Just when you have all your business processes in place, your newly-hired virtual assistant makes a big slip-up that affects your operations.
It can be extremely challenging and disappointing but situations like these are not uncommon. Things can go awry, and when they do, business owners tend to put all the blame on their virtual staff. Worse still, they think that outsourcing was a huge mistake.
This rash generalisation is what’s keeping many businesses from scaling successfully. Outsourcing success is not just about employee skill sets; it’s more a matter of setting up your business processes and making sure you hire the right virtual assistant to handle them. So instead of thinking that working with a virtual assistant will not work for your business, it could simply be that you’ve hired the wrong virtual staff.
Before hitting the “hire me” button, it pays to look out for the following hiring mistakes to make sure you only engage with the right virtual assistant.
1. Your business is not set up for virtual operations
Outsourcing is a total game-changer for many small businesses. But this doesn’t mean it’s the best option for everyone. Don’t hire a virtual assistant just because a competitor onboarded one or you’ve just read a great article about virtual workers. You should understand your business well to know whether working with a virtual assistant will benefit you. The best reason to hire a virtual assistant is if you know that it will save you a great amount of time that will result in bigger returns.
2. You don’t consider language barriers
The concept of outsourcing is grounded in the benefits of delegating tasks to overseas workers in developing countries. So don’t forget that you’re going to be working with virtual assistants who speak foreign languages. While most virtual assistants in the Philippines or India are well-versed in English, there are still some who find it difficult to converse in the language. So before hiring a virtual assistant, make sure to set expectations regarding your language requirement.
3. You didn’t scope out your tasks
Before hiring a virtual assistant, it’s ideal to make a list of all the tasks you’d like him/her to do for you. If you’re a marketing agency, your task list may include answering customer enquiries in email or social media, researching content for social sharing, creating blog posts, assistance in graphic design and other related tasks. Making your task list as detailed and accurate as possible will help you select a virtual assistant with the right skillset and experience.
4. You didn’t write a clear virtual assistant job description
If you make up random tasks just so you can fill your virtual assistant’s work hours, then you’re only wasting your time. You have to know where and how to best allocate your virtual assistant’s time to maximise your budget. Before hiring, you should know exactly what your virtual assistant will do and how these tasks will benefit your business.
Once you’ve prepared your task list, you should be able to write a detailed job specification for your virtual assistant. Wherever you intend to post the job, make sure to be clear on the following:
- The type of virtual worker you’d like to hire
- Specific tasks you will need help with
5. You’re expecting too much from your virtual assistant
It’s ideal to have a good job description. But one virtual assistant may not be able to fulfill ALL your business needs. For instance, you can’t hire someone to help you handle your social media accounts and do a little accounting at the same time. The more tasks you add to the job description, the less likely you’ll find the right fit.
To avoid making bad hires, evaluate the job description and task list first to make sure your job scope won’t exceed your virtual assistant’s capabilities. It’s also important to communicate your expectations to the candidates you interview and likewise, to be considerate about their limitations. If a virtual assistant tells you that he/she can’t perform a certain task, don’t jump into hiring the person with the assumption that they will eventually learn the skill in the process.
6. You don’t train your VA
Yes, most virtual assistants are skilled. But this doesn’t mean you should leave them to make sense of your business systems. They can’t take a look at your business and instantly know what to do. You have to commit time to properly train your virtual assistant and acquaint him/her about your business processes. Consider this an investment; the more time you spend on training your virtual staff, the better his/her work output and the stronger your relationship will be.
We know that entrusting your business to someone else is a big step. So we at Outsourcing Angel are here to guide you through hiring the right virtual assistant to help you grow your business and achieve entrepreneurial freedom. Have a chat with us today and find out how your virtual assistant can help you scale your business faster and more profitably!