Last week I shared on the top 4 questions (as asked of me) from clients seeking to engage the services of a Virtual Assistant.
Here are more questions asked, not necessarily on my site, sometimes on forums.
Where can I find a Virtual Assistant? This question always amazes me because it’s very simple to put into a search engine ‘Virtual Assistant’ and thousands of references will come up. But perhaps there lies the problem – thousands. Perhaps the question should be how do I know I’m going to find a good VA via a search? Or perhaps it’s because people like to be referred to others. I know that’s where a number of our clients come from as they mark ‘word of mouth’ on our Job Request Form. Homework is required here. Check the website of the VA, or the VA Directory that you’re looking at. How long has it been up? (The waybackmachine can help here). Is there contact information readily available? Testimonials on the site? Or if you Google their name or business name, what kind of information comes up? How well written is the website and does the business look like one you’d like to work with? Just as you’d check out an employee if you were engaging one, then it makes sense to spend a little time thinking about the VA service you’re about to engage. Now, going back to the original question, if in doubt, then seek out Virtual Assistant Networks or Directories and place a support request with them. They usually have criteria that members must meet and will provide you with several responses to your request. Saves you shopping around in several places.
Can I work with more than one VA? Simple answer is ‘yes’! Somewhere along the line people got this strange idea that one size fits all, and it doesn’t. Many VAs specialise in a set of service offerings that relate to their background experience and knowledge. So, when thinking about engaging a VA it is important you think about the different things you need to be done, what software may need to be used and the experience they need to have to assist you. There is no reason why you can’t outsource your bookkeeping, graphic design, web design, social media maintenance, transcription, database management and a number of other things. Let’s face it, you need to do what you do best, and delegate the rest to those who are equipped and qualified to do it.
What if I want to work with one VA only and not several? That’s ok too. I’ve often had clients engage me to do one or two things for them and then when they’ve come and asked for something else, it might not be something I do. But I have sourced it for them and then acted as project manager for that work, so that the client is still only dealing with me. And there are many VAs out there who will do the same for you. All you have to do is ask.
I’m a new business and can only afford a few dollars an hour, can you help me? My answer is generally ‘no’. I am very aware that there are services that advertise ‘cheap VAs’ for a fraction of the rates that I and my team charge, and the client needs to think about this and make a decision. If the work you want done could be done offshore by someone who has good computer skills but might not have good English speaking or writing skills, then it might be worth considering. But there are other things you need to think about too, such as: timezones – do you need to be able to contact them during your working hours? Do they need to have knowledge of things that relate to your country? Will they be liaising on your behalf with your clients? Cultural differences can come into play here. And finally what do you charge for the work you do? If you think about the hours you spend doing your admin work, and you pay a VA in the same country as you for doing that work instead, chances are they’re going to do it in faster time than you, thereby saving you the hours you would have spent doing it, allowing you to invest in you business instead and making what you would normally earn during those hours. It’s possible what you spend 3-4 hours on might only take a VA one hour to do, so the cost to you isn’t going to be as much as you think. It’s also possible that a local VA may have worthwhile contacts for your business – both resources and potential clients. And many VAs have been able to help their clients grow their businesses thereby increasing their income. So, do you want to engage someone locally, or do you want to go offshore? Really is your decision.