Thinking of working with a VA but struggling to differentiate and chose the best for you?

Not sure what questions to ask a VA? As like any role there are differences; be it their location, skills, style of working, attitude and of course the great differentiator ‘price’. There is the old adage of ‘pay peanuts and get monkeys’ and I believe this can be related to every area of your life and business – so why would seeking help not be included in this. Yes, you can get them for £3 an hour – but they probably are not native English people so things may get lost in translation but there may also be some tasks that are efficiently carried out by those VAs. However, I would always recommend a UK VA so the spelling is English, it is possible to meet up and the UK VA industry is built on collaboration and there are many lovely VAs to choose from.

We’ve all heard of FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) but what about the SAQ’s (Should Ask Questions). You know yourself when speaking to potential clients that they don’t seem to ask the obvious questions that could cause problems down the line and would certainly make you stand out as the ‘one’ person to work with. So here’s a few I would recommend you ask before signing contracts (that’s definitely one of them!) and handing over your money.

Do they have a contract for you to sign?

A contract is for the protection of both parties – what work is to be completed, what if it’s not right and how are the charges worked out and how is it terminated. Including a NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) clause is essential too – to protect your contacts, documents and even your name – if you don’t want people to know who’s helping you to succeed!

What happens when our VA is sick or on holiday?

A VA shouldn’t be like an employee and that means time off! Yes, you may well prefer just 48 weeks support rather than the 52 (ok let’s have a week off for Christmas/New Year) 51 weeks that a business runs. Unless you do close down like the big firms do in the Summer or when you’re on holiday your business stops. However, it doesn’t need to. A VA can get sick and go on holiday so for you to continue you would need cover and many VAs work with Associates to have that continuity which is ideal.

What about when you are sick/on holiday?

This is a great opportunity which enables you to get better or take time off but your business still ticks over, still ‘works’ for your clients. A VA can complete many tasks such as chasing responses, booking appointments and generally tidying up documents, your CRM or even your Operations Manual for your business.

When’s the best time to communicate?

Are you a night owl or an early riser? If your VA is the opposite it may bring about clashes as your communications may not bring about the best if one of you is too tired. Getting the match in attitude, expectations, styles of communication (one likes to talk the other prefers email) will make the partnership that much more productive and enjoyable. Better to find out now rather than a couple of months of frustration, mis-match and mis-understanding.

Will you ever meet?

I was first alerted to this on a LinkedIn group where a VA was keen to point out ‘VA’s are virtual’ there is no need to meet! Now, obviously these relationships work well as we have technology such as Skype and facetime to see each other but for me face to face discussions, reviews and brainstorming add another dimension to a relationship which means a deeper appreciation of each other and where the magic happens. Not essential but a definite ‘nice to have’ if possible.

How do they charge?

Is it hourly, by project or do they have packages for a number of hours purchased? What’s best for you and your budget. Asking for a reduction for upfront/early payment or guaranteed 6 months contract may work for your VA too.

There may be many other questions to ask a VA and some very specific to your business; such as background and experience as well as availability (there may be times when you need evening or weekend support and if that’s the case then all parties need to know that).

Hopefully, these questions to ask your VA will have highlighted other areas to consider. Don’t be afraid to ask – it certainly makes the journey more enjoyable for everyone.

Employing staff is a whole new ball game with its own set of rules. Working with a VA is an option that a great many business people are turning to. Check out my book on How to Hire a Virtual Assistant. Available on Amazon by clicking here

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