5 Misconceptions of Working with a Virtual Assistant

August 16, 2019

 

I have to admit when I first launched as a Virtual Assistant I actually had no idea how it was going to work or if it was even possible. I literally had a laptop and a mobile, so you might say I was whinging it #ConfessionTime. Maybe one day I’ll share my story of how I got into that position in the first place. For now however, I’m going to address some of the misconceptions that many business owners have of a VA, and from my own experience quite understandably.

 

A Virtual Assistant will never care about my business, the buy-in won’t be there.

 

Firstly, I love business. I love seeing people take an idea to market and watching their business succeed. Even more so when it’s a client of mine.

 

From a VA’s business point of view, and a very honest one, you’re our source of income. We have less rights than an employee and for most, you can terminate your contract with us at any point. Arguably, our buy-in is greater – if you succeed and your business continues to grow, hopefully you’ll see our value and continue to use our services.

 

Aside from money, the simple fact is as a freelancer we have autonomy over who we work with, and therefore most of us choose to work with businesses who share our values and ethos and are unlikely to take on work that doesn’t make us jump out of bed in the morning.

 

VA’s are available 24/7

 

Potentially this is true, but only if you have an army of VAs.

 

The majority of Virtual Assistants work part time or flexible hours around their personal commitments. Many in fact work evenings, so aren’t available during traditional working hours.

 

You also need to consider that, unless your VA works exclusively for you, the hours you instruct them for is unlikely to equate to be a full-time job and therefore they’ll have other client commitments. A Virtual Assistant isn’t an employee, and in fact they provide a professional service just as a solicitor or an accountant does. Once that mindset changes, the relationship you have with your VA will be a much stronger and healthier one.

 

If you like consistency and want to know exactly when your VA will be available for you, ask for specific time slots each week. Although very occasionally it may not be possible, a great VA will happily reserve that time for you.

 

It’s too risky. What about confidential information and data protection?

 

GDPR? What’s that? Just kidding… as business owners ourselves we have to abide by the rules and regulations and probably understand them better that an employee. We are solely responsible for this in our business and should be registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). Don’t be afraid to ask for their registration number.

 

It’s also ok to ask a Virtual Assistant to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. The majority of VAs will have come from administrative backgrounds where they have dealt with confidential information, but for peace of mind would be more than happy to sign – and if they’re not, there are plenty more VAs in the administration pond.

 

They can only do simple tasks

 

The level of expertise of a Virtual Assistant will differ, no doubt about it. However, don’t be fooled and think we simply type up dictation or file your emails. You name it and I guarantee there will be a VA who can do it. That doesn’t mean we’re all superheroes and can all do everything, but it does mean with a little bit of research you’ll find someone who can assist with that task. Many VAs offer project management, bookkeeping, graphic design, video editing, literally the list is endless.

 

Check out this brochure I designed for our Wedding Decor clients (including logo)

 

https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/8a8284_eb391fe7a2824ed5b96ad5189da045ec.pdf

 

There will be a lack of communication

 

So wrong. In fact, communication is key to making this arrangement work. We want to know, just as much as you do, that we’re on the right lines for your project and that we’re kept updated with new developments. We don’t want to waste your time and we certainly don’t want to waste ours. An email update, a Whatsapp message or a monthly telephone call or meeting should be implemented as part of the working relationship.

 

However, don’t become a micromanager! Updates and reporting should be as I say implemented and should be expected from both parties, but your VA is a professional and is providing a service. If you’ve asked them to do something, let them do it.

 

The biggest element of using a Virtual Assistant is trust. Without it, you’ll never build a strong enough working relationship to experience the true value of using a VA.

 

Lastly, and I put huge emphasis on this, the Virtual Assistant industry is growing substantially year on year and the levels of service and experience differs greatly. Just because you may have had a bad experience with one Virtual Assistant, it isn’t a reflection on the industry, nor does it mean the concept doesn’t work or work for your business. You may have to interview several VAS before you find your match.

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