How To Hire A Great VA in Upwork

How To Hire A Great VA in Upwork

Why Upwork? 

I like Upwork for many reasons: 

  • You can add your credit card, and Upwork pays the freelancer weekly.
  • Upwork has software that takes regular screenshots of the freelancer's page when they accrue hours on your clock.
  • You can review their past jobs' feedback to help your selection.
  • Based on my experience, it has relatively higher quality candidates than other freelancer hubs. 

VA for Product Upload:

Personality: VAs specialize in this type of work and usually work from home while caring for their families. They might be less personable or shyer than the Customer Service VA and prefer never to speak to a customer. 

When to hire: I hire product-uploading VAs when onboarding a new supplier or when a supplier adds new products. 

Schedule: They work on their own schedule, with a per-hour or per-project payment. They might be freelancing for several clients. 

Rate: Their rate varies, and you can negotiate. Inexperienced VAs can cost as little as $4 per hour, whereas more experienced VAs with specific expertise can spend as much as $10 per hour. I don't commit these VAs to ongoing work. Instead, I tap some known ones when I have new products to upload. 

Responsibilities: Their primary responsibility is to upload products accurately and according to specific instructions. We are responsible for providing the data, pricing, and instructions on how we want the product page to look. 

Access: Your VA will need access to Shopify's back end. 


The ideal candidate can: 

  • Answer a couple of questions - which I ask only to make sure they read the job posting.
  • Has Shopify experience.
  • Has some positive feedback on similar or relevant past jobs.
  • Can demonstrate attention to detail. For example, I might send a message with two questions to ensure their response is thorough. 

Remember, you can always give them just a few products as a paid test to see how you will work with them. I prefer doing that rather than spending time interviewing. 

They are sometimes timid on the phone but can work well. 

Here is a sample job post I would use for a Shopify Product Uploading VA on Upwork

We are looking for an assistant with Shopify 2.0 product uploading experience. 

Below are the requirements for our ideal candidate: 

  • Experience with Shopify product uploading.
  • Familiarity with Shopify 2.0 features like metafields, filters, and related products.
  • Basic Shopify 2.0 theme customization (Out of the Sandbox theme);
  • Ability to use Canva for graphics.
  • Ability to resize and optimize images for the Shopify product page.
  • Attention to detail while working with high-priced products.Basic understanding of product page SEO.
  • Fluent in English.
  • Availability to start uploading 300 products.

Customer Service VA:

Personality: These VAs might have experience in urban area call centers, and I try to recruit VAs who have worked with American companies before. If they worked at the Chase help desk, I know they'd have had some formal training on how to speak to customers. They also have a more confident and outgoing personality. 

When to hire: I only hire this VA once the store starts generating orders. 

Commitment: Unlike the "Uploader," this VA gets a salary commitment with set working hours and pre-scheduled days off on holidays. 

Schedule: While working from home, their shift is during US working hours and at night in the Philippines. With them, I also expect them to ask for a day off for their birthday or a wedding and some ad hoc sick days. 

Rate: These VAs make about $500 to $700 per month, working a 6—to 8-hour shift. As is customary in the Philippines, expect to pay a bonus of one month's salary in December. This is expected and hugely appreciated. Additionally, you can pay a small incentive fee for instances where they helped "close" a sale. One of my VAs gets a 1% commission if she saves an abandoned cart. 

Responsibilities: This VA will process and track orders, respond to customer inquiries via phone or email, update inventory, deal with problems in orders, etc. They could also help with light bookkeeping. This VA is likely to complete all the tasks and has some time to upload a few products a day as a "forever" permanent task that will fill any idle time. 

Access: I give my customer service VA all access: shared email and Shopify. They actively monitor and clean the store's inbox. After a period of training, I don't even look at the inbox often. I ask my VA to come to me only with issues that are exceptions to the normal day-to-day function of the procedures when a decision needs to be made. 


Here is a sample job posting:

Shopify e-commerce dropshipping store looking to hire a full-time virtual assistant 

Main day-to-day tasks include: 

1) processing orders;

2) tracking shipped orders and following up with shipping;

3) keep detailed accounting records of transactions (Excel);

4) responding to customer inquiries via phone or email;

5) monitoring and follow up on previous customer issues;

6) product uploading. 

The ideal candidate is a professional looking to build a long-term relationship and be part of a small, growing team. This is not a gig. I am looking for someone dedicated to learning and growing with the business.  

Please review the requirements carefully. We ask you only to apply for this job if you meet all the criteria below. 

1. At least 8 hours available for dedicated service and focused administrative tasks during US business hours;

2. Consistent internet connectivity and suitable equipment available. If you performed a speed test, please send me the results. I would like to hear if you have a backup plan for power outages. I am willing to contribute to co-working space usage if necessary;

3. Previous experience with customer service with a US client base or administrative work with a US corporation;

4. English proficiency and excellent writing skills are extremely important - customers are 100% US-based and very sophisticated;

5. Attention to detail - expensive and complex products require thoughtful responses to inquiries, sometimes requiring additional research. This is very important to this business. Expertise is the one promise I make to my customers that differentiates us from competition;

6. Proficient in Microsoft Excel and knowledgeable in basic accounting.

7. Proficient in Shopify 2.0, including basic theme customizations. 

I am flexible regarding payment options—by the hour or a fixed salary—and am open to discussion. 

What's your favorite book? Please start your cover letter with the name of your favorite book. 

Please answer the following questions on submitting your proposal: 

1. Which of the required job skills do you feel you are strongest at?

2. What past project or job have you had most like this one and why?

3. Why did you apply to this particular job?

4. What are you looking for in an employer?

Let me know if you have any questions! 🙂😀
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