If you’ve been running an Amazon business for any length of time, you’ll know that there are hundreds of tasks that can keep you busy and hamper your growth.
An Amazon virtual assistant can help restore some order to a growing business and create the capacity for long term success.
But how do you find and cultivate a great team of Amazon virtual assistants?
It’s not as difficult as you might think, and in this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about building a high-capacity team.
What is an Amazon virtual assistant?
An Amazon virtual assistant is someone who works remotely and helps manage your business tasks, freeing up your time to focus on other areas of the business.
They can help with a wide range of tasks and can be a huge asset to any growing eCommerce business.
Typically they will fall into one of two categories.
Generalist virtual assistants are great at helping cover a diverse range of tasks across the business and as such a great fit for a young business that doesn’t have the resources for specialists but still needs support.
A generalist VA will be able to take on responsibilities at all stages of the business to help lighten the load on a business owner to free up more time for growth.
As a business grows, so will its need for specialist staff.
Specialist VAs are those who are highly skilled or trained in a particular area. For example, as your Amazon business revenue begins to grow and you utilise more marketing, you may look to hire a PPC specialist.
The specific knowledge specialists have become more and more crucial as your business grows.
When should I hire a virtual assistant?
Hiring staff is always a daunting step for new business owners, and one of the key decisions is around timing.
Hire too soon and the revenue may not be there to sustain the wages you will pay out. But hire too late and you may find yourself swamped in tasks and unable to grow the business.
So when is the right time?
When there’s no time for growth
If you’re finding the hours and days rush by without the capacity to focus on high-level revenue growth activities, then it may be time to look at hiring an Amazon seller virtual assistant.
Creative thinking and growth planning take time and energy, and if you don’t make space for these activities in your Amazon business you can hamper its growth.
When you continually repeat tasks
If as an Amazon business owner you find yourself carrying out a number of tasks of a repetitive nature that follow a similar process each time then it’s time to outsource.
You can document the process once, and hand the process over to an Amazon FBA virtual assistant that will be happy to carry the task out for you and create more room for growth.
What does an Amazon virtual assistant do?
There’s no limit to what a virtual assistant can do in a growing Amazon business.
The key is in understanding that virtual assistants are often highly capable and the only limit to their abilities is the lack of clearly documented processes and the right training being provided.
Here are some of the top responsibilities you can ask your virtual assistant to manage for you.
Thanks to the amount of customer service tasks that are handled by Amazon themselves, the customer support load when selling on Amazon is generally quite low.
However, as you grow and generate more sales you will inevitably have more inbound customer contact to manage.
This becomes especially true as you start to sell on other channels such as a Shopify store, Walmart, eBay, Etsy and so on.
These daily interactions can cause a loss of focus when trying to grow a business and are one of the easiest things to delegate.
Simply create a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for how customers should be served – including standardized answers to the most common queries – and good Amazon seller virtual assistants can take this responsibility on with ease.
Amazon Seller Central Admin
Amazon Seller Central can become a bit of a black hole of time if you’re not careful.
By training an Amazon VA on how to manage these tasks, you can free up more time to focus on marketing, growth, and any other strength areas.
An Amazon virtual assistant can be a great asset in many areas, and accurate inventory management is one such area.
An Amazon FBA business depends on staying in stock to ensure sales keep flowing and organic ranking stays in place.
An Amazon VA can keep track of the sales velocity of all products and notify of potential shortages to inform order quantities.
They can carry out time-consuming tasks related to shipping plans inside Amazon Seller Central including downloading shipping labels, tracking shipments, and keeping track of any missing units once shipments arrive.
If you are selling on multiple marketplaces, or not using the Fulfilment By Amazon service then you will need to fulfil orders to customers manually.
Amazon FBA virtual assistants can help by processing orders and making sure the right products are sent to the right customers to ensure customer satisfaction.
The unfortunate reality of an Amazon FBA account is that there will be mistakes made when it comes to reimbursing you for returns and lost items.
