In many ways, it’s akin to online dating. Finding the right virtual assistant is about more than taking the first crucial step to give this delegating thing a try. That’s just the beginning.
Most virtual assistants work remotely and use technological resources like DropBox and Google Drive to share files with clients, and Toggl to track their time. They generally work from home offices and offer a variety of services in areas like administration, marketing, graphic and web design and IT support.
So instead of resumes and cover letters, you’re faced with online profiles and portfolios. Interviews rarely fall into any given mold, often happening virtually via Skype or simply through a chatting platform. And your virtual assistant will be just that – virtual. But off-site does not mean out of mind, nor should it.
Instead, it is crucial to make sure you have found the right virtual assistant for you before taking the leap. And that can feel a whole lot like dating. Rightly so, one might say, because you are doing one of the most challenging things for most entrepreneurs: delegating. You are essentially choosing to trust someone you’ve likely never met to do something you’re not entirely convinced you can’t do better yourself.
So here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you find the right person for the job:
Get to know your candidates. Think of contracting services like Upwork as something akin to Match.com. You set up a profile just as your virtual assistant candidates do, and can connect based on the information provided. Yet just as some Match.com profiles look better on paper than in reality, the same can happen with VAs. Remember this as you sort through profiles, keeping in mind the time you invest finding the right person from the start you will save by not having to go through the process all over again if things don’t work out.
Don’t settle. Finding the right virtual assistant for the job may not happen immediately. If you’re browsing through contracting web sites like Elance and Upwork, it is imperative for you to take time to find the right person. There are a lot of other fish in the sea. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to move on to the next person. This is your business and your goals. Do not sell yourself short by settling with someone that has anything less than the background and skill sets you need to get the job done right the first time.
Don’t ever settle for less than you deserve, because once you start to settle, you always will.
Embrace the “team” mindset. Communication is key, particularly using technology as the means to establish an agreement and make sure expectations are met. Trust can be a challenge at first, but it shouldn’t have to be. Your time is valuable and best spent elsewhere, so it’s particularly important to make sure you and your new VA are able and willing to maintain an open and active line of communication.
All for one, one for all. With well-qualified VAs, you shouldn’t have to worry about investing time and money in training, since they are providing a service they are the expert in. They provide the majority of their own resources by working off site and using their own technology. They are paid only for the work they complete, making them a sound investment for your business. But none of that matters if you don’t hold on to them. When you find someone that works, someone that fits right in and seamlessly becomes an active and valuable member of the team, do what you can to keep them.
Because, in the end, finding the right virtual assistant really is kind of like online dating.
You have these profiles and hide behind an icon at first, but then you learn about each other. You get to know each other and understand how your relationship can grow moving forward. And, if all goes well, you wind up on the same team.