How to Hire a Virtual Assistant with Mashon Thomas

Mashon Thomas

If you want to know how to hire a virtual assistant to support your digital marketing, this episode is for you. I spoke with Mashon Thomas, who specializes in helping clients retain, onboard and manage outsourced virtual assistants. She has been doing it for over a decade, having started as a freelancer herself on upwork. She spoke to me about how she improves the success rate when it comes to hiring virtual assistants abroad.

For all her tips on how to hire a virtual assistant, listen to this episode of the earned media podcast. She shares many of her secrets on how she successfully finds, tries and decides which virtual assistants to hire and which ones to replace.

Instead focusing on find the dream person, focus on systems so it's easy to try people out and see who's going to work out and who isn't quickly. Rather than spend a lot of time on the interview process, the key to hiring VAs is to hire fast and fire fast. Focus on building systems that make the hiring and onboarding process easy.

Test Projects

Since you don't really know how someone works until you actually try working with them, she prefers to give new employees test projects to see how they do. She uses the online video briefing tool Loom to create short instructions so the briefing process is virtualized. That way, she can just give a new hire a link, and see how they do without having to invest on inordinate amount of time bring them up to speed.

On Boarding

She recommends preparing an on boarding document with the time zones of all the team members, the preferred Communications tools for various types of Communications email, slack, Zoom, a sauna, or some other means, whether or not Communications in an Outsourcing platform like upwork or Guru is acceptable, Mutual agreed working hours, and policy for time off.

For new hires, she prefers to commit to a set schedule when that person will be working so that they can be contacted during working hours by their manager. Everybody wants flexible hours. But flexible hours must be earned, she says. So start out with set hours and let the virtual assistant know that they can earn their independence overtime.

One way to improve remote Workforce collaboration if you are using a tool like Slack, is to make sure everyone uses their notifications and Away messages to let others know when they're at their desk or working. As long as everyone is diligent about when they're available and when they're not, slack can be a very effective tool for collaboration.


Country compensations rates vary, but they are alway hourly. W2 companies have standard wages, but VAs working all over the world are compensated based on the averages in their resident country's economy.

Based on some preliminary research I did, these are current rates for virtual assistants working abroad. As you can see, the rates vary based on the resident country.

  • Phillipines $10
  • India $11
  • Malaysia $12
  • Colombia $13
  • Ukraine $14

The benefit of a tool like Upwork is the ability to compensate remote employees and comply with the necessary taxes and deductions without having to handle that manually. Upwork takes care of making sure you are compliant with tax laws. On the other hand, Upwork is not a great tool for day-to-day communications. Mashon ikes Slack and Asana for collaboration, with Google Drive integrated.

Task Hand Off Tracking System

Mashon has created a task hand off tracking system template that she uses to onboard new VA hires, that you can download here.

If you'd like to reach out to Mashon directly you can do that here.

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