Who is a Virtual Assistant (VA)? A person you can delegate some or most of your tasks that does not require physical presence of the individual. They are generally carried out from a home office by self-employed individuals. There are even businesses which provide such services.
Virtual assistants provide administrative, technical or creative assistance to their Clients who may vary from businesses (start-ups, growing, mid-size), professionals or individuals. They can be beneficial for those who are scrambling for time; to concentrate on their core activity, to provide a professional image when on a tight budget or for work life balance.
Do I need a Virtual Assistant?
If answers to any of the above is a ‘yes’, then you are reading the right article on Virtual Assistant Services.
Virtual Assistant – Hiring & Working with them
Hiring a VA is not a simple task however if done correctly, can be rewarding and a step in the right direction.
Now that you’ve decided to hire a VA, to be successful in your choice, it requires some work.
Make a list of all the tasks that is time consuming and doesn’t necessarily require your attention. Mundane administrative tasks most often eat up your productive time. Once you list the tasks, sort those that can be delegated to another individual.
Document Procedures/Create Videos
Create videos or document procedures on how to carry out the tasks that you propose to delegate. Let it be comprehensive so that any individual could pick it up from there without much hand-holding.
Create Job Description
The job description should clearly mention the qualification & skills expected of the VA to carry out the tasks. This will help you to hire the right VA.
Finding a VA
You will get many VAs on various portals. What you need to bear in mind is that you pay for what you get. Hiring the VA is definitely to save on the costs. However ensure that you don’t hesitate to pay that extra penny to get quality work. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all low priced services are of less quality or highly priced ones have high quality. Ensure that the VA has the qualification & skills necessary to carry out the tasks.
Evaluating prospective VAs
Once you have shortlisted a few VAs for your tasks, you can test their skills using various online tools and tests. This can help you to evaluate the quality of their work and whether they are appropriate for the tasks to be delegated.
Hiring a VA
Clearly list out the terms of services required (includes work hours, turn-around time, status reports etc), payment and any conditions before hiring the VA. This will avoid future friction in the course of your professional relationship.
Similar to an on-hired staff, your VA requires induction to certain processes so that he/she could understand your business/personality and deliver services accordingly. A little bit of hand-holding in the initial stages may provide that personal touch required in building trust and understanding. There is always a learning curve even in the best of the individuals. This will stand good for the VAs as well.
In the beginning, assign simple tasks to the VA. Once you and the VA are confident, add some more tasks. If not, within the terms of contract, terminate the VA and move along. Add tasks progressively when you are satisfied with the results. This will go a long way in building a mutually beneficial professional relationship.
Don’t expect your VA to be a specialist in every trade – administrative work, social media marketing, SEO, Sales etc. Set realistic demands. Maybe you’ll find jack-of-all-trades types and this may fit your need. Would they be able to deliver quality work in all they do when there are so many tasks at hand?
Once you’ve delegated your tasks and have given all the required instructions, stop micromanaging. This may prove more time-consuming than if you’d done it yourself. Establish realistic deliverables and request for daily status reports. This will avoid constant checking on your virtual team. If the report shows any lag, discuss and provide any additional information/instructions required.
We are already in a virtual age where many of the services that is being rendered are virtual – banking, shopping etc. So why not take the plunge to use a Virtual Assistant to save on time, costs and yet conduct your business/activities in a professional manner.