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How to Work with A Virtual Assistant Successfully –Top Secret Tip #2

In my last post we explored the idea of figuring out just what business tasks that you can and can’t outsource to a virtual assistant.   In today’s post we’re going to take it a step further with tip #2.

Top Secret Tip #2- Understanding Your Unique Needs- It’s Personal

That’s right, I said ‘personal’.  Having a good working relationship with someone isn’t as simple as knowing what tasks you can assign to them, it also has a lot to do with you. Or your personality to be more exact.

Before starting that search for a virtual assistant, you need to honestly assess what your own needs are personally. I’m not talking about having a virtual assistant make your dentist appointments and dinner reservations.  I’m still talking business here.  So what exactly is it that I’m talking about?

Knowing what work style you have and what you’re going to require from a virtual assistant.

Start out by asking yourself questions about your own work style.  Can you assign tasks and leave them in the capable hands of someone else to complete?  Do you require step by step updates or will one or two updates during the course of the project or task be sufficient?  Are you comfortable with communication that is done mostly via e-mail?  Are you a micro-manager?   Knowing the answers to these questions can be crucial to finding success working with a virtual assistant.

If you’re the micro-manager type and need to have your fingers in all aspects of every part of your business, let me be honest here and say that I don’t believe virtual assistance is going to be your cup of tea.   But you don’t have to be laid back to the point of hippie-tude in order for a VA to fit your style either.   Just be realistic.  A daily progress report isn’t too much to ask of most virtual assistants.   But contacting them via e-mail, instant messenger and voice mails several times a day can be.  Remember, you’re not their only client.

Can you handle the fact that your virtual assistant may not be able to address your project immediately? (and the fact that if you require a rush project you may be charged extra for it?)  Again, a virtual assistant schedules their client projects, which means they can’t always drop everything and attend to your latest emergency?   Most VA’s will try to get you what you need, when you need it, but sometimes it may prove impossible for them to give you immediate turnaround on a task.

If you go into the relationship being understanding of that and trying to get projects and tasks to them well in advance of deadlines, you and your VA will be much happier.   Also be aware that a lot of virtual assistants give their retainer clients priority.  So if you’re on a project by project basis with your VA , it may take them longer to address it than it would if you’ve paid a retainer for a set number of virtual assistance hours a month.

Can you work with someone who doesn’t have the same ‘work style’ as you do without it driving you nuts?  If not, then you should make it a priority to try to find a virtual assistant with a work style that is either close to yours or works well with yours.

While we may not immediately think of the importance that our personalities play in a good working relationship, we can’t deny that in the end it can be as important as the skills and abilities that we possess in how well a business relationship progresses.

Be sure that you’re aware of just what your personality requirements are going to be before going off on a search for a virtual assistant and you’ll be one step closer to that ideal virtual assistant experience.

Success in business often comes down to preparation. Success working with a VA is no different and we’ll address it in the next Top Secret Tip.

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7 Comments

  1. Christine Buffaloe on April 16, 2010 at 1:19 am

    These are really great tips. I like your first paragraph that states that it is personal. It absolutely is. I always schedule a time in which to chat first with potential clients so we can get a “feel” for each other.
    Sometimes it’s just not a good fit. Period.
    There are many clients that do micro-manage and they are extremely hard to please.

    I have been extremely successfull and I hope to continue to be so.



  2. Christine Buffaloe on April 15, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    These are really great tips. I like your first paragraph that states that it is personal. It absolutely is. I always schedule a time in which to chat first with potential clients so we can get a “feel” for each other.
    Sometimes it’s just not a good fit. Period.
    There are many clients that do micro-manage and they are extremely hard to please.

    I have been extremely successfull and I hope to continue to be so.



    • TMarieHilton on January 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      @christine buffaloe Hi Christine! I agree that micro-management tends to be a common trait with a lot of business owners. What many fail to recognize is that the need to have that type of control over every aspect of their businesses usually ends up limiting their ability to grow.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!



    • TMarieHilton on January 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      @christine buffaloe Hi Christine! I agree that micro-management tends to be a common trait with a lot of business owners. What many fail to recognize is that the need to have that type of control over every aspect of their businesses usually ends up limiting their ability to grow.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!



  3. Carol_Aldridge on January 22, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Tina, you nailed it. Personalities play a major role in all aspects of our lives and especially in business. Some people just don’t realize the significance of that, and this post really makes clear how important it is for personalities to ‘mesh’. Thanks Tina!



    • TMarieHilton on January 22, 2011 at 12:41 pm

      @Carol_Aldridge Carol, my experience both as a virtual assistant and when I worked in traditional offices has shown me time and time again that regardless of how perfect a skill set of an individual may be, if there is a conflict in personalities it makes for a pretty miserable work environment. Sadly, even in the corporate world I don’t think enough emphasis or time is put on finding the right fit on this front.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking part in the conversation!



  4. ArmieCabrera on January 21, 2014 at 1:30 am

    A great article on how to successfully work with a virtual assistant. It is very helpful. Thanks for sharing.



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