Before Employing a Virtual Assistant, Consider the Following:

Understanding the Capabilities of a Virtual Assistant

In business, I hear the term “Virtual Assistant” more frequently. Did you know that you may be able to hire someone from another continent to work for $8 to $12 per hour while you sleep? One of the VAs I work with has an MBA in business administration. I pay her a pitiful $15.00 per hour, which is a steal.

The definition of a virtual assistant has evolved alongside the expansion of virtual assistants. The leaders and founders of this particular entrepreneurial job have distinguished between what it means and does not mean to be a virtual assistant. When describing your business to others, it is important to adhere to this standard.

Being a virtual assistant is becoming a defining characteristic of a particular type of home-based business. It is expected that a virtual assistant will uphold the same standards as other professionals in this field. Consequently, a virtual assistant is a person who provides a variety of services to businesses and individuals in accordance with the standard that has evolved over the past decade.

The first approach to understanding what a virtual assistant is begins with the concept of virtuality.

If you are not working remotely or from home, you are not considered a virtual assistant. Instead, it is classified as a temporary or telecommuting position. One of the requirements for a virtual assistant is the ability to work from any location.

The distinction made in the job description is the second component of being a virtual assistant.

Most virtual assistants dislike being referred to as secretaries or independent contractors. Technically, a freelance worker is one who performs the job solely for additional compensation. In addition, a secretary is someone who does not work exclusively with one client. The purpose of providing a virtual assistant to a business is to establish a substantial and long-term relationship.

Here are five characteristics you should look for in a virtual assistant.

1. Professional conduct Does the VA promptly and professionally respond to emails, voicemails, and other correspondence? If this person is to work for you, it is imperative that they have the necessary skills to not keep you or a deadline waiting. Ensure that you assign her or him a covert task that demonstrates commitment to meeting deadlines.

2. Project Management. Juggling tasks nowadays is vital. Now that we are standing in front of the microwave, we must get things done. If a person cannot manage multiple projects, it may be time to move on. I guarantee you won’t discover they have a problem with project management until you lose “the big deal.”

3. Availability. Many of these individuals work for multiple employers simultaneously. It is common for you, as an employer, to function as a funnel for the VA. As they accept better contracts from new virtual employers, you gradually progress down the funnel. Be aware that you and your project will be dropped when you need them the most. You should also be recruiting new VAs. To combat this issue, try to divide your work between two or more virtual assistants.

4. Test. Before proceeding with a contract, assign the VA a pilot project. I also assign at least two tasks that cost between $30 and $40 to complete. Before I will consider this individual, I require the tasks to be completed correctly and to my full satisfaction. It is easy to hire one of the first few applicants, but please shortlist at least ten and assign the tasks to two of those ten. Obviously, you should ensure that these tasks are something you want done before spending money on them.

5. Get References. Can the VA provide you with a list of references you can contact for feedback on working with her or him?

Most virtual assistants will focus on establishing a relationship with a business and making this their business as the primary point of differentiation. This exceeds the requirements of any temporary or telecommuting position. It also implies that the services a virtual assistant can provide will extend beyond office-created job descriptions. By understanding the requirements for a virtual assistant, you can approach your own relationships with businesses in the most effective manner.

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