Many clients who come to us have already worked with a VA, and it’s not always a successful outcome. We’ve pulled together 10 common mistakes made when working with a VA as a roadmap for you. Because while you might assume that once you’ve hired a virtual assistant it’s smooth sailing the truth is, it takes time and effort to build a strong working relationship that is both long-lasting and a good return on your investment.
A good virtual assistant is focused on outcomes.
In order to achieve the best possible outcomes they need to know your business, and the goals and vision you have for it.
Feeling like part of the team rather than a contractor will help them become a vested partner in your success. Someone who will celebrate your wins and commiserate the not-so-good-times with you.
Share any or all of the following:
- Your business plan
- Your goals (short and long term)
- Your vision and mission
- Marketing assets
This will ensure they see the big picture as opposed to task level. Knowing what you are working to achieve helps them see where that task fits in the bigger picture. Resulting in you, your VA, and your team, all working on the same page.
If you’re double-checking and micromanaging every move your VA makes then you’re not winning your time back.
Reasons you feel you need to do this could be:
- communication needs to improve, or
- you need to put better milestones in place, or
- you’ve lost confidence, in which case you have the wrong VA
By giving your VA the trust and space to do what you hired them to do, you are demonstrating your faith in them.
Micromanaging destroys trust and ultimately undermines why you hired a VA. Which is to free you up to concentrate on those tasks you should be doing.
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 any issues.
Minimise the risk of being too dependant on your VA, and this applies to every member of your team. While personality and values forms the base of your relationship, you don’t want your intellectual property only in your VAs head.
If they should leave, get sick, or you decide to hire elsewhere, having their tasks documented in procedures ensures your business is protected.
Note: A virtual business support agency such as ours will have systems in place to ensure your VA also has a backup VA who can cover in the event of their absence. We also document all repeatable 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.
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.
Seeing the effect this feedback has on our own team, a quick email or message from you is worth its weight in gold.
We’ll keep this mistake short and sweet as we go into detail in our article on “How to Quickly Build Trust With Your New VA”. Don’t underestimate the value of a strong relationship.
Having a healthy relationship with your VA comes down to balance and mutual respect. If you’ve hired someone with a similar work ethic and philosophy to you, this compatibility will facilitate a long-term working relationship with fantastic outcomes.
The investment you put into building this relationship will repay you in spades. Promise!
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).
We use ClickUp for our own project management but some other popular options with our clients are:
You can expect your VA to take care of routine or recurring tasks. No input (normally!) required by you.
But the best leaders lead. 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 bottleneck, nor do you want your VA going off in the wrong direction because the two of you aren’t communicating.
We often use project briefs to clarify milestones, outcomes, information and communication. This allows our VAs to proceed with the project with clear expectations.
Like any of your team, your virtual assistant may come from a different culture. This needs to be factored into your relationship.
It’s no excuse to not be aware of the cultural diversity in your team. This may be based on location, religion, believe, sexuality, 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.
For example if we have a VA who is a Christian, we wouldn’t pair them up with The Celebrant’s Association of NZ.
Getting to know your virtual assistant as a person ensures you don’t ask anything of them that may make them uncomfortable.
You can look at your virtual assistant in two ways:
- As an expense, or
- As an investment
When you look at hiring as an expense all you can see is how much they are costing you. You’ll be focused on the amount of money that is now going out the door each month. In fact every time you delegate or bring a new person on board it feels like you are ‘losing’ money.
This is the wrong way to look at hiring.
Instead, we want you to look at hiring as an investment. When we look at hiring this way, it requires that you ask yourself:
“How does this person coming on board allow ME to continue to grow and expand the business?”
By investing in a VA, they will be able to get you out of the weeds and take those day-to-day admin tasks off your plate.
This is when hiring becomes an investment, as it gives you back your TIME to focus on the things that truly do bring more money into the business.
But, if you don’t do your part and focus on activities that will grow your business – then yes, your team members will feel like just an expense because there isn’t any more money coming in the door.
Encouraging your VA to use their full potential involves taking creative risks.
Virtual Assistants bring a fresh perspective to your business. You’ll benefit from this 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 more authority as you build trust.
You want their perspective because that’s where their expertise lies. You’ll do your business a disservice if you don’t make the most of that.
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A step by step guide on how to navigate your first month with your new VA.
So you can start on the right foot and get the very best from your investment in your new team.