How a Startup Business Can Find and Benefit from a Virtual Assistant

Finding a VA .. tough at first.

Identifying and utilizing their skillset .. challenging.

Knowing what their tech experience is, especially if you, the client, are in the tech industry .. complex at best.

So .. roll up your sleeves and let’s work it out, ok?

The first step in assessing the qualities of the VA is to test their communication skills – both language/grammar, as well as, turnaround time. Communication is essential if you want a healthy client-VA relationship. Period.

Once you satisfied, proceed  with that you can send them the first task. Tasks should be set up in such a way that you can determine whether the arrangement is going to work or not. Whenever possible, have objective tasks (“Find the best 3 options for air travel from SFO to BOS for under $300 on 2/18 (give or take 3 days); Returning 3 days later. No red-eye flights,”) rather than subjective tasks (“Find a good deal on airfare from SFO to BOS in mid February”).

If you are working with a VA for the first time, don’t assume .. well .. anything. A reputable VA will definitely have basic skills in computing and can follow instructions scrupulously. So, it become your responsibility to see that the instructions are clear. Save some time too – you can dictate your instructions, or create a video, in addition to emailed instructions or a shared document.

While assigning the first task keep these things in mind:

  • Backup everything, before you grant a new VA your important files. Unintentional damage (or deletion) is still damage.
  • Give detailed step-by-step instruction in a numbered or bulleted easy to understand format.
  • Try and get as much as screenshots or screensharing as possible. Use online tools like Join.Me or Skype for this.
  • Get their work periodically checked. For example, if the assignment is to find out the contact details of say 50 URLs ask the VA to work for exactly one hour and report back after that. Thus you can check the quality and quantity of the work.
  • Do not expect them to work as fast as you can. If it takes only 1 minute per URL they may take 5 minutes initially and finally they may settle down to 2-3 minutes.
  • Clearly state your deadlines. If you need it by the next day tell them so and it can be done in a couple of days make that clear.

If Things Do not Work Out

Getting a VA is a lot like dating. You don’t rush to the alter when you need someone .. you date, you build on the relationship, you woo, you court, and so on. It’s the same with a virtual assistant. You build the relationship one task upon another. It allows the VA the opportunity to get to know you, your business, your process flow AND it lets you learn more about them, their work and their process flow.

Personalities also a strong consideration. On paper, a VA might seem like the perfect solution, however if your personalities just don’t mix .. it may be time to find another VA with the same skill set but with a personality that more closely matches you and your business culture. When you work with a VA it is essential that you trust with that person, that there is a connection. Again, like dating .. don’t rush it!

About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:

logo1bAt 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.

Image credit: StartupStockPhotos | CCO Public Domain