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Written by Clearissa Coward
From the Desk of Clearissa Coward’s Command Center/Customized Virtual Business Solutions:  

CVBS New Logo PMNot sure if you need or how to use the services of a Virtual Assistant (VA)? Hopefully, my weekly tips will help you decide and provide you with new ideas as to how to use the services of a professional VA.

Usually, I use this forum to provide you with tips from me suggesting the benefits of using the resources and skills of a VA to help run your business. I have tried to help you envision all of the things you “should” do when it comes to hiring a VA as well as some things you should not do. However; recently I thought what better way to help you see how VAs are being used to help entrepreneurs and soulpreneurs than to have you read their personal thoughts and experiences with a VA.

Last week I shared with you Michael Hyatt’s experience with a VA and because the words were directly from Michael, I hope you understood how he was able to hire a VA as a team member and not just a contractor.

This week I am taking you into an interview conducted by Ritika Puri. Ritika found herself in need of a VA; however, before taking the plunge, she decided to interview her friend and fellow entrepreneur Julia Cox Tunstall of A Bar Above fame, on the benefits and pitfalls of working with a VA. Julia has used VAs for several business over the past five years and had loads of advice for Ritika. This is advice that you can use as well.

You can find Ritika’s complete interview here, but for now I will share some of the highlights and information I found critical for building successful relationships with a VA.

Here is part of the Ritika’s interview Julia:

Ritika: What is your experience with virtual assistants?

Julia: I’ve used virtual assistants for a couple of years, across all of my businesses. We have virtual help for our real estate investment company and for both of our online businesses—one focused on bartender training and the other intended to help entrepreneurs find and connect to each other online.

Ritika: How have virtual assistants been important to your business?

Julia: Having virtual assistants made all the difference in the world for our businesses. It was the single change we made that resulted in allowing us to stop “treading water” and start building and growing our business.

Ritika: How has the experience been? What have been the challenges. What has surprised you?

Julia: We have hired five different VAs over the years and learned a lot in the experience. I was quickly persuaded by Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek that a VA was the silver bullet we needed, so we hired our first VA in 2010. It was a disaster that taught us these key lessons:

  • If you don’t have the time to document your processes before you hire your VA, you won’t have the time to adequately train them.
  • Without established, recurring processes that you can delegate, keeping a VA busy for even an hour a day can be a lot of work. If you want help every once in a while, hire on a flexible hourly contract.

Since that time we have worked with several more VAs and have two long-term team members right now. I have learned that the biggest challenge in getting a VA who will save you time is all about your own preparation and commitment as a business owner.

Be wary of underestimating the time commitment in training and onboarding your team. Even the best hire will not know your business until you explain it.

Ritika: What does training entail?

Julia: For us, it took three weeks of daily video meetings to get up and running, plus the time associated with fully documenting every task before delegating it.

Again, you can read the entire interview hereI suggest you read it in its entirety before embarking on hiring a VA. The advice could save you lots of time and prepare you for what to expect from your VA.

So, there you have it. Another prime example of how valueble a VA can be to your business. I love bring you real experiences from real people.  If you would like to read Michael’s entire article, you can find it here.

If you are serious and think you have reached that place in your business where it would be beneficial to hire a VA, contact me at www.clearissacoward.com or clearissap@gmail.com.

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