Deciding that you need some help with the day-to-day tasks of running your business is a great move. It will free you up to concentrate on the things you’re really good at, and it will help your business to be more efficient. Deciding to hire a virtual assistant rather than a permanent member of staff is an increasingly popular way to do this – so make sure you avoid the common pitfalls so you can get the right person on board as soon as possible.

The easy route to the right VA

Once you’ve decided that a virtual assistant is the right route for you, it’s important that you find the best person for your needs. It’s important that you can trust the person you hire – they often end up being the first person your customers or potential customers talk to or deal with, and they are often handling some of your most important tasks, such as bookkeeping or customer service, so it makes sense to plan ahead before you hire a virtual employee. Keep on the right side of these tips, and you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of hiring a personal assistant that fits the bill.

1. Know what you need

It’s a classic mistake to go looking for help without any real idea of what you need. In order to find someone with the right skills, the requisite number of hours available and for the right cost, you need to have sat down and thought about which tasks you want to outsource, and how much you can afford to pay. Without knowing what you want the virtual assistant you’re hiring to do, you could end up with the wrong person for the job.

2. Ask for help

Whilst it might be cheaper to hire an assistant in the long run, many people spend too much time and money during the hiring process. These costs come from advertising, shortlisting, interviewing and sometimes even hiring and then having to start again because it hasn’t worked out. Avoid this pitfall by looking at a virtual assistant agency rather than for a single assistant. An agency will have people on their books with a range of skills and expertise, and can work with you to find the perfect person for your position. Asking for help from people who manage virtual assistant projects all the time will help you to get sorted faster.

3. Understand how virtual assistants work

Different virtual assistants work in different ways. Some stand-alone assistants might have a set way of working that doesn’t fit with what you need. So a key mistake to avoid when you’re starting to hire an online assistant is to look for someone who works with the flexibility you need. This might mean talking to an established team of assistants, rather than a single person, so that you can be sure there’s always cover if someone is sick or on holiday, and that the team can flex their hours up and down according to your needs.

4. Put reporting and performance controls in place

When you decide to work with a virtual assistant, you’re usually working with someone who is self-employed, which means you need to have a clear contract so you know what to expect – and so do they. Managing someone who’s working for you remotely can be tricky, and business owners often make the mistake of leaving problems running for too long, or changing assistants too often because expectations aren’t clear. That’s one of the reasons why working through an virtual assistant agency that employs staff instead can work well – you have a single point of contact, and the agency takes on the responsibility for ensuring performance matches expectation.

5. Make both your lives easier

For certain outsourced admin tasks, life is easier for both you and your virtual assistant if you have access to the same tools. The whole point of this exercise is to make your business more efficient, so if you make the mistake of not giving your new assistant access to your accounting system or your customer relationship management software, you’ll end up duplicating effort, not reducing it.

Deciding to hire a virtual assistant could be the best decision you make for your business right now. Treat it as a serious decision, rather than an ad-hoc helping hand, and you’ll save time and money, allowing you to focus on the areas where your skills are most needed.

To find out more about the benefits of working with a dedicated virtual assistant agency, feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.


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