Are you always on the go and need help organizing your meetings and travel accommodations? If you said yes you need a virtual assistant. You may need help in ever other aspect besides the ones mentioned above but the fact of the matter is, a virtual assistant can help you in almost any way needed. From technical support to more administrative actions like bookkeeping, transcribing or email marketing, virtual assistants that specialize in every department are out there looking to service your needs.
You can hire part time, full time or even pay per action or task, all while cutting the cost and overhead of maintaining a physical office for them to sit at alone, just like they would at home. The problem is how to avoid a headache when searching through the well qualified sea of competitive virtual assistants to find one that suits all of your needs.
Below are the 5 most common mistakes individuals make when they first start to hire virtual assistants:
1. Skipping the Prep Work – The work you do prior to hiring a virtual assistant is a huge factor in your success, but it can be difficult and there’s not a lot of immediate gratification. First, you need to document your daily and weekly activities to analyze which tasks could be delegated out. Then you need to come up with detailed instructions on how a brand new person would accomplish those tasks. And finally, you need to write The Killer Job Description. The Killer Job Description explains in detail what your requirements are, and describes the ideal candidate.
2. Forgetting That You Get What You Pay For – When compared to hiring someone full time and in-house—or working extra hours to do the work yourself—it’s clear that hiring a virtual assistant can be the most cost-effective option. And while the potential low costs of hiring a virtual assistant are very real, it’s easy to get caught up in cost savings and try to pinch every penny.
3. Expecting a Plug-and-Play Solution – Like the best Christmas presents, “some assembly may be required” when working with a new virtual assistant for the first time. Don’t disregard the time it takes to successfully onboard a new team member—they’ll need to be trained in your systems and processes, and will take some time to ramp up. Even with highly skilled workers hired in-house, there is still some “runway time” before they reach full productivity. The same is true with virtual assistants.
4. Aiming for One-Stop Shopping – In real life, we wouldn’t expect to hire a Web-Developing, Content-Writing, Graphic-Designing, Bookkeeping, Appointment-Scheduling, SEO-ing, Customer-Servicing Pro, so why expect all that from a virtual assistant? As with any professional, virtual assistants have certain areas of work they specialize in. Sure, you can find some jack-of-all-trades people, and this may actually fit well with your objectives. But how good are they going to be at any one area if their attention is spread across so many different roles?
5. Micromanaging – Aside from saving money, the other reason most often cited for hiring virtual assistants is saving time. So it is surprising that many first-timers undo their time gains by micromanaging their virtual assistants. There is an understandable fear in working with someone far away. How will you know if they’re really working? To combat this, consider establishing a set of deliverables and ask for daily progress reports. This should help avoid the urge to be constantly checking up on your virtual team.
If you have any virtual assistant hiring experience our readers want to hear from you. What is the most important tip you can give to someone looking to hire a virtual assistant to keep them from having to deal with an uncontrollable situation in the future?