Shopify Basics | Updated August 19, 2023  

How to Hire Your First Virtual Assistant for Your Business

So your ecommerce business is growing.

Suddenly you find yourself swamped with orders.

You still have to update your social media pages, add new product listings and answer customer queries.

You barely have time for yourself or your loved ones.

Maybe it's time to get help.

As a new ecommerce owner, it is understandable that you will handle all aspects of your business. As a solopreneur you will fulfil orders, send emails, respond to customers' inquiries, manage your social media, update your website, set appointments, and many more.

However, this defeats one aim of becoming an entrepreneur which is to have enough time for ourselves and our loved ones. Starting out as an ecommerce entrepreneur you quickly learn that you will be more engaged in your business, especially if you do not yet have structures in place.

Not to relent, there is a solution - hire a virtual assistant. This article will show you what a virtual assistant does for your Shopify store, when to get one and how you can hire one for your business today.

So who is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant is usually the first employee that a business owner hires when they start their business. This is someone who can take up the daily tasks and activities of the business so you can have more time to do the things only you can do.

Virtual assistance is a kind of remote help ‌you get on a contract basis which will reduce your ecommerce business workload. A VA can work from anywhere in the world, work for many clients, and can be hired to take up a variety of your day-to-day tasks. These tasks are usually important enough to help your business run successfully but‌ not necessarily important enough for it to grow.

What A Virtual Assistant Can Do For Your Business

A virtual assistant (VA) is someone who helps in the day to day running of your ecommerce business. Getting a virtual assistant is like having an extra pair of eyes and hands without having an actual employee. If you’re an ecommerce owner and your store is growing, you need to hire a VA in order to reduce stress on your part.

Most ecommerce owners go for a VA first because they do not yet have a budget for hiring full-time employees. VAs are resourceful, competent, and hardworking. They can work on a variety of tasks like managing social media, posting blog posts, fulfilling orders, answering customer enquiries, replying to emails, and more. They may also specialise in an area of work like marketing communications, content creation or design.

A Shopify virtual assistant may not build your website but they can help you manage different parts of your online store. They might not write the entire content for your business but they can help in conducting research. This way, they are part of the whole machinery of running a successful online store.

It’s usually difficult for an entrepreneur to give up control of their business to another person. However, with a VA you can give up little tasks to another person and then have more time for other things.

Therefore, you will ‌learn delegation, management, and hiring on a smaller scale. This helps to improve your leadership skills. You also save more than $11,000 by hiring a remote assistant instead of an in-house employee, according to a study by Global Workplace Analytics.

Here are some ‌things a VA can do to help you in your ecommerce store.

Duties of a VA in your business:

  • Administrative tasks: Most virtual assistants work on the administrative part of a business like bookkeeping, graphic design, booking appointments, etc.
  • Social media management: There are some VAs that can handle all your social media needs.
  • Marketing: You can also get a VA to handle the marketing activities concerning your ecommerce store.
  • Website maintenance: There are VA focused on maintaining a website, updating plugins, themes and extensions.
  • Research: You can get a VA that will handle the research work in your business like reading the trends, checking for new products and researching the competition.
  • Customer service: You can have a VA to help with answering customer enquiries, sending out shipping information and others.
  • Shop creation: Some VAs can create a Shopify store for you, upload products, make changes to the store and maintain it.
  • Content and SEO: A virtual assistant can help you in researching the content for your site and social media pages as well the researching the best keywords to use.

You can also get an executive assistant who will take off most administrative tasks for you and act as your right-hand person. This will free a lot of time for you and help you do more business and personal tasks.

VAs offer ecommerce owners an affordable way to have help in their business. 

Again the services they offer the business owners are often tax deductible as they are hired on a contractor basis.

But when is the right time to get a VA?

When you should get a VA

It's necessary to perform all the actions regarding your ecommerce store before getting an assistant. This will help you know the specific areas you need help and the instructions you will give the VA. Here are the situations you’ll know ‌ it's going to be time to get a VA.

  • When you are too familiar with a process in your business and know that you can teach it to someone else.
  • When the pressure that comes with a growing business ‌hits you.
  • When you are constantly busy with business activities.
  • When you feel you need more time to do bigger, more important things.
  • If you have a draining task, ‌you wish someone else would do it for you.
  • If you are building a business along with your 9-5 job.
  • When you are overwhelmed by the new success of your ecommerce business.
  • If you had to turn off your store, turn down orders, mark products as sold out, or send customers to other stores.

When you notice some of these it’s time to get help. But before you hire a virtual assistant, take time and check if you can handle the cost of hiring one for your business.

The Cost Of A Virtual Assistant For Your Business

The cost of having a virtual assistant in your business varies depending on their location, skills and services.

The average price for an American Virtual Assistant is higher than‌ those from other countries. VAs charge from $5 up to $25 per hour depending on the person and the duties they will perform for you.

