How to Avoid Making These Common Mistakes With Your Assistant

We love maximizing productivity and profitability, so we hire a virtual assistant to help us get some extra work done. It seems like a great idea right off the bat. You can kick your feet up, eat some cheese puffs, and they do all the work for you, right? 

A huge misconception is that hiring a Virtual Assistant makes everything easier. 

It does make things easier, but not right away. Like any other hiring process, even for employees in a large business, it takes time. You can’t expect someone to know and understand your procedures and expectations immediately. 

As a result, many entrepreneurs fail to properly onboard and train their VA’s. This spells disaster, so let’s help you avoid these common mistakes. 

Thinking you always know best

You’re hiring a virtual assistant for a reason. You can’t always know better than them. It’s best to let them do their work, and this especially goes if you hired a VA in a specialized niche. If you’re hiring for data entry or scraping, that’s one thing. If you hired a VA to handle your accounting and bookkeeping, you want to make sure you let them do their job. Look at them as a valuable part of your business. 

Not having open and active communication

Communication should be the absolute most important part of your relationship with your VA. You want to make sure they know everything that is going on with you daily. You should have regularly scheduled calls with your VA so you can talk things over and make sure that you are both on the same page at all times. 

Setting them up to fail

Some business owners are doomed right from the start because they don’t give their VA the tools they need to succeed. You have to think of yourself like a business owner who has hundreds of employees. 

If you had 200 VAs, you would probably have many tools and programs to provide your team with right? You should do the same even if you only have one VA. Make sure any necessary programs, software, documents, or spreadsheets are provided, so your VA understands exactly what to do. 

Not setting clear expectations

This mistake goes hand in hand with the last one. Entrepreneurs tend to think everyone knows what to do and what is expected, but that is never true. Your VA should know exactly what you expect to get out of the relationship.

If you don’t set clear expectations right away, you’ll end up spending more time on the work than you would if you did it yourself. Make sure they know what steps to take and what the final product should look like.

Lacking boundaries

Entrepreneurs and business owners need to realize that not everyone thinks as they do. Some of these virtual assistants treat their job like a traditional 9-5, so they don’t want to be bothered at 3 a.m. just because you had an epiphany. 

Between the two of you, there should be regular office hours where you can freely communicate back and forth. Doing this will help develop a positive and professional working relationship. 

Not having straightforward operating procedures

This mistake is a huge one. If your VA doesn’t have systematic steps to follow, they will never be able to independently complete work without bothering you all day. Even if the VA ensures that he or she has done that type of work hundreds of times, you should still have standard operating procedures for your business. This creates a duplicatable process that limits the amount of unnecessary communication back and forth during working hours. 

Outsourcing too soon

Many entrepreneurs will say that it is never too early to outsource, and there is plenty of truth to that. Problems arise when the business owner doesn’t entirely understand the process themselves. You want to make sure you have a proven method and strategy for getting results in whatever it is you do before you ask someone else to do it. 

Getting in over your head 

What about the business owners that hire too many VAs? It happens. Some entrepreneurs read “The Four Hour Work Week” By Tim Ferriss, and they’re ready to ship their entire business to the Philippines. That might sound great, but if you don’t already have proven systems in place, you’ll find yourself in a worse situation then you were before. Make sure you have a process for hiring, onboarding, and training your VAs before you hire more than one. 

Not having solid contracts

Something that a lot of business owners don’t think about is that hiring a VA is an agreement between the two parties. While you might want to hire the best person for the job; you also want to make sure that this person has your interests in mind. You always want to use the most reputable VA hiring websites, and you want to have rock solid contracts in place if something goes wrong. 

Final Thoughts

Sometimes the difference between a business that succeeds and one that fails is the owner's ability to recruit a team. There has never been a better time to be a business owner because we have incredible access to assistants from all over the world. Respect the process and use virtual assistants wisely.