One of the first questions I always hear from my clients is “how much is a Virtual Assistant going to cost me?” Most of the time they are just thinking about the hourly rate they will be charged and they don’t think about those hidden costs that can add up to hundreds and thousands of dollars each month. So before you even start your search for your first (or your next) Virtual Assistant, make sure you aren’t making one of these costly mistakes:
#1 – Your business is not Virtual Assistant ready
This mistake had to be labelled as the #1 mistake because so many of my clients are making this mistake. They are jumping into working with a Virtual Assistant without doing any planning whatsoever. They assign the tasks they think they should rather than the ones they should. They don’t know how to explain what they do because they are blindly going through each step without thought. In order to be ready for a VA you must know what to delegate, how it is done and be able to explain that process.
#2 – You conduct the search for your Virtual Assistant the wrong way
When I talk to Virtual Assistants about why they wouldn’t apply for a potential Virtual Assistant position the exact same reason seems to ring through. “I don’t think this person really understands the Virtual Assistant industry or really knows what they are looking for.” Potential clients searching VAs are making so many mistakes that are preventing the right VA from coming forward and working with them. Some of the top mistakes they are making are looking for a “laundry list of tasks,” expecting to pay peanuts for specialized services and really not knowing what they want, just to name a few.
#3 – Lack of Interviewing/hiring skills
I am often surprised how many people just don’t even do an interview. They send out an email with their needs, a Virtual Assistant answers to say they can handle it, sometimes a brief conversation follows and the next thing you know they are working together. Most importantly most entrepreneurs are hiring the first Virtual Assistant they speak with and the search stops there. No other interviews, no reference checks and absolutely no research to ensure they have the skills at the level their business needs.
#4 – Hire the wrong Virtual Assistant
As a result of mistake #3 many people often next fall victim to mistake #4. They hire a Virtual Assistant who has the wrong skillset or they hire a social media Virtual Assistant when what they actually needed was an Executive Virtual Assistant. There are as many different types of Virtual Assistants as there are skillsets that could be offered. You need to know very clearly what you need and then find the Virtual Assistant to meet those needs. Today there are multi-VA teams, OBMs, OMMs, solo VAs, Marketing VAs, Infusionsoft certified VAs, Legal VAs, Real Estate VAs, Techy VAs … the list goes on and with so many acronyms and types of VAs how is one to know what exactly they need.
#5 – You have no management skills
Many entrepreneurs build a business based on a passion they have and often that business becomes very, very successful with a lot of hard-work and then it’s time to get help! Great, but not a lot of these entrepreneurs come with a business degree or management background. The important thing to realize is you can’t build a successful support team to help you in your business if you don’t know how to manage those people.
#6 – You have no team-building skills
Mistake #6 ties in very closely to mistake #5 and often is the point at which every client-Virtual Assistant relationship breaks down. So many of my Virtual Assistant friends complain about the way they are treated by their clients. No appreciation, no communication, no regret for their ideas and input. If you want to build loyalty, you must learn how to treat others. It comes back to the golden rule, the simple truth is VAs are willing to bend over backwards for clients who recognize and appreciate them. The biggest way this mistake will cost you money is you will find yourself constantly in the hiring process replacing great VAs that aren’t willing to stick with you!
#7 – Communication breakdown
Plain and simple communication is key in any relationship, just think about your personal relationships and I know you will agree. The same is true for a client-VA relationship. You must find a communication system that works for both of you and then commit to it. The biggest reason a lot of client-VA relationships fail is because one or the other “disappears” and the communication comes to a halt.