From one VA’s perspective – I think it’s pretty easy to locate a Virtual Assistant. There are associations that provide listings of virtual assistants, their websites profiles, and various other bits of information. Of course it depends on the terms you use to search. Maybe you are specific in your search and perhaps you found the VA that completely suits your needs rather quickly. There are some things to consider in advance and I have a few suggestions. Of course there could be others, this is not intended to be everything:
- Evaluate your needs – Take the time in advance and determine the various tasks that you feel someone else can do to relieve your stress. One more time, Take the time in advance. When we start out in our businesses we wear many hats. We like to control what we do after all it’s all about our business and the goals we set forth that matter.
- Determine the skills that you are looking for, is it technical, is it personality..what are the components needed most for you?
- Can those tasks be transferred to someone else to handle easily? How good are you at delegating? I have spoken to potential clients that had an idea of what they wanted, but they had not taken the time to figure it all out because there just has not been enough time.
- Specific Skills – Determine if there is something specifically that needs to be addressed.
- Is there a particular niche that you work with and that the VA needs to be specialized in? Some VA’s are specific in their skills for example some specialize in working in the real estate industry, speakers, coaches,and writers.
- When interviewing VA’s find out if they specialize. If they are not a specialist, and you feel as if you are “clicking” with the VA, do you think he or she will be able to adapt? As with any interaction, I think we know rather early if the person on the other end of the phone is going to mesh with us and possibly our clients.
- What are you REALLY looking for? Be specific. Maybe you will need more than one VA because of the specific skills that you need.
- Consider YOUR Clients – What do they expect when the hire you? Of course your clients are key and you want someone that will be able to handle them in a professional, personal manner.
- Can this VA transfer your style when and if they interact with your clients? Again, this goes back to identifying your needs.
- Are you looking to that VA to follow up, remind your clients about appointments or data that you are expecting from your clients.
- Do you have some difficult clients that need special attention and can your VA handle that?
- Ahhh Price – We all have budgets and it is even more critical today. Cheaper is NOT always better. I believe in the term – “you get what you pay for”. That does not mean if you find a VA that charges less, she does less quality work either. There are soo many components here, I just think you really should do your homework. We are business owners too and we believe in our product. Don’t negate the possiblities because they charge more than you initially wanted to pay.
- You can quantify the cost in so many ways. The obvious is considering what you charge, and what a sell brings. Is it costing you more to do administrative tasks yourself vs revenue affecting tasks?
- How does the VA help you bring in more clients? Often, we become the right hand and our opinions are sought. We may have some insight on marketing, and how to locate more clients. I believe it does take time to get to that level, but it is possible.
- Is the VA a business minded individual? Some may not be, it is worth looking into. Maybe that is not what you need, then it won’t matter, but in many situations VA’s are connected to various business trends and can offer some assistance.
- What really are the benefits? Is this short term or long term?
- Contract – Before you start any work with a VA, get a contract signed. It is critical to protect you and the VA to ensure there aren’t any future misunderstandings.
We are business owners too and we have schedules. Take the time to schedule time for your consultation so that both of you are prepared and have dedicated time to discuss the future/possibilities. Don’t hesitate to call again once that initial consultation has taken place, you may continue to think of something that you did not discuss the first time. Or maybe you want to offer an alternative/negotiate the price because you really want to hire that particular person. We want this to work, your business to grow, just as much as our own. We will partner with you for YOUR success.