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How to Build Trust With a VA

How to Build Trust With a VA

Over on social media, I’ve been talking about trust, and how do you build trust with someone you’ve never met, like a Virtual Assistant.

Perhaps you know what tasks you want to delegate, but you’re more worried about how you build that trust with them.

“For me, it’s not about finding tasks I could give to a VA. It’s finding the right VA that I can trust and who understands what I do my vision, my brand, my roadmap for my business, existing and future clients”.

Now, there are a few things going on here because the funny thing about trust is that it can only build over time with consistency. But you need to trust the VA on some level to start delegating and assigning tasks in the first place. It all starts with what it is that you’re looking for, and for that, you need to consider skill set, availability, and so on.

Now thinking about a VA, if you’re looking to build a long-standing relationship with them, then you want somebody who is going to look after you on an ongoing basis. And sometimes VAs call them retainers or block bookings which is when you’re securing the VA’s time for maybe 10 hours a month, 20 hours a month, etc., so that they’ve got a dedicated chunk of time allocated to you each working day.

Ongoing bookings like that are freakin’ great for building that relationship and creating rapport because you know that you have regular support with somebody who is invested in the success of your business because they have that ongoing relationship.

Now if you compare that to a pay-as-you-go VA, there’s little commitment on the business owners side. Typically, a pay-as-you-go VA will fit the work in around their availability. Whereas on the block booking side, you’re working with that person regularly, so you’ll have guaranteed availability and greater access to them.

There are also questions that you can ask right there consultation stage as well, all to drill down further. These might include:

“What experience do you have?” and “How do I assign tasks to you”. If you’ve not worked with somebody on a remote basis before, there can be a learning curve. For instance, your default might be to pick up the phone, but a VA is working on a part-time basis, so they can’t always offer that level of responsiveness. You may need to come to some agreement in terms of a task management system to make that flow of communication easier between the two of you.

Another question could be “what if I certainly needed to increase or decrease the support that I need?” Because you hopefully want to work with somebody who can flex with the peaks and troughs of your own business. So for instance, going back to my example of 10 hours a month, let’s say you’ve identified that you’ve got 10 hours of work every month that you want to assign to your VA. If your workload ever increases and their maximum capacity is only over 10 hours a month, then that relationship isn’t going to stand the test of time. It’s always better to have that conversation up front, just about what their capacity is, and how they can help with those peaks and troughs would be rain business, will help set you up for success as well.

Another great question is, “what will you do to show that I can trust you with my brand?” And “how will you protect my data?” So the types of things that you’re looking for here are making sure that you assign them with an email address and that they’re happy to use that with your domain, that they are happy to use any online file storage you recommend or agree to protect files in line with your requirements. Or maybe you’re keen for them to have an encrypted hard drive. There are different things that they can do to protect both their data and your data as well.

You can ask “what kind of insurance policy do you have?” and “What do you have insurance at all?” So, again, that’s a good indicator that they are taking their brand, and their professionalism super seriously.

And then for UK based VAs, you want to be asking, “are you registered with the ICO?” This is about any data that you have. And I would say all the VAs are processing some data that’s not in the public domain. So they should have an ICO registration. They should issue you with a contract and data processing agreement. And so definitely be wary of a VA who’s willing to start work and like having access to data without those fundamentals in place.

Thinking about that trust again – we’ve spoken about identifying what it is that you’re looking for in the first place, and then some questioning techniques to qualify them.

You could even then set a test task to check for responsiveness, accuracy, communication, etc.

If you decide to work together, and those legal documents are in place (that’s the contract and the data processing agreement), it’s then a case of having an honest conversation about where you go from there. You might decide to do weekly check-ins, and I think that’s a brilliant way, particularly for the first four weeks or so, to start building rapport. A quick 30 minutes Zoom call every week to review tasks, talk about what’s on your plate for the week ahead, what’s coming up with your big picture vision, that’ll all go a long way to both building rapport and building the relationship. Plus the bonus is that you have face-to-face time which instantly helps build trust too.

When assigning tasks, start with something small and low-risk. Certainly don’t grant unrestricted access to your entire Google Drive from day one.

Instead, take a step back before assigning anything and ask yourself:

– Is this task within the VA’s remit and level of skill?

