So you're feeling overworked and thinking you might need a VA? You've begun your search to find out it's a whole new world of options out there!! Help yourself out by knowing the top 7 mistakes business owners make when hiring a VA:
1. Business owners don't know why they need a VA.
Knowing why you need a VA helps ensure you hire the right type! VAs come with different skillsets and experience in different fields. Clearly define what you need assistance with and save yourself a headache later on! Write up a job description and clearly list everything that's important to you! Do you need someone with advanced or intermediate skills? Is there a particular program that they will need to know?
2. Business owners think cheap might be better.
You get what you pay for. Cheap doesn’t mean quality. It’s better to pay a reasonable rate and to have the job done well the first time. You might think you're saving yourself money but in reality you're creating more work for yourself in having to micro manage your VA if they are a beginner. Look at it as an investment in growing your business and freeing up your time so you can focus on the work you love to do! Now that's worth paying for!!
3. Business owners’ expectations are too high.
Unless you have hired a VA that is an expert in their field, have reasonable expectations. Just like any new employee, it will take time for a VA to learn your system and how you like work to be done. Expect professional service but give allowance while your VA is learning how your business operates. Take time to develop a good working relationship and efficiency will flow from that.
4. Business owners struggle with planning deadlines.
As with any employee you need to give them tasks and deadlines to work to. Depending on your working style you may prefer to have close ongoing communication around tasks that have been given. On the other hand you may want them to only report back once the tasks are finished. Have you thought about when you need your VA to be available and at what times? Whether you just need the occasional help with a project or require ongoing assistance? If you’re looking for 10hrs a month you may be hiring a VA that has multiple clients. Communicate what you need so you're receiving the level of service you require.
5. Business owners get excited and invest too much too quickly.
Start with a trial period. You may be an incredible boss, they may be an outstanding VA but your style of working together may not jell. Save yourself time by trialling out the relationship before you invest in too much training. You might begin with a project and increase into ongoing assistance as you become assured that your VA will be a good fit for your business. Discuss from the beginning what level of assistance you will eventually need to ensure they will be available for your immediate, as well as your ongoing assistance.
6. Business owners haven't thought about where their VA should be based.
There is a debate raging over whether or not you should hire an offshore VA. Ultimately the question comes down to what is better for your business. There are strong benefits of having your VA based in the same country that your business operates from - unless of course, having an offshore VA clearly benefits your business model.
Hiring within the country that your business is located in can present a more professional image to clients, especially if your VA will have direct contact with them. It will also save you time zone differences and language / comprehension difficulties.
If you do decide to hire an offshore VA, clear communication about what your expectations are is very important. Though you may think you've clearly communicated what you need, it's actually how they interpret what you've asked that determines what the outcome will be. Until you're confident with the VA you've hired, ask them to repeat back to you what they need to do. Break down tasks into steps that you approve after each step is completed rather than giving them a big project to complete straight off. This way you'll be able to quickly see any areas you need to give further clarification on and save yourself money on wasted instruction.
7. Business owners may not need a VA.
Maybe you don't need to hire a VA but you need to utilise the resources you have in house better? Or maybe the work you are doing is redundant and adding to your task list - but not helping your business grow? If you can't answer point #1 of this article well then maybe a simple restructuring is in order! Have you thought about a clear vision for what you want your business to achieve and know how you are going to get there? Focus on the tasks that are essential to that and hire a VA only if it will help your business grow.