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Ever wish your inbox could magically stay organized so you never miss out on important messages?
But emails pile up – fast. From newsletters you never signed up for to those never-ending client threads, it’s like a game of digital whack-a-mole.
This is where an email management virtual assistant can help. They can organize your inbox, answer customer questions, and make sure nothing “falls through the cracks”.
Best of all, they’ll keep things running smoothly while you focus on growing your business.
But here’s the catch – you can’t trust just any Joe Shmoe to take care of this sensitive task for you. Here’s how to hire an email management VA the right way.
Table of Contents
- What to know before hiring an email management VA
- Tasks you can outsource to an email management VA
- How to hire an email management virtual assistant
What to know before hiring an email management VA
Prioritize your security
Keeping your email safe should be at the top of your to-do list. With all the data breaches online (thanks, Facebook), the last thing you want is to find your email on the dark web.
So it’s important to lay down some ground rules with your VA right from the start.
For example, bank details and sensitive client data should be off the table. Have your VA sign a non-disclosure agreement if it gives you peace of mind.
You can also just keep a completely separate email for super confidential information.
The other thing you can do is set up a password manager.
Password managers let you share access to different logins, without actually sharing your password. Some popular programs are LastPass, Bitwarden, and Dashlane.
To make your emails hacker-proof, tools like ProtonMail add an extra layer of protection.
If you and your VA ever part ways, make sure to remove their account access. You won’t want your emails and content floating around the internet.
Prepare for onboarding
Before leaving your VA to their own devices, outline the virtual assistant tasks they’ll work on.
Here are some ideas:
- Filtering incoming emails
- Organizing your inbox with labels
- Responding to general inquiries
- Flagging urgent matters for your attention
Be as specific as possible. If there are emails that you personally need to handle, let them know.
The onboarding is also the perfect time for you to explain your brand voice and guidelines. This will help your VA keep consistent in their replies.
Patience and guidance are key here. Your VA will need some time to get used to your system.
But they’ll be whipping your inbox into shape soon enough.
Plan for backup
There’s nothing worse than accidentally losing important emails. Or even more embarrassing — replying to the wrong contacts.
Talk to your VA about which emails can be deleted and which ones need immediate attention.
Is that promotional mail from last month still important? What about that unread message from a potential investor?
For best results, train them using real examples.
You can also ask your VA to use automated tools or features to regularly back up your emails. So even if something gets deleted by mistake, there’s a safety net in place.
Consider time zone differences
If you hire a virtual assistant from the Philippines, your VA could already be eating dinner just as your workday kicks off.
This time zone difference might cause a lag in your VA getting back to urgent messages.
It would really suck if an important client’s email didn’t get opened just because of a time zone mismatch.
One solution is to have your VA set up a filter for the types of emails that usually need a swift response. That way, they’ll be set apart for you even if your VA is counting sheep.
Better yet, set expectations on your website for how quickly you respond to messages.
If you have a form on your website, your thank you message can be something like “we will get back to you between 2- 3 business days”.
That way your VA has a buffer for awkward time zones and weekends.
Set up a feedback system
Schedule regular check-ins with your email management VA. Use this time to talk about problems they’ve run into, review their performance, and provide tips for improvement.
Make it easy for your VA to reach out with any questions or concerns. This helps avoid potential misunderstandings and keeps your inbox running smoothly.
Tasks you can outsource to an email management VA
Setting up email campaigns and newsletters is a lot easier with a virtual assistant.
They can sift through your audience and group them based on interests, past purchases, or how often they engage with your content.
This lets you personalize the content you send them.
Your VA can also put on their Writer Hat and draft your email content for you – whether it’s an exciting update, a hot promo, or just a friendly check-in.
And if they team up with your digital marketing virtual assistant, they can even set up more complex campaigns to grow your business.
Your VA can create email labels or folders like “Client Conversations,” “Project Insights,” or “Upcoming Deadlines.” This keeps your inbox clutter-free.
They can also set up email filters and rules to automate tasks.
