If you're reading this, you're probably considering hiring a Virtual Assistant or you already did and the transition was a stinking hot mess and you're wondering how the process could go smoother so if you're ever in that position again that you're prepared. No matter where you are in your business, when you hire someone on to help you, you're never truly prepared 100% for that transition. Anything could happen, and that's even true for those of us that have iron-clad contract of steel. (Which we either have because we've worked in the legal field and have seen things or we've learned the hard way...)
So, if you're ready to hire a Virtual Assistant, what should be ready to handle when it comes to onboarding help? Here are some common problems as well as advice on how to handle it.
You're not prepared. At all.
I've had clients come to me with an idea on what they want, but they're not prepared at all for the information that a Virtual Assistant will need to carry out their desires for their business. When you're ready to hire a Virtual Assistant, you've got to be ready for what they'll need to jump in after the interview.
Common things that your Virtual Assistant will need are:
They don't realize how much personal information a Virtual Assistant will have access to.
As a Virtual Assistant, I know more about my clients than their spouses, their BFFs, their priests, and their own mothers. I often have full access to their email accounts, social media, and other platforms that may contain secrets. It is crucial that when you hire a Virtual Assistant, you hire someone that you trust completely with all of your secrets because they WILL come into contact with many of your secrets, even if they don't go seeking them out. A way to prevent leaks are to do a background check, or if that's not possible, get references.
This is a big one, and is the sole reason that I put everything into writing so that if a miscommunication occurs, I can refer back and see what was supposed to happen or what we agreed to. If you're not already using letters of acceptance for services and/or a contract right out of the gate, you should be because it protects both you AND your new Virtual Assistant.
Realizing that time is money.
Simply put, whatever I spend time on, I attach my rate to. Why? Because if working on something, such as responding to emails or setting up a new system takes me away from my children and family, it's only fair that I charge a rate for that. In the past, my employers have paid to train me and even send me to college, so yes, you may end up having to pay your Virtual Assistant a few bucks to learn your desired platform as they adjust to it and how to use it. You'll also be charged for video calls, email correspondence, and in-depth text conversations that correspond to the direct operations of your business, so be prepared for those charges.
Also realizing that mistakes will happen.
And yes, you'll still have to pay your Virtual Assistant when they do happen. If your Virtual Assistant was a normal, hourly employee that had to come in to fix something, even if it was their fault, you'd have them clock in and pay them. Otherwise, your company would be breaking labor laws, and that's not cool. So, if you would pay an hourly employee to do the job, you should probably pay your Virtual Assistant. In the real world, Virtual Assistants are still just people and from time to time, mistakes are going to happen and sometimes they'll even be out of your Virtual Assistant's control. When it comes down to it, when mistakes happen, as long as they're few and far between, a little grace can go a long way, and your Virtual Assistant will be so thankful - I know when I make a mistake I'm personally mortified!
Tara Glenn is a Digital Strategy Specialist with a concentration in photography, writing, ghostwriting, editing, and Virtual Assistance.
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