You have decided to take the plunge and outsource some of your workload. Congratulations! You’ve truly made a big, timesaving, business growth and efficiency step! To make the process as smooth as possible, there are some things you should definitely consider. Based on our experience, we have put together a list of the things you should NOT do when you bring on a business helper or a professional VA.
7 Things to avoid when you hire a VA
1: Friends who are looking for work
It might seem like a good idea to get your friend to help you out with a few things in your business, but it could end up being more trouble than it is worth…
You have the awkward social connection that allows them to be more relaxed, potentially slack off or miss deadlines. They may not necessarily have the professionalism of a trained VA either.
They might not fully understand your business or have all the specific skills you require.
Your friend could leave you in the lurch if they get a better opportunity elsewhere.
It is far safer to hire a professional VA who knows what they are doing, and who will take the time to learn your business inside out. (Not to mention, they won’t miss deadlines, take friendship liberties, or disappear on you.)
2: Skipping a contract
A contract will ensure both yourself and your VA know where things stand in the working relationship. You will each have clearly outlined: expectations, processes, duties, and responsibilities. The documentation is all there to fall back on if you need to check anything concerning the business relationship.
A contract is also important to ensure confidentiality, payment agreements, and business terms and conditions. It is so important to have a transparent, professional relationship with your VA so that there are no nasty surprises that crop up as you work together.
3: VA on the cheap…
As the old saying goes: You get what you pay for. No truer word has ever been spoken. If a VA has incredibly low rates, then there is usually a reason for it. Buyer beware! The quality of work will usually match those rates.
People deserve to be paid what they are worth. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys… and all those other sayings. Paying a more premium rate can actually save you money in the long run because you will find the VA is more experienced and able to complete work more efficiently, and in less time.
4: Skipping the prep
How will you know what tasks to outsource without doing some preparation first? It is important to have a clear picture of what you want help with when you hire a VA.
Make a list of all the tasks you complete in a week, or a month. Then look at those tasks and decide which ones are essential for you to complete yourself and which ones a professional VA can do. To ensure success, you then need to assemble detailed instructions on how to complete each task.
Note: VA can assist you with this area as we know many clients are unsure what to initially hand over.
5: Thinking your VA is a mind reader
*Brushes invisible dust off shoulder* Us VAs are pretty talented, but we cannot read minds. We are not inside your head, so won’t understand how you want things done, unless ya tell us!
Also, if you have a project that needs to be completed by a certain date, please communicate with your VA to check their availability. They will have other clients and might not be able to drop everything to service your urgent request unless they are in a team environment.
If you find that something isn’t quite working in the way you expected it to, then you should address it directly with your VA to get it resolved. Problems won’t fix themselves, and leaving things unsaid can cause problems to develop into bigger issues if not dealt with right away.
6: Forgetting to onboard
Even though a VA will have all of the skills that you require, you need to ensure they are integrated into your team properly. Some tasks they will be able to hit the ground running on, but there are others that will require an understanding of your business to complete effectively.
Take the time to explain things in the first instance because it will save you time (and money!) in the long run. Once your VA is up to speed, you will thank yourself for the few hours you invested in those initial communications.
7: Being a micro-manager
You decided to outsource your work to save time, so if you are trying to micro-manage your VA, then you might find you end up making things harder for yourself. We know trust can be tricky (especially if you have done things by yourself for a long time!) but you need to trust that you have selected the right person for the job and that with your initial instructions, the VA has everything they need to take the task/s off your hands.
If you decide that you cannot trust your VA to do the job required, then it is completely OK to choose a different VA that you can trust. Micromanaging is an absolute waste of your time and also of your VA’s time. Instead, clearly establish expectations and request progress reports so that you know where each task sits. In the end, the work they deliver should speak for itself.
If you are considering taking the plunge to hire a VA, then feel free to get in touch with us at Virtual Assistants. We have worked with hundreds of clients, so have the initial setup phase down pat. We can guide you through what we need to get the job underway and you can get back to more important things.