This morning I took a trip out to grab some amazing bagels, and on my way back I stopped off at my local grocery store to pick up a few odds and ends. When I check out, I always go to a self-serve lane. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I had a cashier check me out. But I’m picky. I’ve been both a bagger and a cashier, and I’m extremely particular about how I bag my groceries. Plus, when I do it myself, I can keep a closer eye on making sure all the prices are correct.
Today, when I made it to the checkout lanes, you would have thought it was the day before Thanksgiving. What was everyone doing there, and more importantly, why was everyone taking such a long time to check out?
Things aren’t always going to work out between you and your Virtual Assistant. We all know just wanting something to work isn’t going to make it work. I’m not talking about money issues, personality issues or even capability issues. I want to talk about the three key problems that will kill your relationship with your VA that are all your fault. (Sorry!) The great part is that these three items are something that you can (and should) address even before you hire your assistant.
You want help for you business. You need help. You haven’t had a break in weeks and you’re just about to hide out in the basement for a day or two to have some quiet time and evaluate this whole “be my own boss” thing. How can you possibly hire a virtual assistant? You’re not in “millionaire” status yet. Heck, you’re not really even in “thousandaire” status. But you just can’t do it alone any more. How can it all work out?
Virtual Assistants Aren’t Full Time
They can be, but most virtual assistants have a book of clients just like you who are just getting help when they need it. And truly, that is the best part about hiring a virtual assistant. You don’t have to have someone sitting there, getting paid, waiting for work to show up.
Hire on a Per Project Basis
There is no requirement to hire a VA at an hourly rate. Start with one project. Set limits for the time, the dollar amount, the task. If you tell someone you want them to do as much research as she can for $200, then you don’t have to worry about what the project will cost. It’s already there, and you can plan your budget accordingly.
Hire for a Set Amount of Time
Another way to keep within a budget you can afford is to hire a virtual assistant for a certain amount of hours per month. Plenty of assistants provide package deals. This way you know that every month it is going to cost you X dollars. Once it’s built into your budget, it becomes part of your regular expenses.
The key to being able to afford a virtual assistant is understanding the financial benefit you can achieve from it. Would you rather be trying to cobble together social media posts, or researching leads, or would you rather be trying to talk with and sell to potential clients?
If a virtual assistant could free up one hour of your time each week to allow you to sell to potential clients, what would that be worth to you? If one sale was $500 and one hour of a virtual assistant’s time cost $25, I’d say that’s an amazing ROI.
It’s scary to invest when you’re counting every penny, but when you look at the big financial picture, you’ll see that you can’t afford not to hire a virtual assistant. (And you won’t need to hide out in your basement!)
The hiring process is a daunting task. You have to determine what you need. You have to determine the kind of person you’re looking for. You have to post a job. You have to review resumes. You have to schedule time to do interviews. And when you finally get to the interview, what questions should you be asking your potential virtual assistant?
There are a lot of simple, generic questions that you will ask after reviewing someone’s resume: Why did you apply for this position? What’s your hourly rate? But if you’re going to hire the best assistant for your needs, you need to ask these three questions.
How much time do you have to devote to me/my business?
If you need someone 20 hours a week and she is already working 40 hours between other clients, you may be put on the bottom of the To Do list. I have interviewed hundreds and hundreds of candidates for positions my client was hiring for, and there are plenty of people that are happy to work 60-80 hours per week. Still, this can affect how your tasks get done.
Perhaps you need someone to be available during normal business hours to answer calls. How will they be handling that if they’re already working for other clients during normal business hours?
It’s important that you understand how the virtual assistant handles her work and her workload between clients. You should always feel like you’re first in line, even if she has a thousand other clients.
Do you outsource your work?
I have spoken with so many different people who told me they hired someone, and then later found out that that person wasn’t doing the work. That’s a problem. When you’re interviewing, the expectation is that the person that you are speaking with is the one who is doing the work. Here at Your Gal Friday, potential clients always speak with me, and I always disclose the fact that, not only will I be working for them, but my entire team will be, too. And clients can choose to only work with one person that they can be in constant contact with, too.
Find out if the person you’re interviewing is a solo virtual assistant, has a team that will be helping, or if they just work with other virtual assistants around the world to share work. You should always know who is handling your work, and you have every right to interview those others as well as the primary virtual assistant.
Can you provide references to current clients?
It is critically important that you check professional references. This gives you the ability to find out from other professionals how this virtual assistant performed tasks, how well she communicated, kept to deadlines, and worked with other team members. Being able to speak with current references will give you a lot of insight into your potential hire, and you’ll be able to spot red flags during the call.
Ready to Ask More Questions?
If you are ready to ask more questions and find out about hiring Your Gal Friday as your virtual assistant, contact us today.
One of the toughest questions you may struggle with when growing your business is “How do I know it’s the right time to hire help?” It’s always good to hire help before you need it (no one wants to be in desperation mode when it’s time to hire!), but here are three tips to help you decide if the time is right.
You spend more time doing administrative work than networking and working with clients.
If the majority of your day is spent doing research, billing, customer service and social media posts, you need help. The basic, administrative tasks that occur daily should be handed off to someone so that you can focus all of your attention on gaining clients, creating products and growing your business. Think of if this way - an assistant maintains your business while you are working to grow it. No one else can do what you do, but plenty of people can answer the phone and respond to emails.
With each new client you get, you become more afraid that you can’t handle everything.
If the joy of gaining a new client is quickly squashed by the fear that there is no way you’ll be able to support them properly because you have so many things going on, it’s time to get help. When you surround yourself with people who can alleviate your stress by taking care of the fundamentals of your business, you can breathe and focus on new clients with a positive, relaxed attitude.
You want to start expanding into aspects of business you’re not strong in.
Thinking it’s time to start a podcast, create an online program, just start up an Instagram account, but you have no idea where to begin? This is absolutely the time to build up your team. Hire experts who know how to use the tools, understand what it is you need, and can create systems and programs easily - because that’s what they do.
Don’t wait until it’s too late (i.e. you’re overwhelmed) to bring help on board for your business. Even if it’s just bringing on an assistant for an hour each day, start building your team now so that your business can consistently grow with ease.
25+ years of business experience. 12+ years of virtual experience.