– Have I detailed what the task is, why I need it, and what I expect the finished result to look like?

– Do I want them to spend, say, 30 minutes on this and then check in with me for feedback? Keep going until it’s done. Or do I want them to spend two hours and then stop?

– Did I give the VA an opportunity to ask questions to clarify their understanding?

– Did I make it clear how they should communicate with me if they need a quick steer after the task has been assigned?

– Was I clear about how I need the task returning and what the deadline is?

Those are the types of questions that you need to be asking before you assign a task to make sure that you’re setting yourself, you’re setting you both of you up for success when you’re giving both of you the best possible chance to have that long-standing relationship.

It’s true that trust will develop over time, but there are things you can do to ensure a successful and long-lasting relationship with your VA.

 

 

Like the idea of a VA but aren’t quite sure where to start?

Download my guide: Work Out What To Delegate In 4 Easy Steps.

You have to start letting someone else do these tasks for you.

But how?

First you need to figure out exactly which tasks you can safely and comfortably delegate.

So I’ve created a free guide with 4 easy steps to help you.

Get ready to take your life back.

How to hire a Virtual Assistant (if you’re waiting for a unicorn VA, you’re never going to grow your business)

How to hire a Virtual Assistant (if you’re waiting for a unicorn VA, you’re never going to grow your business)

I worked as a VA for five odd years before I became a Certified Online Business Manager.

And during that time, I came to realise that although working with a VA had many benefits, there were misconceptions which weren’t doing the industry any favours.

So it’s time to set the record straight.

Because if you’re thinking about how to hire a Virtual Assistant, you need to keep reading.

 

Myth 1: The Unicorn VA

A Unicorn VA: mythical creature that has ALL the worldly skills, creativity that knows no bounds, 24/7 availability and instant-messenger-type responsiveness.

That Unicorn VA? It doesn’t exist.

And misunderstandings about what a VA can do are leading to mismatched client/VA relationships and frustrations on both sides.

Here’s the truth: sometimes a VA isn’t the right answer.

Sometimes the right answer is two VAs with complementary skill sets.

Sometimes the answer is actually an employee.

Quite honestly, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, and what you need will depend on your business, your expectations and the role you have in mind.

 

Myth 2: VA = “side hustle”

Gah! My least favourite myth. For some reason, there’s a common misunderstanding that becoming a VA is a side hustle and so-called easy money.

This isn’t the case at all.

Stripping it back to its bare bones, the aspects of running a VA business are probably very similar to your own – accounting, marketing, networking, sales, client management, and so on. The GREAT thing about this is that the VA you ultimately choose will have gained masses of knowledge into those areas when running their own business, and their experience will directly benefit your own.

 

Myth 3: VA = Working Mum

I’d like to see fewer stock images of a mum bobbing a baby on her knee while working away at the laptop, please.

Flexible working is for all people, people. 

There are all sorts of people rocking this VA thing: working mums, working dads, digital nomads, people who just crave flexible working because it works around their other commitments.

 

Myth 4: A VA is a VA is a VA

You know how “coaching” doesn’t really explain what someone does or who they help?

It’s exactly the same for the word Virtual Assistant.

There are VAs who are generalists and can help with the all-round admin things. Then there are VAs who specialise in the more techy tasks such as landing pages sales funnels, and automation.

Others specialise in bookkeeping.

Some VAs only work with clients who need support on a regular basis.

Others support clients who need one-off and adhoc projects (think the digital nomad who doesn’t want to be tied to office hours).

There are some who only work with a particular industry, niche or demographic.

Some are more reactive and provide project support after receiving specific direction on the task, goal and outcomes. These VAs may specialise in certain projects – social media support, email marketing campaigns, and other tasks with a defined outcome.

I must stress – there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and your business may mean you need more than one type of VA.

Others prefer to build long-lasting business relationships by forming trusted partnerships with their clients. By providing support to clients on an ongoing basis, the VA gains a greater understanding of the client’s business and can become more proactive over time. These VAs typically come from a more administrative background as a personal assistant or executive assistant.

Some may offer both types of services – project-based and ongoing.

AND there are all sorts of variations in between.

