If you’re like me, then you have too many ideas and not enough time to implement them. The easiest way to remedy that is to hire a Virtual Assistant that you can hand everything over to and they’ll take care of it, right? Well, the answer to that is yes AND no. Although a VA can be an extension of you, they’re not you. This means they don’t know your every thought, nor can they predict your every move.
Hiring an assistant, whether it be a Virtual Assistant or an in-house assistant can seem overwhelming in itself. If you’re going to take the time to find the right person, then it’s important to also take the time to really think about what you’re going to have them do, and how you’re going to have them do it.
Mistake #1: Not Taking Time to Decide What They Will Do
This is usually the toughest part of getting started. If you have 100 ideas floating around with no clear structure on how you’re going to delegate some of the work, you’re starting out in reverse. Take time to write down all the things you do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. You may know what you do, but your new assistant doesn’t know your routine. You can spend time writing this down yourself or go through everything in the beginning with your VA, but take time in doing it. Taking the time upfront will save time and headaches down the road.
Mistake #2: Hiring For Skills Alone
Having the right skill set is important, especially when you’re busy and don’t feel you have time to train someone. But having a certain skill set vs. having personality, drive and determination can be different things. Make sure the person you’re going to be working with and trusting your business to is someone you like.
Mistake #3: Hiring When You’re Desperate
This unfortunately is the trap that many people fall into. If you think you can wait until you have the time to train someone or the money to pay someone… you’ll never hire anyone. There’s not a perfect time, and sometimes what you think is the worst time, can turn out to be the best. If it’s not in your budget, then realign your budget. You don’t need to jump in with both feet and hire someone for 40 hours a week, but you can hire the help you need initially and make it work. Once you get to the point that you’re too busy to keep up with everything, it’s difficult to set aside time for the hiring process.
Mistake #4: Not Communicating Effectively
This is another area that really needs to be hammered home. If you are not clear about what you want someone to do, how are they going to do it? Tasks can always be added, but you need to lay out a clear set of initial instructions to get things going. You need to be clear with your expectations of your Virtual Assistant, and they need to be clear about their abilities from the beginning. Thinking someone should know your next move or what you want them to do with a certain project will set you up for failure.
Mistake #5: Not Starting Out With The Right Attitude
By going in with the attitude that you’ll “try it and see”, you’re already saying if this doesn’t work, there are other options. There’s always another option, but you need to have a positive view of the outcome of the virtual relationship. Starting out with the attitude that this person is going to be an extension of yourself and helping to represent you and your company, will help guide you to take the time to nurture the first few months to put things in place. You can start out with small tasks to get a feel for how the two of you will work together and help build your relationship. As you go, having the right attitude in place from the beginning helps your VA feel like a true part of your business and your overall goal, which gives them the motivation to work harder for you.
Mistake #6: Not Asking Questions
We all know the downfalls of micro-managing, but this doesn’t mean that you have to be afraid to give direction or ask questions when you have a concern. If a project seems to be taking longer than you think it should, you have the right to ask why. There’s probably a good explanation or maybe a kink in the system somewhere, but you won’t know unless you ask. The only dumb question is the one that’s never asked.
There’s always more than one way to do things, and being a Virtual Assistant myself for over 18 years has helped me understand both sides. These common mistakes in a virtual relationship can be easily avoided by taking time, in the beginning, to lay out a clear understanding of what you need help with, when you need the help and how you’re going to get it.
Laura is the Founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you find yourself needing some help in finding the right VA, give her a call at (440) 973-7005, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.elitevirtualassist.com.