25 Jan The 5 Common Mistakes People Make When Hiring Virtual Assistants (and How to Avoid Them)
When you make the decision to hire a virtual assistant it’s a big one and a decision that, with the right VA, can radically change your life and support your business.
Working with a virtual assistant is a tweaking process and a form of ‘letting go’ and comes with a whole host of, sometimes quite complex, emotions. It isn’t as simple as pressing an “easy button” and walking away. We need this to be a partnership, a working alongside. You can’t just hand over some basic information and expect it to just ‘flow’ – mostly because we can’t read minds and it takes time to become a ‘virtual you”!
For many people, to hire a virtual assistant is entrusting part of your ‘baby’, and then learning how to do that and keep a hand in managing the workflow to the VA are totally new skills learn and master.
Now please don’t think that this article will turn you into a pro overnight because it won’t but will give you some insight into five very common mistakes people make when hiring virtual assistants, and how you can avoid them.
Skipping the Prep Work
Before you hire a virtual assistant there is some preparation needed. This is super important and the success of the relationship and how a VA can support you properly can be directly impacted by this step. But hey we know this can be difficult and there’s not going to be a lot of immediate result from this task.
If you’re looking to work with a VA for Business Support, ideally you need to document your daily and weekly activities to analyse which tasks could be delegated out. Then you need to come up with detailed instructions on how a brand new person would accomplish those tasks.
If you’re looking to hire a virtual assistant for Social Media Management, or Event Management then your VA should issue you with a Checklist of information needed to enable them to take on this task for you. Working alongside a VA for projects such as these, requires involvement from you, even if it’s just providing photos on request!
Forgetting That You Get What You Pay For
When compared to hiring someone full time and in-house—or working extra hours to do the work yourself—it’s clear that hiring a virtual assistant can be the most cost-effective option. And while the potential low costs of hiring a virtual assistant are very real, it’s easy to get caught up in cost savings and try to pinch every penny.
The truth is that in most cases, you get what you pay for. You can pick up a VA from a far flung location for as little as £5 an hour but there won’t be a partnership or a ‘relationship’, and you need to ask yourself how much they will care about you and your business when you are one in a 1000 clients they are looking after. Huge VA ‘call centres’ exist in several key locations across the globe but they’re interested in your cash not how they can support you long term.
It should be noted that higher prices also don’t always translate to higher quality – and we’ve been on the receiving end of that ourselves when outsourcing – but going with the absolute cheapest option is often a recipe for disappointment and higher costs in the long run.
Expecting a Plug-and-Go Solution
Like all the best presents, “some assembly may be required” when working with a new virtual assistant for the first time.
Don’t ignore the time it takes to successfully establish your relationship with your VA – they need time to familiarise themselves with your voice, your way of working, your systems and processes, and will take some time to ramp up. Even when you hire in-house it takes time, the same is true with virtual assistants.
Taking Time to Remember It’s Probably Not a One-Stop Shop
VA’s have an ever expanding range of skills but can’t be a specialist in everything. But what they often have, from working with a range of clients, is a great network of people who can support them, and in turn you, with skills they don’t have.
Sure, you can find some jack-of-all-trades people, and this may actually fit well with your objectives. But how good are they going to be at any one area if their attention is spread across so many different roles?
Hire people to do what they’re good at, and you’ll both be happier. And if you need something more, always ask your VA first because you don’t know who they know!
One of the most cited reasons for people wanting to hire a virtual assistant is saving time. So it is surprising that many people then undo their time gains by micromanaging their virtual assistants.
We get the understandable fear that sits in working with someone far away. How will you know if they’re really working?
To combat this, consider that when you set a project, or ask for something to be undertaken you will usually have a visible set of deliverables. Time ‘daily’ does not need to specified, but rather the outcome and visibility of the work done. If needbe ask for monthly (or even daily but be aware if you are on a timed contract these reports will come out of that time) progress reports. This should help avoid the urge to be constantly checking up on your virtual team.
The easiest way to tell if your virtual assistant is working is to simply keep an eye on the results.
If you need some Virtual Assistant Support we offer a range of services including business support, social media and event management.
Alison is the owner of Serenity VA and provides Virtual Assistant services to clients across the globe. For more information see www.serenityva.co.uk Or give us a call! We are always happy to discuss how we can help you work better!