Top 5 Tips to Help You Choose a VA
With outsourcing being all the rage for small businesses to allow them to scale more cost-effectively I see questions on social media and meet people at networking events all the time who want to understand exactly how they find the right person to work with. In this article I’m going to outline my top 5 tips to help you choose a VA or OBM to to work with, outline a little of the differences between the two and as an added bonus give you my overview of what you may want to use as a template for a discovery call as a prospective client.
Firstly, a VA is a Virtual Assistant and may work solo or with a team to provide you with outsourced business support, as with most service professionals most VAs have a specific niche that they specialise in and ensuring you research the skills and background of the VA you want to work with is vital for a productive relationship. An OBM is an Online Business Manager and often works with a larger team providing a much more strategic level of support.
A VA is not your employee. They are a business owner and may often not do all tasks within their own business themselves. Your relationship with your VA should be the same as you have with your printer or telecoms provider.
Know what you want to achieve. This is not the same as knowing what you want your VA to do. In the same way as being overly prescriptive with a computer programmer may prevent you from getting the most elegant solution allowing your VA to provide you with consultancy may give you ultimately a better result. If you have SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) provide them to your VA as part of your onboarding process but a good VA will always offer suggestions for potential improvements in order to give you the best value from your working relationship.
Be realistic with your goals. Yes you may want to outsource social media graphic creation, Facebook advertising, blog writing and telephone answering. That just may not all end up being the same person. Also, if you are working with a VA who works solo you’ll need to take into account workloads and scheduling that works for both of you.
Have an agreed method and frequency of communication and stick to it. Good, clear communication is the absolute foundation of a great outsourced business relationship and can make the difference between a project being completed on-time and under budget and dragging on with constant revisions (and the associated costs!)
Ensure you have an agreed contract, an understanding of exactly what is going to be delivered, what the timescales for delivery are, what the payment terms are, what the penalties are for late payment etc.
So, you have checked your thoughts and requirements against the top 5 tips shared above to help you choose a VA and you’ve booked an initial meeting or online discovery call. How do you work out if this VA is your VA?
Here’s a brief outline:
- Start by asking them a little about themselves and why they started their business. A person’s why tells you a lot about them, their motivations and their passions.
- Outline your requirement – if you can share documented processes, SOPs or diagrams to help the VA easily understand what you are looking for
- Discuss the work and their proposed solutions in a little detail
- Ask them what they love about their job
- Ask them what people love about working with them
- Make sure at the end of the call you have a commitment to receive a written proposal and an overview of terms in an agreed timeframe.
Good luck finding the perfect VA for you, if you’d like to find out if I’m the perfect VA for you and your business then contact me or book a free one-hour consultation / discovery call