The gift of time is something that cannot be given to us by anybody but ourselves, and this is not about time off from work, but rather time for work. If you have realized that you are spending more time getting things done instead of developing and growing your business, then consider this advice especially applicable to you.
The most effective way of giving yourself more time for work, or the important parts of it you don’t always get to, is by hiring a virtual assistant, a professional assistant who only works for you when needed. Since they work remotely you don’t even need to make space for them in your office, what could be better? Naturally there are certain points to consider before making your final decision, and these include:
A Needs Assessment
Before you even begin searching for a virtual assistant you first need to do a full audit of your needs. Compile a list of all the tasks you encounter on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and then decide which of those tasks you would want to do yourself, and which you are willing to delegate to a VA.
You will quickly learn that virtual assistants work in multiple fields and disciplines; some specialize only in certain services, while others are more versatile. VAs are able to assist with everything from managing your calendar and schedule, to doing research, data entry, marketing and even website management. By auditing your needs you will have a better idea of what type of virtual assistant you should look for, and how many hours you expect to use them for each month. With VAs charging hourly rates, and only working when needed, it is quite feasible to have 2-3 VAs with each focusing on a specific area or set of tasks for you and your team and still be less expensive than hiring one traditional in house employee.
Finding Your Virtual Assistant
The Virtual Assistant industry has expanded rapidly in the last few years, so finding one will never be difficult. You could advertise, Google search or talk to people who have contracted with a VA. Professional virtual assistants usually have their own websites with details of their skills, services and even recommendations from clients, along with their contact details. Finally, you can also turn to professional organisations such as the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) or the Administrative Consultants Association (ACA).
This is where the details of your needs assessment count again. Know, and state, exactly what you need the virtual assistant to do so that they understand what they will be expected to do, and you are also able to assess their suitability more easily. Plan to spend some time with them to get them up to speed and start out slow. Build upon tasks
Judge the Candidates
Even though a Virtual Assistant is not an employee, you still need to evaluate their suitability, and ability. You don’t want a resume from them, but you will want to inquire about their educational background and work experience. If any of the tasks you are going to assign are of a technical nature and usually require some form of certification, ask about this too.
Judge them on their communication skills; examine all their communication with you looking at tone, professionalism, language and grammar. Ask them about past clients and projects, recommendations are great, but they don’t always give you a true indication of the candidates abilities.
The Final Selection
You might find that you are able to decide on the ideal candidate without too much difficulty, but if you find yourself having to decide between 2-3 candidates, you can use a complimentary consultation to finalize your choice. Contact each candidate by email, asking for a telephonic consultation, and monitor their response time.
Any candidate who doesn’t respond within a reasonable time frame could either be unreliable, or too busy to effectively service new clients. Those that you do get to consult with on the phone (or Skype!) can be further assessed based on their performance during the call – how professional was the conversation, were they able to answer all your questions, did they lead the conversation and ask you relevant questions? These all attest not only to their capability, but also to how well you will be able to work with them.
Both you and your virtual assistant need to remember that this is not an employer/employee relationship, but client/service provider. Your VA should be able to tell you what they need in order to complete your tasks, while you should feel comfortable assigning tasks, with clear and specific guidelines on what you expect and your deadlines. You will be amazed at how much time you have for your business once everything is in place ,and you are comfortable delegating tasks to your virtual assistant.
About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:
At Out of the Office, we are committed to providing earth-friendly administration and offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.
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