In this post, we are continuing our discussion on the theme of “Hiring a Virtual Assistant.”
Today I’m going to discuss in more detail something I mentioned in last week’s post, and that is Defining Expectations. I realized this is something I can delve deeper into and could really help you build a solid relationship with your potential virtual assistant. I have 16 years of experience as a virtual assistant, and I’ve had good clients and some bad clients, which comes with the territory. But I want to help you make that relationship a good one and a winning one for both you and the VA.
There are quite a few things to consider when you are setting expectations for the relationship that you will have between you and your virtual assistant. Let’s talk about five of them today.
Communication—I think this is probably the biggest one. I know I mentioned this in last week’s post, but I want to talk about a couple of different things when it comes to communication. One is how you will communicate, and two is how often you will communicate.
The ‘How’ we went over last week Are you going to communicate with your virtual assistant via email, a program like Slack, or a project management system like Asana, or are you going to require them to talk with you on the phone? Personally, I don’t mind talking on the phone with my clients, but it is important for me that I set a specific time with them to communicate. Because it’s really hard for me when they call me out of the blue and I’m working on another client’s project.
If I’m in the midst of working on their project and I’ve sent them a question via email or text to answer and they give me a call, I have no problem with that. But if it’s in the midst of my workday and I’m working on someone else’s project or I’m at lunch, it makes it difficult for me to have the right mindset and focus to talk with them at that specific time.
It’s important for me that if my client’s communication style is that they like to talk on the phone, we have a set appointment time. Weekly, or if they just need to talk every once in a while, they set an appointment with me rather than just calling at random. I think everyone appreciates that courtesy.
So, communication How and How Often, important questions to ask yourself help define expectations between you and your virtual assistant.
It’s important to set deadlines. As a VA myself, I always have an idea of when I want to get a client’s work done. But it’s important if they tell me what their deadline is for a project, so I can kind of walk backwards a few days and see when I’m going to have availability, so I can not only meet their deadline, but I can exceed it. When I was training new VAs, I always told them to underpromise and overdeliver. meaning that they could promise you that they would get it done by Friday, but they overdeliver by getting it done by Wednesday.
So, if you set deadlines, your virtual assistant has the ability to blow you out of the park with it, get it done early, and exceed your expectations. But if you don’t, then you’re setting them up for potentially not meeting your expectations because you didn’t let them know when you expected it.
How to Submit Work
The next one is to let them know how you want them to submit their work.
- Do you share a Google Drive?
- Do they email you their work?
- Do they put it in a particular place, like in a project management system?
Most VA’s have a system for how they do things, and many will set up with you at the very beginning of your relationship to determine how work will be submitted. But if they don’t, it’s awesome for you to tell them how to submit the work.
What do you expect from their availability? Most virtual assistants are going to have multiple clients that they have to answer to. If you expect them to always be available for you, then you’re going to have to hire them full-time. Whether it is as an independent contractor or as an employee, most virtual assistants see themselves as independent contractors; they take care of their taxes and all of that. Most of us are VA’s for the flexibility, so we tend to have multiple clients that we manage.
I personally have multiple clients, and therefore I am only available to certain clients on certain days. Not everyone structures their business in this way. So this will be a question you’ll want to ask, but also an expectation that you’ll want to set. The reason you want to ask yourself this is: are you able to plan far enough ahead that you can share your tasks a week in advance, or at least a day in advance, with your VA? Or are you the type of person who is always waiting until the last minute to get a task done?
Some virtual assistants may not have the ability or flexibility in their schedule to accomplish your tasks at the last minute. So you want to ask yourself these questions and set expectations from day one so that you and your VA have a successful working relationship.
Availability is going to be different from virtual assistant to virtual assistant. You may not find the perfect scenario, but most VA’s are willing to work with you if you set the expectations up front.
Measuring the Success of the Relationship
How will you measure the success of your relationship with your virtual assistant? You have to have a little bit of forethought and set these expectations for success. What is your objective in hiring a VA? Are you wanting to free up your time? If so, if you have more time available to do what you’re really good at, then that is solving the need that you have and meeting that objective, which should be meeting your expectations.
Are you wanting to finish a specific project? I, for example, do project-based work now for clients in addition to my hourly clients. One of the things I’ve been offering lately is an all in one email marketing done-for-you package that sets up their email marketing from scratch. When a client does not have that in place, it will help them build a lead magnet, set up their first opt-in with a landing page and an opt-in box, and create the welcome or nurture sequence for their email marketing campaign.
We work together to do all of this so that, at the end, they’re able to start building an email list. The objective was to set up a brand new email list, create a lead magnet, build a welcome or nurture sequence, and start building an email list. Once that objective is met, that equals success for them. That was their expectation.
When it comes to hourly work, your expectations may be different for the VA. Maybe you’re hiring the VA to take something off your plate. Whether it be checking your email and responding using templates or things like that, That saves you an hour or two a day. These are just two very good examples of what you might possibly have a VA do and a way to measure the success of the objective that you had for that relationship.
So, defining expectations, whether it be communication, deadlines, how they submit work, their availability, or the measure of success, is so important to a successful relationship with a virtual assistant.
I hope this was helpful to you. I am accepting new clients if you are looking for a virtual assistant, and I would love to speak with you. You can go over to my website at alyssaavantandcompany.com to find out about our services and fill out the contact form if you’re interested in hiring a VA. I recently brought on a couple of team members so that I could serve more people, and I’m excited about that opportunity.
If you haven’t joined me in our Facebook group, The Christian Business Advantage Facebook group, it is a great place to connect with other authors, speakers, and coaches.