I had a strategy call last week with “Jason”, the owner of a new start up. He has been in business for six months and he’s doing quite well. He came to me because he was feeling overwhelmed, he was doing everything himself, and his friends had told him it was time to hire a VA.
Jason had a lot of questions – where do I look? How much does a virtual assistant cost? What can a VA do for me? (Eager, yes?)
Initially, I asked him if he had a list of tasks that he wanted to hand over. He said yes and went on to say, “My marketing. And my social media. And I also want help with possibly starting doing webinars.”
I stopped him right there.
While these are things a VA can help out with, “help with marketing and social media and help with webinars” are not clear and specific tasks.
A specific task looks like:
*Creating Facebook Ads to promote a product
*Using an online scheduler to schedule posts 3 times per day on Twitter using provided content at specific times
*Using Webinar Ninja to create two webinars a month
See the difference?
If you haven’t sat down to write out specific duties to delegate, you’re not ready to hire a virtual assistant.
Jason also said to me, “I can’t wait to hire a VA so I can hand stuff off to them and have more time to myself!”
Again, I stopped him.
“You do realize that after you hire someone, it takes time to train them and get them up to speed.”
“WHAT? What do you mean? The VA should already know how to do what I want. What’s the point of hiring someone if I have to train them?”
I told him,
If you don’t have the time to train a VA, you shouldn’t be hiring a VA.
Yes, the right virtual assistant will have the skills to perform certain tasks. But the right virtual assistant will NOT know your preferences.
Say you’ve hired a VA to create Leadpages for you. You tell her, “I’m giving away my new ebook. Please make me a leadpage for people to opt in.”
The VA is very skilled in Leadpages and spends two hours creating this gorgeous page for you. You take a look at it and say, “This isn’t want I wanted at all. I use the same template for all of my pages and my brand colors and font are already in it.”
How was the VA supposed to know that? Many entrepreneurs don’t like the thought of outsourcing because they hire a VA who performs a task incorrectly. While this could be due to the skillset of the VA, it’s actually more likely due to a lack of training and details on the part of the business owner.
Think back to corporate jobs you’ve had in the past. You had the skills to get hired, right? And most likely, you had a training/onboarding period to tell you about the company, the right and wrong way to do things, etc. They didn’t just throw you to the wolves. (Did they?) It’s the same with a VA – don’t throw them to the wolves and expect them to come out alright.
While you’re thinking of specific tasks to outsource, start creating some processes for your business. You can create simple Google documents, keep them in Drive, and share with your new hire. Or you can even create videos or screencasts to show how you do a task. These can also be used as a reference for any new hire you have in the future.
Hiring a VA is NOT a magic pill that you can take and just expect it all to work perfectly starting the first day.
As Jason and I finished our call, he realized that although he did really need help, he needed to get things in order on his end prior to hiring a VA.
How about you? Are you on the verge of wanting to hire someone? Or have you ever hired a VA and it didn’t go as smooth as you imagined? Let me know.