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Top Tools For Managing Your Virtual Assistant

Top Tools For Managing Your Virtual Assistant

Hiring a Virtual Assistant can significantly increase your productivity and what you can achieve in a day. Once you outsource work to a VA however, you need a way to manage it. Especially if you end up bringing two, three or even four Virtual Assistants to help you get through your workload.

So how do you keep on top of everything?

We put together our collection of top tools for manage the workload of your Virtual Assistant

Task Pigeon

task pigeon cover

Task Pigeon is a free task management application for teams of under five, with a paid tier for larger teams.

We have found Task Pigeon an effective way to manage work with our VA’s because it is simple and easy to understand. This reduces the need to train your VA on how to actually use the tool and you can just get on with assigning them work.

Task Pigeon allows you to create categories to keep everything organized. For example categories we use here at First Class Office Assistance for our own VA’s are:

  • Email Outreach
  • Marketing
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Administration

This helps keep tasks organized. When you create a task you can then assign it to one or more of your VA’s and they receive an email notification so they will never miss a new task.

On top of that Task Pigeon allows you to leave comments directly in tasks, attach documents from Google Drive and Dropbox and mark tasks as in progress so you can see what your VA’s are currently working on.

Slack

Slack Cover

Slack is a team chat and collaboration tool that is great for ad-hoc communication. We use Slack for general daily chat that isn’t necessarily associated with any particular task or project.

It is also a great replacement for emails that only need a quick reply, rather than an ongoing and length response.

The great thing about slack is that there is a free tier that will suit most, if not all teams. There are also iOS and Android apps available so that your team can keep in touch with one another even when you may not necessarily in front of your computer.

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts Cover

Google Hangouts is the ideal for solution for team chats when one or more people need to be on the line.

While you don’t need to speak with your Virtual Assistant face to face if you choose not to, sometimes speaking with someone when you can see them helps get on top of problems/issues quickly.

Google Hangout works really well for teams as you can provide a central link that everyone can click to join.

This may suit companies have more than one VA or where two or three employees of the company need to be on the time when speaking with the VA.

Skype

Skype Cover

We also use Skype for communicating with our Virtual Assistants. Skype is ideal for one on one communication. While you can do group calls with Skype the ability to just quickly click and call your Virtual Assistant is where it is really effective.

One of the other good things about Skype is that with the dashboard you can see who is available or has their status set to away.

Skype is also free is you are calling another skype user. This makes it ideal for teams looking for a free communication tool.

These are the key tools we use to manage tasks and communicate with Virtual Assistants. It helps keep both our business and the VA on track and ensures that there is a communication style that will suit almost any team.

And the best thing about each of the tools above, a free plan is available for each tool, so you can get your team up and running for literally no cost.

productive work environment

Personal and Workplace Productivity to Get More Done in Less Time

Every business manager strives for high productivity employees. It makes sense, with most costs fixed the more produced by employees the cheaper each unit of production. Even non-profits jump on the productivity management bandwagon; improving workplace productivity is well a truly a “buzz word” now.

Employees buy in to doing more, not only because employers are tracking their time, but also because they reason that highly productive employees will be highly valued, which they hope will translate to career advancement, salary increases and promotions. Getting more done in less time is nearly a national pastime in the U.S. 

Productivity is so good a buzz word that individuals also strive for high personal productivity. Even stay-at-home moms are on the productivity bandwagon. They juggle a myriad of home and child-care duties while trying to maintain some semblance of a social life, and maybe even some part-time work. 

And the same holds true again for people who work or are looking to work as Virtual Assistants or other freelance contractors.

Time Management with Smart phones

apple computer on desk

Proof of people attempting high productivity through multi-tasking time management is apparent on any freeway. Look over at the car in the next lane. It’s likely you’ll see someone talking on iphone, perhaps gesturing wildly, holding a sandwich or drink in  one hand – all that while attempting to maneuver a two-ton vehicle at 70 mph safely to the next destination. 

Marketers offer convincing arguments that smart phones, social networks, and twenty-four hour internet connectivity on your new techno-gadget will provide highly productive, happy people. Ads show smiling people accomplishing important business tasks while basking on a sunny  beach. What’s not to like about that? 

Improving Employee Productivity, Who Benefits? 

The reality seems much different from the marketing message. Nearly half of all U.S. workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. A similar percentage feel their lives are out of balance. 

But only people benefiting from improving productivity are business owners and the companies selling productivity gadgets. 

