Having the option to hire a virtual assistant has helped countless entrepreneurs save on staff and overhead costs and still get things done.

Working with an assistant that isn’t sitting in the office next door can be quite an adjustment though as it requires you to relinquish control and adjust your management style.

Finding a virtual assistant

If you’ve just started a business and you’re looking to free up some of your time to focus on more important tasks, a virtual assistant is an ideal solution. Outsourcing an assistant doesn’t require you to provide office space or pay out employee benefits, which will save you a lot of money in the long run.

So how should you go about sourcing and hiring a virtual assistant?

While there are a number of virtual assistants that operate independently, seeking the assistance of an outsourcing specialist is advisable. Outsourcing firms specialize in sourcing and training qualified staff so that you don’t have to. The remove the risk associated with hiring someone who isn’t based at your own offices.

An outsourcing firm will also assist you with the management and monitoring of your virtual assistant to make sure that you are receiving the very best results at all times.

Mistakes to avoid when working with a virtual assistant

If you’re thinking about hiring an outsourced assistant or you’ve just started working with one, below are a few things that you should avoid if you want to create a smooth working relationship.

Mistake 1: Failing to provide a detailed brief

As you begin the process of hiring a virtual assistant you need to take your exact needs and requirements into account. Failing to provide your outsourcing specialist with a detailed employee brief and job description will lead to hiring mismatches and wasted time.

Mistake 2: Not setting up systems

Once you’ve hired an assistant it’s essential that you setup systems that will allow them to do their job to the best of their ability. Have a detailed task list ready for them so that they know exactly what’s expected of them. If you have preferences in terms of how certain tasks should be handled, putting together a how-to guide will save you both a lot of time.

Mistake 3: Not giving them the chance to learn new skills

While it’s not impossible, the virtual assistant that you hire might not have every single skill that you’re looking for. Instead of continuing the search when someone is already a good match, give them the chance to learn a new skill. This will benefit both of you in the long run.

Mistake 4: Failing to communicate

It’s very important to communicate with your assistant on a regular basis. Keeping the lines of communication open will help you develop a solid working relationship and will give them the chance to ask questions if they need to.

Mistake 5: Not finding time to review their work

If you don’t make time to review your assistant’s work you’re leaving a lot of room for error and potential frustration. Setting up time to give your assistant feedback on their work will help them do their jobs better and help you meet your goals.

Mistake 6: Refusing to relinquish control

When you hire a virtual assistant you need to keep in mind that you won’t be able to walk into the next room and give them some paperwork to file. Relinquishing control is something that a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with but if your assistant has been given the right training and guidance, there’s no need to constantly worry about whether they’re doing their job properly. Hiring through an outsourcing firm means that your assistant not only has to prove themselves to you but to the agency too so you can expect efficient and timely work.

Mistake 7: Not investing in the right tools

If you would like your assistant to work faster and smarter, investing in the right tools and software will make all the difference. Anything that you can do to make your assistant’s life easier is going to benefit you and your business in the long run.

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