To be a superhero in business, you need a good sidekick. The RIGHT sidekick. But where do you find this elusive sidekick?
There are so many options out there that it can be a daunting process trying to choose one. After all, you’re going to need to be able to trust your sidekick with your baby! Not to mentioned the investment of your precious time getting them up and running.
Take a deep breath wonder (wo)man! I have yet to work with a super hero who, after finding the right sidekick, regretted it. So, let’s look at your options … which brand of sidekick is the right fit for you and for your business … both equally important considerations.
Can I take a minute to define what I mean by sidekick. I’m not talking about someone who types a quick doc for you, I’m talking about someone who types ALL your docs… someone with the big picture in mind rather than the task at hand. Tonto didn’t just water the Lone Ranger’s horse, he rode right next to him throughout his adventures. Your sidekick has a vested interest in both you and your business.
As mentioned in the first article of this series, Every Hero Needs A Good Sidekick, there is help out there to take this step. Business coaches and mentors can make sure you’re on the right path and guide you on this journey.
So, the options:
- A small virtual assistant team. Go figure, that’s me! And here’s why this is my first choice for your sidekick! A small team is personal, there is a strong relationship between both the team member, the VA owner and you (superhero). But even more importantly, there is scope and skills within the team to grow with your business. You have the benefit of a personal relationship with your sidekick AND the additional bonus of the team support.
- A sole virtual assistant. I’ve been here and what stands out with this form of sidekick is the relationship formed. Sole VA’s often have a small number of clients (there are a limited number of hours they have available) and may specialise in a certain skillset or industry. There are real estate VA’s, VA’s who specialise in law, those who are unbelievable at admin and those whose marketing skills will blow you away. Then there are the VA’s who do it all!
- The third option is an outsourcing site such as Guru or Fiverr. Less a sidekick than a source of skills, this is a good option if you’re just starting to delegate and outsource aspects of your to-do list. But do tread carefully; these sites are cost effective sure, but there are risks. So check online testimonials, don’t pay until you are satisfied with the completed result and be very, very clear on your expectations. I’ve found some tasks are more suited to this option than others, and I use these resources when I can save a client money.
Here’s a simple way to find your sidekick
If you’ve already done some of the actions outlined in my previous blog, this next part will be much easier. Remember to think about your long term goals as you select your sidekick… this relationship is a long term one!
- Shortlist your candidates. Ask your network for referrals, Google local (or international) virtual assistants, go to a VA directory site or even a virtual staff finder who will pair you up with virtual staff. I’ve seen lots of tweets, updates and posts where people have asked their connections to ‘recommend a virtual assistant’ so reaching out on social media is a good option.
- Prepare your list of questions. What qualities in a sidekick are most important to you? A sense of humour, warmth, personable, professional? Do you want someone local, is language important, will you need face to face meetings or some onsite work? One client sent me his wishlist of tasks, personal qualities, priorities and goals. This fast-tracked a lot of our discovery and I was able to respond to him in detail before we even Skyped.
- Decide on your selection criteria. Are you price driven, will you rely on how your initial call goes, are you looking for a personality fit, a particular skill-set or both? I can’t stress enough how important communication with your sidekick is. You’ll need to feel comfortable communicating honestly and know that they will respond in kind, so my recommendation is that personality is a key part of your criteria.
- Interview your short-list. This may be face-to-face, Skype, email or a phone call. It is here that you will get a feel for how you ‘click’ and you’ll know which candidate you’d prefer to work with. Go through your list of questions and like any interview, note down not just the answers but your first impressions.
- Like any big decision… don’t decide straight away. Sleep on it. If you have further questions then send them an email before you commit. If you like two candidates you don’t have to choose just yet. See number 6!
- Test time. A good VA, even those who work with retainers or packages as opposed to an hourly rate, won’t mind doing an initial task before you commit. This can also be a chance for the VA to get to know you a bit better and decide whether you are the superhero they’d like to team up with. If you can’t decide between a couple of candidates, set them both the same task to use as a comparison.
- The paperwork. While you shouldn’t need to commit to a period of time, once you select your sidekick there’s some paperwork to be sorted. At the least, a confidentiality agreement should be provided for you to sign. I have a standard letter of engagement but the types of paperwork will vary depending on your sidekick.
- You’re off! I’ve had clients come to me after the first VA they’ve worked with didn’t end up being the right fit, for whatever reason. Like dating, finding your sidekick may not work the first time but if it doesn’t, don’t give up. Your very own Tonto is out there and once you find them, you’ll never want to go back to being wonder woman (or superman) and feeling like you’re saving the world alone!
The Sidekick Series
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