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.