Written by Doreen Dilger, The Home Based Business Coach
Before you hire a VA (Virtual Assistant), look at some of the common mistakes made when doing so. By understanding the common mistakes you can ensure that your VA experience will be successful instead of stressful.
1. Not Understanding What Work You Need Completed: Before even placing an advertisement for a VA, you need to write down the types of work you need to outsource. Remember at first to only write down things that do not directly earn money. You should keep doing the core work that you are known for, and let the VA do the supportive tasks.
2. Not Reviewing Their Work Regularly: Once you do hire someone, it’s important to review their work on a regular basis so that you are assured that it’s up to your level. Plus, it will give you peace of mind to know that the work is indeed really done.
3. Not Providing Feedback: Be sure to provide your VA regular feedback. The best way to do it is to first tell them what they did well, and then tell them where they can improve, and leave it with something else good. This will help your VA tremendously.
4. Not Having a System in Place: It’s imperative that you have a system in place to help you assign tasks, and for your VA to receive them without having to deal with email. A good system to use is Basecamp.com, and some people really love Teamwork.com too.
5. Failing to Set Expectations: It’s important to let your VA know what you expect from them from day one. Establishing the right boundaries and the right expectations will go far in helping you and your new VA work well together. For example, if you prefer the VA to just do the tasks you give him or her and no more, say so. If you want them to make suggestions, let them know.
6. Not Realizing That You Get What You Pay For: There is a movement out there, as you’re likely aware, to hire VAs for next to nothing and well below minimum wage of most industrialized countries. This is a very bad practice to get involved with as the work will not be as good as if you hired someone who is experienced and an expert in their field, who charges professional rates.
7. Not Giving the VA Time to Acclimate: Many VAs can get up and running pretty fast, but every new contract takes time to get to understand and mesh with the rhythm of the new arrangement. Don’t give up too fast. Give it 60 to 90 days to ensure you’ve given it all that you can to make it work.
8. Not Letting Them Do Their Work Their Way: Micromanaging is the worst thing you can do. If you contract with a social media VA who is an expert in their field, don’t tell them how to do the work. Instead, tell them what your expectations are and what the deliverables will be. What work will be “turned in” to you at the end? What reports will be shown to demonstrate the success of the work completed?
9. Treating the VA Like an Employee: A VA is not an employee and you cannot call on them in the same way you would if you had a secretary in the front office to do your bidding at any moment. You’ll need to work within their system too. They may have a 48-hour time limit for work deadlines, or they might require you to give them all their work for the week by a certain date and schedule phone calls. And yes, they’re going to charge you for every phone call, and every moment they work on your business. Be prepared for that.
10. Not Giving Clear Instructions and Deadlines: When you give work to your VA, it should include very clear instructions along with a strict deadline. They should know what they need to deliver to you and when. They should not have to ask a hundred questions about each assignment. You should try to answer everything up front. But, do be available for questions so your VA can work efficiently.
If you can avoid these common mistakes when hiring a virtual assistant, you will be that much more likely to enjoy working with your VA and he or she will enjoy working with you.
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About the Author: Doreen Dilger is a Certified Manifest Method Coach, Certified Life Coach, Author and Founder of Women Empowering Women Now.