Packing, shipping, updating inventory, handling endless customer requests—the work of an Amazon seller is never finished. So how can you expand your business without burning yourself out?
Maybe you’ve grown exponentially and are ready to take it to the next level by outsourcing tasks. Or perhaps you’re just exhausted from carrying this business all on your own. Either way, here’s everything you need to know about hiring a virtual assistant for Amazon FBA so you can scale the smart way.
A virtual assistant, also known as a VA, is a remote independent contractor (AKA freelancer) to whom you delegate specific tasks or projects—from bookkeeping to customer service to travel scheduling. This is also known as “outsourcing.” Because VAs work completely online, they can be in a country different from your own. They may also work with multiple clients at a time and offer a variety of service packages and expertise. A virtual assistant is someone you trust to do those messy tasks that you don’t have time to do yourself, because you’re building the business of your dreams.
An Amazon FBA virtual assistant is a freelancer who specializes in tasks related to maintaining and growing an Amazon FBA business. They are well-versed in all things Seller Central and have experience completing tasks such as creating product listings, responding to customer reviews, and conducting competitor research.
If you think hiring a virtual assistant is something that’s right for your Amazon business, let’s dive a little deeper into what that entails.
Speak to any online entrepreneur, and they’ll tell you that once they found their niche and became profitable, hiring a VA was the logical next step for their business. Here’s why:
Bill Gates might be excellent at answering phones—but that’s not where his genius lies. So, of course, he hires a receptionist to do that work. It’s the same with you. You may be able to handle the bookkeeping or respond to reviews for your Amazon business, for example, but that means you have less time to spend on the revenue-generating tasks you’re skilled at, such as product development.
Don’t underestimate the power of those little details of your Amazon business. Quality connection with your customers, for example, is an essential part of any business, and the right VA can help you cultivate those important relationships. A virtual assistant can help you focus on the important customer service work that you might not have time to do.
What is your area of expertise? What makes you the most money? Figure that out, focus on it, and then outsource the rest.
As you grow your business, you start hitting a ceiling—you can’t put in any more hours or effort on your own. But hiring employees is a time-consuming, expensive process that is a huge commitment.
By outsourcing to contractors (VAs in this case), you can scale your business with minimal expense and effort.
Did you know that when you sell a business, potential buyers want to see that you’ve got VAs? That’s right: Outsourcing increases the value and desirability of your online business.
Potential buyers don’t want to invest in a business that they will end up having to spend a lot of time on. They want to be as hands-off as possible. By outsourcing the bulk of the work to VAs, the listing price of your business (if you choose to sell) will go up.
Running a business is exhausting. But you don’t have to do it all yourself. With a team of VAs, you can rest easy knowing that your business can practically run itself when you step away. Isn’t that the ultimate dream?
Basic administrative tasks are just the beginning. Virtual assistants can also work with you in any and all aspects of your Amazon business, from anywhere in the world. Here are just some ways a VA can help your business:
This is a lot to consider, but if you outsource some of your Amazon business tasks to the right person, you’ll reap the rewards. You can find one Amazon virtual assistant who fits the bill for all of these tasks, or focus on a few aspects of your business you want to grow and hire someone who is an expert in that field.
Think of your VA as a collaborator. Hiring an expert to work with usually helps any business grow. The more hands on deck, the more potential you’re giving your business.
We’d say, “it depends,” but we know that’s not very helpful. So, we’ll give you some rough numbers, but realize VA rates vary widely depending on the freelancer’s location, experience, and what type of tasks you’re hiring them to do.
The following shows the results of a search on Upwork using the term "Amazon FBA virtual assistants:”
In some cases, VAs sell packages for hours that they’ve worked on your Amazon business. So for instance, they’d do 20 hours of work in a month (focusing on one project or multiple tasks) and will bill you for those hours. This hourly package usually ends up being a better deal if you’re looking to hire a virtual assistant.
To get the most value for your money, consider hiring VAs in countries with a lower cost of living than your own country. For example, many U.S.-based businesses choose to work with VAs in the Philippines, a country with a lower cost of living and where English is an official language.
