The need for the services of a Virtual Assistant are on the increase, with businesses recognising the benefits they bring to an organisation, particularly when it comes space and money saving.
As such, the Virtual Assistant industry is booming, and anyone with a laptop and an admin background is taking full advantage of this exciting role. However, from our experience, having a background in administration is not always enough and we’ve heard some real horror stories from our clients about previous VA involvement. In fact, to the point that some were put off using Virtual Assistants because of the experience they encountered.
We thought we’d give you a few tips on how to find the right VA for your business and things you should definitely be looking out for.
Clearly, we’re not overseen by any governing body, but The Society for Virtual Assistants do provide Industry Standard Guidelines. When looking at VAs you think you want to work with, make sure they tick these boxes;
✔ They have a professional email address and website to ensure security. All too often we see those with Gmail and Hotmail accounts.
✔ Data is backed up securely off site and compliant with GDPR.
✔ They respond to emails and phone calls within a reasonable amount of time or use an automated response letting you know when they will get back to you.
✔ They have suitable insurance. That includes Professional Indemnity Insurance.
✔ They are registered Data Controllers with the ICO.
Profiles and Portfolios
Don’t be afraid to ask to see previous work or recommendations (LinkedIn is a great starting point). If they don’t have any to show you, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be any good. One of the benefits to our clients is our discretion which means sometimes we’re unable to share the information. If that’s the case, ask to see a copy of our CV.
If you’re instructing a Virtual Assistant for digital marketing such as blogging and social media, check out their profile and platforms first. If they’re not doing it for themselves, are they really going to be a good fit? You can also tell a lot from their platforms and websites in terms of their style and who they are. Of course, VAs are super versatile and can adapt to many styles once they know your business, but with so many Virtual Assistants out there, why not find one that already reflects your brand? Look for things such as their tone of voice. Is it similar to yours? If so, it’s likely that they’ll get your message across much more naturally and authentically than someone who has to adapt how they write and speak.
It’s funny, when I started my business one of the first things I set out was what I stood for. What was it at the heart of my business? What was my purpose? I knew that I could be a bit indecisive and that when it came to making decisions I’d want to refer back to my values. Particularly when it came to decisions about the clients I work with.
I had never been asked what my business stood for until I spoke with one of my truly inspiring clients who operate their business on values themselves and hold them at the heart of everything they do. Whether it’s delivering client work, running workshops or instructing suppliers. It highlighted to me just how important it is to work alongside individuals and businesses who are in alignment with you. That doesn’t mean you have to be the same people and agree on everything, but it means that the end goal is the same.
I even use the values of the business when I sign a Licensee up. If they don’t share our values or I don’t think they represent what we stand for, or vice versa we can’t offer what they’re looking for, we’re not a right fit together. It’s important to acknowledge that we’re not always going to be right for everyone, and that’s okay, but knowing what you stand for and represent will help you find the right fit for your business and ultimately set the foundations for a strong professional relationship.
Most important of all...
... go for a coffee with a potential VA or arrange a conference call. Speaking with someone usually allows you to get a feel for one another. More often than not I walk away from an initial meeting (in person or virtually) either buzzing because I love the business and am dying to work with them or knowing that the idea of picking up the phone to have a catch up each month fills me with dread.
Of course, our team here at The CPA is growing, and if you think we could be a great fit for you, we’d love to help.