How To Find The Right Sidekick For You

December 24, 2015

We’ve already identified that to be a super hero in your business you need to find a good sidekick.  The RIGHT sidekick for you. But how?  There are so many options out there that this can be a somewhat daunting process… we are talking about trusting someone with your baby!  There are risks.  There is an investment required of you, an investment of your very precious time.

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:

  1. A small virtual assistant team.  Go figure, that’s me!  And here’s why this is my first choice for your side-kickability. A small team is personal, there is a strong relationship between both the team member , the VA owner and you (super hero) but most important, there is scope and skills within the team to grow with your business.  You have the benefit of a personal relationship with your sidekick with the additional bonus of the team support.
  2. 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 is a limited number of hours they have available) and may specialise in a certain skill set or industry.  There are real estate VA’s, VA’s who specialise in law, those who are unbelievable at admin and those who’s marketing skills will blow you away.  Then there are the VA’s who do it all!
  3. The third option is an outsourcing site such as oDesk or Elance.  Less a sidekick than a source of skills, this can be an option if you’re just starting to delegate and outsource aspects of your to-do list but do tread carefully.  These sites are very cost effective but there are risks, 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, turnaround is also very good with these sites.

The time has come.

Here’s your easy to follow path to finding your sidekick.  If you’ve done some of the actions outlined in my previous blog, this next part will be much easier … remember, think about your long term goals as you select your sidekick … this relationship is a long term one!

  1. 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 also an option.
  2. Prepare your list of questions.  Which qualities are important to you in your sidekick?  Humour, warmth, personable, professional?  Do you want someone local, are languages 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 skyped.
  3. 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 though how important it is that you can easily communicate with your eventual sidekick.  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.
  4. 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 impressions.
  5. 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!
  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 a super hero whose sidekick they want to be.  If you can’t decide between a couple of candidates, set them both the same task to use as a comparison.
  7. 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.
  8. You’re off!  I’ve had clients come to me after the first VA they’ve worked with didn’t end up being a good 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 him, 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

  1. What you need to do before you take on a sidekick
  2. How to find the right sidekick for you
  3. How to get the very best from your sidekick

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