Before hiring a virtual assistant, let’s have a look at some of the most common mistakes, made when doing so. By understanding this, your experience with a virtual assistant will hopefully be more successful and a lot less stressful.
Not Understanding What Work You Need Completed
Before you event try and recruit a virtual assistant, 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 your virtual assistant do the supportive tasks.
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.
Not Providing Feedback
Be sure to provide your virtual assistant with regular feedback. The best way to do this is to first tell them what they did well, and then tell them where they can improve, and leave them with something else positive. This will help your virtual assistant improve tremendously.
Not Having a System in Place
It’s imperative that you have some sort of system in place to help you assign tasks, and for your virtual assistant to receive them without having to deal with email. A good system to use is Basecamp.com or Teamwork.com both are great tools.
Failing to Set Expectations
It’s important to let your virtual assistant know what you expect from them right from the very start. Establishing the right boundaries and the right expectations from the start, will go a long way in helping you and your new virtual assistant work well together. For example, if you prefer your virtual assistant 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 this, also.
If You Pay Peanuts You Get Monkeys
There is a movement out there, as you’re likely aware, to hire virtual assistants 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. Also remember that some of the best virtual assistants could be based just down the road.
Not Giving Your Virtual Assistant Time to Acclimate
Many virtual assistants can get up and running and be productive 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 them 60 to 90 days to ensure you’ve given it all that you can to make it work out.
Not Letting Them Do Their Work Their Way
Micromanaging a virtual assistant is the worst thing you can do. If you contract with a social media virtual assistant who is an expert in their field, don’t tell them how to do the work, they are the expert after all. 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?
Treating Your Virtual Assistant like an Employee
A virtual assistant is not an employee and you cannot call on them in the same way you would if you had an assistant in the front office to do your bidding at any moment. You’ll need to work within your virtual assistants system and requirements 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 and expect this.
Not Giving Clear Precise Instructions and Deadlines
When you give work to your virtual assistant, 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, your instructions should tell them everything up front. But, do be available for questions so your virtual assistant can work efficiently.
If you can avoid try to avoid these common mistakes when hiring a virtual assistant, you will be that much more likely to enjoy working with your virtual assistant and he or she will enjoy working with you and the end result will be a long term mutually beneficial working relationship.