When you're in the startup phase of a business, it's normal to think you can take on the world. Heck, you may even try to wear every hat in the company.
This may include dabbling a little in HR, messing around in bookkeeping, and even micro-managing your employees.
But as time goes on and things start to kick off, you'll find there's no time to do all of that. At least, not if you're looking to grow your success.
So rather than stressing out about all that's on your plate, you decide to hire a virtual assistant (VA).
While this is an excellent move for the future of your business, there are some things you should consider beforehand.
Here are some questions you should ask before delegating tasks to VAs.
1. Which tasks should I delegate?
This is one of the tougher questions, so it's best to tackle this first. You know there's a lot on your plate, but which of them should you continue doing yourself?
Let's take a look at how you can tell which duties to hand over.
Any task that's simple, but requires a lot of work shouldn't be on your daily (or weekly) to-do list. All this will do is eat up your time and slow down productivity.
An example of a tedious task is inserting 100s of lines of data into your system. This is no-brainer work that you can delegate to a VA.
Entrepreneurs know there aren't enough hours in the day. But this is because they don't know how to manage their time.
If you're performing tasks that take hours to complete, then it's time to slay the vampire that's sucking the life out of you.
These tasks are sometimes more complex than the tedious tasks. However, someone with experience can easily tackle it. For example, writing proposals to prospects.
You're terrible at it
When you're used to wearing multiple hats, you get accustomed to thinking you can do it all -- even when you can't.
It's critical to take a step back to see what you're good at (and more importantly, what you're bad at). Make a list of these items so you can find someone who will do it better and faster than you.
It's something you can teach others to do
Sure, you can continue writing up all of your emails for your newsletter campaign. But why do that when you can teach someone else to do it for you?
The same goes for any task you can coach someone else to do so you can focus on other more critical projects.
2. What am I looking for in a VA?
Now, there are a particular set of qualities you want your virtual assistant(s) to have. Of course, they need to have the skillset to handle their duties (or be a quick learner).
But what else should you look for? Here's a quick list.
A great communicator
Obviously, you want someone who speaks your language so they can understand your instructions. But it goes a little further than this.
You need a virtual assistant that's going to keep an open line of communication so you can get in touch with them when you need to.
They should also keep you updated on the progress of larger projects. You don't want to get the run around when you're trying to get a status update.
This will also make it easier to analyze their productivity.
Has excellent references (or testimonials)
It's hard to know who you can trust, especially when you're hiring someone you've never met (and never will meet) in person.
In most cases, virtual assistants are in another state (or country) than you, which makes this impossible. However, this doesn't mean you can't form a trusting relationship with them.
One way to gauge their trustworthiness is to look at their reviews and testimonials. If they don't have any, then ask for references you can contact.
A great problem solver
The last thing you need is a virtual assistant who's going to need hand-holding for months on end. The purpose of hiring a VA is so that you can gain more time to perform bigger tasks.
So to avoid this problem, we recommend hiring a VA with exceptional analytical and problem-solving skills. This way, they can at least try to figure out things for themselves before reaching out to you for help.
3. How will I onboard my VA so they can hit the floor running?
A part of getting your VA equipped to manage your tasks is to onboard them efficiently. You need a plan in place to help get them prepared to take the reigns so you can move on without worry.
There are different tools you can use for the onboarding process.
For example, you can use online visual tools like Skype or Join.me, if you have to train them. Otherwise, these are great for getting that initial face-to-face contact remote relationships tend to lack.
Be sure to introduce them to the team, so they feel right at home (and not like an outcast).
Next, you want to have a way to update their to-do list each day. Ideally, you want to use online software like Trello, Asana, or Basecamp to manage all of your projects together.
It's a good idea to create an automated onboarding process, so you don't have to spend time doing this manually (especially if you're going to hire a team of VAs).
For example, you can create video tutorials or interactive lessons that they can access virtually.
If you have unique tools you use within your business, then you'll need to train them to use these as well.
Here's a quick list of tools you can use for your remote teams:
Slack for instant communication
Skype for video calls
Google Drive for managing and storing documents
Buffer or Hootsuite for managing your social media accounts
LastPass for password security and storage
Grammarly and Hemingway for editing documents
Asana and Basecamp for managing projects
These are just some of the dozens of tools you can use, so explore your options!
4. How will you pay your VA?
A healthy VA-business relationship relies on great communication, high productivity, and on-time payments.
If any of this is lacking, then you're going to run into a ton of problems.
It's good to have an idea of how you're going to set up your payment arrangements ahead of time. For example, are you going to pay hourly or by the task?
And are you going to pay via credit card, debit card, or another online platform, such as PayPal?
Then will you pay your bill on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis? Once you have this all figured out, you can let your VA know, so there's no confusion about payments.
This will also help you to find a virtual assistant who's willing to accept your payment terms.
5. How will I manage my virtual assistants?
We've already covered how you can onboard, train, and communicate with your VAs. And you may even have a general idea of how you'll interact with them day-to-day or week-to-week.
But this isn't enough to create a long-lasting relationship with your virtual teams.
You'll need to organize how you'll manage their assignments. Of course, you don't want to micro-manage them, but you do need to make sure their tasks are completed and done accurately.
In the beginning, it's good to oversee your virtual assistants for several weeks before cutting them loose. This way, they have time to learn the ropes and your processes to be more efficient at completing your projects.
Have a schedule set up so that you know when it's time to update their to-do list. It's also a good idea to choose a day out of the week to manage upcoming, pending, and completed tasks.
Eventually, your VA will become acquainted with your business and how it operates and may one day fit the role of project manager for the other VAs you bring in later.
6. Should I hire a VA company or do it myself?
There are hundreds of thousands of VAs all over the world. Selecting the one that's best for you and your company can be complicated.
But it doesn't have to be.
While you can go to sites like Upwork and Fiverr to shop around for VAs -- there's no guarantee that they'll fit your needs.
This can quickly turn into a cat and mouse game where you're hiring and firing VAs left and right. Why go through all of that when you can work with a VA agency?
By choosing to work with an agency, you're cutting out a ton of legwork. For instance, you won't have to do all the searching, matching, and interviewing.
Instead, a representative at the agency will help you with all of this. They will hand select VAs that meet your criteria and then allow you to choose which one you want to go with.
Having a service that vets virtual assistants will reduce the headache of dealing with incompetent workers.
It's easy to see that the VA agencies are the better choice if you're looking to get quality without doing all the recruiting yourself.
Quick tips for working with virtual assistants
When you start looking for a VA, you may get caught up in the concept of having your own remote virtual team and go all out with hiring a handful at a time.
But this isn't a good idea.
This will only complicate the onboarding process and make it difficult to manage projects. It's better to hire one VA at a time to get them onboard completely before hiring more.
Also, it's good to document your processes, so you don't have to go over the same steps with each virtual assistant.
For example, if you're hiring a VA to handle your email marketing, then it's good to have templates and examples of successful campaigns they can use and learn from.
Hiring a VA for your company
Bringing a virtual assistant onto your team is a great way to free up your time to expand and grow your company. But you can't make this work unless you find the right VAs.
At Uassist.Me, we help entrepreneurs, small business owners, and even large enterprises find virtual assistants. Our professionals get to know you and your business so we can match you with the best VA.
Plus, all the VAs in our system are vetted to ensure they can provide the best services to our customers.
Ready to get started with finding your perfect virtual assistant? Then it's time to ask yourself the above questions.
Once you're ready to move forward, you can contact our experts to get started!