If you are a "solopreneur" who is in a growth mode, you probably need a virtual assistant. This assistant does not sit in your office, but can undertake a lot of time-consuming tasks. Many entrepreneurs do not know that this type of assistance is available.
How do you know that you are in need of this type of help? Ask yourself a few questions. Have you ever missed a deadline because you were tied up in the day-to-day activities that needed to be done? Do you find yourself working on weekends or nights in order to keep up with administrative tasks? Do you find yourself frustrated because you spend too much time doing things that you don't like to do and, frankly, you don't do very well? These are just a few signs that you need help.
Selecting a VA is important because you are going to delegate work that is important to your business. I have my VA work on social media campaigns, developing prospective client databases, bookkeeping, weekly constant contact campaigns and other administrative tasks as needed. She is much better and faster at these tasks than I am.
The best way to get a VA is through a reference, preferably someone who has worked with the person before. It is critical to have a phone interview with the candidate. I am very clear about my expectations regarding quality and turnaround time of work. I also share with the candidate the things that are very important to me. I attempt to be as clear as possible during that phone interview.
I rarely talk with my VA by phone. However, when I feel it is necessary, I want to be sure that the assistant is willing to have phone conferences. My first VA was not, and it was not an efficient or pleasant working experience for me. Turning work over to a VA can be emotional, especially since he or she is not sitting next to you. The only way you can grow is by trusting someone to whom you can delegate work. VAs are a thriving business, because if you have a good one, they make your life easier.
Kathy McShane is managing director of Ladies Who Launch, Connecticut. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or ladieswholaunch.com.southwestct.