That’s one reason why taking control of your day and working as a Virtual Assistant can be so rewarding. While you don’t have the luxury of determining what you do each day you do have a much more flexible work environment and can craft it to suit how you work best.

 

Focused Productivity Management 

man focusing

Rather than working on doing more with technology and multi-tasking, you should list out a set of goals or objectives each day and only use technology or tools if it makes it easy to achieve those outcomes.

For example people often get stuck in a loop of sending countless emails back and forward when a simple phone call would get you an answer much quicker.

Just because we have computers in our homes and office doesn’t mean that we have to use them for every single task that is on our to do list.

 

 

Workig from home - laptop on desk

Maintain Productivity While Working From Home

Stay focused while working from your home office. Working from home allows you to have a lot of flexibility, but if you have family obligations,  you must be careful to make the most of your time. You can do the dishes or mow the lawn during the time your family is home. Working effectively from home can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. 

Structure your day as you would if you were going into an office every day. Get out of bed at a consistent time each morning. This is especially important if you have children or other people living in your home. If you are on a schedule, it will help you to be more organized later in the day.

Start your day with breakfast, your daily exercise routine, if you have one, and then move on to your other obligations. Once those are done, begin work—and work as though the boss is looking over your shoulder. The more productive you are, the less frustration you will have later.   

Set aside a dedicated space for working. Be sure to have a desk and a chair that is ergonomically suited to you. If you have space, work in a room dedicated for working or a space where you can work with little disruption. Sitting at the kitchen table may lead to washing the dirty dishes you see in your peripheral vision. 

Set an achievable goal and make a To-Do List each day. If you are a freelance writer for instance, you may want to do research over the course of the day(s) and write your article at the end of the week. If you work on projects that are ongoing and do not require deadlines, set a goal of finishing a report or making a certain amount of phone calls to follow up on a project. Write out what you plan to do and include things such as sending faxes, emails or making copies.  Everything should be scheduled to allow you to reach your goal by day’s end. 

Stay focused. Being at home does allow more freedom, but if you allow yourself to lose focus, the stacks of unfolded clothes, the ring around the bathtub or picking up the dry cleaning will take priority, and before you know it, your work time has turned into chore time and you won’t have earned a dime. 

Take regular breaks as you would at work. Sitting at a desk for eight hours straight is not healthy in an office, and it isn’t at home either. Stretch, walk around the house, get a snack, make a short personal phone call, or check the mailbox to take a mental break. Take a break to eat lunch and focus on something else for a few minutes. 

Check your productivity at the end of the day. Assess your workday and make modifications for the next day to be more productive. When you finish working, do not pick up work again until the next day. Make sure there is a clear distinction between work time and time for you. If you do not, the days may feel as if they are running together, and each day may be less productive. 

Task Pigeon Review: The Task Management Software I Use To Run My Business

In my business I work with a large number of Virtual Assistants who work on projects that may be as short as one hour, and as long as a few weeks of continuous work. As a result a lot of the tasks are ad-hoc and need to be assigned in a relatively straight-forward manner.

Until recently the bulk of my business was run off email and spreadsheets. However as we expanded the business and the number of people I am responsible for I quickly found myself swamped. I spent more time checking my inbox and cross-referencing with my spreadsheet than I care to admit.

This led to me reviewing a number of task management software applications. First of all I tried Asana, but it was too complex for our needs and I kept getting emails from my staff, rather than updates in the tool itself.

Instead of wasting time on-boarding staff to a bunch of new task management applications I then spent the next few weeks using various tools as an individual. I wanted to find what worked well before I went to the effort of getting everyone else in my team to use it.

Towards the end of my search I stumbled across Task Pigeon. In my mind Task Pigeon perfectly balances ease of use with the required number of features to be effective.

After a week or so of testing I was convinced that I had finally found the task management tool my team would use so began inviting them to my account. The immediate response was overwhelmingly positive. I didn’t need to spend hours on Skype explaining how we were going to use the tool everyone just understood the core functionality of Task Pigeon in an instant.

One way I have found Task Pigeon useful is to utilize their category feature to represent each of the Virtual Assistants I work with. Essentially one category per person. This allows me to see how many outstanding tasks each of my VA’s have and to easily filter down to see what they are working on.

It has also been good to have a number of different ways to view tasks. These include a tile like system, a standard list and a kanban board option. Most of my staff seem to utilize the Kanban boards and tiles, but it is nice to be able to provide them with options.

