I read an article last week by another virtual professional that grabbed my attention. They stated that while attending an event, they learned that the virtual assistant industry was possibly getting a bad reputation. Apparently tales of bad VA experiences far outweighed the good at this particular event. To add to this disturbing information I then received an e-newsletter in which it was disclosed that the average client/VA collaboration only lasts 6 months. The main reason for such a short lived business relationship? The fact that most virtual assistants have no idea what their clients really want.
Being someone who teaches both how to work with a VA as well as how build a successful VA business, I can see some underlying reasons for these facts.
First, I’m aware that those individuals with bad VA experiences are always going to be quicker to share them than those who have a successful, long term and happy relationship. Sadly, the virtual assistant industry has been wrongly portrayed as an ‘easy’ way to work from home with little or no experience. This means there are a lot of people out there claiming to be a VA who just don’t have the skills, experience and training needed to provide high quality services. I’m sure there are plenty of clients that have had the misfortune of finding that out the hard way, and they are more than happy to share that bad experience with the masses.
As for the brief nature of the VA/Client relationship, although it is possible some of the problem is inexperienced VA’s, I believe it can be traced back to the fact that few clients really prepare themselves or their businesses to work with a virtual assistant. Yes, I said prepare.
Business people who would never consider entering into another type of business arrangement without research and preparation are blindly jumping into the virtual assistant pool with their eyes closed.
A virtual assistant could have the most impressive credentials and references ever and still not be the right fit for your business. If their work style, communication methods and experience don’t match your needs, the relationship is doomed to fail.
What’s the answer? Preparation and effort. But just how does one prepare to work with a VA?
Over the next few posts I’m going to touch upon some top secret points that I’ve found to be crucial in helping businesses looking to work with a virtual assistant. It can also help virtual assistants themselves give clients and potential clients a clearer picture of how to make virtual assistance work for them.
Next post: Understanding the Unique Needs of Your Business and Yourself