As you know, we at Pharsyde are big fans of using outsourcing as a tool to grow your business. And hiring a virtual assistant is one of the best ways to do this. As a result, the industry has grown fairly substantially over the last couple of years. And with the growth in the number of virtual assistants around, there has also been a change in what it means to be a virtual assistant.
But, sadly, not all Virtual Assistants are equal and some do not hold to the same levels as others! So here are 5 things you should consider in a Virtual Assistant:
- Professionalism – Does the VA answer their emails, voicemails and other correspondence in a timely and professional manner? It is important if this person is to work for you does not keep you or a deadline waiting. Make sure you give a covert task to them first that proves a commitment to deadlines.
- Project Management – Juggling tasks nowadays is vital. We are so used to things being fast these days, that we tap out feet in front of the microwave! If a person cannot work with more than one project on the go, then you might want to move on. The ability to manage multiple clients and multiple projects is crucial for a VA.
- Availability – The likelihood is very high that you will not be their only client. Many of these people work for several people at the same time. You need to either build a very firm relationship with a VA, or work with a firm that uses multiple high-quality VAs. You can also try to split your work between 2 or more VA’s in order to combat this problem.
- Test – Give the VA a mini project before going ahead with a contract. Give them a minimum of 2 tasks that don’t cost you too much. Make sure they are done correctly and to your total satisfaction before you consider moving forward with this person. It is far simpler to hire one of the first people you find, but please rather shortlist at least 10 and give the tasks to 2 of the 10 you shortlisted. Make sure these tasks are something you actually want done, so that you don’t waste any money.
- Get References – Can the VA give you a list of people whom you can contact who will tell you about working with her or him? They should! If they are good at what they do, they should have a whole list of people willing to attest to it!
Most good virtual assistants will work towards creating the idea of being in a relationship with you and your business, dealing with you as though your tasks are their business. This goes far beyond the expectations of any temporary work or a telecommuting job. It also means that the services a virtual assistant can provide will go beyond that of job descriptions.
Look for a VA that you like, that meets your expectations and your deadlines and who wants to partner with you in order to move your business forward!