Don’t Hire a Virtual Assistant Until you Read This!
Is there such a thing as a perfect employee? Pretty close. Hiring a virtual assistant can be one of the smartest decisions you’ll ever make as a business owner. Imagine for a moment … a virtual assistant who’ll take charge and finish that PowerPoint presentation you’ve been putting off OR make those dreaded travel reservations.
Outsourcing help for some of your most time-consuming daily tasks will give you extra hours back each day. You’ll be able to focus more on growing your business, spending quality time with your family or even exploring your passions and hobbies.
Are all virtual assistants created equal? No.
The good news is you have a giant pool of virtual contractors to choose from. Can you find the one who’s right for you? Never fear, the cavalry is here!
You’re about to learn 8 essential tips for hiring the perfect virtual assistant:
> He or she must be deadline-oriented.
Talk to him or her. Missed deadlines could mean life or death to your ongoing working relationships. This is serious stuff. If a big project comes to a grinding halt due to an assistant’s lack of time management, it can damage your reputation as a business owner. Avoid this heartache now. Emphasize the importance of communication during an ongoing project and make your point that, unless your assistant is nursing a broken arm, you won’t stand for missed deadlines! It should also raise a red flag if your worker makes a delivery promise that doesn’t sound believable. Superheroes are hard to find.
> Your virtual assistant must be tech savvy and have a reliable computer and email service.
If he or she brags about saving your work on floppy disks, run for the hills! You want a VA who’s up to date with a current content management system to organize and complete your projects.
> You have to talk money.
Some virtual contractors expect a full or half deposit up front per project before work can begin. Don’t think too harshly of them if that is the case. Most VA’s take their work very seriously. They, too, run a business and don’t want to be scammed. Collecting a full or partial deposit up front lets the VA know you’re serious about working with them. If you like what a potential virtual helper has to offer you, payment expectations and invoicing methods are an important part of that decision. Although money is not a fun subject to talk about, good communication can save you frustration later. Ask if he or she will offer you a discount for large amounts of work. It’s a win-win situation for both of you.
> Establishing trust is essential.
Would you put all your money in a bank that no one’s heard of? Definitely not. It’s the same principle with a virtual assistant. Ask to see references, and then check them! A professional VA will also provide work samples. This is your chance to see the quality of work. Do a quick proofread of the sample and see if your potential hire pays attention to details such as grammar and spelling.
> Intelligence, professionalism and confidentiality
wrap those up with a bow and you have the perfect virtual assistant. If your potential contractor thinks NDA is a new rap group, move on. There are virtual assistants out there who give the profession a good name. Non-Disclosure and Work for Hire Agreements will protect both of you. The legalese in both documents outlines expectations for confidentiality and project requirements – essential for any successful business.
> As with any business relationship, misunderstandings about billing can sometimes arise.
It’s how those problems are handled that can make the difference. Ask a potential contractor how he or she handles revisions. Are all revisions covered under the original invoice? How many revisions are acceptable before the assistant charges an additional fee?
> Personality, customer service, and the ability to communicate are essential.
You have to discuss up front if the virtual assistant feels just as comfortable talking on the phone to a client as he or she does via email. Remember, he or she represents YOU. Bad customer service is a reputation killer. There are websites where clients can vent about bad customer service. The last thing you need is to hire a virtual assistant who is rude, unprofessional and can’t handle stressful situations. If the VA doesn’t have an immediate answer for a client, he or she must know how to respond politely and with a promise to research the issue and keep in touch with the client until the answer is found.
> Clear Expectations
Can your virtual assistant leap tall buildings in a single bound? Probably not, but that shouldn’t necessarily rule them out. We all have certain expectations for the person we want to hire as our right hand. He or she may have personality plus and some fabulous skills, but may not be familiar with PowerPoint. Relax. It doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. If that’s the ONLY issue holding you back from hiring a contractor and you believe he or she is trainable and enthusiastic about learning new skills – then go for it!
You can’t teach confidence, personality and trust. If the virtual assistant has those assets and a workable skill set, it’s time to take the plunge. Start with a test project. See how he or she handles the work. If it’s close to what you’re looking for, congratulations! It was just a test and your potential hire passed. Think of what he or she can do once you’ve worked together for awhile. You’ve discovered a gold nugget on a virtual planet of potential workers.
Without a doubt, outsourcing is transforming the experience of solo-entrepreneurs everywhere. With the help of the right virtual assistant, you CAN have your life back and maybe take those guitar lessons you’ve always wanted to take.
Business Growth & Marketing Mentor, Deanna Maio, teaches coaches, consultants, and other service providers how to get more clients, work less hours, and enjoy their businesses again. Wanna learn how to outsource successfully and build a team to support you? Get her free special report “5 Simple Steps to Create a Powerful Virtual Team” at http://www.PowerfulVirtualTeams.com
© 2012 Deanna Maio All Rights Reserved.