With the expansion of online workspaces, the option of hiring a VA is becoming more and more attractive for business owners but it does come with it’s fair share of challenges. Communication lapses, long learning curves, cultural differences and so on. So how do you overcome such challenges to build a strong long-term relationship with a VA?
If there’s anyone who knows anything about building lasting relationships with virtual staff, it’s Aurelius Tjin. Owner of an eBook writing business and soon-to-launch content writing agency, he started out with one VA three years ago. Until today, he still works with that VA.
Aurelius shares the pain and toil of finding the right person. That’s why for him, he’s always viewed recruitment as something that needs to be done by someone else. He approached Outsourcing Angel in 2015 to find a VA that would deal with everything from launch, putting together all the pieces and tackling customer service issues.
Since then, Aurelius and his VA have now grown the business releasing an average of 2 eBooks a month. He has developed and grown such a strong relationship with his VA, he can now focus on direction and strategy for his business.
So what does it take to build a long-term win-win relationship with a VA? Aurelius shares these five tips.
1. Treat them like family.
One of the core principles that Aurelius applies is making a VA feel more like a family member than an employee. Giving positive words of affirmation is key. Another important aspect is patience. When you nurture a child, you don’t see results right away but you do your best to invest time and energy to make the child learn and grow. It shouldn’t be any different with staff.
2. Hire a VA based on character, not skill.
Skills can be taught over time but character is something that has to be present from the beginning. To be able to build a strong relationship with your VA, you need to make sure the VA knows that character is of top priority in your organisation.
3. Reward results.
As your business grows, you also need to give your VA room for growth. The most basic way to do this is to give performance bonuses and pay raises as the business increases its revenue.
4. Help your VA manage tasks.
Some business owners make the mistake of mindlessly brain dumping tasks on their VAs. It’s important to be aware of how loaded their to-do list is. Aurelius shares a simple system where you can ask your VA whether he or she has a green light, orange light or red light for more tasks. Green light means go, orange light means he or she is slightly loaded and red light means there’s too much on the plate to add on currently.
5. Constant communication.
Just like any relationship, a VA-business owner relationship needs to have constant communication. Leaving room for assumptions is not a good idea. As business owners, we also need to make sure that we communicate our “why.” Giving a VA the vision is more effective than simply leaving a mound of tasks to get done.
Whether you’re building a small enterprise or running a huge company, virtual staff can provide you value but it has to work both ways. As business owners, we need to have the right tools, mindset and know how to lead our people well.
VA Writer: Patrick Mabilog
VA Position: Technical VA- Writer and Designer