I recently read an article by Ryan Lee called “The REALITY of Outsourcing and Virtual Assistants”. He makes a great point about waiting until your business is ready for a virtual assistant rather than simply getting one because some ‘guru’ tells you to in their book(s). But he also included a few items that I felt the need to comment on, both on his post and now here in this post.
The first thing that concerned me was all the talk of hiring a virtual assistant. While technically I suppose using the word to describe finding a virtual assistant is correct usage, I feel it can cause incorrect expectations in the client/virtual assistant relationship. Why? Many business people ‘hire’ with the expectation that the virtual assistant is an employee rather than an independent contractor. I’ve written here before about the differences between an employee and independent contractor and how important it is to not blur the lines. And sadly many virtual assistants aren’t very good at pointing out where that line is or at reminding clients why that line exists. I feel part of my service is to make sure that my clients don’t have to worry about the IRS accusing them of being my employer. And although I’m sure I’ve lost a few potential clients because of it, part of my introduction packet explains my business policies to remind them that they are collaborating with another business professional, not employing me as part of their own business.