Many business professionals these days are aware of the concept of working with a virtual assistant. But on the same token, just as many really aren’t sure what to look for or how to accommodate a VA. Hiring a virtual assistant does have similarities to hiring in-house employees, but there are some major differences as well:
- A Virtual Assistant is both asset and a partner in your business so you want and need to choose quality people.
- As with any prospecting for new team members, rely on referrals and testimonials before hiring.
- Like any employee, your VA desires direction and guidance. Be very clear with your expectations–what specific deliverables or outputs you expect, by when, and for how much.
- Like hiring an in-house employee, employing a professional virtual assistant is a smart business decision. Their job is to help you gain more time to focus on core tasks that create value to your business.
- Like an employee, Virtual Assistants have working hours and specific times of availability. Don’t assume, just because they are working from home, they are free to work on your projects on weekends and evenings.
- Make sure your new VA is very clear with your expectations. Be very clear what specific deliverables or outputs you expect, by when, and for how much. Often times you will be communicating via email or Skype so tone and urgency of your voice won’t translate well. Create an on-going work plan with milestones that is updated often.
- Insist on a detailed contract or Terms of Agreement. Make sure the mode of payment is clearly laid out, as well as the schedule for submission of tasks or completion of milestones.
- Since many virtual assistants work from home the option is not there to “walk down the hall” to check on their progress. Processes, systems, and programs need to be utilized to keep projects flowing and prevent tasks from falling between the cracks.
- If you have temporary projects, a VA can be an asset for handling all the time consuming tasks. Once the project is completed, their contract is ended and they can move on unlike the risks and costs of employing and firing employees,
One Last Thought: When working with a VA, give feedback promptly and when they do good work, make sure he or she knows it. If there’s something you’d like to be improved, communicate that as well. Finally, use the tools at your disposal to make working with your VA easier and more efficient. On-line collaboration options like Basecamp, Trello, and Dropbox can be a business professional/virtual assistant’s best friend.
It’s important that you find your ideal Virtual Assistant, and that they will work well with you. You want your new VA to add to your business as opposed to creating more headaches. If you take the time to screen well, you will find the right one and you can start to get rid of those tasks that are holding your business back.