Hurray! You’ve taken the plunge and hired a virtual assistant/online office staffer to take over some of the less-than-favourable tasks on your plate. Congratulations on your wise decision: your life is about to get so much easier.
This means that your workload is more streamlined because instead of having to deal with the piddly stuff, you’ve handed it over to a pro, so you can focus more on your business, which in turn will mean more growth
Hiring the right person for this is only half the challenge. Now you have to know how to keep them (especially if they come with great reviews or you know them to be hardworking).
Here are 7 easy but crucial tips for keeping your virtual assistant:
Read the contract/terms you were sent. A good VA will send over a contract and terms, which is not only good practice, it’s smart. It’s the best way for both parties to protect themselves and be clear on expectations throughout the working relationship. Read it. Reread it. Ask for clarification if necessary. Hone in on the specifications of the job you’ve asked your VA to take on and make sure you are crystal clear about the payment terms. Will you be surprised to see a late payment charge on your next invoice? No, because you’ve read the terms and understand why you’re seeing the charge.
Pay a deposit up front. This leap of faith not only secures your new VA for a predetermined amount of time, but it eases the mind of your VA. Any freelancer will tell you that not being paid is their biggest fear. Freelancers have all been there at least once. Paying a deposit (equal to 2 hours’ of work time is a good start) will get the ball rolling for both of you. Good faith only gets a freelancer so far, but money talks. Keeping your virtual assistant starts with securing them
Pay on time. Freelancers and VAs loathe begging for their money. It creates stress, anger and sleepless nights. It also makes them doubt whether the working relationship should continue.When you get the invoice, note the due date, and pay it as soon as you are able. Don’t make the situation a sticky one. If your VA has done the work, pay them at your earliest convenience. If this isn’t your strong suit, consider an automatic payment on a monthly retainer basis. This covers everything in one seamless go.
Be clear with task delegation. We have Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Skype, WhatsApp, email, text messages, and the traditional telephone. So many ways to communicate and yet sometimes, things still get lost along the way. If you aren’t getting work back the way you want it, chances are good that you haven’t been clear enough with your instructions. Share screens through Skype or Join.Me, send a quick video of how to do the job, provide examples of what a good job looks like, basically do everything in your power to SHOW your VA what you expect. Extra tip – if possible, ask your VA to do one or two parts of the task through your example and have them show you what they have completed. This is a smart use of time and money, so you aren’t paying for extra time to have it corrected. Being clear with each other from the beginning will go a long way in keeping your VA.
Give reasonable deadlines. A great VA will let you know that they have clients in addition to you, but always make you feel like you are a priority. However, there will be times when they can’t answer you immediately (but they will answer as soon as they can). Give your VA reasonable deadlines and a heads up of your expectations. Do your part in ensuring success, and your VA will do theirs in return. Give them a heads up in advance so they can plan their week.
Refer, refer, refer. Appreciation of your virtual assistant is best shown by way of referrals. If you’re only offering your virtual assistant a few hours of work a week, can they pay their bills with that? Probably not. So give them more business, even if it’s not your business. Talk to your colleagues, business partners, and friends about your great find (your VA) and pass their name along.
Offer testimonials. Thrilled with your VA? Paying on time and referrals are both beyond awesome. Seeing appreciation in black and white makes a huge impact professionally. Take ten minutes and write a brief but meaningful testimonial for your virtual assistant. It not only makes them feel like a million bucks (really), but this is something they can then show the world.
Appreciation breeds loyalty, so if you want nothing but the very best from your virtual assistant, make sure you show them the love.