Transform Your Business
As business owners, we’re great at creating a routine. And once we’ve settled into a routine, a way of doing things, we grow quite comfortable with the way we run our businesses. We know what to expect with routine. Unfortunately, routines have the potential to cause us to miss out on opportunities because we aren’t looking for new ways to do things.
You know the saying—if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But what if instead, we take the approach if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got. Step back occasionally. Take a look at new ways to do things, and you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten—innovative, adaptive methods to grow your business!
Virtual assistance is one way to transform—to rethink—your business.
A virtual assistant brings valuable work experience and training to your business. If you are open to it, some might even teach you a thing or two. Because the best virtual assistants are executive-level administrative professionals, their experience and training is especially invaluable to small business owners. Virtual assistants run their own businesses, too, so they have an exceptional understanding of the needs of a small business owner.
You might think you’ve covered all your bases on advancing your business, but a virtual assistant can assist you with your most valuable asset—time.
Free up your time from the tasks that do not require your personal attention. Then you can focus that time on other things that will have a more meaningful impact on your business growth.
Hire a great virtual assistant who can take on those tasks.
Time to Hire
So, have you made the decision? Are you ready to take a leap into the unknown and hire a virtual assistant? You deserve a round of applause for considering it because it certainly isn’t easy to let go of any aspect of your business (clap, clap clap)!
Now, as you’re considering it, your immediate next thought was probably something along the lines of how in the world do you find and hire the right virtual assistant for your business. Right? Let’s go over some basics to help answer that.
Make a List
First, decide what you need done. Make a list of tasks of which you can let go. Pick the things that don’t need your personal attention. Include the tasks that you can hand over if you receive a summary from a virtual assistant. Choose the things that you can hand off that may take time initially to explain, but will eventually require no attention from you.
Be prepared to share exactly what you want the virtual assistant to do for you. You must be able to clearly communicate your needs. And your virtual assistant must be able to clearly communicate also. For the virtual assistant to be effective in freeing up your time, then you both have to be able to speak on the same level. You can’t waste time with a lot of back-and-forth communication; so, you both have to be clear the first time.
Do keep in mind that when you are just starting with a new virtual assistant, there will be an adjustment period where you might have to answer a lot of questions for your new VA. This is normal and to be expected. But, if in your initial communications before you hire the VA you discover that there seems to be a communication disconnect, then keep looking. Of course you should evaluate your own communication for clarity, but sometimes we just need to find those who get us.
Finding the Best
When you are conducting interviews, you’ll need to figure out who is the best fit for you and your business. How are you going to do that? Well, start by asking questions.
What kinds of questions should you ask? Start with these.
What are your normal office hours?
One of the biggest perks of being a virtual assistant is having the ability life a flexible lifestyle and set my own hours. Having said that, a virtual assistant worth her or his salt will have set office hours for you to reach them. This is important so you can both be on the same page. Are they available when you are available?
What is your typical turnaround time?
The answer is dependent on the exact task, but in general, a virtual assistant should have a pretty quick turnaround time. Look for those who answer in the 8 to 48 hours range for basic needs, and more than 48 hours for more involved projects. Look for those who aren’t afraid to give you much lengthier turnaround times on projects that will require tedious or detail work. This means that they are dedicated to getting it right the first time.
Do you offer after-hours emergency availability and is there an additional charge for that?
Available after normal hours, and any additional charge? If the client and virtual assistant have a retainer agreement, the answer is usually yes to being available after normal hours and no to any additional charge. That is a perk of a retainer agreement!
How you do bill your clients?
This is all about personal preference, or as agreed with the client. But, it’s good to know if they are offering a payment option that works for you both.
How do you submit invoices to your clients?
Email, snail mail, and fax are your options. I prefer email; it is quick and rarely gets lost in cyberspace! I also prefer payment via Intuit. There is a link right on the invoice, the payment is wired in two days, no charge to the client, and only a 50 cents per payment charge to the virtual assistant.
What is your preferred method of communication?
Does the virtual assistant prefer email only? Do you prefer phone and text?
What is your standard hourly rate?
This is typically higher per hour than a retainer agreement, but not always so be sure to ask.
Do you have an agreement we both sign?
This should be a must for both parties. If not, then this person is not the virtual assistant for you.
So, those are just a few things to think about when you make the plunge into the world of virtual assistants! Of course, we would love to be considered for your virtual assistant needs.
Answer Your Own Questions
Ask yourself all those questions above. Figure out your preferences first. Decide which ones are merely preferences and which are vital to the way you manage your time and business.
Also, before you begin talking to any virtual assistants, take stock of yourself and business. How do you feel about having help? Is this your first hire? Have you delegated any tasks from your business before?
Signature Virtual Assistance is a full-service virtual assistance firm, helping businesses like yours with virtually every need. Business owners and entrepreneurs choose Signature Virtual Assistance to free up their time, reduce their stress, and accelerate their business growth. Contact Lorie today.