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4 Mistakes When Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Are you guilty of these four mistakes when hiring a virtual assistant? Well, today we're going to dive deep into the world of virtual assistance and uncover some hilarious and eye-opening scenarios.

Now let's dive into the common mistakes that many of us make when hiring a virtual assistant. These mistakes can lead to confusion, inefficiency, and missed opportunities. But no worries because these mistakes are completely avoidable. By understanding these pitfalls in this video, you'll be better equipped to start and build a successful working relationship with your virtual assistant.

Mistake #1: Not Setting Clear Goals for Tasks.

Picture this: You've hired a virtual assistant, but they seem to be stumbling around, unsure of what they're supposed to do. You're probably getting one to ten emails from your VA asking you to give them clarification for a task. Believe me, this happens more often than you think, especially if this is the first time you hired a VA in your business. So, what went wrong? Well, chances are, you forgot to set clear goals for the tasks. Your poor VA is left wondering why they're cleaning up a Google Drive or organizing a mish-mashed spreadsheet.

The solution? Make sure you provide a backgrounder or some context for each task. Let your VA know why they're doing what they're doing. You might be surprised at the brilliant ideas they come up with to streamline the process. Remember, communication is key!

If you don't start off on the right foot, you'll stumble. Here's are steps to follow when it’s your first time sending a task to your VA:

Step 1) Give clear instructions.

Start by giving your virtual assistant clear instructions. If there are a lot of steps which could be hard to write down, it might be easier to use or any screen recording app that lets you record a video showing your VA how to do the task. Sending a video to your VA is a time saver for sure because there’s little room for misinterpretation when you’re SHOWING how a task is done rather than writing it down and sending it to your VA.

Step 2) Require your VA to confirm that they understood the task instruction.

Send the video or task instructions to your VA and make it clear that you need them to CONFIRM that they received it. Even a short message saying “I got this! Thanks” will give you peace of mind. Trust me, you do NOT want to skip this process. This step also allows your VA a chance to ask questions or clarifications if they have any.

Step 3) Set a deadline for the project and require a progress report every few days.

Now that your VA confirmed the instructions, require them to send you progress reports leading up to the deadline. So for example, if you assigned the task on Monday and you set the deadline on Friday, ask your VA to send you a daily progress report. It helps to know that the project is moving forward and not gathering dust.

Step 4) Support and encourage your VA.

If you can, go the extra mile and give your VA some words of encouragement. If their daily progress reports have been helpful, say so. If they made suggestions along the way, acknowledge it. It helps if your VA feels that their daily progress has made an impact and they’re more likely to maintain a report log for future projects which is a great habit to build.

Step 5) Rinse and Repeat!

Once you receive your VA’s final report with the task completed, acknowledge it and appreciate their effort. But if you see areas for improvement, bring it up and let your VA know that you’re there to support them. Then you rinse and repeat.

Now, you can celebrate because you now have a VA who has a clear path for working on your tasks, and before you realize it, you'll regain the time freedom you lost when your business started to soar.

Mistake #2: Not Signing a Service Agreement

Ah, the dreaded mistake of not signing a service agreement. It's like leaving your virtual assistant's commitment up in the air. Can you imagine the chaos that might result from it? They could easily quit and leave you hanging high and dry.

The solution is simple: always have a service agreement in place. Don't outsource work to someone without proper documentation. You can think of it as if you're walking on a tightrope without a safety net at the bottom. Protect yourself and your business by ensuring both parties are clear on their roles, responsibilities, and expectations. Let's explore a couple of scenarios to drive this point home.

Scenario 1:

You hire a VA for a one-time project without a service agreement. They complete the project and disappear without delivering the final files or providing any post-project support. Now you're left with unfinished work and no way to hold them accountable.

Scenario 2:

Your VA suddenly decides to increase their rates without any prior agreement. Without a service agreement, you have no way to negotiate or address the situation. It's a recipe for frustration and potential financial loss.

Having a service agreement in place protects both parties and ensures a smooth working relationship. It establishes clear boundaries, expectations, and safeguards your business.

Mistake #3: No System for Task Management

Let's talk about task management. Imagine relying solely on email or Slack chat to communicate with your virtual assistant. It's a recipe for disaster! Things are bound to fall through the cracks, and you don't want your VA saying, "Hey, I didn't get that email!" Trust me, missed deadlines are not fun.

The solution? Implement a task management system. Some of the task management apps you can look into are Trello, Asana, and ClickUp. There are plenty of apps and platforms out there that can help you keep track of projects and files. By using a centralized system, you ensure that everyone is on the same page and accountable for their tasks. No more missed emails or lost files!

Most of the time, when we work with our clients at 8point8, we already set up the Trello board for them. We understand that especially for clients who have never had a VA before, the part about setting up a task management system can be daunting.

So, if you found and hired a VA who is already well-versed in a task management app, that's bonus points. Protect that VA at all costs. If you are a self-proclaimed hot mess when it comes to being organized, you have every right to have creative chaos because you are the business owner, the CEO, the visionary. But when you're looking for a VA to hire, make sure to indicate in the job ad that you're looking for someone who can help you stay organized with tasks. This will attract VAs who LOVE organization.

One word of advice though, if you ask your VA to organize your tasks, please also do your best to learn to organize your tasks. Creative chaos is good to a certain level, but if you really intend for your company to grow, there has to be organization and structure in place.

Mistake #4: Not Setting a Budget for Virtual Assistance and Outsourcing Expenses.

Ah, the biggest mistake of all: not setting a budget. Let's face it, any business runs on money and if you don’t have a budget, you’re doomed to fail. It's like a rollercoaster ride of surprises when you receive that invoice from your virtual assistant. Don't let bill shock ruin your day!

The solution? Communicate your budget clearly from the beginning. Let your VA know how much time you want them to dedicate to your business on a weekly, monthly, or even daily basis. Setting expectations upfront prevents any financial surprises down the line. Make sure to include your budget in your job ad and be transparent about it. It will attract VAs who align with your budget and save you from those bill shock moments.

Wrap Up

And there you have it! The top four mistakes to avoid when hiring a virtual assistant. When it comes to hiring a virtual assistant, it's essential to avoid these four common mistakes. By setting clear goals for tasks, signing a service agreement, implementing a task management system, and communicating your budget clearly, you'll lay the foundation for a successful partnership. Remember, virtual assistants are valuable assets who can help you achieve more and regain your time freedom.

I hope you take these tips from the video to heart, and empower yourself to hire and work with virtual assistants because you can definitely DELEGATE like a BOSS over time. It takes practice and mistakes can happen but they will make you wiser as you go. Now go forth, make informed decisions, and watch your business thrive with the support of a skilled virtual assistant – or even two assistants because why should you stop with just one, right?

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