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Been There, Done That - Seasoned Entrepreneurs Share What They Wish They Had Done Sooner When Hiring

Are you exploring the use of a Virtual Assistant, or looking to level up? Are you stuck in a rut? Your entrepreneurial peers have plenty of experience and wisdom to share.

For 11 years we have prided ourselves on providing great service to our clients. We are always striving to improve the process, particularly during onboarding when clients might not be sure about their first steps. We surveyed our clients to ask them, "What do you wish you knew before hiring a Virtual Assistant for the first time?"

There’s a time investment right off the bat.

"In order for your relationship with your VA to be a successful one, there is some serious communication from clients needed upfront. As a client, I needed to spend time with my Virtual Assistant to let her know my goals, my vision and my expectations. Giving my Virtual Assistant that backstory - and future goals - helped her to help me."

The truth is, life might get a little more difficult before it gets easier as a result of hiring a VA. Some clients come in with unrealistic expectations about how fast their new assistant will get up to speed. Go in knowing that you’ll put in a lot of time up front in order to be happy with the results for months or years to come.

You need systems to make it work. Think of it like giving someone an instruction manual on how to build a bookshelf. If the furniture designer’s input was required every time someone was building the bookshelf, they would never sleep. Your projects for your Virtual Assistant should be like an instruction manual—something that can be replicated again and again without you having to get involved in the process each time.

A Virtual Assistant is more important to my company than I previously thought.

"I thought hiring a VA will be a quick and easy process. After all, they’ll be handling mostly admin duties, right? But the reality is, this person has a far more significant responsibility on their shoulders. It’s my most precious resource as the leader of my company, and if this person doesn’t do their job well, I’ll be in trouble."

Taking the time to find and hire the right Virtual Assistant is just as important as recruiting a stellar member of senior management. Remember—you’re going to rely on them quite a bit. At the end of the day, your VA has one responsibility - and no, it’s not to manage your inbox - it’s to free up your time and energy so you have more of both for more important tasks. Focus on this when deciding what to delegate and how best to implement systems that will make it even easier.

It’s important to communicate your vision.

"I should always give my VA an understanding of the big picture."

Always give a brief to the Virtual Assistant on what you are doing and what your vision is for your brand. Even if you are only assigning your VA simple tasks, he or she should still have an understanding of your endgame and goals. Because you and your VA are a team representing your organization, you should make sure you are on the same page, even if they are only handling small tasks. A puzzle will not be complete without a missing piece, no matter how small that piece is.

Virtual Assistants are a shared-economy service.

"My Virtual Assistant is going to have other clients, too, and can’t get back to me within a few minutes."

Liken using a VA to the idea of using an Uber. If you use Uber for your daily transportation, you don't have a car in your garage ready to go on a whim for your use, but you can expect to get a ride with Uber in a reasonable time frame so that you can get to your destination. It is the same with a VA, even in our company where our VAs are FT. True, it is not the same as having an assistant in the office next to you, when you can just pop your head into their office to delegate a task. But with a VA, you can still expect a task to be done in an agreed-upon time frame. Our VAs block off their calendars based on their clients’ needs, so you can be sure that during those time blocks, you are receiving your VA’s undivided attention.

Virtual Assistants can do a lot more than just admin work.

"My Virtual Assistant could help me with tasks other than what I saw as admin work."

Clients have some idea of what work they want to pass off to their VA, but often times, the list changes as they get to know their VA. Our VAs are proactive, and are always looking for ways to lighten your workload. Once you understand your VAs’ strengths, you can also get a better sense of which projects at which they will excel. Our goal is to constantly develop strategies to free up your time.

The key to starting off on the right foot with your VA is clear communication. Once you are on the same page with your VA, you’ll start to wonder how you ever lived without them!

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