7 Questions to ask Your Prospective Virtual Assistant…
So, you’re looking to bring a Virtual Assistant on board? I think that’s great! Because it means two things … Your business is growing. And you understand that getting help will accelerate your growth.
To help make this process as smooth as possible, I’ve provided a list of questions that you’ll want to ask your prospective Virtual Assistant.
But before we jump into the questions, let’s get straight on one thing…
Your Virtual Assistant is a business owner, not an employee. This is good news for you because you don’t have to provide office space and equipment, you’re not paying employment taxes and providing benefits, and all the other things that come with employees.
And because your Virtual Assistant is also a business owner, she is driven by her own business growth. Which means it’s in her best interest to make sure you are a happy client! The Virtual Assistant with dissatisfied customers is soon out of business…
There are so many good, qualified Virtual Assistants to choose from. It’s just a matter of finding the right match for you and your business needs. So let’s getting started.
- How long have you been in business as a Virtual Assistant? This is important for two reasons. One, it gives you an idea of their level of experience as a Virtual Assistant and how effective they will be in supporting you. I think it also points to reliability. Will this person be available to me over the long haul? Or at least through this next project? The last thing you want to do is bring on someone who drops the ball in the middle of your big launch! Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t find a good newbie Virtual Assistant. I just caution you to be careful about putting all your eggs into that newbie basket only to find that they’ve decided to shut down the business and go look for a “real job.”
- How many clients do you currently serve? What is your capacity to take on new clients? In other words, how many hours can your prospective Virtual Assistant devote to your business on a weekly or monthly basis? If the Virtual Assistant has a huge client roster already consuming 100 hours per month, will she have the bandwidth to serve you well?
- What is your area of expertise? If you could only do one thing, what would it be? You’ll find some Virtual Assistants who offer every service under the sun. This will work if it’s a team-based organization. If not, ask them what they like to do best. That is what you want them doing for you. People put off the tasks they least like to do – and eagerly dive into the tasks they love to do.
- What is your preferred method of communication? If you prefer phone calls and your Virtual Assistant prefers email, it can make for a difficult working relationship. Assess options and make sure it’s a good fit for both of you. Also get a feel for how quickly you can expect a response to an email or phone message. Make sure the method and style of communication are right for you.
- What are your hours of operation? If you need your Virtual Assistant to be available at 9AM Eastern and she is based on the West Coast, it probably isn’t going to work. That said, make sure that the tasks you need your Virtual Assistant to work on are truly time sensitive before nixing the relationship. In most situations, the time difference simply doesn’t matter.
- How do you charge for your work? Answers will be by the hour, hourly retainer, or package. I recommend you steer clear of the hourly, pay-as-you-go option, because you could be in for a nasty surprise at the end of the month. If you go the hourly route, make sure you set a maximum, not-to-exceed limit so you can avoid sticker shock. Unless you expect to do less than 5 hours per month, I think the retainer is a better option because you always know what you’ll pay each month and your hourly retainer rate, in most cases, will be discounted from the pay-as-you-go hourly rate. To me, the package is the best option for both parties. Packages can be project-specific or a month-to-month service package. Everything is spelled out, and you know that everything will be completed whether it takes 10 hours or 20 hours. I find it easier to focus on what I’m doing for my client when I’m not worried about hours – and I do a better job because the clock is one less thing I have to worry about.
- What do you charge for your work? You know what you can afford – and if you’re looking for an hourly or retainer relationship, you can easily determine if this Virtual Assistant is right for you budget-wise. If you’re looking for package rates, you and your prospective Virtual Assistant will need to thoroughly examine your needs, and she will create a package for you.
So those are the top 7 questions I think you need to ask prospective Virtual Assistants. You can also include questions about references, work samples, security measures, how would you handle situation X, etc.
Ask questions that give you a good feel for who this person is and if she’s a good fit for you and your business. And when you think you’ve found the right Virtual Assistant for you, maybe try a mini-project – a get-to-know-you project – to make sure you work well together. Good luck! And please comment below about your experiences with hiring Virtual Assistants – the good and the not-so-good …
ChrisJanuary 8, 2016 at 3:56 pm
Thank you! I’ve learned #4 the hard way, being clear what my expectations are and understanding theirs means less stress and frustration.