Hiring a Virtual Assistant – Things to consider

Hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) can be life saver for a small business owner, freeing up valuable time, and even help grow the business, but delegating possibly sensitive business information to a stranger is a tough exercise. To ensure a positive and mutually beneficial working relationship, it’s worth spending some time reviewing your business, and knowing what you need, before saying “Yes to the VA” – below are some things to consider.

1.    Do they have a positive reputation in the Marketplace?
Look into their reputation, which is easily done by utilizing searches and social media; this step will give you an idea of their skills and experience. Do they have references they can provide and work examples?


2.    Can you work with them?
While a VA works virtually, i.e. from their own home office, and you may have already had several phone conversations, nothing really replaces a face to face meeting, unless distance is the issue (use Skype).
During the meeting you should be able to determine if your working styles are compatible and whether you feel you can trust this person. Be clear about your expectations and specific requirements, as this will also help the VA to determine how they can best help you and your business. Also, it will allow the VA to recognise when their style is unlikely to match and will probably let you know, as they don’t want a difficult working relationship any more than you do.


3.    Are you looking for specialized support?
Many VA’s offer regular administrative assistance, but if you are looking for specialized support, spend the time to find a VA who best matches your requirements. If you need a custom website for example, it’s not a good idea to hire a VA who specializes in accounting to do the work; again be clear on your expectations and the job requirements. If the VA can’t answer job specific questions, maybe you should continue looking.


4.    Working with multiple VA’s? If you are already working with a VA but find that you need additional specialized support, ask your VA, as many have a network in place and may well know someone to suggest. Chances are that they have previously worked together on other projects and you would benefit from the level of understanding and collaboration that they have in place.


5.    Level of commitment you require from your VA
Just as the levels of knowledge, skill and experience of VA’s vary, so does their time availability. Check that the VA can actually commit the required time to your project. There’s no point in giving out work that has to be done during regular business hours to a part-time VA, who only has the evening and weekend to devote to projects.


Finding the right “fit” can take a little time on your part, but once you’ve got the right set-up in place, you’ll wonder how you ever survived before adding the VA to your team. Good luck!
As always, I’ve included some eye candy; this was taken at Allco Park in Maple Ridge, BC over the weekend.