Your online business is growing and now you’re thinking of getting a virtual assistant to help you out with your mundane tasks. Like most people new to outsourcing, you may be having doubts on how to make it work or you might think that your virtual assistant is not going to be there for the long haul. Well, it’s normal to feel uneasy but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Any relationship requires work – be it with a full time employee or with someone you correspond to only via Skype, and below are some tips on how to accomplish a strong working relationship with your online virtual assistant.
Remember that your VA is also an entrepreneur
As someone who operates an online business, you might think that an online virtual assistant is just a mere secretary. From the “title” itself you might think they are just someone who will remind you of your schedule or respond to one of your emails for you but lest you forget, a VA is also an entrepreneur. A virtual assistant’s role is to provide you with quality services that would alleviate you of your work load, they are not regular employee that received a fixed monthly salary and goes to work on a fixed schedule.
Set clear expectations
Whether you’re just testing the water of hiring a VA or if you’re in for the long haul, always lay down what you want to achieve (objectives) or your deliverables or the time frame of when you’re expecting the project to finish. Give out clear instructions – when you think that an email would not suffice, set a meeting on Skype or send out a short tutorial video using screencast.
Respect your VA’s personal time
As mentioned earlier, your VA doesn’t work on a fixed schedule so don’t expect your VA to reply to your emails 24/7. Your VA might also be of a different time-zone so if you want to your VA to work for a certain hours every week, you better inform your VA beforehand. By doing so, you are respecting your VA’s personal time as well as setting some clear expectations.
Don’t be stingy
You might be on a budget but if you want to negotiate with how much to pay your virtual assistant, be fair and try to “shop” around if you cannot afford someone. Don’t try to offer a VA a price of $2/hour if she priced her services for $10/hour. There’s a reason why she’s asking for $10/hour, she might be an experienced VA and can handle various assignments. Furthermore, don’t expect your VA to code the backend of your website for $10/hour. She maybe very talented but she could also priced other services differently.
Don’t be afraid to invest in your VA
No, you don’t have to send her to school but it helps if you could give her tutorials or advices that may be beneficial to both of you. Let us say you’re asking your VA to respond to inquiries on your website, give her some templates and teach her how to add these templates to outlook. It makes her work easier, makes her productive which means she could work more in less time. Investing in your VA is important specially if you want your VA for the long haul. Investing doesn’t mean you have to spend money – you could share a little info about your business or perhaps give her some articles to read that may help her understand your business better.
Open communication is a must, don’t forget they are not robots and might have some questions for you so take time to answer them. Simple touches like “thank you”, “well done” are pluses also don’t forget to ask your VA questions like how her weekend went, it shows you care and shows off your human side.
So, do you have other tips on how to make an outsourcing relationship works? Feel free to add them on the comment below.
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