chris

    • hey Chris

      Did you hear about or tried Guru before?

      It’s better than Elance IMO, easier to manage and play with…

  • Hey Tung, I love the world of automation. Hiring virtual assistance has been lifechanging for me. Actually out of everything that I’ve learned online I rank outsourcing as the best skill. It’s the only way to truly scale a business to a phenomenal degree.

    I took a break for a while from marketing online, but now i’m swinging back into full gear and the first thing that I have on my mind is ensuring I have processes built so that they can be automated!

    • Hiiiii Josh!!!! Long time no see 😀

      I was a big fan of your blog but something bad happened right 😀

      Congrats on the come back and I look forward to read your new authority website series 😀

      Never give up man!


    • hi Josh

      I’m curious…

      What would you say are your favorite 3 skills or tasks to outsource?

  • Solid post Tung and congrats on expanding, time to blow the biz up! Hopefully I will be putting this plan into action for myself soon.

  • Haha, yea…it was definitely quite a hiatus, but I learned a lot during that break.

    I love what you have going on here on your site. Great case study, I’ll definitely be following along 🙂

  • hey Tung

    I couldn’t believe the power of g-mail, until I’ve changed my previous email with a gmail within my AWeber account… double confirmation email subscription skyrocketed… I was breathless!

    As for outsourcing with VAs, I agree that nothing compares with enabling other skilled people help out, while you handle the other part of the business. Each person should work on what they do the best, and delegate the rest, isn’t it? 🙂

  • Hi Tung,
    This is indeed a very amazing post. No doubt, we all know the benefits of having a virtual assistant for our blogging business.

    There are so many things you will achieve when you have one because, this will enable you to focus more on the most important aspect of your business instead of doing everything yourself.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Lovely write up here. As much as I love to hire VAs, I do that on the cheap side. I get most of my VAs from cheap sites, infact the best performing VA was gotten from a site without paying for it.

    Chris is doing fine with his outsourcing business though but for some starters, that amount might be a kick in the butt for them to invest in looking for a VA considering that such amount can help put up a niche site online!

    BTW, I saw you sold your site on flippa, that’s great my friend and I must tell you; you made a very good sale with the site and wish you the best.

  • Nice one Tung! and congrats of the sale of you site on flippa! Now that you have sold the site what do you plan on doing next? another publi case study prehaps or some sort of seo experiment? would be intersting

    Anyway good luck, and your only a year older than me with people working for you? looks like i need to up my game aha 🙂

  • Amazing tips, this is a first time I visit your site. I heard my friend tell me more about your blog. That is true 🙂

  • Tung, nice job breaking things down.

    If you were hiring VAs to create web 2.0 sites, and other more repetitive work, what kind of rates do you suggest offering them to get good enough service yet not too costly.

  • I found you blog today, and I am soaking in a lot of the information you are providing. Outsourcing SEO tasks is always something I have considered, and this article is a huge help for picking the right ones. Definitely bookmarking this page. Thanks!

  • Hello!

    Thank you very much for sharing this nice post. Yes, I agree. We cannot handle all work alone so we need a virtual assistant. I believe that hiring a Filipino is really good. They are hardworking and can communicate really well.


  • I am in a strait betwixt two: is it better to have full time VA for content development or it’s better to outsource content on odesk; elance? You can’t expect the VA to be an expert in all industries except you hire the VA to focus on just one site. But if you have or planning to have multiple sites in different industries, I believe outsourcing content is far better…
    What’s your take guys? What do you think?

    • I still want to build my own team so I would work with a full time VA 😀

  • tung, you done it again, blew it out of the water, you break it down better then mentors you mentioned, i really need to brave it to hire a full time VA from philipines, ive used them creating few websites, but they were trouble, but your guide will for sure help me out to find a quality VA… keep up the genuine sharing

  • I’ve been playing around with oDesk and eLance. Has anyone ran across any good/reliable linkbuilders there that they would recommend?

  • Hi Tung,
    May i know how many 500 words article can your write or should your writer create in 8 hours work ?
    Are 6 to 8 articles a day is good enough ?

    • Hi John,

      I think it’d be impossible for any writer to write 6-8 high quality articles a day :)… My writer is making 2-3 a day but the quality is really high

  • Jason Khải Hoàng says:

    Thanks Tung for this valuable sharing. Much appreciated 🙂

  • Hey Tung,

    Just like you I respect Chris Ducker. Not to mention that he got a lot of experience with Virtual Assistants, but also he stated the fact that we couldn’t live without VAs. Because of them, I’ve been travelling a lot and had been stress free for a year now.

    • Thanks Tom! Just added your link to my post too 🙂

      PS: Tina seems like a good assistant 😀 Very cool service.

      • LEGEND!

        Thanks bro, if you want to use Tina, let me know and I will make sure we unlock her for as many free tasks as you like 😉

        And what peice of content do you want us to share for you?


        • Haha thanks man. Just signed up for Tina. My email is tung @ this blog’s domain dot com

          The recent roundup about keyword research tools would make a good share 😛

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