The Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant for Recycling Companies

May 9, 2024, 07:30 AM
Content author:
Hannah Carvalho
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Last year, Virginia Buechel, digital marketing director at New Jersey-based Rockaway Recycling, made the decision to hire a virtual assistant to help handle tasks and projects for the company.

“A lot of our in-house team members regularly work with customers for their success, whether that’s arranging pickups or ensuring customers have the services they require from us,” she said. “That means staff aren’t able to gather new customers or make sure the systems we have in place are set for success for customers.”

Buechel needed a virtual assistant who could handle marketing tasks and take on other roles that might arise based on the nature of the recycled materials industry. She also wanted to find someone who was interested in growing with Rockaway Recycling.

“When hiring a virtual assistant you can go one of two routes,” she said. “You can find someone who checks the boxes, or someone who checks the boxes and wants to take on a bigger role in your company. I was looking for the latter.”

The Hiring Process

First, Buechel took stock of which tasks could be broken into definitive step-by-step processes. She ended up with 35 tasks a week, which equated to about four hours of work.

“I wanted to create a role that anyone could fill because if that person decided to leave after three months, or I realized things weren’t working out, then it would be easy for someone else to take over,” Buechel said. “So, it didn’t matter whether they had a strong marketing background or industry experience.”

Once Buechel had her list she began reaching out to potential applicants. During the hiring process Buechel was on the lookout for a candidate with two main qualities: strong communication skills and efficient use of technology.

“It was important that I could communicate well over video with whoever I hired, so I paid attention to how promptly applicants responded to me,” she said. “If I sent an email about scheduling a meeting time next week and didn’t receive a response for a whole day, I knew that wasn’t someone I could work with.”

To get a sense of the technology, Buechel made sure to get on a video call with applicants to make sure they had a good internet connection and strong video and audio feeds.

“That meant that they were invested in their technology,” she said. “And it was important for their internet signal to be strong because if I couldn’t communicate with them onsite, then they might be having connectivity issues, which would delay projects and tasks.”

The Benefits of Letting Go

Buechel has found many positive experiences from working with her virtual assistant Dominick De Kauwe for the past year.

“Owners of small to medium businesses often have a hard time letting go of tasks, but if you know what needs to get accomplished, there’s no reason why you can’t outsource the work,” she said. “It’s all about balancing your time.”

The experience has also been rewarding for De Kauwe. When he came on board, Buechel spoke with him about potentially adding more hours as he got accustomed to working at Rockaway Recycling. New projects he’s taken over include the company’s social media and email marketing efforts.

“Now he’s up to 25 hours a week with us and he’s been adopted by our team,” Buechel said. “He’s on our regular company calls and team meetings, it’s been working really well.”

Though the pair work well together in a remote setting with De Kauwe based in Toronto and Buechel in New Jersey, Buechel has still found a lot of value in hopping on a face-to-face video call with De Kauwe each week. They use the meeting to say hello, exchange pleasantries, and update one another on projects.

“Make sure you check in with your virtual assistant frequently rather than just giving them a list of tasks without any follow-up,” Buechel said. “Having that face time even if it’s for 10 minutes is really valuable and I encourage other recyclers who are considering hiring a virtual assistant to do the same.”


Photo info: Credit Christina @ on Unsplash

Last year, Virginia Buechel, digital marketing director at New Jersey-based Rockaway Recycling, made the decision...
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