In this blog post I would like to help you break down the stages you will need to go through to make your life easier when starting with a virtual assistant. I fully appreciate how hard it is to hand over your business to essentially a stranger. However, their reputation is normally their bread and butter so do take a look around at recommendations and testimonials.
In the past I've paid for courses where we've been shown how to vet them, what questions to ask and how to get the most out of the them and I guess for some people these are handy. If you're low in confidence then this may be a fabulous way to get started - especially if you've never had an employee before. Now here are my recommendations:
You can find most of them as Freelancers working for themselves or through an agency. They are still Freelancers but the agency helps them find customers for a fee. This means that the Freelancer has their own insurance, pays their own stamp, etc.
First of all, work out what you would like help with:
> Creating Mail merge/email campaigns
> Social Media Management
> Onboarding Clients
> Follow Up Customer Care
> Creating Graphics
> Creating / upgrading Presentations
Do they need to have knowledge of certain professional systems? Like a bank / payroll system.
Do you need to train them in how you do things?
Don't forget! There are a LOT of virtual assistants, there's a very strong chance that if you look around long enough or use an agency - you'll find someone or maybe two people who can do the work without any further training.
Next you'll need to provide a Process (Project Management) for them to complete.
This is so you manage each others expectations. I personally prefer to use Asana, a Free Project Management tool but there are plenty of them around. In here I put in what I expect done, when I expect it by and who I want to let know.
I currently have two VA's and a website designer on my Asana and each time I have a request for some work I'll tag the appropriate person. If you're not going to use a tool like this then please be clear of a timeframe. They cannot read your mind and most likely will have other clients to manage as well. So please be fair and give them a heads up. That way they can plan their clients and their own time better.
I currently have my VA's based outside of Ireland. To this end I also need to understand what time they are available to and from (they are both international) so if you're using an oversees agency, please understand what time their day starts and ends.
You will most likely need to Zoom them when you first meet your VA, or if you're lucky and they're local, meet them face to face. You'll need to check that they understand your end goal. You need to clarify certain details and see if you gel together. It's not however you making friends. This is a member of staff and you're welcome to know who they are and any relationships they have etc but the work matters most.
Any VA of note will have one. Please make sure they do and make sure you read it fully. Check their payment expectations and their termination information as well, there may be speculations that you need to be aware of.
Now, go do those things that you've been putting off because you simply didn't have the knowledge or manpower! Stop trying to do everything when there is simply no need and start doing more of what you love by handing over the stuff you don't.
If you would like to learn more about my own personal experience or would like to get details on the overseas VA's I use, then please don't hesitate to contact me.