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Hiring a Virtual Assistant is both exciting and terrifying. (Really, any time you get to a point of being able to “hire” in your business it can make you feel like you want to get up & dance while at the same time throwing up a little!!)
When I first hired my Virtual Assistant in August 2016, I felt all of the above. I knew I needed to let go of my business and bring on help, but I also had a LOT of questions and felt lost in the entire process.
Thankfully, I floundered my way through with the help of my amazing VA and we’ve had an incredible working relationship since then!! (She’s not only a huge part of my business but a close friend!)
I hear business owners say over and over: “I’m drowning in my business. I need help.” Yet most haven’t taken the time to sit down and figure out HOW and WHERE they need help. Before hiring a VA, sit down and write out every single thing you are doing in your business. Yep, everything. From the mundane to the huge. Then categorize each as a $10/hour or $50/hour job. What can ONLY you do in the business? What can you easily automate, systemize or hire out for? Your eyes will be opened to areas of your business that don’t necessarily “need” you, and you can reach out to a VA with a clear-cut list of what you’re looking for.
Like any business investment, you should never be hasty. When hiring a virtual assistant, don’t shy away from contacting multiple VA’s to understand packages, pricing & most of all, personality type. This person will be entering into your business in a very intimate way, and making sure you find the “right fit” is key! Ask for interviews, ask for references & ask a lot of questions!
I did this a little bit backwards, and I don’t want you to do the same. When I hired Emily, I reached out the beginning of August and she began working for me the last week of August. That gave me a little less than 3 weeks to get my butt in high gear and create solid systems I could easily teach to someone else. While I DO work well under pressure, I recommend creating systems in your business BEFORE reaching out to potential VA’s. You need to understand how you do what you do in order to be able to train a VA (and also potentially seek their advice on additional systems your business might need!).
While you are hiring a team member, this person is also letting you into their business, into their life. It takes give & take on both parties, and it’s important to remember that. Be aware of their needs & expectations, just as you want to set your own needs & expectations. Be prepared to step up as a manager, and lead your team (be it a team of 2!) with humility, grace & authority.
I’m very lucky that my working relationship with Emily blossomed quickly & she become an integral part of my team. However, that is not always the case and hasn’t been for every single hire I have brought on. I’ve heard a few too many “horror stories” of creatives looking for an assistant only to end up jaded after the process is all said and done. Understand that while it might not work the first time around, it can & will work if you diligently look for a good fit. Don’t give up because of one bad experience, no matter how bad.
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