Myth 5: Offshore VAs are always cheaper

It’s true that hiring an offshore VA may be cheaper when comparing hourly rates.

Regardless of price, if the VA doesn’t have the qualities you need (skills, experience qualifications, licensing, etc), they can’t actually do the job.

I’m going to repeat that part because it’s SO important:

Regardless of price, if the VA doesn’t have the qualities you need (skills, experience qualifications, licensing, etc), they can’t actually do the job.

There’s little point in making a decision based solely on pricing, and hiring the wrong person can be a costly mistake.

 

Myth 6: A VA is plug and play

Onboarding anyone – employee or freelancer – will always be both a time and money investment.

VAs are often very good at their jobs, but they aren’t plug and play. 

Not only will you need to set aside the money to pay the VA regardless of your cashflow situation, their success will depend on whether you carve time out of your schedule to train them.

 

Myth 7: A VA is available to you 24/7

Working with a pay-as-you-go VA is usually ‘subject to availability’, so they can’t always be instantly available for you when there’s no time commitment on your side.

Similarly, if you’re booking a VA for 10 hours a month, that works out to be around just 30 minutes per day if they’re using time-blocking to manage their time. This means they’ll allocate a 30-minute chunk to work on your juicy stuff and then move onto the next client.

Expecting a VA to be responsive all throughout their working day when you’re only paying for a tiny fraction of their time, is going to lead to mis-matched expectations.

Which is why a 24-hour response time is commonplace.

If you need a VA who’s super responsive and available to you during all your own core hours, you’ll need to:

  • retain the VA’s time with an advance block-booking to match the responsiveness you require.
  • pay a premium for same-day turnaround.
  • hire an employee who’s dedicated you alone.

As you can see, there are several factors to consider before starting the hiring process.

 

How to hire a VA for your business

(even if you don’t know where to start, and without feeling overwhelmed)

Here’s the truth: hiring a Virtual Assistant is a SUPER exciting time in a business. It typically means that you, as a business owner, are ready to make more money without sacrificing your personal life. You recognise the need for help because you’re approaching a bursting point in your business, and you are ready to start delegating.

Hiring a VA can be challenging… and if you’ve ever seen those 200+ comment threads in Facebook communities where people make the mistake of asking for a recommendation, only to have their inbox bombarded for days… you’ll know what I mean.

Hiring your first (or 51st!) hire can be difficult and you need to make sure that you’re getting the right person for the job… otherwise you leave yourself open to frustration, heartache and a lot of money down the drain.

That’s where I come in!  

Work Out What To Delegate In 4 Easy Steps

In an ideal world, doing business would mean working with your clients, doing all those other things you enjoy about your work… and ONLY those things.

Reality isn’t as peachy though.

Success comes with a byproduct. More growth means more ‘busywork’.

Distracting you and taking up too much of your time and energy – that seems to be these tasks’ sole purpose in life.

You know they need to be done, but they’re also keeping you from focusing on your favourite core activities in your business.

Not to mention the fact they’re cutting into the time you’d love to devote to your family, personal pursuits, or just plain fun stuff.

The solution is simple.

You have to start letting someone else do these tasks for you.

But how?

First you need to figure out exactly which tasks you can safely and comfortably delegate.

So I’ve created a free guide with 4 easy steps to help you.

Download your freebie guide: Work Out What To Delegate In 4 Easy Steps.

Get ready to take your life back.

And set your first step towards your continued and sustainable business growth.

Book a Clarity Call

Work with me and you’ll get super clear on exactly how to hire the best person for your business so that you don’t waste precious time, energy or financial resources on an expensive mistake.

After a one-to-one clarity call with me, I guarantee you’ll:

  • Know exactly what essential skills and experience your VA has to possess. And if a VA isn’t right for your business, I’ll tell you! We’ll still come up with an action plan that is right for your business.
  • Have a written advert that is so dang specific to your needs, that only those who can actually do the job will apply.
  • Discover my secret sauce when it comes to shortlisting candidates quickly, easily and fairly.

And if you feel I don’t deliver on the above? I’ll give you your money back. Simples.

Don’t want to work with me? That’s fine too… but it also means you’re no closer to growing your business with the right support team to back you up. Book your clarity call for £99 here.

