So you decided that you need help. Congratulations! That is the first step needed to keep your business expanding! Now, I’m sure you are scowering the Facebook groups, job boards, and pinging your other entrepreneur friends to get some advice and leads! That is definitely a great start, now to the next step – actually hiring!
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When you have been thinking of taking this step, I’m sure it has crossed your mind that you would be concerned about how this working relationship would actually work. Would there be a lot of hand-holding, would the work get done, will they just ghost me?
So many questions, so many answers to be found. So let’s start by debunking some common myths when it comes to hiring and working with a Virtual Assistant.
Hiring a VA is so expensive compared to a normal assistant – why should I take the VA plunge?
This is a very common and easily explained query when it comes time to decide on whether a virtual person or in-person assistant is best. The pro’s and con’s go back and forth, but the main thing is – by hiring a VA, you have the option to control the number of hours needed and work-sharing required for you and your business. You can set up a smaller number of hours a month to start to get a handle on how best to work together or you can jump all in and go for an 80-hour account – the key is to make sure you have the work to delegate. By utilizing a VA, you know that you are getting someone who is most likely more prepared and understands how to make the virtual working relationship work – it also saves you on equipment (i.e computers, desks, etc) as they provide this on their own. You don’t have to worry about deductions, insurances, etc as they worry about this on their end. So in the end, this does save you a lot of money that could be better used in other areas of your business – even with the higher price point when it comes to the labour charges.
The other thing to consider is, know your budget. Know that you need and how much money you would be willing to spend on getting it done, efficiently and accurately, to give you more time to focus on other areas of your business.
Also, think about the type of work you need help with, if you are needing general assistance, a lower end or newer VA might work out best – but if you are looking into specialty assistance, it is worth looking at a more experienced (and often more per hour or larger packages). There are always ways to add trials into your agreements as well, to make sure the fit works for both of you before you grow the working relationship.
VA’s will take your money and leave after you pay the invoice
Now, in every industry, there are bad eggs. But on the whole, this myth is completely false. This is all comes down to diligence when you start. Similar to looking for a full-time employee, the leg work is necessary to weed out the bad VA’s. You can accomplish this by reference checking with other clients, looking up testimonials on their social media or website, and even your own gut. If at the end of the conversation you felt like something was off – trust that as well. Just like a full-time employee, there are risks but the rewards really do outweigh the risks. Truly. What that person can bring to the table can help you in more ways than you can imagine!
Subpar Deliverables – why didn’t they ask for help? I thought I was clear!
So you have pulled the trigger, brought on a rockstar, and started working together – only the deliverables you are receiving aren’t coming in as expected. Not bad enough that you consider ending the relationship, but enough you are concerned. Now before you pull your hair out, how about looking at the training and communications in the set up for the work for your virtual assistant. Maybe, something was missed upon review of the work handed back and the action steps needed to complete. Sometimes, it comes down to how each of you reviews the info – everyone processes a little differently. Also, this is a tool to help you better delegate and explain now that you know how your VA works.
These little tweaks as you are working together, yes might be a little more work now, but in the long term – it will set both of you up for the best working relationship in the long term.
Due date is here and then nothing is ready to review, why is that?
So you have been working together, working through the process of how the work is to be done and settling on the expectations of the deliverables themselves. This is great! This is how you work best together as a team. Now you are noticing that things aren’t coming in as timely as expected.
This can be a large issue if you are trying to forward some of these deliverables to other clients, and have set expectations with them. So, now you need to look at a few more factors to be able to get a handle on this. Yes, there are due date expectations, but maybe adjusting your lead time on getting these projects complete needs to be a little larger (where you could think it takes X number of hours to complete if you completed the work – but your VA might have a different work style that means needing more time than you necessarily would) or it could be that you are overlapping due dates too much?
Look at the projects in the pipeline and with your VA, sit down, and discuss how to better understand each step and how to prioritize each and set reasonable deadlines. Sometimes, yes, some items end up becoming last-minute urgencies, but if you have an overall action plan in place, those surprises are easy to accommodate. Something you and your VA can work together to achieve.
Add to this, by using tools like timing software, project management software and communication tools (i.e. Slack) are ways to keep the communication and momentum moving on your project together – this all assists you both to succeed in your working relationship.
Now that you have some ideas on how to tackle some common issues that arise when taking the VA plunge, I hope that they are helpful.
Did I miss any other common areas that you need help understanding? Other concerns before you take the plunge? Let us know, I would love to help clear the air as it has been an amazing experience so far for my own business, that I hope that everyone gets the opportunity to benefit from working with a Virtual Assistant.