Virtual Assistance may seem too good to be true.  But rest assured, the buzz isn’t for nothing.  Entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, busy professionals and small businesses are looking more and more towards Virtual Assistance to help with their ever changing task requirements.  It is especially convenient for those businesses that aren’t quite ready to commit to another full time employee but need the extra help today.

But where does a small business owner start?  There are important things you should take into consideration before even speaking with a Virtual Assistant.

Virtual Assistants are people too…

Your VA may be virtually accessible to you, but on the other end of your technology is a living breathing human being that should be treated as such.   Because of this, it is important to ask to speak with the VA that will handle your tasks.  Will this person be a dedicated VA?  Are they readily accessible?  How will you reach them?  What is a typical turn around time? How are they timed?

When talking with your VA, it is good to get a feel for the VA’s thought processes.  Is this person an idea person?  Do they seem like they will produce competent results?  Will they work to automate and organize your processes or will they wait  until you stumble upon new ideas yourself?  Do you want a soldier or are you looking for more of a right hand that is efficient, while still remaining on the cutting edge of technology yet able to remain within the steady scope that is your business?  Will they help you grow?  Does their style fit yours?

Agency vs. Individual (personal preference – pros and cons of both, is there a hybrid?)
What is your VA’s skillset?  Does it match your needs?  If not, does your VA have support, training and resources available to them? If you are talking to an agency, do they have a VA with a skillset that closely matches your current needs?  How about for growth.

talk about benefits of using an agency for resources vs.  relying on a lone wolf… will you pay for the learning curve?

Billing
What type of billing structure is available?  How will you the VA account for time used?  Does your VA give time estimates before starting tasks? Will you get a breakdown of how the hours were spent?  What is the VA or Agency’s policy on alerting you to problems and things that might prolong the time spent on a particular task? Will I feel like my time has been sucked dry with no resulting task completion?

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