Positives

Overall the biggest positive for me as a business owner has been the ease at which my staff have been able to take up the tool and start using. Not having to waste time and money on training has been a big plus.

In general I like the look and feel of the tool as well. It doesn’t come across as complex or cumbersome and is perfectly suited for companies like mine.

Negatives

Depending on your business there are a couple of negatives that you need to consider. Working with Virtual Assistants it would be great to have a built in time tracking tool for each task and to then see a summary of the number of hours worked by each individual on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.

I would also like to be able to prioritize tasks/highlight urgent items. You can do this by setting different deadlines but perhaps the option to highlight a tile is a different color or to have an urgent tab would also be a worthy edition.

Summary

If you are a small to medium team Task Pigeon could be the task management tool you have been looking for. Task Pigeon has both free and paid accounts. With my team I stated on the free account before upgrading after a few weeks of use as I could see value in some of the additional features the paid tier offered.

What Is a Specialized Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant who is also referred to as a virtual office assistant is typically a self- employed individual who provides technical, creative and professional administrative support to clients from a remote place e.g. a home office.

A Specialized Virtual Assistance is a VA who focuses on one particular skill set/area of business and has a deeper understanding of that subject. A specialized VA “niches down” a particular subject and continues to learn about it and stay up to date with “what is what” in that particular topic.

This gives them an edge over general VA who knows little about very many different topics. A specialized VA can specialize in Social Media Management or even Data Entry.

There are reasons why you should consider hiring a Specialized VA. This article will explore some the reasons why you should hire a specialized VA.

1. They can perform a wide variety of tasks a particular area

Unlike a general VA who knows little about a lot of different topics/subject, a specialized VA knows a lot about a particular topic. He is well trained in that specific area and is capable of performing a wide variety of tasks in that area.

For Example, a Data Entry specialist VA will not only enter data but also is capable of formatting it. A specialized VA is not a jack of all trade but he is a master of one particular area.

2. Efficiency and Effectiveness

A specialized VA is more experienced and well versed in the area of expertise. This makes them effective and thus can finish tasks efficiently and effectively. Efficiency contributes to saving time and more work is completed in record time.

3. They can solve more complex problems

Someone who is specifically trained in a given subject possesses expert knowledge in that area. They understand the ins and outs of that particular area. In their experience, they have encountered difficult tasks and thus can overcome complex tasks when they arise.

4. Trustworthy in more advanced technical workload

You don’t want to keep training people when technical workload come up. A specialized VA gives you the peace of mind since they can be trusted with such tasks. His/her expertise and experience is all you need to tackle the advance-technical workload. They make life easier.

5. Better and Easy Business Management

As the business grows, it becomes almost impossible to manage it. Additional clients and products mean more time with the business which can be a little stressful. You can better manage your business by pooling together a group of specialized VAs. This will help you grow your business easily and stress-free.

6. Cost-effective

Cost is the most important element in a business. If you are able to control your cost, you are guaranteed of bigger profit margins. Virtual Assistants are contracted to do some work for you for a particular season. The cost burden that comes with permanent employees is reduced significantly.

You don’t need to worry about an extra office space or equipment. Your tasks are done from a remote place and the cost of the Virtual Assistant.

Why You Should Hire A Virtual Assistant In 2018

It is true that every aspect of your business is equally important. Nonetheless, as a business owner, you should channel your energy towards core business operations as opposed to routine tasks. This requires seeking the support of a virtual assistant to help you manage the increasing workload.

Some of the major reasons you should hire a virtual assistant (VA) include:

Facilitate more business growth

As much as you are entrepreneur, you do not have superpowers to perform all business tasks. You need an extra hand to help you achieve your business objectives and increase productivity. Warming up to the idea of a VA will bring on board new ideas which will compliment your existing business policies and strategies.

Collaboration with talented people

Virtual assistants are not people who merely ease your work burden but also incorporate their diverse knowledge in performance of tasks. Since geographical restrictions is a non-issue, you are able to pin point the best talent from any part of the globe. The person you hire has in-depth knowledge of your field hence brings to the table relevant support and becomes part of your organization.

Decreased workload

It is common for your crucial tasks to be overshadowed as a result of a very tight schedule. You can alleviate work-related stress by soliciting a virtual assistant to perform tasks such as data entry and social media marketing. Because these are individuals versed with skills in diverse fields, they can ensure you accomplish your work objectives in an effective and timely manner.

