6 Mistakes To Avoid When Working a Virtual Assistant

For most, the Virtual Assistant world is new ground. Most don’t know how to find a Virtual Assistant and once one is found, the collaborating process can seem messy. Below I’ve highlighted several common mistakes that business owners make when getting started working with a Virtual Assistant.

1. Being Unprepared

Working with a Virtual Assistant is a good business decision, but one that can take some prep work initially. Prior to working with a virtual assistant you need to have an idea of what tasks you are needing assistance in, how many hours a month you will require, and instructions on how to complete the tasks. If you wanted to give even more detail, you can write a job description which should explain your requirements and describes your ideal candidate. As with most things, the gratification of this prep work isn’t immediate, but in the end, you will be glad you did.

2. Hiring Cheap

Looking to pinch every penny? The old adage, “you get what you pay for” comes in handy here. A virtual assistant for $2 an hour brings many disadvantages including:

  • Potential language barrier
  • Big time zone difference
  • Inability to understand your business concepts
  • Confidentiality issues

While you are looking to reduce employee-related costs working with an extremely low-cost virtual assistant brings too many disadvantages. These disadvantages could be disastrous for your business. A good, quality virtual assistant will be there to partner with you in your success. And true, the dollar-per-hour will be more for a quality virtual assistant, compared to hiring someone fulltime and in-house, BUT a quality virtual assistant will be most cost-effective. See the graphic below:

3. Some Assembly May Be Required

This is all-too-true! Bringing a new person up-to-speed with your business concepts will take some time. Issues like granting access to calendar, contacts, email, may require more work-arounds than you had anticipated; or getting your virtual assistant set up on weekly/monthly schedule of tasks, takes some tweaking as well. Allow your virtual assistant time to join your team. A virtual assistant has a lot to learn in regards to your systems and processes. With employees you have in-house, there was time before they reached their full potential, please allow the same for your virtual assistant.

4. Don’t Micromanage

Ahhhhhh! This one can be difficult for the person who has “done it all” for years. I get it. I understand. Letting go of things is hard to do. You’ve done it the same way for years and your business is your baby. But one of the reasons you want to work with a virtual assistant is to save you time. Micromanaging will only continue to eat your time, but will also serve to frustrate your virtual assistant. If it calms your fears, why not ask for weekly progress reports. Not being able to go down the hall and ask where your virtual assistant is on a project can create some fear so put in place checks and balances. Not only will that calm your fears, but miscommunications will be caught sooner as well.

5. Wanting It All

While it would be great, to have a one-stop shop virtual assistant, please don’t expect that out of yours. When calling your bookkeeper, you don’t expect them to be a content-writing, appointment scheduling, customer service pro do you? You may need SEO help, web-developing help, graphic designing help, bookkeeping help, but how good is your virtual assistant going to be if they’re a jack-of-all-trades? If you need web developing help, go to a web developing specialist, if you need bookkeeping help, go to a bookkeeper – those who specialize in those areas to give you the best help that you need. What is the phrase, jack-of-all-trades, master of none?

6. Unrealistic Turn Around Time

While your business is the most important thing to you, and what you’ve got going on is uber important, be considerate of your virtual assistant who has other clients. Your dedicated virtual assistant is no doubt busy and is taking care of all of his/her clients with care. Expecting immediate turn around time is not fair to your virtual assistant who is running a business themselves. You wouldn’t go into your lawyers office and expect them to drop everything and start working on your case, would you? Probably not. You would expect them to give you an idea when they’ll be able to get to it and when you should hear from them. Of course, if there is something urgent, make the request known to your virtual assistant. As for me, I am always open to hearing the needs of my clients.

I am the owner of SwansonSimpleSolutons, LLC, a virtual assistant business. I have been working to give my clients back time that they so desperately need. Please contact me if you think you’re in need of administrative help, but do not want to hire a full-time employee!

Best wishes,

Christine Swanson, Virtual Assistant