If you have recently come to the realization that you can make better use of your time and earn more profits by focusing on the income earning aspects of your business, you are not alone. More and more entrepreneurs are choosing to outsource their administrative duties to a Virtual Assistant. But how do you find the right VA for you? Putting your trust in a complete stranger to care for your business’ administrative functions is tricky, and in some cases even risky business. You want to be sure that you are able to trust that your assistant isn’t taking advantage of you by over-billing and that he/she is not disclosing any of your business’ confidential information to others. You also want to be sure that your VA is a skilled, reliable professional that will make your business a priority.
The vast majority of Virtual Assistants are business owners much like you. If they have any knowledge of the business world at all, they realize that your business success correlates with their business success. But, in this industry, as in many others, there are opportunists that one would like to avoid. Blindly hiring VA and then trusting that person with your business is not generally the best approach. The following are some tips that should help you select a capable VA for your business needs:
1. Examine the VA’s website. The site should enable you to determine a few key details. Is the text free of spelling errors? Is it properly formatted and well written? If so, this is a good indication that the VA operates their business in a professional manner and is detail oriented. Visit the “services” page to see if they can carry out most of the tasks you need performed. The “about us” page should give you an idea of the VA’s background and qualifications.
2. Ask a friend or colleague about their VA. More people than you think are using the services of Virtual Assistants these days. Ask around to see if anyone you know either uses a VA or knows someone who uses a VA. Talk to that person to see if they are happy with their Assistant’s work. If other people are happy with his/her work, this is a good indication that you will be happy as well.
3. Ask any potential candidates for a free consultation to discuss the possibility of working with them. During the consultation, discuss the VA’s professional experience, but remember, this is not a one way interview. The Virtual Assistant is a business owner and will also be asking you questions about your business to see if he/she wants to work with you. Be sure to discuss their billing practices. Will they track their time for you so that you can see the hours they have spent on your work? During this consultation, you should be able to evaluate whether the VA is intelligent and articulate and whether you are able to easily communicate with one another.
4. Ask for references. If you have time to check references, it’s a good idea to do so. As with any potential contractor, checking with businesses the VA has worked with, will allow you to ask an objective individual for their opinion of the Assistant’s work.
5. Start on a per project basis before retaining the VA’s services for a longer term. This will provide the best indication of their skill level and how well you work together. Some VA’s offer discounts on first projects to encourage you to use their services on a trial basis. While not all VAs offer such deals, it can’t hurt to ask. Always take advantage of these offers before agreeing to a long-term working relationship.
Some other things you should look for in a Virtual Assistant are superior customer service skills, prompt replies to your phone calls or emails, and a work schedule that is commensurate with your own. Having said this, it is important for you to remember that a Virtual Assistant is a business owner. They have other clients and may not be available at all hours of the day or night. If that is what you need, you should probably consider hiring an employee instead.
Finding a qualified Virtual Assistant will provide you with the freedom to focus on making your business more profitable. The right VA should provide quality work in a relatively timely manner and will undoubtedly increase your productivity. The approach to finding the perfect VA suggested here is a structured one that should increase your probability of gaining an Assistant, with whom you can enjoy a lasting and mutually successful working relationship.