You might feel a rush, through the hiring process. When you start to delegate and outsource, there’s a validating feeling of being a real business owner.
It’s exciting, flipping through applications, interviewing potential virtual assistants, and finding the right people to level-up your business.
What happens after you hire your first virtual assistants?
The first few weeks should be the most difficult. You’re signing contracts, setting up payment plans, delegating your primary tasks, and trying to create a rhythm with your virtual assistant.
You learn what to expect from your virtual assistant. You evolve not only as a business owner but also as a leader, as you determine the best ways to communicate your needs to your team.
Remember that Virtual Assistants are Human
A crucial part of working with a virtual assistant is getting to know that person.
Remember, they’re not bots or software that you can automate your business with. There is a living, breathing, idea-filled human being, behind the virtual assistant.
Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each virtual assistant can help you decide who gets which task.
My client started this blog with two virtual assistants.
I’m the content writer.
His other assistant, Mae, works on scheduling the content and managing the social media accounts.
Before hiring us, he interviewed us individually, to get a feel for our experience and personalities.
I’m not knocking other virtual assistants, but sometimes potential virtual assistants will oversell their skillsets. Hopping on a quick phone call can reveal a lot about what the virtual assistant truly knows.
Do they speak from expertise and experience or are they making generalized statements without any substance? This initial phone call will give you that answer.
First Impressions of the Virtual Assistants
Asking my client about his first impressions of me can help me restructure the way I present myself. Luckily for me, he felt exactly the way I wanted him to feel, while we were on the initial phone call.
He felt that I am diligent, easy to talk to, and engaged in the conversation.
Most importantly, he felt comfortable, knowing in his gut that whatever his vision is, I’m here to make it happen.
So while we can call these gut feelings “superstition”, it’s critical that you feel right about whom you’re hiring.
They can have the best reviews and raving testimonials, but if you feel uncomfortable or not ready for that specific person, it’s okay. You can move to a different virtual assistant who gives you a sense of ease.
Your virtual assistant should be a positive force in your workplace, not an added stressor.
Giving Virtual Assistants Space to Grow
Sometimes first impressions don’t tell you everything, especially if the virtual assistant has a more introverted personality.
For example, Mae is a fantastic virtual assistant who knows what she’s doing. She’s capable and shows expertise in her skill sets. Still, my client was concerned that she lacked leadership or initiative.
He was wrong.
He came into this virtual assistance relationship thinking that he would have to hold her hand or micromanage what she did.
In reality, Mae had her own ideas, and she wasn’t afraid to pitch them. She’s already taken the reigns several times and tried to go above and beyond what he asks for.
His other reservations included her response times or whether he would be able to effectively communicate with her since she lives in the Philippines. There’s a 12-hour time difference that could make it difficult from a delegation standpoint.
Due to the time difference, he needed to be more flexible with when he messaged her. He learned that she is extremely responsive, as long as he’s writing to her during her office hours.
It only took a few days for him to get learn the best practices of working with us.
Smooth Communication is Key when Working with Virtual Assistants
Aside from trust, communication creates strong working relationships. Communication should also be simple. Instead of giving your virtual assistant ten different places to receive instructions (Facebook messenger, texting, Slack, Voxer, all at the same time), it’s worth having one clear channel of communication.
This creates a habit of expecting work to come from that channel.
Zoom is for interviews or meetings that are more effective through a voice chat.
Upwork messenger takes the place of “texting.” All instructions go through Upwork.
Trello is where tasks and content management happens. We get an overview of all the moving parts within the business.
Don’t Overthink Trust
To wrap up this post, I asked my client where his level of trust was when it came to his virtual assistants.
He said that he trusted us immediately. Others might believe that he’s naive, trusting so quickly, but he thinks that people are innocent until proven guilty.
If the work is executed correctly and the virtual assistants take responsibility for things that don’t work out, the trust is there.
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Also published on Medium.