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I’ve been hearing too many stories of late from fellow business owners, clients, and colleagues who have had bad experiences when partnering with a virtual assistant.
So in this article I thought I would shake things up a bit and share with you my five tips for finding a GREAT virtual assistant for your business… and believe me, there ARE many great VAs out there; you just need to know what you want before you go looking!
1. Decide what your requirements are. What skills and abilities do you want your VA to possess? What projects/activities do you want them to be working on? Do they match your needs? Check out their websites, view client testimonials, and examine their profile.
2. One hat doesn’t fit all. Although VAs primarily provide administrative support, many are now specializing in different areas of business support. If you’re a speaker, look for a VA that specializes in speaker support; if you need help with your online marketing activities, look for a VA that specializes in this area. This might mean that you’ll work with more than one virtual assistant but each one has their own unique skills and abilities that they can bring to your business.
3. Cheaper isn’t always better. Don’t always go for the cheapest, even if you think they have a great skill-set. Here’s why… if a VA is charging quite a bit less than the average rate, how many billable hours do you think they are going to have to work or how many clients are they going to have to be serving so that they can make a good living from their business? I’m betting too many! This translates into too many balls to juggle, work slipping through the cracks, projects not being completed on time, and so comes the bad experiences that I’m hearing about. Which leads me on to the next point…
4. Business owner first; VA second. Like any business owner a virtual assistant will know that they are a business owner first, and a virtual assistant second, and so will be running their business accordingly. They will have systems in place for handling new client enquiries, and have a firm client consultation process in place. If, when you approach a potential VA, they ask you to book an appointment for a consultation take this as a very good sign – they have their system in place! You cannot begin working with a VA unless you’ve had this initial consultation first to ensure that you’re a good fit for one another. This process is a two-way street and one that is absolutely essential in ensuring you have a great experience in working with a virtual assistant.
5. Get it in Writing. Always ensure that you sign an agreement before any work starts so that you both know exactly what is expected of each other. This should include information about the fees, terms & conditions etc.
Bonus tip: Contact, contact, contact! And finally, contact your potential VA as many times as you feel necessary to ensure that you are 100% happy with them before any work starts.
Partnering with a virtual assistant is a great business investment for you; they can take a lot of the day-to-day work off your hands, freeing up valuable time for you so that you can focus on growing your business and doing those activities that only you can do, i.e. working one-on-one with clients, developing products etc.
And if you partner with a VA who has a business and marketing mindset they will be able to help you plan, strategize, and achieve your goals as well as making your To Do list their To Do list!
Don’t let prior bad experiences cloud your future decisions. If you take on board all the tips I’ve shared with you today, I guarantee you’ll find a GREAT virtual assistant!
(c) 2009 Tracey Lawton
About the author: Office organization expert, Tracey Lawton, teaches professional speakers, coaches, and authors how to create the essential online marketing and office organization systems needed to operate an efficient, organized, and profitable business. Learn how YOU can create an efficient and organized office in 7 EASY steps, and receive free how-to articles at http://www.OfficeOrganizationSuccess.com
Online Business Development Strategist, Tracey Lawton, teaches life coaches, business coaches, and virtual assistants how to become more organized, streamlined, and automated so that they don’t constantly bottleneck projects and processes. Having the right systems in place leads to consistent revenues, more clients, and less stress and overwhelm. To learn more about creating the RIGHT systems for YOUR business, take Tracey's Free Quiz, "Is Your Business Set Up To Fail?" at http://bizsuccessquiz.com