Ten common mistakes made when hiring a Virtual Assistant

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Avoid these mistakes when hiring a VA

We’ve been talking about hiring a Virtual Assistant and it all sounds like this will be the resource for your what you need. It’s time to get clear on a few things. Before you hire a VA, look at some of the common mistakes made when doing so. By understanding the common mistakes, you can make sure that your VA experience will be as stress-free as possible. If you take care of these ten things, you’ll eliminate most of the frustrations you might encounter. Here's a list to get your going:

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Mistake #1. Not Understanding What Work You Need Completed

Before even placing an ad for a VA, you need to write down the types of work you need to outsource. Remember at first to only write down things that do not directly earn money. You should keep doing the core work that you are known for, and let the Virtual Assistant do the supportive tasks.

Mistake #2. Not reviewing their work regularly

Once you do hire someone, it’s important to review their work on a regular basis so that you are assured that it’s up to your standards. Plus, it will give you peace of mind to know that the work is indeed really done.

Mistake #3. Not providing feedback

You need to provide regular feedback to your Virtual Assistant. The best way to do it is to have a professional conversation about what’s working and what should be reviewed and improved. Ask for their assistance in making things more streamlined and agree to work towards that. This will help your VA tremendously.

Mistake #4. Not having a system in place

You have to have a system in place to help you assign tasks, and for your VA to receive them without having to deal with email. It’s that simple. There are a number of popular systems you could use, including Asana, Basecamp, Trello or Teamwork to name a few.

Mistake #5. Failing to set expectations

You need to let your VA know what you expect from them from day one. It’s extremely important to establish the right boundaries and the right expectations will go far in helping you and your new VA work well together. For example, if you prefer the VA to just do the tasks you give him or her and no more, say so. If you want them to make suggestions, let them know.

Mistake #6. Not recognizing that you get what you pay for

You probably know there’s a lot of hype about hiring Virtual Assistants for next to nothing and well below the minimum wage of most industrialized countries. This is just bad practice to get involved in as the work will not be as good as if you hired someone who is experienced and an expert in their field, who charges professional rates.

Mistake #7. Not giving the VA time to get up to speed

Many Virtual Assistants can get up to speed extremely quickly, but every new contract takes time to get to get into the flow of the new arrangement. Don’t give up too fast. Give it 60 to 90 days to ensure you’ve given it all that you can to make it work.

Mistake #8. Not letting them do their work their way

Micromanaging is the worst thing you can do. If you contract with a social media VA who is an expert in their field, don’t tell them how to do the work. Instead, tell them what your expectations are and what the deliverables will be. What work will be “turned in” to you at the end? What reports will be shown to demonstrate the success of the work completed?

Mistake #9. Treating the VA like an employee

A Virtual Assistant is not an employee and you cannot call on them in the same way you would if they worked in your front office to do your bidding at any moment. You’ll need to work within their system too.

They may have a 48-hour time limit for work deadlines, or they might require you to give them all their work for the week by a certain date and schedule phone calls. And yes, they’re going to charge you for every phone call, and every moment they work on your business. Be prepared for that.

Mistake #10. Not giving clear instructions and deadlines

When you give work to your VA, it should include very clear instructions along with a strict deadline. They should know what they need to deliver to you and when. They should not have to ask you a hundred questions about each assignment. You should try to answer everything up front. But, do be available for questions so your VA can work efficiently.

Sounds like a lot of work? Not really. It comes from the idea of working in a professional partnership, of laying down the requirements to get to the outcomes you need. Imagine working with a reliable, expert partner for your business. You need to take care of your part so your VA can do theirs, successfully. Your clients expect no less from you so why should this be different? Be successful when hiring your VA by taking care of these 10 things. You’ll be off to a great start. 

What difficulties do you see if you work with a Vistual Assistant? Tell us in the comments. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.