Why should I trust someone I’ve never met?
VA’s are as concerned with your business success as they are with their own. In fact, their success depends on your success. So, a virtual can become one of the best assistants and business partners you’ve ever had. Just like you, they are business owners and very interested in helping their clients.
Virtual versus temp or temp agency
Virtual assistants tend to work harder than the average person issued to you by a temporary agency. Keep in mind that the temp agency is charging you as much as 20% more than the worker is actually getting paid. This practice often leads to the use of unskilled or unacceptable laborers. Hiring a virtual allows you to choose who works with you. You’ll also need to provide all of the temp’s supplies like paper, toner, pens, computer, electricity, etc, whereas, the VA comes with his or her own supplies.
How many times have you hired a temp who you spent time training, only to have her stick around for three weeks, then you had to train yet another temp? A virtual, as we mentioned, is in this to succeed and help you succeed. You’ll have to train him or her too, but only once!
Oh, yes, and you still need to pay the temp while she sits there and waits for another assignment from you. Not with a virtual. While she’s waiting for the next assignment from you, you can bet she’ll be working on something for another client.
Choosing a virtual assistant
Now that you’ve decided to hire a virtual assistant, how do you go about choosing one? There are several things you need to know before you start looking:
- What exactly do I need help with?
- What expertise does the VA need?
- How much do I have to spend?
- How quickly do I need this project done?
- How long will I need virtual assistance?
- How often will I need my VA to work?
- What hours should he or she be available?
- What days of the week?
- Is there any specific software he or she needs to have?
- Is what I need accomplished so specific that I’ll need to incorporate some training time?
- How will I pay him or her? Visa, MasterCard, Check, Paypal?
- How do I want to communicate with my VA? Phone, e-mail, snail mail, or a combination?
- Does my VA really need to be located in a particular time zone, country, part of the country, city?
- Any other particular qualities you’d like your virtual assistant to have?
Just as you would screen someone who would apply to work in your office, you’ll still need to spend a little time screening your virtual assistant. You’ll need to tell him or her what you need and want, and what is and isn’t acceptable. You’ll also need to negotiate pricing and terms with the virtual.
The best thing you can do to ensure you receive the help you need, is behave as though you’re choosing a new car. Push the buttons, turn on the stereo, kick the tires, and ask, ask, ask. Listen to what the potential VA has to offer you as well. He or she may even be able to do several other tasks, which you hadn’t counted on, or even offer some very sound business advice.
Who benefits by using a virtual assistant?
- Large corporations
- Small businesses
- Home based businesses
- Busy executives or managers
- Even individuals who just need a little extra help
What happens if I don’t like the VA I’ve hired, or s/he doesn’t work out?
Unless you’ve signed a contract guaranteeing a particular amount of time or pay, the answer is rather simple: you just don’t offer any more assignments. If you do happen to have a bad experience with one virtual, however, don’t let is sour you from finding another. Treat it as though you simply had a bad date. Bad dates to happen and some people just aren’t compatible. Get back out there and look for another VA that better suits your needs or personality.
A win-win for everyone
The use of virtual assistants truly is a win-win for everyone involved. For the employee-challenged business, VA’s dramatically increase your labor pool. And, for the cash-strapped entrepreneur, virtuals save money – lots of money. What’s more, it’s better for the environment to hire a virtual. Just think of all the vehicle emissions you’ll be saving by having one or two workers telecommute. As for the VA, they typically enjoy a better quality of life, as they are also able to be home and raise their children in between working on your projects.