Okay, so you’ve started up your business on your own (or with colleagues) , working your fingers to the bone. It has gradually got to the point where the mandatory administrational bits and bobs have become an uphill task, almost taking on a life of their own.
You accept that you may need some outside help if you want to fit eating, sleeping and maybe even a bit of family time into your life.
However, you are not yet at that stage where you are ready to employ an additional someone… So you have conducted a comprehensive SWOT analysis and a trusty Virtual Assistant (that you can call upon as and when suits) seems to be the solution to all of your problems.
But where do you start? There are hundreds upon squillions of budding VA’s out there , advertising a myriad of different skills and offerings , it’s easy to feel slightly overwhelmed. Furthermore, it’s so important to you that you have got to get this right as it’s your business, it's your pride and joy, it's your livelihood. In truth , there is no identikit 'sheep dip' formula for VA’s. Just like in real life , or in Cabbage Patch Kid World (showing my age), every VA is different.
Logic would dictate you to spend several days compiling a checklist of skills and experience that this special someone needs to possess (just like in the Weird Science film - showing my age - again) e.g. a) Must be able to arrange Zoom meetings, b) Expertise in X and Y packages are essential , z) Vast widget industry knowledge is a pre-requisite etc etc... However, caution should be taken when matching up your specific requirements to said potential VA, to calculate a total score out of 258…
It’s important to remember that you don’t hire a checklist or a computer program , you hire a person. To a large extent I would apply the same rule whenever you employ someone. I can think of countless times in my own career where a candidate has got the job because of their apparent varied technical skillset and experience fitting the precise criteria for the position like a Bradley Walsh on a gameshow. It has subsequently been backed up with a mind-blowing and inspirational interview. Sadly, it has (on occasions) only resulted in abject failure, simply because in the real world they weren’t the right kind of person for the job in hand, within that particular organisation.
I have 3 important factors to consider when delving into the VA transfer market :-
1. Does the VA have the aptitude and the attitude (the two ‘A’s)? They may not have 10 years experience in your industry processes, but do they relate to what you are trying to achieve, thus they can be up to speed very quickly, without much fuss on what’s required? Gut instinct is undervalued, but is an essential tool when choosing somebody who will represent your business.
2. Beware of any potential selection promising Harry Potter magic and fireworks for a tenner a day. As a (general) rule of thumb, you pay for what you get (Salt Bae may be an exception). Straightforwardness, honesty and integrity are king. If someone offers you the world and it’s lobster combined with, say, a doctorate in astrophysics (“I was the only person who could beat Brian Cox in my Astronomy classes end of week quantum mechanics quiz etc”) thrown in, alarm bells should surely ring. This may force you to conclude ‘this is probably and therefore is too good to be true.’
3. Finally, the most important point to consider. Above everything a VA should be trusted. They will exhibit the care (and the passion) about any task or project that they are performing for your beloved business, as much (or almost as much) as you do, so it’s carried out how it should be. It’s like any relationship – if there is no trust and care, it doesn’t matter how many thousands of software packages that they’ve had first hand experience of. You need to entrust this person to get on with matters which directly effect your business under minimum supervision and not lose sleep worrying about it.
I guarantee that the right person is out there for you, so you can 'get back' that precious time. It’s just a case of knowing which stone to turn.