Hiring a virtual assistant can be exciting because they work so many moving parts of your business, but it’s worth to keep in mind that virtual assistants still come with limitations.
Time and availability
Unless you’re paying your virtual assistant a full-time wage, they’re most likely not going to be watching their inbox and working on your business all the time. They are also likely to have other clients to be able to afford a full-time income, so if you need emergency tasks done, they may not always be available.
It’s important that you discuss office hours with your virtual assistant so you know when they are available for work. You should also have a conversation with your virtual assistant about the turnaround time that you expect from them.
For example, you might need to have something done within 2 hours, but it’s not always reasonable to ask your virtual assistant to drop their entire workload and finish a specific task within 2 hours. Communicate with your virtual assistant about the limitations of their availability so you’re not blindsided if there’s something they can’t do within your time frame.
Discussing days off, holidays, and sick days is also important. How many days of the week is the virtual assistant working? Are they working holidays? What holidays that aren’t on the federal calendar might they be taking a day off for? What happens if your virtual assistant needs to take a sick day? Have these conversations so it doesn’t come as a surprise to you when your virtual assistant needs to take a day off.
The ability to do other tasks and the big picture
You may have hired a virtual assistant to schedule and upload blog posts for you but that does not mean your virtual assistant knows how to market your blog or write these blog posts. They might not even know how to respond to comments on your blog or how to set up the RSS feed to your blog.
Be specific when you are hiring a virtual assistant and make sure that you are assessing them for exactly what you need for your business. It’s mentally taxing and frustrating when a virtual assistant is hired for one task but then asked to do something outside of their comfort zone or area of expertise.
If you do need your virtual assistant to do something other than what you hired them for, be prepared to train them.
Also, be aware since you run your business, you have the ability to see the “big picture.” You know the nuances of your business whereas a virtual assistant doesn’t have the ability to know everything that is going on, especially if they’re new. Do your best to communicate the importance of what your virtual assistant is doing, so they’re aware of how their role helps your business.
For example, if you’re launching a new course soon, you should tell your customer support virtual assistant what the course is about, the payment options, and refund options.ou could potentially give your virtual assistant access to the course so if people have questions, your virtual assistant can give the best response possible.
However, if you don’t give your virtual assistant a heads up, they might be confused about what course everyone is talking about. They won’t know how to answer the questions that are second nature to you and they won’t be able to complete their job.
Always make sure your virtual assistants are aware of the big picture and communicate your changes and launches to them.
Some virtual assistants are well-known for being able to self-manage, mostly because they have the experience or some sort of background in business management. For most virtual assistants, you will have to do some sort of management so they know what’s going on in your business.
Management includes communicating with your virtual assistant and also delegating tasks to them.
Too many business owners jump into a relationship with a virtual assistant thinking that the virtual assistant can read their mind and do tasks on their own. Most virtual assistants do eventually become self-sufficient, but in the beginning, you’re expected to manage your virtual assistant.
Give virtual assistants clear tasks with goals and instructions. This keeps your relationship with the virtual assistant healthy.
How do you work through the limitations of working with a virtual assistant? Let me know in the comments below.
Also published on Medium.