And it doesn’t have to be unethical. In fact, it can do a lot of good for the people you hire. Entrepreneur Nathan Hirsch had an eight-figure business, FreeUp, that was run entirely by virtual assistants. When he sold the business, he gave half a million dollars of the sale to his internal team in the Philippines.
"You can treat people well," Hirsch said in an interview with Seth Kniep. "You can create a win-win."
Hirsch said that the average VA in the Philippines charges $5-7 an hour, but he paid some of his VAs there more than $20/hour. The minimum wage in Manila is less than $11 USD per day.
Here are some of the top places to find and hire a virtual assistant, along with some options for paying your VA.
The best place to hire a virtual assistant is via a referral from a friend or fellow Amazon Seller. That way, someone you trust can vouch for this VA and make the introduction.
Another solid option is Facebook groups for Amazon sellers. You can find these by going to Facebook’s search bar and typing related keywords, such as “Amazon FBA” or “Amazon seller,” and selecting “Groups” in the navigation menu. Join several groups and post to them asking for recommendations for VAs.
Upwork is a widely-used platform for finding and hiring freelancers. You can search for existing freelancers or post a job and solicit applications.
The advantage of using a platform like this is the added security and convenience features, including:
One notable disadvantage is that you are charged a 3% fee on all payments, and freelancers get commissions taken out of their earnings from Upwork, starting at 20% for the first $500 they earn and going down in percentage from there.
Fiverr is another online marketplace for freelancers, but it made a name for itself by being the place to buy services starting at $5 a gig. However, you can hire freelancers on Fiverr for longer-term projects at much higher rates than $5.
Like Upwork, it comes with certain features that add convenience and peace of mind:
Also like Upwork, the convenience of using Fiverr comes with the inconvenience of paying fees. For anything over $20, you as the buyer will pay 5% of the total amount, and Fiverr will take a 20% commission from the sale before paying out to the freelancer.
Dedicated entirely to connecting Philippines-based jobseekers with employers, OnlineJobs.ph is extremely popular in the ecommerce entrepreneur community. You can post job listings for full-time, part-time, and contractor positions, but the bulk of the site’s focus seems to be on full-time employment.
OnlineJobs.ph makes it easy to pay your VA and has worked out a deal with Payoneer so the fees are waived if you pay directly from a bank account. If you pay using a credit card, there is a 3-4% fee.
With so many resources online, it can seem a little overwhelming when you’re looking to hire the right person. You can start with a trustworthy job search site like Indeed or LinkedIn and search “virtual assistants”. Comb through the various skill sets and CVs and see what catches your eye.
You always have the option to find a virtual assistant through a professional hiring agency. This is probably the most secure option available to find a potential VA, as the agency can easily replace a new hire if things don’t work out.
When interviewing your virtual assistant, ask if they have any particular skills or a niche that you’re looking for. If you’re looking for an expert copywriter for instance, ask them during the interview what keyword research tools they use and ask to see samples of their work. These are some of the best ways to know if the person you're hiring is well-versed in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or not.
It’s also important to discuss the VAs invoicing system and salary/rates. Do they work hourly or by project? Find out what their conditions are when it comes to work hours, days off, conducting last-minute tasks, and if they charge extra for getting things done on a time crunch.
Settling little details like this beforehand during the interview process can really help avoid extra stress or potential setbacks once you start working together. Also, discussing the particulars of their rates also shows that you value their work and efforts. A healthy working relationship will inevitably lead to better results for your Amazon business.
As you can see, hiring a VA for certain tasks could be the best decision you ever make for your Amazon business. By focusing on the revenue-generating tasks that you do best and outsourcing the rest, you can optimize your online store and scale it exponentially—leading to a more fulfilling and lucrative business.
From marketing strategies to customer service and multimedia expertise and all of those little tasks in between, hiring a virtual assistant can be a game changer for your Amazon business.
Need some help deciding if it’s the right time for your business to hire a virtual assistant? Chat with a member of the Mayanalytics team today. As Amazon advertising and optimization experts, we can look at your analytics and determine if you can offload some tasks to our platform or if you actually need a VA to step in.