Want to learn more?

For more information about the consultancy services I offer, head over here.

How to hire a Virtual Assistant to grow your business

How to hire a Virtual Assistant to grow your business

If you’ve been thinking about your goals and recognise you’re limiting your own business potential by trying to do everything on your own, then perhaps you need a little help.

Have you thought about working with a Virtual Assistant (VA)?

I’m Victoria Tretis. And to avoid any confusion: I hung up my Virtual Assistant hat a while ago.

I’m what’s called an Online Business Manager. The virtual wing woman working behind the scenes, helping to manage the moving parts of a growing and evolving business. I also hire VAs for clients. So I know my stuff. 😉

With a minimum invoice amount from just one hour a month, working with a VA gives everyone access to flexible support whenever they need it, and all without the hassle or commitment of taking on an employee. Me included.

Clearly I’m converted, but if you’re new to the idea, there are other benefits that may pique your interest:

 

Find the right skills for the job

You might need a certain VA’s skills for a specific project only – maybe just a few hours of data mining, a presentation deck creating in PowerPoint, or pre- and post-coaching questionnaires creating.

Working with a VA on a remote basis means you’re not stuck in a talent pool based on geographical location; you now have access to talented individuals all around the world.

By having a trusted assistant whose skillset and strengths align with those particular tasks, you gain peace of mind to know that your business is ticking along while your focus is on the fun stuff that does bring you joy.

 

Develop relationships with your own clients

You may recognise the need for ongoing business support – tasks like diary management, client follow-ups, and solid right-hand support.

When a VA is involved in a business on a regular basis, there’s the opportunity to develop longstanding relationships with your own clients, therefore improving your own personal brand too.

 

Appear bigger than a one-man band

By assigning email addresses through your domain to the experts on your team, you can copy them in on email correspondence, thereby giving the impression of a larger in-house team.

You can also update your email signature to include the VA’s contact details and respond to your clients over email and say, “I’ve copied in my PA”. In their eyes, if you can afford an assistant then you must be running a successful business, and it’s always about perception.

 

Gain a sounding board

Many people find that running a business can leave them second-guessing themselves, which then leads to procrastination, therefore meaning their progress stalls.

A huge benefit of having a VA on board is that you will have hired them for their skills and experience, therefore their thoughts and opinions will be hugely valuable to you.

Your VA will be there for you to run ideas by, as well as offering guidance and support.

 

Stay accountable

When tell your VA that you have a set deadline for a task, a VA will work with you behind the scenes to ensure it’s met on time, every time.

Depending on what motivates you, they can be as laid back or as pushy as you need in order to ensure that the job gets done.

 

Gain time to focus on what you want to do

Any savvy business owner will know that their time is limited and expensive.

Working with a VA to complete necessary but time-consuming administrative tasks that definitely need to be done, just not by you, makes good business sense.

Let’s say your VA provides just five hours of support every week, that’s an afternoon you could spend on sales, or an opportunity to dust off the trainers and visit the gym for an endorphin rush, or time you could pick the kids up straight from school instead of relying on the after school club.

 

Experience mental space again

Your VA will act as your second brain and you’ll no longer need to keep a strong working memory of everything that’s going on in your business.

Although your mind may well stay busy (that’s the beauty of you big-picture thinkers), it’ll certainly be less cluttered with a Virtual Assistant on board.

 

Summary

If you would like to scale and grow without doing all the doing on your own, then you’re going to need a solid support team around you.

A VA will often pick up the tasks you don’t have time to do, don’t like doing, or those you simply know aren’t a good use of your time.

 


 

If you recognise yourself in any of this post and would like to grow your business with a Virtual Assistant, I can help.

Ready to hire? Woah your horses there, friend. Finding a VA is easy. Finding the right VA for YOU is the hard part. Let’s jump on a clarity call and by the end of our conversation you’ll know WHAT, WHO and HOW.

Like the idea of a VA but aren’t quite sure where to start?

Download my guide: Work Out What To Delegate In 4 Easy Steps.

You have to start letting someone else do these tasks for you.

But how?

First you need to figure out exactly which tasks you can safely and comfortably delegate.

So I’ve created a free guide with 4 easy steps to help you.

Get ready to take your life back.