In the past few months, I have interviewed with quite a few small business owners, and there is one commonality in all of them. It is their first time hiring a virtual assistant, and they are nervous. Hiring a virtual assistant is kind of like entering a marriage, and it’s quite normal to have VA jitters, and even cold feet.
This fear can manifest itself in many ways. Sometimes you might tend to over interview, searching for the “perfect” virtual assistant. Other times you will have an inability to decide, even though you have interviewed several great candidates. And the virtual assistant jitters can cause you to procrastinate and avoid the process altogether. The good news is there are common reasons small business owners get the jitters when hiring their first virtual assistant and ways to combat these fears.
Do you recognize any of these fears?
I’m afraid I won’t have enough money to pay my virtual assistant.
In the beginning of building your business, money is inevitably tight. You are always looking for ways to cut expenses so you can increase your profit, and give yourself a decent salary. But there will come a time when you simply won’t be able to handle the many tasks it takes to manage and grow your business. When you reach that point, it’s time to take an honest look at your finances. One prospect I spoke with had no idea how much money she made monthly, so it would make sense she would wonder if her budget could afford a virtual assistant. Face the money facts and be intimately close to your income, expenses and monthly profit.
What’s great about hiring a VA is you can use him/her for as little or as many hours as you can afford. Start small (5-10 hours a month) and see what kind of impact that has on you financially. If you find yourself feeling comfortable after a couple months, increase the number of hours. As you free up your time by delegating to a VA, you will have the bandwidth to generate new business and increase your income.
I’m afraid I will make a bad decision and choose the wrong virtual assistant.
That is a real possibility, but you are not stuck if you make a bad decision. Nothing is ever set in stone. You should know within the first 30 days if your new virtual assistant is not working out. One of my clients told me we would try things out for a month and see how it’s going. She gave herself an out in the event she wasn’t happy with my work. Don’t be afraid to cut your losses early and move on. You are not doing yourself or the VA any favors by continuing the relationship, hoping it will work out.
When you are interviewing, do your due diligence. Be prepared when interviewing prospects. The clearer you are about who you are, the vision of your business, and what you need help with, the better your chances of communicating that to potential virtual assistants. Have a list of questions you want to ask candidates, and know what you are looking for. Interview with several candidates so you can compare the strengths and weaknesses of each one. Pay attention to the conversation and how well your personality meshes during the interview. Ask for references and be sure to call each of them. Once you have all your notes together, do a pros and cons chart, and make your best choice. Depending on the nature of your business, and the tasks you need managed, you might even decide to hire two virtual assistants.
I’m afraid I won’t have time to train a virtual assistant.
It does take some time to train a VA, but the closer you get to finding the best match for your type of business, and the tasks you need accomplished, the shorter the learning curve. One prospect I recently interviewed with is a business coach. With years of experience building my own coaching practice, he can skip the entire process of explaining his business to me. I already know the ins and outs of his industry, and that will cut his training time significantly.
Pick a virtual assistant that is familiar with your industry and has strong experience handling whatever tasks you want him/her to handle. Then all you must do is train your VA on how you work, and any specifics that might make you or your business different than the norm. Block out a few hours a week to meet with your VA until she is up and running to your standards. Always keep the lines of communication open so there is no misunderstanding between the two of you.
Hiring your first virtual assistant is an exciting time. It is a sign your business is growing, and it’s an opportunity to take our company to the next level. Don’t let these fears stop you from taking the plunge and delegating all that work you don’t have time to do. With the proper amount of preparation, I feel confident you will find a great VA, and you will have both the money and time to foster that relationship.
Top 3 Ways to Overcome the First-Time Virtual Assistant Jitters
January 6, 2017