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10 Common Mistakes Made When Working With a VA

10 Common Mistakes Made When Working With a VA
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You might assume that once you’ve hired a VA who you’re sure is a perfect match for you, that working with them will be smooth sailing from the jump. The truth is, it takes time and effort to build a strong working relationship that is both long-lasting and durable.

In this article we’ll show you how to avoid 10 of the most common mistakes business owners make when working with a VA. Because when done right, the results you can achieve is magic!

This article is part 2 in our series on how to avoid common mistakes made hiring and working with a virtual assistant.  Part 1 covers 10 Common Mistakes Made Hiring a VA.

Mistake #1: Not Communicating Your Business Processes or Vision

In order for your VA to operate according to your standards you need to know your business inside out.

By perfecting your processes, you can effectively delegate them to others and expect them to be done to your (immense!) satisfaction.

Whether that’s you or a team member doing a handover, the more background and information about your business and it’s processes you can communicate, the quicker your VA can get on that same page.  Sharing your vision and working with you to achieve it.

Mistake #2: Micromanaging Your VA

If you’re double-checking and micromanaging every move your VA makes then communication needs to improve, or you need to lead better and manage less, or you have the wrong VA!

By giving your VA trust and space to do what you hired them to do, you are demonstrating your faith in them.  Faith they’ll be inspired to reward you by delivering the best results possible.

Independence is the foundation of a healthy partnership, which is the key to success. To keep your mind at peace and to track their progress, make it a habit of holding regular meetings with your VA where you discuss their performance as well as opportunities and challenges (on both sides).

Mistake #3: Reliance on Your VA

While your VA is a integral part of your team, just like any other member or your team you don’t want all your business IP in their head.

Systems and procedures are a way to ensure your intellectual property protects you in the event your VA is sick, on leave … or leaves.

A VA agency such as ours will have systems in place to ensure your VA also has a backup VA who can cover.  We also document all routine or recurring tasks and share those procedures with clients, so at no stage is your business at risk or reliant on your VA.

You want peace of mind knowing you can rely on your virtual assistant, and peace of mind knowing if the worse happens, you’re covered.

Mistake #4: Not Giving Credit When it's Due

Positive reinforcement can make all the difference to anyone’s performance, and your virtual assistant is no exception.

Remember, giving your VA credit for good work can have amazing effects on your business (and the relationship).

Taking time to show gratitude builds a strong bond with your VA, so even though taking a moment to say thank you or congratulations on a job well done doesn’t take much time it all, that extra reassurance lends itself to motivation that can help your business grow exponentially.

Mistake #5: Not Investing in Building a Relationship

Working with a virtual assistant

We’ll keep this mistake short and sweet as we go into detail in our article “How to Build Trust With Your VA”.   Don’t underestimate the value of a strong relationship.

A VA is best utilised when you don’t just treat them like a task-ticker, but a true partner in your business.

The investment you put into building this relationship will repay you in spades.  Promise!

Mistake #6: No Project Management

Project management tools are the backbone of efficient communication with both your VA and your team.

A good project management tool will:

  • Improve productivity while reducing costs and workload.
  • Improve collaboration so team members .know exactly what they need to be doing at any given time.
  • Improve customer satisfaction through attention to detail and consistency.
  • Help improve performance (if you can measure it, you can improve it).

Mistake #7: Leaving Your VA to Fend for Themselves

You can expect your VA to take care of routine or recurring tasks.  No input (normally!) required by you.

But a good leader leads.  So as you set up your projects make sure you include regular touch points for communication, and be available for questions or information required to keep the momentum moving.

You don’t want to be the bottle neck nor do you want your VA going off on a tangent because the two of you aren’t communicating.  

We often use project briefs to clarify milestones, outcomes, information and communication which allows our VAs to proceed with the project with clear expectations for both parties.

Mistake #8: Ignoring Cultural Diversity

Just like any workplace, your VA may come from a different culture that needs to be considered.

It’s no excuse to not be aware of any cultural diversity in your team.  That may be geographically based, religious, beliefs or values.  This is considered when we pair clients or projects with a VA and should be part of you getting to know your latest team member.

You should be making an effort to get to know your VA regardless, and their culture is a core part of that so don’t be afraid to open up and learn more about them.

Mistake #9: Cost versus Investment

A bad mentality can seriously harm a happy partnership, so if you view your VA in terms of how much they’re costing you, you’re off to a bad start. While the cost should be factored into your budget, it’s far more productive to see your VA as an investment.

It’s important to remember that sacrificing quality for money won’t get you anywhere anyway, and if you’ve hired the right person for you, the benefits and outcomes will be money well spent.

Mistake #10: Being Risk Averse

At times, encouraging your VA to use their full potential involves taking creative risks.

Virtual Assistants bring a fresh perspective to your business that leveraged best when you give them a task to flex their muscles (creative or otherwise).

If you are too risk-averse to hand over the control, you’ll end up limiting your VA to low-level tasks that don’t require their particular zone of genius. For those who tend to play it safe or are hesitant to try something new, don’t feel pressured to dive into the deep end if you don’t feel ready. You can start slowly and give your VA an opportunity to shine, even if it surprises or challenges you.

You want their perspective because that’s where their expertise lies, so don’t waste it!

If you’re already working with a virtual assistant we have more tips on how to leverage them so you’re getting the best possible return on your investment.  Download our client handbook below, “Outsourcing Made Easy”.

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