How to Avoid the Disappearing Virtual Assistant Problem

In my last post I shared my shock and a little outrage when I discovered an article written by a virtual assistant who talked about fear,crashing, burning and going AWOL.

So how do you as a business owner in need of a virtual assistant avoid one of those disappearing virtual assistants?

  1. Stop looking for a bargain.  Bargain shopping for a virtual assistant could very well end up costing you more than you realize.  If your project isn’t done right you may find yourself either trying to find someone else to fix it or spending hours fixing it yourself.  What is your hourly rate?  Multiply it by the number of hours you spend on fixing problems.  It’s a much wiser investment to find a virtual assistant who has enough confidence in their own skills to charge what they are really worth, not what they think you’ll pay.
  2. Pay attention to communication.  Does the VA you’re considering communicate well?  Are there a ton of spelling and grammar errors in their email correspondence?  Does the copy on their website contain lots of errors or appear to be copied word for word from another source?  Do they even have a website?  Do they talk about working for you rather than with you?
  3. Stop thinking of a virtual assistant as an employee.  Perhaps one of the reasons you’re choosing a virtual assistant is the fact that you aren’t responsible for their taxes, etc.  but you must remember that’s because they are running a business.  Just like your attorney, your accountant and your mechanic.  When was the last time you expected to control every aspect of the way your mechanic fixed your car?  I’m willing to bet you never have.  Why?  Because you chose them because they were the expert. A virtual assistant is the same. Sure communication about end results are important, but you can’t dictate how they get from point A to point B.   I could do a whole post about this…oh wait, I think I have.
  4. Search until you find the right fit.  Everyone has different personalities and some of them just don’t mesh.  I’ve had a few clients that worked with me on a project or two and we both realized it just wasn’t a fit.  Some potential clients get my information packet and after reading through my policies decide I’m not the right fit.  Micro-managers and I just don’t work.  Truth be told, micro-managers will probably be better off with a remote employee than a virtual assistant.  I’ve even had to fire a client or two in the past.  It’s part of business.  You want to take the time to find the right fit for you.  And when you do it’s almost magical. Imagine building a relationship to the point where lengthy instructions aren’t necessary. One where you know your virtual assistant truly cares about you and your business.

These four points are just a start.  But they are a good start and they should keep you from being the victim of a disappearing virtual assistant.  If you want even more help, I wrote an ebook, “The No Bullshit Guide to Virtual Assistants for Businesses” available in the Amazon Kindle Store.  (Don’t worry if you don’t have a Kindle, there are free Kindle apps for whatever device you’re using).  It’s a detailed step by step guide to helping you find a virtual assistant, complete with worksheets.  And it doesn’t even cost as much as a Starbuck’s tall latte.  If you’re serious about finding a really great VA you’ll be glad you grabbed it.