What to look out for when outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant
Is your Virtual Assistant a lemon?
In the virtual world, you WILL get what you pay for
When you finally decide to take the leap and get support in your business, it’s a huge deal. It’s your precious baby, and it’s not easy to let someone else in to help you.
I think outsourcing is like showing someone your undies.
It’s sharing a part of your business that you don’t generally flaunt to the world. It’s personal, and you get to choose who you show your frilly undies to.
Who do you show your biz undies to?
Think back to the first time you saw a new accountant, or a loan broker, or a bookkeeper. How did you feel? Most of us feel a little intimidated and even a little scared as we want to make sure they’re great at their job as they’re going to be looking after your money. Did you feel a little bit like you were analysing their every word?
The same goes for your business administration. You want to suss out your VA, and you want to work with a professional – not a lemon!
But so often, I see people hiring a cheaper VA because they can’t afford someone more expensive.
Let me ask you – would you hire a cheaper accountant, or would you look at skill level, benefits and testimonials?
When you hire a cheap VA, you’re often hiring someone who doesn’t have a strong grasp of the complexities of running a successful business. They may also have less regard for your Intellectual Property and database and have less financial incentive to deliver at a high standard.
Not just in the VA industry, but any time you pay a lower rate you should expect a lower service. This could mean longer wait times, slower responses, lower quality outcomes. It’s always a risk.
Please don’t be fooled into thinking someone offering a cheap rate for business support services has a good business head. High-quality VAs will be charging their worth.
Think about a vacuum cleaner. You could buy a $40 one from Kmart which blows up after two months (it’s happened to me!), and you need to replace it constantly. Or you could spend $400 on a decent one that will last you a few years. In the long run, the one that costs more will benefit you for a longer time.
How can you get the most from working with a VA?
The first thing you should know when working with a VA is a VA to business owner relationship works the best if you look at it as a long-term project.
Let your VA know the long-term objectives of your business as it will help them focus on your goals and keep their drive alive for your business. As an integral part of your team, your VA will care about your business as if it’s their own.
If you’ve got kids, you’re not going to want a different babysitter or childcare worker for your child every week. And the same goes with your VA. You want a VA who’s going to get to know you and your business and treat it with the same respect and passion you do.
Some business owners choose to have a team of VAs and that works well for some. For example, they have a main VA who runs the day to day business needs, a VA who does the social media, a VA who manages their website and a VA who does their copywriting.
Your main VA will eventually be so used to seeing your business undies that they don’t flinch!
They’ll know the complexities that make your business unique (because no two business are the same), they’ll become a part of your business family, and they’ll want to see you achieve your goals. They’ll also pick up on your weaknesses and help you fill those gaps.
Share your calendar and plans for the year with your VA. They can see how they’d best fit into your plans and it will help them plan their business time too (i.e. when they may want to take time out etc.). For example, if you’ve got a major project or event in September, you want to make sure your VA is aware of this and hasn’t booked a holiday.
Be open with your VA and work out how you both want to manage your time. Communication is ALWAYS the key.
Why I get annoyed when people say ‘you can get an offshore VA for that’
This is perhaps my biggest annoyance I see in business groups. So many people want to get help to grow their business, yet they don’t spend their money wisely.
They’ll throw money at the cheapest option hoping for a magical solution.