Saw a comment recently on a well-known blog post about the use of Virtual Assistants.
Perhaps the biggest problem with them was that after putting in my dues to get acquainted with the VA and ‘training’ them appropriately, they got promoted or reallocated and I had to start from scratch. This happened at least 3 times in a less than 3 months. Unfortunately, I can see that happening at other firms as well. It might be tough, but see if you can ask your VA company to commit to the same VA for some period of time (I would have liked 6 months).
I found this comment very interesting as it highlighted a very real difference between engaging a self-employed Virtual Assistant versus one through an agency.
Self-employed VAs are often listed with VA networks and the general public might get confused not knowing the difference between a network or an agency when sourcing a VA for support but the experience can be vastly different.
A self-employed VA, because it is their own business, has an invested interest in looking after the client’s business and ensuring they get the best possible service. It is also very unlikely that the client will be passed onto another VA because the first VA has been re-assigned or re-allocated to a new client.
Some self-employed VAs may find that they aren’t well suited to a job and offer to help find a new VA but for the most part, they’re looking for a long-term working relationship. Not something for only a month or two.
I personally have clients who have been with me for 10 years or more and my newest clients have been with me prior to Christmas 2009. As one client moves on (because they’ve changed their business or their lifestyle) I replace them with another one or a couple, depending on the hours involved. I usually have several clients I look after over any given month.
So, when you’re looking to engage the services of a Virtual Assistant, think carefully about what type of commitment you want from that VA and look in the appropriate places for them.