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Virtual Assistant Archives - Page 2 of 3 - Anne C Clark
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Determining when you are ready to hire a Virtual Assistant

Determining when you are ready to hire a Virtual Assistant

You have started your business and you are finding yourself faced with people advising you to ‘get a virtual assistant’.   I personally don’t think you should, and here is my why.   If you have not worked in your business conducting all the day to day functions, how will you determine what you love, hate, need assistance in doing or simply don’t have the time to do yourself.

Whilst having a virtual assistant on your team is a great asset. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend bringing one on board at the start of your business.

In my years in business as a virtual assistant, on many occasions I have been hired by business owners/entrepreneurs in the making, wanting me to manage various tasks from administration, social media, blogs, websites and newsletter, as they have anticipated increase volume in workload. Even though they aren’t at that stage yet. Or it may be that they have a new product or services launching and anticipate a high volume level of work for them and their virtual assistant.   Whilst I do truly wish their dream came to fruition, sadly it’s rarely been the case. As a result I have seen them have to admit they don’t have the funds or the work requirements for a virtual assistant, at this point in time.

My recommendation is to allow the work to flow in, and the demand levels increase so you can 1) learn how your business operates, and 2) clearly identify what functions would be best outsourced so you can utilise your time more effectively and efficiently in your business.

In saying the above, please note that if you don’t have the skill base or the capabilities/time to learn new programs, then of course outsource these functions to an expert. If you have the time to learn, then take the time to learn! (You’ll feel empowered conquering them.)

A virtual assistant, if available for your business, is generally ready to come on board and start immediately. You are better to get to the point in your business where you are ready to off load a higher volumes of work or the work you don’t want to be doing because you have more than enough work and the finances to fund having a virtual assistant on your team.

If you are at the point in your business where you are ready to outsource, and want to know more about what types of things you can outsource, then please sign up here for my free opt-in which is a starting guide on what to outsource.

How to clearly communicate your expectations to your Virtual Assistant

How to clearly communicate your expectations to your Virtual Assistant

I commonly hear business owners who have used virtual assistants previously before knocking on my door, mentioned how their VA went on a tangent doing things they hadn’t asked for or failing to communicate to them.

Communication is an essential tool between any business relationships.
If you have had a failed VA relationship or keen to start working with one, but not really sure on your what, who and how, here are some tips to assist you to creating the perfect relationship with your VA.

#1 Outline the task

Don’t assume they ‘get what you mean’. Be detailed in your description, the more familiar and longer they work with you, the trust will build and a clearer understanding of how you both work will develop. When starting out with a new VA, you need to be as detailed as possible, otherwise you’ll be pulling your hair out. Don’t just ‘tell them’ what you need, follow it up with an email.

You have heard people say ‘yes I got it’ and discovered they were completely off track. The English language is very interruptive. It is better if you can give examples.
More experienced VAs will know what questions they need to ask you. But newbies will need more guidance from you.

#2 Explain your preferred communication style

Having previously worked in the corporate world for Managing Directors, Chief Financial Officers and various General Managers. No two were ever the same in how they liked their work done and communicated. Some were self-sufficient, some old school and some just confused relying on me to tell them what to do.

So it’s important you advise your VA how you like to work and how you like to be kept up to date, and this should be done in your initial phone call with your potential VA. The reason is some VA prefer to work certain ways and if you’re requiring an alternative to what they prefer, then you may find your working relationship deteriorate quickly (and that is not what you want).

Types of communication streams you may prefer;

Your VA to just run with it and advise when completed, only asking questions when needed.
Communicate every step of the way so you know exactly where tasks are. You can use programs like ASANA (which is free) to help manage this, and is beneficial if your VA is working on multiple projects.Alternatively if you have multiple team members. It’s an effective communicating tool. Other alternatives are TeamWorks and BaseCamp. There are plenty of others, some free and some paid.

Communicate a strict guideline. No work is to be done ‘outside’ the specified task, unless asked first. Or that a task must be done within a certain number of hours, if they have reached those hours then to discuss with you first before proceeding any further. This is advisable especially if you are budget conscious, however a VA should advise you if the work is exceeding the perceived time.

Ways to communicate;

You can use online software programs as mentioned above, ASANA, Basecamp & Teamworks.

You may wish to have a face-to-face meeting with your VA on a regular basis, especially if you don’t want your inbox clogged. This can be done via Skype, or if the VA is local by meeting up at a location suitable to both parties. (Note expect to pay for their time and travel, as they are in fact working for you during this time.)

You may simply prefer to receive an email from them regularly on how projects are progressing.

#3 Conduct a regular review

Whilst you may feel this is tedious, it is in fact beneficial for your business. You may find your VA, or you could be, doing something that the other party doesn’t like, is confused by, or they may have a better suggestion to improve the system. Having a regular review enables both parties to highlight any concerns, praise what they love and be clear on where they’re heading. You are effectively wanting your VA to be your life long team member, so set it up correctly from the start.

#4 When communication is breaking down

Sadly, I hear this one all the time, and it does disappointment that some (not all) business owner goes sourcing other VAs without actually communicating with their current VA what their concerns are. 9 times out of 10, the VA has no idea they’re not happy.

If you are having issues with your VA, TELL THEM! Explain what your concerns are, and how you would like to see things improve. A VA is a business owner, and isn’t going to want a client being dissatisfied with their services, they are quite likely thinking you’re happy with their performance as you haven’t made them aware of your frustrations.

