You are finally giving yourself that well deserved reward of having an assistant help you in your business. Before getting carried away in outsourcing everything, here are some things to be aware off that will help prevent you having an awful first time experience in outsourcing.
It is very easy to get caught up in the moment and outsource without being 100% clear on what your needs are or how you are going to correctly protect your business content and deadlines (and your stress level).
Here are 6 things NOT to do when hiring a virtual assistant:
#1 Don’t hire a friend because they’re looking for work
Too frequently business owners get caught up in outsourcing work to a friend. There are some potential pitfalls that you could find yourself facing;
- Your friend doesn’t fully understand your business, nor takes the time to understand it (A professional VA make it their job to be fully informed)
- Your friend may unintentionally undervalue the importance of your work and deadlines
- Your friend could say “Oh it’s just Melissa, I’ll get it to her later she won’t mind”
- Your friend may land better opportunity and ditch you without notice and in the middle of an important project or deadline.
#2 Don’t engage in hiring someone without proper contracts in place and signed
Don’t just jump at hiring someone because you’re eager, make sure they have confidentially and terms & conditions agreements in place, these need to be signed by you and them. Why, these will cover you for failure to meet deadlines, or bill payments and most vital adhering to the confidentially of your work. The last thing you want is them telling the world about your upcoming project that you’ve worked so hard on.
#3 Don’t give out your work unless you feel 100% confident in the person and their ability to deliver
Working with a Virtual Assistant is like any other business relationship, 100% trust and confidence are a MUST. If you are not feeling 100% confidence in what you’re handing out to a virtual assistant, then read it as a warning bell and don’t do it. You can either hand out a smaller job to gauge their capabilities and to gain some more confidence in the relationship, or talk to alternative VA businesses until you find one that makes you feel you and your business are in capable hands.
#4 Don’t base your decision to hire a VA based on their rates
Too commonly business owners based their hiring of a VA on the hourly rate. Generally because they feel they’re going to get more for less. Frequently, I hear business owners say it took them hours to do the job costing them a lot of money. You should always ask for a rough estimate on completing a job, so you have an idea of what amount you are potentially going to be hit with. Paying for a premium VA, may turn out to be more cost effective for you in the long run because they are experienced in the task you require and therefore completing it is done quickly and promptly.
#5 Don’t assume they ‘get the way you do things instantly and are in your headspace’
A very common mistake is assuming people totally understand where your thinking is at and what you mean when you say things. At the start of any relationship, assume you need to explain something completely, and even better write down notes for them so you are protecting yourself.
If you need a job done by a specific date and time, don’t’ assume a VA will instantly jump to your job. Advise them of your deadline and ask if this is achievable for them. Like you, a VA is a business owner, and can be working for multiple people, so managing deadlines and work requirements is what they do best, so ensure you communicated clearly with them.
If you find you’re in the situation where things aren’t working or communication seems to be breaking down. Talk to your VA and express your concerns, they may not even be aware they’re letting your down or when you say a particularly sentence or phase that it has a specific meaning.
#6 Don’t forget to follow up on your instructions
When you start working with a VA, as with #5, don’t assume they’re in your headspace and get your way instantly. If you’ve verbally spoken to them about a job, follow it up with a quickly bullet point email outlining the tasks and timeline, and encourage them to ask questions if unsure. Whilst you may find this a tedious task at the start, let me put it this way would you rather spend 5 minutes with a quick follow up email, than spend your money on them re-doing a task, because the communication at the start wasn’t clear enough.
Remember a virtual assistant is there to help you in your business, taking on those time consuming tasks that are pulling you away from doing what you do best. When you take the time at the start to hire the right type of virtual assistant, you will find yourself happy and loving your business, gaining back time and being able to put your energies into growing and building that dream!
Great advice here, Anne! I love your commitment to helping business owners understand how to get the best out of their VAs!
Thank you so much Katherine.
Fantastic tips Anne and I will be sure to refer to this again before I make the plunge when the time is right 😉 x
Glad it helped Simone.
Good tips Anne but there is a typo in your graphic! It says "virutal".
Hi Kevin, thanks for the feedback and for letting me know about the typo. Have a fantastic day. Cheers Anne