Repetitive tasks like reclaiming this money from Amazon can become overwhelming, so outsourcing it to a virtual assistant can create a lot more free time to focus on high-value growth tasks.
When looking to grow your product line, product research can be a time-consuming activity.
Whilst it is an essential part of growing an Amazon FBA business, there are parts of the process that can be outsourced and eventually even the entire process.
By using tools like Helium 10’s Black Box your team can be trained to identify potential products for expanding your business.
Product Sourcing and Logistics
Once you’ve researched and short-listed potential new products for your business, an Amazon virtual assistant can help with the sourcing and logistics process.
They can help with multiple tasks like reaching out to potential suppliers, getting shipping quotes, and collating all prices together for your final assessment.
Listing Creation & Optimization
A well trained Amazon FBA virtual assistant will be able to create product listings and carry out ongoing listing optimization to boost sales and help grow your Amazon business.
The process of creating optimized Amazon listings will involve expert keyword research.
Keyword research is another process that can be documented with SOPs and managed by skilled Amazon virtual assistants.
Whilst Amazon PPC is a more difficult task than some others already mentioned, when you hire an Amazon virtual assistant the long-term plan should always involve building out higher capacity in your team.
Whether that be through hiring a virtual assistant that is already an Amazon marketplace specialist, or training them up over time, it is a worthy pursuit as it creates more room for growth.
Amazon businesses depend on effective PPC campaigns, and a well trained virtual assistant can help with campaign management, bid adjustment, and other aspects of ongoing optimization.
Paid & Organic Marketing
Another more specialist role is around the wider marketing of an FBA business. Amazon sellers are always looking to diversify sales off Amazon, and hiring a virtual assistant to help with marketing efforts is a great step to take.
A virtual assistant can help with market research, social media marketing, search engine optimization and running paid ad campaigns through Facebook or Google.
Reporting & Analytics
The key to success in any online business is understanding how you are performing and making decisions based on that data to drive more future growth.
An Amazon VA can monitor and record key statistics and produce reports based on the performance of your business.
Spending less time on administrative tasks like this is a quick win for your business and helps avoid the temptation to be checking various reports on numerous platforms throughout the day.
A successful Amazon seller needs to identify non-core tasks as detailed above and outsource them so they can focus on key driving forces in the business to improve sales and make more money.
How much does an Amazon virtual assistant cost?
The cost to hire an Amazon virtual assistant will vary like anything.
The key factors are on what remote location they are in, along with whether they are employed full-time or part-time.
Many Amazon sellers look to the virtual assistant community in the Philippines as it is renown for high-quality and loyal staff who are passionate about doing a good job.
Such is the nature of global economics that a good wage for an entry-level virtual assistant is in the region of $500/month but will be higher if you are looking for a virtual assistant with specialist expertise.
Like anything, the more you are willing to pay, the better candidates you will have apply.
Where can I find a good Amazon virtual assistant?
There are many different ways of finding a good Amazon virtual assistant.
You can simply post in Facebook groups or on job sites with the relevant information of the post and sort through applicants manually, or you can lean on the expertise of a dedicated virtual assistant service.
Here are some of the services we have tried and had a good experience with.
OnlineJobs.ph is perhaps the leading platform for finding high-quality virtual assistants.
An Amazon seller can quickly and easily create a job post onsite and have a whole range of applications within days.
The pricing plans are reasonable, and the OnlineJobs.ph platform does a great job of vetting its applicants.
FreeUp is a similar service but takes things a little bit further to actually train and stringently vet potential employees prior to allowing them to become an Amazon seller virtual assistant on the platform.
As such the prices you will pay are slightly higher and tend to be by the hour as opposed to hiring a full-time employee. Staff members then may be working with multiple clients and have a diverted focus.
So for us, OnlineJobs.ph is usually the better solution.
If neither of the above are suitable, Upwork is another trusted platform that helps find freelance workers to assist you in your business.