And of course, if their performance doesn’t improve, move on and find a VA that suits and meets your needs.

Remember, that any experience with a VA whether good or bad, is helping you in your own business identify what works and doesn’t work. No experience is ever a waste, it is educational.


If you’re ready to work with a virtual assistant, or online business manager (like me), contact me today. 

10 reasons why you should hire a virtual assistant

10 reasons why you should hire a virtual assistant

We, as business owners, are always trying to manage it all, especially in our start up phrase of business. Managing it all can have a detrimental effect in the long run. Why? We can easily become consumed with doing all the backend work ourselves, in turn chewing up our valuable time that we could be focusing on our business growth. Establishing your foundations from the start is a great way to ensure as you grow and build your business, you are on solid ground.


Many people become consumed with money, and the ability to afford a virtual assistant. However, did you know you can hire virtual assistants to work within your budget range. If you can only afford 1 hour a week or month, that is completely okay. Just make sure you are utilize their time on important tasks you need done, rather than just any old task.


Here are 10 reasons why you should be hiring a virtual assistant;


Time – getting your time back. Whilst a virtual assistant attends to your backend requirements, you can be focusing on clients or business growth.


Value – it’s more cost effective for your business to hire someone to attend to your administrative or online content management, than you.


Cost – hiring a virtual assistant against what your charging clients is a more cost effective avenue. You may be charging say $200 an hour, and hiring a virtual assistant between $30 to $50 an hour. You are making $150, doing what you love and know your business requirements are also being attended too.


Budget – you can hire help at a budget amount, just determine what your budget amount is. You might start at 1 hour a month, or a week, and then as you grow your hours with your virtual assistant can grow.

Expertise – Virtual Assistant specialize in certain industry or skills, so bring to your team a valuable resource.

Manage – A virtual assistant can manage your day to day, along with specific projects or even your teams.

Growth – some virtual assistants are more than just virtual assistants. For example, I’m also a business coach and life coach, and help businesses strategies their social media and business growth opportunities. So I have more understand of what your business needs are and should be.

Reporting – a virtual assistant can update and maintain daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly report for you, no boring tasks for you to do.

Customer Care – One of the biggest downfalls business owners make is getting caught up in administration, there customer care falls down. A virtual assistant can manage your customer care so your business reputation remains prominent.

Sanity – Yes sanity. Often business owners become so overwhelmed trying to keep on top of everything that they end up feeling completely overwhelmed. Having the right virtual assistant to support them helps eliminate this.


Finding the right virtual assistant is vital, as your relationship with them is what will help your business and you grow. 


If you want to learn more about how to prepare yourself and your business to bring a virtual assistant into your team, click here and receive my free ebook outlining all you need to know.




How to start working with a virtual assistant

How to start working with a virtual assistant

Your business is growing and you now feel you are ready to bring someone into your team, as you can no longer do it alone. You don’t have the funds or the need for a full time employee. So you’re next best option is to look at hiring a Virtual Assistant.


What is a Virtual Assistant (VA)?

A VA is a business owner providing support services to other businesses in various areas such as administration, social media, graphics, newsletters, online content management, project management, ghost writing and more.

VAs vary from business to business on what services they provide. You can click here to see what services I provide.



Benefits of working with a VA


You can hire VAs on a project basis, for a set number of hours per week or month or on a retainer package.   This is something you can work out with your VA service you want to engage.



Where to start when hiring a VA

Before contacting VA businesses, my recommendation is to write a list of all the things you feel you need help with. You may find some of your identified tasks fall under the one area and others are more adhoc tasks (not a frequent requirement or a one off).

Once you have an idea the tasks you need help with, you can then contact a couple of VA businesses and talk to them about what you feel you need assistance with and then ask them what services they also offer.

If you have no idea what you need help with but know you need help, then don’t be afraid to ask a couple of businesses what types of services they offer. And, ask your friends, you may find they already work a VA service or can highly recommend several VA businesses to talk to.

Alternatively, you can register your details here and grab a copy of my free guide to help get you started.


How do I know which VA business to choose?

It’s important as a business owner that you have trust in your work being done for you in the manner you expect.  It is important that the VA you have working for you gives you confidence. Working with a VA is just like any working relationship, some personalities click really well and others not so well. Never look at fail relationship as a horrible nightmare you’ll never going back to. Look at it as a learning curve, identify what worked and what didn’t work and then bring the necessary measurements into place to ensure smooth sailing the next time. However, be open-minded and honest on why it failed.

Sometimes some of the simplest things can result in a failed working relationship such as; instructions or communication weren’t clear enough, deadlines weren’t specified, unreasonable expectations, failing to respond to emails from your VA (or visa versa), or simply you and your VA weren’t on the same wave length or like-minded.


What you need to do to ensure a success with your VA

Find the best system that works for you and your VA on communicating tasks, deadlines, information, and any other necessary instructions you need them to know.   There are many free tools available that can help improve your communication virtually. Check here to grab my suggested tools.

In my business, I work in various formats and style because my aim is to make my clients life as simple as possible, and therefore I like them to work in their preferred styles so it’s one less stress in their already hectic business life. But that doesn’t mean I won’t offer suggestion if I think it might help save them time and money.


Can I afford a VA

Yes, you can.  There are VAs across the globe working at various rates. It all comes down your business needs and wants, not necessarily cost.

If you would like to know more or have a chat about VA services, then please feel free to contact me.

6 things NOT to do when hiring a virtual assistant

6 things NOT to do when hiring a virtual assistant

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.


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.