You’ve probably stumbled across this blog post for one of two reasons. Either you’re a super supportive friend or family member (thanks Mum!), OR you’re interested in the idea of outsourcing certain aspects of your business to a Virtual Assistant.
The bottom line – you’re here because you want to get more done in less time.
When I first started out there weren’t many VAs locally, or even nationally. Since then, most likely due to the huge influx of new solo or small group entrepreneurs world-wide, our VA community is growing fast. In fact, I’m regularly contacted by women (BTW - where are all the male VAs hiding???) who are looking to become a VA, who want to know how I started out, and are looking for some guidance and advice.
One would assume this would be cause for concern. More VAs equals more competition, meaning less work for me, right? Wrong! There is PLENTY of work out there for us all, and if I’m too busy to take on a new client or ad-hoc project, there really is no better feeling than being able to refer work onto one of the VAs in my network.
Those that know me well, know that I’m anti-comparison. It’s unhealthy, it causes competition and ugly self-doubt. No good can come of comparing yourself, or your business, to others.
Comparison is the theft of joy. Period.
As humans we all have different personalities and passions. As entrepreneurs, we all have different reasons as to why we are in business. And as VAs we all have different strengths and skill sets. I don’t consider any of the other VAs out there my ‘competition’ because if a potential client chooses them over me it’s going to be for a very good reason.
Am I going to dwell on it? Take it personally? Wonder what I’m doing wrong? HELL NO!!! I’m confident in my skills, my experience and my brand. I just put my head back down, my bum back up and get back to work.
Recently I was helping a client in the early stages of recruiting a new staff member. “Attitude is everything” they told me when discussing their wish list for the role. This rang true for me.
When deciding on whether or take on a new client or project, for me it’s all about the ‘fit’. I don’t really care what it is they do, and I’m open to pretty much all types of work. It doesn’t bother me if they are male or female, local, national or even international.
It is simply all about the fit.
Figuring out the fit can have its challenges when you work virtually. 99.9% of the time I simply go with my gut. If something feels off I politely decline the work but always offer to put them in touch with another VA whom I think may be a better fit.
I’ve got pretty good instincts and it’s only on the odd occasion when I’ve ignored my gut and taken on work despite that niggly feeling the client might not be a great fit for me. It’s happened twice in the past 2 years so I’m not doing too badly.
In both of these cases, despite the clients walking away with finished products they love, it was obvious to both sides that different personalities and/or working styles mean the fit was off. But that my friends is a story for another day.
So, we all agree that finding your perfect VA fit is incredibly important. But what if (unlike me) you like to rely on more than just your gut when make big business decisions? Then these quick tips just may help:
Choosing a perfect-fit VA using more than just your gut:
All good relationships are built on mutual respect. When you meet with your prospective VA it’s important you have a great rapport. Technical skills can be learned – attitude can’t.
Is the range of services they offer what you are needing? Have a list of jobs you are interested in outsourcing and find out their experience in them.
Most VAs have both hourly rates and packages to choose from. Are you comfortable with an ad-hoc hourly rate or would you prefer knowing exactly how much you will be spending on your VA each month? Also, make sure you view their payment terms to make sure you are comfortable with their fine print.
How much time will you need from your VA on a weekly or monthly basis? Will you have projects with strict deadlines? Does your VA have a back-up plan if, for whatever reason, they become unavailable? Discuss this upfront so you’re both on the same page.
Most VAs have websites and social media accounts where they share testimonials from past and current clients. Don’t be afraid to ask for examples of their work, or even referees you can speak too.
Request a trial run. Either put a time limit on this (e.g. 1 month) or perhaps just hand over one project to start with.
The level of communication skills a VA has will make or break your working relationship – especially if your potential VA isn’t local. Do you like to catch up via Zoom? Then make sure your VA does too. Are you an emailer? Then take note of how they respond to your emails. Is their spelling and grammar up to speed? Do they respond promptly? Perhaps you work better over the phone. If your potential VA is based overseas how will the time difference affect your preferred method of communication? All important things to keep in mind.
Nothing beats a referral from a friend. Having a mutual person who may know you both and can honestly say they think you’ll work well together is worth its weight in gold.
But let's be real! Even with your perfectly fitting VA/shoe, there's going to be an adjustment period/blisters. So be prepared.
It’s SUPER important to note that even with your perfect-fit-VA there are bound to be minor teething issues whilst you both settle into this new working relationship. But if the fit is right then the rest will come. Trust in that.
Running a business is not only time consuming – but at times ALL CONSUMING. Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant the parts of your business you either don’t have time for, or simply don’t like doing, will increase your business’s productivity and cost efficiency.
Why wait? There is never going to be a perfect time to start outsourcing. Contact us today, and let’s chat to see if we’re the right fit for your business.
Hey there! Thanks for reading this all the way to the end! I’m Sam - the author of this blog post.
I’m a virtual assistant, a Jack (or Jill!) of all trades … a Girl Friday who loves nothing more than to help small business owners and freelancers with their website, social media, SEO, branding and administration worries.