Trusting a Virtual Assistant
Virtual Administrative Support Services

Questioning women

If you are a solopreneur (I love that name!), a start-up business, a want to be start-up business, or someone established with your business, you know how hard it is to run. You must wear many hats, all hats. Maybe you have considered using a virtual assistant to help you. But how do you know you can trust them with your business details?

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You must market your business, look for new clients, service the clients you have, deal with projects, do your bookkeeping (the tax man cometh!), maintain your inbox, post on social media, go to networking events and “press the flesh,” correspond with vendors (if any), write and make presentations, create blog posts, post the blogs, keep up with your contacts, newsletters, event planning if you are giving a talk or a seminar, pay contractors or employees (if there is any), make travel arrangements, answer the phone, maintain the website…you get the picture. My head hurts just thinking about it all.

Because so many people are taking the “solopreneur” route these days, the Virtual Assistant industry is booming. It may be booming, but a big question hangs in every business person’s mind.

What to know what a virtual assistant can do for you? Read this article.

“How do you find a Virtual Assistant you know you can trust?” Really T-R-U-S-T!

You start building trust with a virtual assistant by talking.

This question is vital to developing a relationship with someone who will work with you. Without trust, you won’t ever feel comfortable assigning them tasks. Another issue is the Virtual Assistant will see things about your business you probably want to keep confidential. How do you know that person will abide by the requirements?

These are excellent concerns and should be resolved before the first task is assigned. How can you think of “opening your kimono” to someone you don’t know?

First, let’s review how to find a VA. They are everywhere these days, so the opportunities are endless. You could go to sites, like Fiverr.com, Upwork.com, Craigslist, or Freelancer. You could go to LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. You could ask for referrals from people you know, who use one. There are many ways to find a VA.

Before you get overwhelmed, I suggest you step back and look at what you want to outsource. Make a list of things you think someone else could handle for you. Next, review your list and decide if these tasks require a high level of trust. If all you want is someone to do simple data entry, design a logo, or proofread, then one of the big sites might be okay. These sites have a way to resolve issues if you are not happy, but most times, the result will not satisfy you.

If you will give the VA access to your email, schedule, allow social media posting, talk to clients, have access to your website, make travel arrangements (which might require a credit card), and manage your bookkeeping, then you might need to up your level of trust.

Once you decide what you will give to a VA, then you can decide how to look for one. At this point, ask yourself these questions:

Three items you need consider when looking for a virtual assistant.

1. Language. You might want someone who speaks your language as their first language. Miscommunication can become a bigger problem if your language is their second (or third) language. This is a big complaint for both sides of this situation.

2. Time zone. If your VA lives on the other side of the world, will be it a problem for you? They will work while you are sleeping and vice versa. Getting together will be harder for you, depending on where they live.

3. Personal views. Let’s face it; we all have personal views. Maybe you would feel best if you give an opportunity to someone who lives in your same country. You know, support the local economy. Maybe you are a Christian blogger and want someone who understands your faith. Maybe these aren’t considerations for you. How about other views you may have?

Okay, you have whittled this down to trust level, basic location, and type of person. Now, you can focus more on how to find that one person.

Notice how the virtual assistant responds.

Look for a VA on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn etc. Make a list of those who appeal to you and start investigating.

First, do they have a website? Is it nice looking? Is it free of obvious misspellings and grammatical errors (everyone makes a mistake, but not on every line)? Does it have an “About Me” page? Does it have a way to get in touch with the person (a contact me page)? Read the website. It will give you a feel for the person.

Other things you may want to consider are how long they have been working in an administrative position. Are they governed by any board or authority (i.e., I am a CPA; therefore, I am governed by the State of Florida Board of Accountancy)?

Do they or will they provide any referrals?

If you fill out the “Contact Me” form and send a message, do they respond in a reasonable time (I say, give it 24 hours).

Is their return email nicely constructed, free of misspellings and grammatical errors? Do they suggest getting in touch to talk and suggest a way (i.e., Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.)?

When the time comes to meet, are they prompt?

When you connect, you need to ask them questions, regarding the work you want done. Do they have experience, are they familiar with the software, etc.? Another good thing to ask is if they would be willing to have a background check. You might not do it, but their reaction is something to consider.

Consider whether they converse with you well. Are you communicating? Do they look you in the eye? Do they present themselves well, hair combed and wearing decent clothing? Are they respectful?

Above all else, do you get a good “gut” feel about this person? Remember, hiring someone as a VA is very similar to hiring someone who will come work in your office every day. Some people you know will fit; others won’t.

Don’t be afraid to dip your toe in the Virtual Assistant pool. You will be amazed at what they can do for your business. Just be careful with your hiring, rely on your common sense, and take the precautions I have outlined.

I’d love to have your feedback on hiring a VA. Have you done it? What went right, what went wrong?

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