Because the Virtual Assistance industry is growing so rapidly there are now thousands of virtual assistants (VA) to choose from. And because clients work so closely with their VAs it is very important to find one that is a perfect fit for you. The task can be daunting. However, if you ask yourself the right questions and respect your answers you will be on the right path to choosing your perfect VA. Here are just a few questions to ask when choosing a virtual assistant:
1. What is your personality type? Are you a “Type A” that works well with other “Type A” personalities or do you need a more laid back person to work with? Or are you relaxed and need a “Type A” personality to keep you on track, on time and organized? Think about what type of person energizes you and consider a VA that compliments that.
2. What is your communication style? Are you a quiet person who doesn’t like to talk every day? Or are you better served by a daily or weekly phone call to connect? If you are chatty, don’t partner with a VA that prefers to be less-than-chatty. Neither one of you will be happy.
3. How often do you like to communicate? Do you like to email 5 times a day, once a day, once a week? How much communication do you want from your VA? Do you like to chat on the phone? Do you hate the phone and prefer email? It’s important to find a VA that matches that style. Trust me; you don’t want to receive 20 emails a day from an “in touch” VA if you prefer less but more focused communication.
4. What kind of commitment do you want? Do you have a ton of on-going projects and want a retainer agreement where you and your VA commit to a predetermined amount of hours per month? Or at this point in time do you have small projects that you need minimal help with? Save yourself time and determine this up front so you can skip the websites that claim they don’t offer project work or vice versa.
5. How involved do you want your VA to be in your business? Do you want her to brainstorm marketing ideas with you, rehash your business plan? Or do you have a preference for someone who will simply submit your work on time and keep your business admin tasks completed? Don’t partner with a VA that has involvement in mind or you’ll find yourself unhappy. Likewise, don’t ask a VA whose preference is to simply complete projects and email them to you to collaborate on an advertising campaign.
6. What kind of work style do you prefer? Do you prefer a more structured work style? Do you like pre-determined meeting times? Or can a spur-of-the moment phone call work for you? You’ll be much happier to partner with a VA that has the same work style as yourself.
7. How important it is for you “click” with your VA? Ideally, we all click to a degree with the professionals we hire, such as our accountant, lawyer, etc because we want to give our money to someone we trust and like. However, it’s crucial to really click and connect with your VA because she’ll become a partner in your business. Depending on your arrangement and needs, you could expect to talk with her daily. Some people prefer to have the expertise the VA offers and can manage without a personal connection and other business owners need the connection first and realize the VA can learn the skills necessary. Think about what would work best for you.
8. What kind of importance do you give certifications and associations? Do you want your VA to have a long list of official certifications or belong to a list of associations? If that’s important to you, there are many VAs who hold several certifications and belong to many associations. Not holding a certification doesn’t mean a VA isn’t qualified and professional but it might be something you want to consider.
9. Do you mind if your VA subcontracts to other virtual assistants? Many VAs make it a common practice to subcontract work out, but if she does, you should know that be ok with it. Do you prefer just one person to work on your projects? Do you care if other people manage your projects so long as your VA gives it the final approval before sending it on to you?
10. And last, but certainly not, least – do you trust your gut? Easier said than done when you start your VA search as there are now thousands of qualified, professional VAs running businesses. But once you talk to someone, communicate with them several times, get the responses you are looking for – then see what your gut tells you and go with it. You’ll be on your way to a successful relationship with your new virtual assistant.
Just a few simple questions can prevent a lot of misunderstanding and wasted time. Take your time with your VA search. If it works out perfectly, you’ll have a partnership that will benefit your business for years to come.