Cut down on operational costs

One effective method to reduce operational costs in your business is to outsource various tasks. Using the services of a VA will save on costs such as extra taxes and maintenance expenses. Further, this professional is likely to work on part-time basis which means you will not pay for employee benefits in contrast to a regular employee.

Shift attention to important operations

Most of your time as an entrepreneur should be directed to your core operations. To fulfill this goal, hire a virtual assistant to handle routine tasks rather than doing these tasks yourself. The assurance that you have administrative support gives you the capacity to concentrate on vital business functions.

24/7 availability

Your customers deserve your attention on a 24/7 basis. Virtual assistance services help you to attend to the needs of your customers continually. For instance, working with individuals from a time zone different from yours ensures clients are always assisted.

Increased productivity in a short time

A business person must work hard to accomplish multiple tasks which is hard if done single handedly. Instead of working alone, consider using a talented person to handle the many tasks that need to be done within the set timescales. As the professional does these tasks, you will have extra hours to be innovative.

Assurance of quality service

Virtual assistants strive to provide value to clients through quality productivity. They tend to be more productive than regular employees.

To wrap up, allow yourself more time to be creative as a businessperson by investing in skilled virtual assistance services. You will lessen your workload and focus on furthering your business vision. Remember to select the right person that provides quality results and suits your persona.

working from home image 1

What Are The Pro’s And Con’s Of Working From Home

With companies wanting to provide their employees more flexibility, and save money, more people work from home. Companies are finding innovative ways to save money and this is the biggest contributor.

The company doesn’t need to hold office space for the person or any office furniture or pay any type of stipend contributing towards petrol or parking. People have become accustomed to it as well.

The millennial generation wants flexibility and opportunity to do more, so why not have the opportunity to work from home too?

Why People Choose to Work from Home

On the flipside, there are people who prefer to work from home as well. There are several reasons that they may choose to do so. One of the main reasons is cost. They do not have to pay for transport every single day to the office especially if the office is far from home.

Closely tied with that cost is the stress of commuting. Whether sitting in packed to the gills train or in the car on the freeway not moving anywhere, it is stressful and a waste of time. The time lost in productivity on the train or in the car means that work continues to pile up. The is continued pileup also causes stress for the employee.

Another reason someone may want to work from home is to be closer with their children. They want to spend more time with their family which makes sense. We can lose so much time commuting back and forth to work on top of the usual work day.

One of the other important reasons is to have some flexibility. This flexibility can include sitting in a comfortable chair or lounge chair to take a call. Being comfortable is the most important. Part of being comfortable may also include having faster internet at home that works better than in the office.  It could also include eating your lunch when you feel like. Or, how about that mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack? They can take that snack when you like and have with it water, coffee, tea, or something else that fancies your taste buds that day. What about even doing a little exercise at home?

Yes, that’s right! They can spend some time doing exercise at home when you ordinarily would commute. It’s quite nice that you have that hour or two to yourself extra. If you don’t want to do exercise, what about giving your office, living room, or bedroom a quick vacuum and wipe down? Well, now you would have that time at home in to do that. What about if they are feeling a little down with the flu?

People can often work from home even if they are a little sick. They can take some medication and still feel well enough to work. This is an increased boost in productivity. The productivity generally can be higher as the person feels more comfortable and with potentially less distractions at home then in the office. Now let’s take a look at some broad Pro’s and Con’s.

Pro’s of Working From Home

  • Reduced cost for the employer
  • Reduced costs (i.e. transport costs) for the employee
  • Increased flexibility for the employee
  • Software to detect productivity and working hours is available
  • Employee feels comfortable working in their own home
  • Increase productivity
  • Less unproductive meetings
  • Builds employee trust
  • Potential positive PR
  • Can attract new employees / recruit from across the globe

Con’s of Working From Home

  • Limited social interaction
  • Potentially less help readily available
  • More distractions while working at home
  • Some people may actually prefer to work from an office
  • Can feel motonomous
  • Potential to overwork

Working From Home Overview

There are many Pro’s than Con’s for working from home. It is for this reason that companies have decided to provide people that opportunity. Sometimes it may not be on a permanent basis, but certainly a number of times per week.

One of the biggest Pro’s for the employer is the increased productivity, and for the employee is not commuting to work every day. On the other hand, the biggest Con for the employer is providing less help available, and for the employee is interacting less socially every day. All in all, the Con’s can be mitigated with the correct action. This is the new age of working in the corporate environment. There is an increasing trend that suggests this will continue. What if working from home becomes the mainstream 21st century way of working going forward?

