How to Set Yourself Up for Success When Hiring Your First VA (aka Virtual Assistant) in your Small Business

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How to set yourself up for success when hiring your first virtual assistant in your small business

Guest Blog Post by:
Vanessa Orlick – Selling Wholesale Virtual Assistant
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Hello UPP community! Vanessa Orlick here – a tattoo loving wife married to the most laid back husband ever, and a mom of 2 super fun, not so little anymore kids. A few years ago I was working what I thought would be a lifelong career, I LOVED what I did, that is until it turned incredibly toxic. So I left that job feelin’ like a failure and stumbled upon a part time gig for the fabulous Cat Hildner, over at Kitty Meow Boutique. As soon as I met with Cat, I immediately knew I wanted to be part of what she was building. I asked my husband for some patience because I knew working 6 hours a week wasn’t helping financially. I just had this feeling that if I could prove myself to Cat, I would have opportunities to grow within her business.

Fast forward to her adding to my list of responsibilities and getting the amazing opportunity of attending the Ultimate Product Party last spring in Nashville. The one thing I noticed was that so many people knew they needed help in their business, but weren’t quite sure where to start.

While talking to different people, I noticed so many all dreaded the same task….pitching retailers to get their products onto the shelves of stores – aka having success with selling products wholesale.

Well friend, that’s where hiring someone like myself, a Virtual Assistant comes in! 

I’m not your average virtual assistant who does all the random admin tasks. I wanted to actually enjoy what I do! I decided to nail down a niche and specialize in product listings and wholesale strategy. Because let ‘s be honest, pitching stores is easy, but it’s time consuming. When you’re trying to grow your business and wearing ALL the hats, time is of the essence and you need to delegate the tasks that don’t bring you joy.

Let’s start with what YOU need to have in line before hiring a VA that is reaching out to potential retailers on your behalf.

1. Define Your Ideal Stores and Set Clear Goals:

The best recommendations always come from word of mouth. I highly recommend asking your fellow business friends who they recommend to hire that could be a potential good fit. It’s a good idea to have a clear vision of the stores that align with your brand. Define your ideal retailers based on shared values, target audience, and aesthetic preferences. Whether it’s boutique shops, eco-conscious outlets, or maybe you’re hoping to get into more local shops.

Identifying your niche is the first step to giving your new VA a guide to what your future stockist list vision looks like. Additionally, set yourself a goal for a number of stores you hope to be in by the end of 2024. I don’t know about you, but checking off boxes and seeing progression is pretty damn satisfying!

2. Set Up A Discovery Call:

Once you’ve narrowed down potential assistants you might be interested in working with, reach out to them. Set up a call to make sure it’s a good fit for both parties, and that you’re both on the same page when it comes to workflow and processes. Also worth mentioning, make sure to ask for other important information such as contract terms, payment expectations, your communication preferences, and anything you think could be useful to know up front.

You know the old saying, “When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.”??

This couldn’t be more true when working with someone to help you grow your business. 

3. Prepare Your VA for Success:

To make the most out of VA services, make sure you have these items all set up and ready to go. You want them set up for success so the expectations are clear to everyone.

As a VA who specializes in wholesale, here are the essentials I need up front to get the ball rollin and do my job to the best of my ability:

  • Shared Google Drive to keep everything in one cohesive place.
  • Pitch Email- There are a few parts to this, firstly, I recommend creating a separate email for your VA to send out emails from, so they are not in your personal work email (Gmail is great and it’s free). The actual pitch email is going to look different for everyone, but I’ve found emails that include; a quick introduction of yourself/brand, personalization to the store owner/buyer, a relevant compliment (did they just celebrate 3 years in business? Maybe they are woman owned and focus on carrying small emerging brands in their store…you get the idea. Just make it personal so it doesn’t sound like a copy and paste email.  
  • Wholesale catalog or line sheet ready so it can be included in the emails.
  • Product photos – I know this one can be controversial, but I have personally noticed more open rates and replies on emails that include photos within your email. Ensuring they’re small and relating to the store’s aesthetic without the person who is opening that email, having to click on any links.
  • Organized Leads Spreadsheet: An organized spreadsheet with details such as store name, owner name (a crucial touchpoint), store address, email address, and social media links for effective follow-up. Also, as a VA myself,  I find it incredibly helpful when there is a separate tab of your existing stockists listed, so there isn’t a possibility of them being sent a pitch (how embarrassing!)
  • Email Nurture Sequence: Listen, the communication doesn’t stop once your VA sends off a pitch email. You are the name/face behind your product, you need to stay engaged with these potential retailers or that email and your products will be forgotten about. Create an email nurture sequence to keep potential retailers engaged and build a relationship over time, which has huge potential to become a future stockist.
  • Monthly/Bi-Monthly Check In: Set up a quick 15-30 minute meeting to check in and see what’s working and bounce ideas around to any changes to anything that need to be made. 

4. Setting Expectations:

As someone who pitches for different brands all day long, I’m always upfront with setting expectations. Nothing in business is an overnight instant success. Don’t be discouraged when there are no responses to the pitch emails being sent. Pitching is a numbers game, and there will be crickets.

Nobody said the pitch email has to be permanent.


• Switching up your subject lines

• Revist your pitch email if you feel like it could be improved.

Remember sending pitch emails is not going to guarantee the sales come flooding in.

Pitching is only one piece of the puzzle. You still need to do your part as the brand – being consistent and having an open line of clear communication is going to be KEY for any successful working relationship.

Leave the door open for communication. If you’re not happy or unsatisfied with anything going on with your VA it’s important you speak up. Nothing is worse than an ignored email when someone is trying to help you grow and scale. But it goes both ways, your VA should feel comfortable speaking up with their concerns as well. 

Hiring a VA in your business can be a total game changer, but you have to make sure you’re both a good fit and vibe for each other. Set your VA up for success by being an organized business owner, and set yourself up for success by communicating realistic expectations!

If you’re looking for someone to help you grow the wholesale side of your business, I would love to connect! Shoot me an email at and let’s chat! 

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