We speak at various events and coach entrepreneurs often, and of course, there are many questions we get asked on the subject of Virtual Assistants, or VAs.
In fact, here are a couple of videos where Dave has spoken on the subject “How to Make More Time and Money with Proven Outsourcing”
Anyway, this will be a series of articles where we answer those questions!
So let’s get into it.
For reference, we’ll number each question so that we can more easily refer back to them.
Here are the questions we’ll be answering:
- You advocate hiring someone full-time if possible. How do you keep your VA busy all of the time especially during the slow times?
- What is your process in hiring a VA?
- How do I know if the VA I hired is actually doing the work and isn’t scamming me?
- Is there any legal “fallback” law or recourse we can take if we suspect something or to help prevent being scammed?
- Is hiring a manager to manage your VAs a wise decision?
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Question 1: You advocate hiring someone full-time if possible. How do you keep your VA busy all of the time especially during the slow times?
Answer: There’s a presumption in this question that there will actually be slow times! Often, however, it’s more along the lines of a “less crazy/busy time”. So let’s assume that will happen and of course, you don’t want your VA twiddling their thumbs.
There are so many things that someone can be doing that you can almost look forward to these slower times, because they can be the start of taking your business to the next level.
First of all, our recommendation is to keep a list of things you’d want them to do during these times.
What should go on that list? Here are a few suggestions:
- Ask them to research something you yourself have wanted to know but just haven’t had time to do
- Have them begin executing on a new service or product offering you’re wanting to add to your business such creating an informational product or even a new free download
- They should be creating some learning plans for improvement (you should too); have them start on one of those items.
- Are there any certificates they could earn through some type of study that would lend authority to your business?
- Is there something they want to learn? It may not be directly related to your business, but the sparks of creativity that can fly from them by spending some extra time on THEIR desires can really benefit you.
- Get them to research improvements to your process; maybe they can look at the areas in your process that take too much time and give you suggestions on how to improve.
- Related to the above, have them document your processes.
- Practice problem-solving skills or customer service skills with role plays.
- Have them do competitive research in your industry to help you figure out a roadmap of where, when, and how to improve your company
Whatever they do, make sure they do some type of report or presentation so you can truly benefit from their effort.
Question 2: What is your process in hiring a VA?
Answer 2: In our experience, helping dozens of people get reliable and great VAs, the best overall process for hiring a VA is made up of the following steps:
- PREPARE. You need to spend some time preparing yourself and your company for adding a team member, especially the first one. This involves
- Creating your Vision, Mission, and Core Values as these become guiding principles in your company and help attract the right people
- Understanding what you’re good at and what you aren’t so good at so you can target someone that complements your strengths (you don’t normally want someone exactly like you)
- Understanding what you hate doing, like doing, and should be doing (there’s more to this, we call it our “Six-Pack Worksheet"
- HIRE. Once you understand who you need, you should be figuring out
- Qualifications they should have
- Requirements for the position
- Benefits you’ll provide
- Where to post your job description
- The steps they’ll need to go through to get to an interview with you
- Questions you’ll be asking in the interview
- Your rules of engagement: agreements that need to be in place between you and your VA
- The onboarding process, how you’ll get them started off right
- THRIVE. Now that they are on-board, you’ll need to have a continuous process so that they can really perform:
- Establishing trust gradually so both you and them are comfortable.
- Regular performance reviews
- Protection of YOUR time!
- Growing your leadership capability
There’s more in our course and community, but those are the basics.
Question 3: How do I know if the VA I hired is actually doing the work and isn’t scamming me?
Answer: That’s a really good question!
The most effective ways are
- Having todo lists so they can check off what they’ve done, and you monitor this on a regular basis; they should be accomplishing things pretty quickly.
- Hiring for “exclusive” work, meaning if they are part OR full-time, they work exclusively for you so you’re not competing with their other bosses for their time.
- Daily communication such as emails and check-ins/outs.
You can also have them track their time using a tool such as a spreadsheet or an app such as clockify.
Question 4: Is there any legal “fallback” law or recourse we can take if we suspect something or to help prevent being scammed?
Answer: Not really. It’s up to you to monitor properly and be aware of warning signs that something is amiss.
You can also leave a bad review on job sites that will warn others.
However, if you hire the right way, the way we teach, the chances of this are slim, and the worst thing we’ve seen happen is NOT being scammed or someone being dishonest, they just don’t perform as well as they should, and you have to make changes.
Question 5: Is hiring a manager to manage your VAs a wise decision?
Answer: It can be, especially if you start feeling like the time you’re spending in the managing process is becoming too much, or you want to concentrate on a slightly different role in your business.
One example might be that you do more sales and your manager directs the VAs on the execution of the projects.
But one thing for sure, your VA must have people skills and be able to manage others effectively.
And when you take this step, you’ll need to establish a good reporting structure and ways for you to still stay on top of things properly.
It could be that you decide to do this when you hire a second VA to do the same or similar thing as the first VA; in other words, one VA does some managing of the other VA.
We’ll be delving into more questions in future posts, so stay on the lookout for them!