It seems like everything has changed for businesses over the last few months: some haven’t been able to operate at all, some have been forced to find completely new ways of working, some have just started up. Some have, unfortunately had to streamline and lose staff to survive.

Everything is different and it seems that we might never work in the way that we used to before. But for most, the show goes on and the work still needs to be done and we all need to adapt and evolve if we are to survive the upheaval and succeed in this new and challenging world.

So how is the average business supposed to manage these new and additional responsibilities, the increased workload or a seemingly unsurmountable backlog of work?

One way is for businesses to try to absorb it themselves. The other is to outsource certain tasks, projects or roles. Sounds simple, but how easy is it, really, to find the right VA?

Given that you’re already facing increased pressures, the last thing you need is a long and difficult search for someone to help ease those pressures, so here are 5 simple steps to help you get the RIGHT help easily, painlessly and swiftly.

  1. Ask around

Before you hit Google, think about how great it would be to find someone who came recommended by someone you know, respect and trust. Start by asking around in your own networks and see what comes back.  Once you get it “out there” that you’re considering a VA there’s every chance that word will reach the right person. VAs are SERIOUS networkers and like worker bees, they’ve developed intricate methods of communication. Set them buzzing and word spreads fast!

If you find someone who is using or has used a VA, pick their brains a bit:

  • How did they find them?
  • How long did it take?
  • What were their main considerations AND concerns?
  • Is there anything they would do differently?
  1. Be clear – write it down

Whilst you might know that you need help with all sorts of things, it’ll be impossible to find the right VA until you’ve identified the specifics; every VA has a different skill set and you’ll want to find the one who is right for you, so ask yourself the following, and write it down:

  • What don’t you like doing?
  • What do you feel is not a good use of your time?
  • What do you wish you didn’t have to do?

These questions will clarify for you where you most want help and provide a useful person spec for the job.

  1. Sort out the terms – yours and theirs

Getting boundaries and terms set from the off isn’t hard to do but is an exercise worth its weight in gold. Find out before you start, in no uncertain terms, what your VA will and won’t do, keep in mind their working days and times, how and when to pay them and be sure to ask what they expect from you.

VAs are highly flexible, but they are also very busy and work to tight schedules.  They’re not so big on ambiguity so being clear about what you expect and having contract terms agreed from the start will pave the way for a respectful and effective working relationship.

  1. Don’t rush

It’s best to ease into the process of working with a VA at your own speed. There’s no need to sign up for packages or buy hours upfront that you’re not even sure you’ll be able to fill. Start small and build it gradually, like getting comfortable in a new pair of shoes, working with a VA takes a bit of wearing-in! Figure out what you can afford to pay monthly and ask them what they can do for you in that time. As you establish a working pattern and start to see the value of the work they’re doing and the impact on your time/business, you can build it up at your own pace.

  1. Make the most of your VA

As a minimum, your VA will carry out the tasks/projects you assign with skill and professionalism. But, delve a bit deeper and you’ll discover the real treasure.

A good VA will become a valued member of your team, and act as part of your sales force, buzzing about your business and representing and promoting you at every opportunity.  It’s worth remembering also that as well as completing a hefty workload of transactional tasks for clients across a wide range of industries every day, VAs are also running their OWN successful business, and it’s a bit of a waste to overlook their unique business skills. Talk to them, brainstorm with them, listen to them and you might be surprised by what you find.

Working with a good VA really can transform your business, tapping into their extended network  and giving you an opportunity to work how and where it matters most. Finding the right VA for you is crucial, but not difficult if you’re prepared to ask around, be clear about what you want and open up to the idea that your VA can become an integral part of your business.

To find out more about the ins and out of working with a VA, what you should be looking for and how best to find it, call Joanne on 07928 228764 for a 30 minute chat