You’re ready to hire a virtual assistant, but you’re not sure how you can trust a total stranger with your business. You don’t know whether the virtual assistant you pick will be honest, reliable and trustworthy.
These terrifying questions are running through your head:
- What if my virtual assistant steals my strategies or business secrets and sells them?
- What if my virtual assistant steals money from my accounts?
- Is my virtual assistant charging me for hours when they’re not working?
- What if my virtual assistant becomes my future competitor?
- What if my virtual assistant is trying to poach my clients or using my client list for themselves?
You can bet that these are common fears that many business owners experience. Thinking the worst can easily keep you in a cage, afraid of outsourcing or working with a virtual assistant.
Take Safety Precautions when Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants are human beings. Some of them pride themselves in being trustworthy and loyal while others may not have strong moral convictions.
Regardless, it would be best if you always had safety precautions in place when hiring a virtual assistant.
1. Vet the Virtual Assistant Before Hiring Them
The hiring process is stressful because you’re going through portfolios and conducting interviews. Sometimes this includes phone calls.
You need to do more than ask your potential virtual assistant a few questions and hope for the best.
Conduct a thorough check on your virtual assistants before hiring them.
Ways you can vet your virtual assistant are:
- Checking for testimonials and past reviews with verifiable clients. Testimonials alone are not enough. Make sure they link to websites and work they’ve done for previous clients. If you use something like Upwork, you can check their reviews right on their profile.
- Ask them why they stopped working for previous clients and how long they worked for each of them.
- Reach out to at least one of their previous clients and ask them whether they’d recommend that virtual assistant.
- Taking these extra steps can prevent future surprises with the virtual assistant. You’re making sure that the virtual assistant is trustworthy with your business. Also, you’re seeing if this virtual assistant will be worth the effort to hire.
- You wouldn’t want a virtual assistant who has a history of taking jobs and then ghosting the client a week later.
2. Contracts and Legal Forms for your New Virtual Assistant
Once you’ve vetted a virtual assistant and decided that you’re comfortable working with them, you should have them sign a few contracts. The most important contracts you should have them sign are:
- A working contract detailing expectations between the virtual assistant and you, the client. Include fees, work turnaround time, what happens in the case of a contract breach, and notice of contract termination.
- A non-disclosure so they can’t talk about what goes on behind the scenes in your business. They also cannot sell information related to your business.
- A non-compete so they don’t learn the inside secrets of your business only to turn around and create an identical business. Include that the virtual assistant is not to have contact with your clients outside of working with your instructions.
Make sure that you covered, legally. These are the minimal three contracts that you should have when working with a virtual assistant.
3. Use Software That Keeps You Safe
If you are paying your virtual assistant by the hour, you want to make sure they are doing work by the hour.
Have your virtual assistant track their time using software such as Toggl. Toggl generates charts and spreadsheets that you can request from your virtual assistant at the end of each week or month.
You can then see exactly how long it takes them to complete each task and determine whether it’s satisfactory for the price you’re paying them.
Your virtual assistant is also going to need some login information to help you in your business effectively.
Fortunately, you don’t need to write down your usernames or passwords.
You can use an extension called LastPass to save all of your sensitive information, including credit card information. Then you can “send” the login information to your virtual assistant.
LastPass automatically fills in the data and encrypts anything sensitive, so your virtual assistant can log in without seeing your private information.
The nice thing about LastPass is that if you ever need to revoke permissions from a virtual assistant, you can do it with two clicks in your LastPass app. It’s a more convenient way to remove access from something without needing to change all your passwords.
Safety First when Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Secure your business. Make sure that you have your legal documents in place and use software that can help you manage your new virtual assistant.
Don’t forget the vetting process, either.
To make your hiring process a little easier, I’ve put together a Pre-Hiring Checklist free for you to download. Enter your e-mail address below, and I’ll send it right to your inbox.
Also published on Medium.