From the Desk of Customized Virtual Business Solutions
You Can Trust Your VA
I am a Virtual Assistant (VA) and I have heard several potential employers say they would love to hire a VA but they are not sure how to function working with a remote employee. Here, I am sharing some very insightful information from an article written by Katie Morell on the apprehension and solutions to the problems that many employers have when it comes to working with a VA. Read on and let me know if you agree or disagree. Personally, I agree with some and not so much with others. I look forward to hearing your take on the article.
1. Cut them off after 30 minutes. Justin Palmer is founder and CEO of MedSaverCard, a discount prescription drug negotiator based in Orange, Calif., and hires virtual help on a regular basis. He recommends business owners giving VAs just 30 minutes worth of work at first.
Once the 30 minutes is up, Palmer will check in to see if the person is on the right track and correct any missteps. “That way, no time is wasted,” he says.
2. Don’t allow in-box clogging. There’s nothing more annoying than your e-mail in-box full of messages containing tiny questions from your VA. Ask your virtual assistant to save questions for your touch-base calls, recommends Erica Duran, productivity expert and certified professional organizer in Newport Beach, Calif.
3. Instant message constantly. If you’re virtual assistant doesn’t speak English well, try using instant messenger to communicate. Worried hackers will read your confidential conversations? Opt for a secured instant messenger program, suggests Michael Haaren, co-founder and CEO of Staffcentrix, a virtual training and development company in Annandale, Va.
4. Keep your files in the cloud. Your virtual assistant quits before a project’s end, taking the files he or she was working on with them. Cue heart-racing panic.
Duran hears this story frequently from several of her entrepreneur friends and always gives them the same advice: only work in the cloud.
“As part of your contract, make your VA save all files to a service like DropBox[Google Drive is another good option],” she recommends. “That way, if your assistant takes off, at least you will have a copy of everything.”
5. Define your expectations precisely. Treat your VA like an in-person employee by providing them with a detailed job description, recommends Duran, adding that without direction, VAs “may end up trying it their own way,” which can turn out badly.
6. Fire quickly. It’s a buyer’s market out there for employers looking for VAs, so if your hire is unresponsive, gives them the axe, recommends Laura Wilkinson Sinton, founder of Vox Advisory, a business consultancy in Marietta, Ga.
“If you are working with a VA company, you can ask for someone else,” she says. “It isn’t like you will run into this person at the supermarket and feel badly.”
7. Communicate every day. It can be easy to loose your connection with a VA, says Haaren. Stay on the same page by checking in daily, be it on Skype or e-mail. “It doesn’t have to be a long conversation, just five or 10 minutes,” he notes. “Virtual teams tend to fragment if not tended to.”
All Things Are Possible
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