Upwork allows you to look at a freelancer’s profile and see the positive reviews and critical feedback they may have gathered.
If you’re looking at hiring employees, Upwork may not be the best solution for you.
But if you’re looking for specialist virtual assistants to carry out a particular role – such as a marketing expert, website designer or professional writer – then Upwork may be a good fit.
Mastering the VA hiring process
Once you’ve made a job post on our chosen site, applications will usually come flooding in as remote working is a highly attractive opportunity for virtual assistants all over the world.
But how do you choose the best virtual assistant? By following a clear hiring process.
Let’s take a summarized look at the hiring process we teach in our Outsourcing Masters course.
Step 1: A detailed job description
The first step in what we call the Application Funnel is to create a detailed job post.
The more detailed you can be in this starting step the better. In reality, the best candidates will also be interviewing you and therefore will be looking for accurate information in the job posts they apply for.
We recommend detailing the specifics of the role, the expected hours of work, and the associated pay.
Finally, it can be helpful to ask the applicant a unique question like ‘tell me your favorite book’.
Specific instructions like this help identify applicants with an eye for detail.
Step 2: Filtering for quality
Once you have eliminated any applicants who have failed to follow instructions, it’s time to see where the strengths of the remaining candidates lie.
Here we recommend a form – Google Forms work just fine – that asks some more detailed questions.
These should include questions about relevant experience the candidate may have, along with questions about internet speed, their standard of written English, and even personality profiles.
Step 3: A role-specific interview
Next, it’s time to look through responses from your applicants and short-list the stand out responses.
Ideally, you’ll be looking to interview 3-5 candidates for the role so you can get a good feel of the strengths of each candidate.
It’s always best to consider the role you are hiring for in the interview process.
For example, if you are looking to hire a virtual assistant that will need to be a quick typer, a written interview on Skype may work better than a video interview.
This means you can get a better idea of their true typing speed and ability to communicate quickly and clearly whilst also ensuring they have a good internet connection.
Step 4: An offer of employment
Once you have decided on who you will hire it’s time to offer them the role. At this point, we suggest creating a contract of employment that clearly outlines the role, the expectations, the working hours and the pay that can be expected.
How do I help my Amazon virtual assistant succeed?
So you’ve hired a virtual assistant, now what? The worst thing you can do is just leave them to it and expect them to magically solve all your challenges as an Amazon seller.
A good relationship between you and a virtual assistant takes intentional focus to build. Here are a few tips on how you can make the most of an Amazon seller virtual assistant relationship.
It’s essential you place trust in your virtual assistant. Whilst some may advocate for time tracking and screen recording software, we have never done so.
Creating clear role descriptions with assigned tasks and measurable goals should create the foundations trust. Over time you will be able to measure how will your team are performing and make adjustments as you see fit.
This approach will tend to create a much better working environment than watching every move of your staff.
You should make it a goal to be continually improving the skill-set of the team in your Amazon business. The more your team grows, the more your business can grow.
Give your virtual assistant access to the continual professional development they need to excel with things like online courses.
By ensuring you and your team have aligned incentives you can rest assured know everyone is working towards the same end goal.
By developing an incentive structure that rewards the level of performance you most desire you can be sure that your team will be shooting for the same goals as the business.
Grow your business with an Amazon virtual assistant
If you’re looking to scale your Amazon business to a million dollars in revenue and beyond, you will need to at some stage build a team.
As an early-stage eCommerce brand, it can be difficult to justify a traditional employee structure with high wages and lots of benefits.
But by leaning into the virtual assistant community you can remove more of the mundane tasks from your day to day schedule allowing you to focus on the big picture of driving more growth.
Having a well-trained team of remote staff and a detailed library of standard operating procedures will also help increase the value of your business should you decide to sell.
All in all, if you decide to hire an Amazon virtual assistant it can bring great strength to your business – as long as you do it right.
If you’d like to learn more about our team-building process and cutting-edge brand-building strategies, explore all that a BBU membership has to offer today.