 

 

10 Tasks to Outsource To Your VA in 2018

Being an entrepreneur, you would have to focus on the activities which add value to your core business. If you try to do everything on your own wearing multiple hats, you would be worn out soon and would not be able to focus on growing the business. That’s where virtual assistants come in handy. They are trusted for their ability to conduct all the essential routine work for small business entrepreneurs with high quality and reliability.

They save huge costs overheads as they charge only for the hours they work. VAs are talented professionals and they offer the best business and administrative services to offshore clients without geographical limitations.

Below are the 10 tasks which you can outsource to your Virtual Assistant in 2018.

  1. Email Management

As an entrepreneur, your email inbox would be cluttered with so many mails not to mention the spams. An efficient VA would clean up your inbox, prioritizing the important mails, organizing mail reminders. They save you a lot of hassle and time.

  1. Booking Appointments

Going through the thick of things every day in business, you would easily lose track of important meetings and appointments with that influential investor, attending that fundraising event. Having a VA would mean that you are always on track on your appointments

  1. Prospecting For New Clients

Growing a business means expanding the client base and meeting and pitching to a lot of new people. Your VA can help you list down the prospective clients, schedule your meetings with them, and can keep track of the prospects you have turned into clients.

  1. Organizing/Managing Files

Most people would have their desktop jam packed with lot of files and when needed they cannot find that important presentation, that report needed to be shown to the investor etc. Are you that guy? Then you are much better off with a VA who would organize your files in folders with proper names and continuously manage it for easy retrieval.

  1. Internet Research (i.e. information to use in blog posts)

You require good research material for your blog post and you know it is going to take 3 days of time continuously searching in the internet. That is a time that could be well spent on talking to potential clients. Look nowhere, your VA brings well researched material on any topic right on your mailbox right when you need it.

  1. Managing social media accounts

Having your company presence in social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. has become mandatory. You have to engage with your customers, promote your brand and improve visibility in the social media. VAs can manage multiple accounts with ease and optimize their use for brand promotion.

  1. Managing/Updating your blog with content

Search Engine Optimization is the most important activity to get your company website to the top of google results and having a well written, great quality content is the organic way of improving your SEO ranking. Your VA can help write articles and update them periodically so that your website maintains its ranking.

  1. Answering customer support tickets

Dealing with customers having complaints is an important activity to your business and small entrepreneurs cannot have dedicated customer support staff for that. VA can also effortlessly handle customer support tickets and answer their queries.

  1. Managing/Cleaning up databases of contacts

As an entrepreneur, you would have a large database of contacts and sometimes you would forget who’s who. VAs can help you manage your contacts properly, cataloging them according to frequency and also occasionally clean up contacts who have been out of touch for a long time.

  1. Following up with clients or outstanding emails

Entrepreneurship requires following up with various clients without getting discouraged and VAs are perfect choice to assist in your quest for clients. They can schedule your day calendar with the important follow ups you need to do and the important mails you need to answer. A good VA has a very good understanding of your business and works according to your requirements.

what are challenges managing remote team

What Are The Challenges Of Operating A Remote Team

As more and more companies look to save money, or reduce their startup costs, they are setting up remote teams.

Some big companies like IBM encourage working remotely, because they don’t have to prepare facilities or office space for the person.

On the other hand, some entrepreneurs who have start-ups will work from home too. They may need a developer, and this person can work from home rather than coming to an office.

Whatever the context, having a remote team has its advantages and disadvantages. There are also some potential mitigating actions against these remote team challenges.

Advantages

  • On call when needed – You can organise your team in such a way that they are on call when they are needed. If you have them working in different time zones, then you could have 24 hours coverage.
  • Reduced Cost – You don’t need to pay their internet costs, or even their facility cost. The facility cost would include furniture and other amenities that an employee usually receives in an office.
  • Higher Productivity – Your remote team can be more productive when working remotely. Part of this reason is due to the fact they are working in their own environment. This environment is something that they know and that should make them feel comfortable
  • Matrix structure – You can setup the team in such a way that they are working in a matrix. This matrix can include various personalities and skill sets that together provide a great team that achieves results. It would really depend on your choice of structuring them.
  • Faster Incident Response Rate – If you are working remotely, then a team could potentially respond to an incident much faster. Since all the team members are spread out, they can have the tools needed to respond to situations.

Challenges of a remote team

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Tracking their work

It’s quite difficult to see what each team member is doing on a daily basis. You cannot just walk to their desk or into their office to ask them for an update.