For example, they can automatically direct newsletters to a specific folder or connect your email to project management tools like ClickUp.
If your email management VA isn’t familiar with automations, you can bring on a tech virtual assistant for help.
Once you start “VA stacking”, your business will feel like it’s running itself!
An email management VA can create customized templates for your messages so you don’t have to keep typing everything from scratch.
These templates can cover situations like:
- Out-of-office replies for vacations and days off.
- Quick responses to frequently asked questions.
- Polite declines for meeting requests that don’t align with your schedule.
The last thing you want is that sensitive client info or those juicy product launch details leaking onto the web.
A great VA protects this data at all costs..
They’ll stay current with the latest encryption software and VPNs to keep unwanted guests out of your messages.
Spam emails are distracting and take up valuable storage space.
An email management VA can regularly clean your spam mailbox so you never have to read another email that starts with “Dear Sir or Madam.”
They’ll filter messages and safeguard your inbox from potentially malicious files and links.
And trust me, there’s no feeling like opening up a tab to a clean inbox. *bliss*
How to hire an email management virtual assistant
1. Know your job requirements
Hiring an email management VA starts with being crystal clear on what you need.
Are you flooded with questions from clients? Dealing with a ton of back-and-forth from suppliers? Overwhelmed with an inbox that seems to always get bigger instead of smaller?
Once you define what you need help with, create a wishlist of skills, experience, and qualities you want in a virtual assistant.
Strong writing and communication skills is the top trait you’re looking for. After all, they’ll be representing your business and talking to your customers directly.
Next, write the perfect job description.
Outline the responsibilities you expect them to cover – from managing email threads to scheduling appointments. I’ll say it again because it’s that important…
Your VA can’t read your mind and it’s going to save you A LOT of time.
2. Search and shortlist candidates
Check out sites like Upwork and Fiverr to post your job ad and connect with online freelancers.
While these platforms offer a range of prices for VA services, keep in mind that not all VAs are the same.
You might need to shell out a bit more if you want someone with more experience or industry-specific knowledge.
If you’re hiring someone abroad and want them to have perfect English, that’ll also cost you more (but still way less than hiring someone from the US).
Once you’ve looked through enough candidates, organize their applications. Create a shortlist by comparing their skills, experience, and qualities to your wishlist.
After that, reach out to your favorites and schedule interviews.
3. Run interviews
Get a list of questions ready before the interview.
Make sure to cover topics like work hours, organization techniques, and handling sensitive information.
You want to get a sense of how they can tackle managing your email.
For instance, find out how they’d notify you of important messages. Also, look at their communication style. Can they represent you well?
Don’t be afraid to test their expertise. Give them a mock scenario where they have to prioritize emails and delegate tasks.
This will show you their quick thinking and decision-making skills.
Lastly, make note of anyone who already knows their way around the tools you use. It’s not a dealbreaker, but these VAs will be easier to train.
4. Onboard and train your new VA
First, share the email platform you use with your VA.
If you want them to manage your inbox, give them access to that. If you want them to talk directly to clients, set up a company email for them.
Or if you want them to send out newsletters, make sure they have access to your email marketing software.
Basically, set them up for success.
Next, let them know which email folders and contacts they should be paying attention to, so they’re in the loop.
It’s always handy to have a list of what you want them to do.
Here are some popular things email management VAs help with:
- Flag urgent emails
- Delete spam
- Archive older messages
- Label and categorize emails.
As I mentioned, it’s important to set guidelines for your VA. It helps to have them work on simple tasks first before moving on to more complicated ones.
Running a business is more than just replying to emails every day. So instead of drowning in an endless sea of messages, hire a skilled email management VA to help you out.
After the pandemic put an end to her peaceful art museum job, Lianne went full-on beast mode to learn everything about digital marketing and online business she could get her hands on.
This helped her snag her first virtual assistant gig. And then another. And then another.
Now, instead of fighting Manila’s horrendous traffic every day, she’s island-hopping around the Philippines with her trusty laptop.
Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).