Most of them charge per hour for their job though you will find a few that charge per project and others will take a flat rate for a certain amount of time. You can get international virtual assistants that will cost you $3 -$10 per hour for simple admin duties.

As an ecommerce owner, it is better to pay your Shopify virtual assistant per hour. That way you can monitor your invoices and the daily task being performed ‌to ensure consistent output per hour. 

Apart from the hourly wages, you’ll spend money in advertising the position, depending on the medium you choose. You will also spend time reviewing applications and resumes and interviewing the candidates. So put all these in consideration.

At first, it might seem like a great cost to your business, but when you remember that a virtual assistant is not an employee, you ‌ realise ‌you are not spending much.

Again you save money on taxes, office space, equipment, utilities, and other employee benefits by hiring a VA. 

A VA saves you a lot of time and as Jim Rohn says, time is more valuable than money.

Putting all these in perspective, you ‌ see that it's highly cost effective to get a VA for your ecommerce store. A critical look will reveal that having a VA will help you get much work done at little cost.

Steps To Hiring Your First VA

Now that you have seen the need for a virtual assistant, how do you hire your first VA? Here are the steps to follow:

1. Have a plan

Hiring your first VA is not as simple as going to a job site and engaging the first name that pops up. You need to have a documented plan and system of approach. For you to get a good one that will give you great work with as little error as possible, you need to have a document to follow. Because this is your first time hiring a VA, a plan makes it easier to get a good assistant for your business.

Start by deciding on what you need. Do you need help with customer service, social media pages management, store management, etc? The tasks you need will determine if you will get one or two VA for your business. Also, the task and duration will determine how much budget you will allocate to this.

2. Write a good job description

The next step is to create a job description. A good job description will help you get the best person from a pool of applicants. Be very specific on what you want and the skills and qualities the person needs to have. Here are some ‌things that should be in your job description.

  • The specific lists of tasks to be done
  • The apps and tools the person will use
  • The scale of business (whether new, growing, number of support tickets, etc)
  • Any experiences that they have for the job
  • The number of hours you expect to work (per day, per week)
  • Keywords that prospective VAs might search for, example customer service, data entry, social media management
  • Language for communication required

Once you place this description on a job board or website, the right candidates will apply to the job, making your hiring process easier.

3. Use known websites

After you’ve gotten your description, the next thing is to place it in front of potential candidates. There are websites that have many virtual assistants available while others have few people in them. If you place your job advert in such places where few freelancers go to, you may not find what you are looking for.

However, if the job advert is placed on a site where there is large traffic, your advert will have a lot of views and lots of applications. Then you can sift through to get the best among them.

Posting on social media or a traditional job board may not get your quality hire. This is because there is a lack of quality control in these sites. You should rather ‌place your ad in places like Freelancer, Fiverr, Upwork, etc. These websites work better because they are built to get high-quality staff for business owners.

The good thing about these sites is that:

  • You can see the number of applicants on the sites.
  • You can view their past work and portfolio.
  • They have a vetting system that enables you to see who is doing well courtesy of the reviews.
  • You can communicate with the potential VA on site instead of using your email.
  • You can easily make payments through their system.
  • They have a way of tracking the hours worked by the VA.
  • You can have a signed NDA with your potential hire if you need it.

After you get the applications, you can go through an interview with your selected candidates and then hire the best one for you. You can have the interview through Skype, Zoom, or Google hangout before employing them. 

4. Onboard your new employee

After hiring your VA, the next thing is to onboard them into your team. This is where you will share your business details with them so that they will know how to work for you. You can create a video showing the processes involved in updating your store or answering customer mail. You can also walk them through it all in a zoom call.

Then you should create a team member or user account for them in your email app, social media pages or website, depending on what they will do for you. As you are doing this, remember to protect your information.

5. Keep them accountable

When your new VA starts working, you need to keep track of how much work they are doing. That’s why you should enforce time tracking to see how much gets done per hour. Sites like Upwork have a time-tracking feature embedded in the system. You can also use other tools like Toggle, time doctor, for tracking.

Of course, you want your VA to eventually work independent of you, however since it is your first time getting one, you need to ‌ monitor them. Check in once in a while to see if there are any problems you can help them with.

When you see that ‌your VA has become comfortable with the job and has even found better ways of doing it, you can consider giving them more tasks.


VAs are independent business owners who eliminate the overhead of running an eCommerce business.

Hiring the best Shopify virtual assistant can be the best decision for your eCommerce business. 

Incorporating Rush into your business will enhance the efficiency of your virtual assistant, empowering them to handle routine tasks, order tracking, and administrative duties. As a result, you can concentrate on strategic growth and propel your online store to unprecedented levels of success.

Follow the steps outlined in this article on how to hire a virtual assistant who will help you streamline operations, increase efficiency, and drive your eCommerce business toward growth.