How to Overcome 3 Main Challenges With Virtual Assistants
Working with virtual assistants (VAs) is an innovative way to increase your productivity. The beauty of hiring assistants is that you have qualified professionals to help out and you don't have to worry about employee-related issues like vacation pay, Worker's Comp, etc. However, while the concept of hiring virtual helpers may sound ideal, there are often challenges when dealing with outsourcing project work.
In short, while outsourcing via a virtual assistant may seem like a good idea in theory, you should be aware of the challenges that may occur once you begin working together.
Finding Good Help
Outsourcing with the right help is the first challenge. While many virtual assistants say they are available online, for some reason, many bail or seem to have trouble hooking up to the web, after you hire them (when before you hired them, they always replied promptly to your communications). So take time to ease into new relationships.
Conduct basic background checks on any potential virtual assistants, and this doesn't mean police checks, but rather review online resumes, client feedback / testimonials, complete contact info via various means like chat, domain email (with a nice website portfolio), etc. Interview potential candidates and start on small project tasks together to establish a foundation to hopefully grow on. If you run into communications issues or missed deadlines, poor work quality, etc., pull back, address issues and either get work back on track or move on with other helpers so that your business stays in good shape.
Note: sometimes timing is just off when you are trying to establish or grow a relationship. So move ahead elsewhere where you can. You can usually go back to that trouble spot later to try again, if both parties are willing and able.
Communication is one of the common breakdowns in business relations. Therefore, remain in constant contact with your virtual assistants, leaving channels open as necessary, so that you can go through different issues step-by-step in order to resolve any breakdowns in communication when things go wrong. This means you may need to hook up to Skype or Gchat (Google's free chat via their Gmail account) to quickly touch base on some issues at times.
Skills and Flexibility
Look for virtual workers who can remain flexible, develop skills as needed and adapt to changes well. Your business module may change, the company structure may evolve, or you may need your helper to be flexible as your clients switch projects. Regardless of any work issues, be sure that you have helpers who can accommodate those needs or who are at least willing to try. Choosing VAs who are stagnant in their skills and their ability to be flexible, or having helpers who are unable to adapt to certain situations is a common complaint among those who hire virtual helpers.
In conclusion, virtual assistants can be excellent helpers for moving your business ahead in the right direction. However, even though many of these workers are useful, it is important to choose the right people to be on your team and projects. Therefore, in order to overcome potential challenges, be sure take time to choose good assistants, communicate regularly with them and effectively, and look for helpers who are adaptable to different situations
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