Ways to mitigate this include:

  1. There are software applications out there that provide work track solutions. You may have to invest some money into buying the software. However, consider the initial investment may prove to a great benefit in the future.
  2. You can have regular meetings with the team member to assess their progress to specific deadlines/goals.

Startup Person ≠ Remote person

A person that looks like they could really work well in your startup may not have the personality needed to work remotely. For example, they may not have the discipline and focus to work on their own outside of regular supervision and the office.

To mitigate this you could:

  1. Conduct an interview. The interview is a great way to ensure that you can identify the personality and work habits of the candidate. You should take the time to understand if they have previous experience working from home and in what capacity.
  2. You should also consider to potentially give them some remote task as part of the interview process to see how long it takes them and if they deliver the quality that is expected.

Lack of team building

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If the team is working remotely, then it can be very difficult to organise team building activities. It means that the team cannot get together and get to know each other on a more personal level.

To help mitigate this you can:

  1. You can offer to organise an annual team building in a location to which everyone agrees. It’s an opportunity for them to decide collectively what they want to meet.
  2. You can also offer to have regular weekly meetings to discuss what is going on within the team.
  3. Suggesting team members interacting with each offline, if possible, may also encourage them to work together more and getting to know each other.

Difficult to communicate

With everyone being so far apart, it can be really hard to communicate clearly and that everyone understands what is going on. The team manager/team leader and/or team members can experience this difficulty. This is especially true if the team members are working in different time zones and will not have an opportunity to talk in real time.

To help mitigate this situation you could:

  1. A regular, weekly team meeting may help solve this issue as the team can speak with each other. During the meeting, the manager/team leader should ask what is working for everyone and what is not working. This is an opportunity to resolve any issues and build on what is going well.
  2. Some rules should be in place that sets priority to different tasks and communications depending on where they are located and what is needed. This can really help manage the difficulty if team members are working in different times. For example, team members should look to resolve those queries first which are coming from a different time zone.

Work/Life Balance

People may have difficulty distinguishing between working and private life especially if they are working at home and not in a co-working space.

To mitigate this you could:

  1. Ensure that you have a system in place to monitor people’s working hours
  2. Have regular follow-ups with them if you notice that they are working beyond normal hours or you believe there is a risk they may be working too much
5-mistakes-hiring-virtual-assistant

5 Mistakes That Are Easy To Make The First Time You Hire A VA

Hiring A Virtual Assistant is meant to take the pressure off you. Too often however people make simple mistakes that lead to the VA causing them more trouble than they ever expected.

Not only does this actually decrease your productivity, but it costs you time and money as well. We have put together our list of the top 7 mistakes that are easy to make the first time you hire a VA so that you can avoid them.

Not finding a VA with the right skills

You think this would be easy to check for, but a lot of the times VA’s will list a broad and generic set of skills. For example you might want someone who is good at writing to craft an email outreach campaign. The VA you look to hire may however only ever prepared social media posts.

It’s a subtle difference, but it can make a big impact on your business. Especially if you need the email to be written in the write tone of language.

Not considering time zones

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While it is great to be able to find a VA at a cheap rate if they work on the other side of the world and are never available during your standard business hours it makes communication difficult.

You should always try and find a VA who is closely aligned to your own time zone so that you can maximize the time you have to communicate with them.

Not setting expectations

Many VA’s juggle multiple clients or other jobs. When hiring a VA its important that you are very clear in what you require. If you need someone from 9am to 5pm, then specify that in your job ad.

If you are not clear with both the skill set and availability you expect its easy to fall into the trap of hiring someone who can’t live up to your expectations.

Not setting any trial tasks

While it would be great to take everyone’s profile on face value unfortunately people tend to stretch the truth, especially when they are pitching for business.

Once you have found a Virtual Assistant that you think is appropriate for your business set them a few trial tasks to see how they perform. These tasks should not involve them interacting with your customer, but should try and test a few of the skills that you require them to have.

Not tracking their progress, especially in the first weeks

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Once you have hired a Virtual Assistant your job doesn’t stop there. You really need to track and monitor their progress. This is especially important during the first few weeks where you need to make sure they are performing their job at the required standard and are doing so in an appropriate time.

You should also take notice of any increase in customer complaints or misunderstandings that occur if any of your email correspondence is now handled by your VA. While its great to save money and take some pressure off your workload it should not come at the detriment of your business.