The last time we reported on the Virtual Assistant Hesitations survey was in April of 2009. Now the poll is closed and we have the final results. It was a survey on why people are hesitant in contracting with a Virtual Assistant. The results don’t surprise me. In fact, they are just what I thought they would be!
I wrote this article last March on the most common misconceptions about Virtual Assistance. I feel many of these misconceptions contribute to these top 3 concerns that I will describe below.
So, 22% of our survey takers feel skittish on whether or not they can trust a Virtual Assistant. Perhaps they have had a bad experience with a VA in the past, or a bad experience with an employee.
My remedy to prospective clients who present this fear to me:
a) *Talk* to the Virtual Assistant. Ask them your key questions that you are concerned about.
b) Ask if you can speak with a few of the VA’s current clients. Most VA’s allow that and will facilitate the introduction.
c) Start off with “low security” tasks that don’t require much in the way of private or sensitive information and slowly work your way up from there. Chances are, time will tell how much you can/can’t trust this person.
d) Make sure your communication is crystal clear and ask for confirmation back from the Virtual Assistant that they are on the same wavelength as you.
35%: Unclear on how we can work together virtually
So, 35% of you out there in the twitterverse are dubious that two people can collaborate effectively in a virtual environment.
My remedy to prospective clients?
Think about all of the web based applications you use, like gmail, Evernote, etc. Then think of all the most popular software, like Microsoft Office, Dreamweaver, etc. Most Virtual Assistants use the top and most widely used software, so that they can accommodate a wide variety of clients. Files can be emailed back and forth to one another, uploaded to a file server like iDisk or Drop Box, or sent via a service like Send This File.
For the web based applications like gmail, all you need to do to hand off your calendar, contacts, email, etc, is give your Virtual Assistant your login information or share your calendars with them.
43%: Concerned about price
This is the most common concern I get. My advice: consider a Virtual Assistant a long term investment. Myself and most of my most trusted VA colleagues have been in business almost five years or more. I have had some clients for that long.
They think of me as a trusted part of their business, and say to others
“I’ll leave it up to Taryn and she’ll handle it”.
Trust, confidence, loyalty, more free time…that is where your ROI is when making the *right* decision in hiring a Virtual Assistant, along with a very high level of competence in all administrative skills and software/hardware programs.
In addition, you get someone who knows your business inside and out as far as how you interface with others and how you like to present your “brand” to the outside world. The Virtual Assistant will also know your customers and she/he will become the “go to” person for your customers, further building an image of stability and confidence in you and your business.
Yes, the hourly rate, when broken down, appears higher than that of an employee. But when you work with a VA, you don’t pay any employee related costs, such as office equipment, taxes, vacation pay, health insurance, etc.
Are you thinking of hiring a Virtual Assistant but are stopped by some of these concerns? I’d love to hear from you on the subject.
Author bio: Taryn Merrick is a Professional Virtual Assistant and Online Business Manager (OBM). As Principal of Merrick Management And Media Services, she has over 20 years of administrative management experience. Taryn works to promote the Virtual Assistant industry and to make it stand out as a true profession of excellence. Her style is easy going, yet precise, with emphasis placed on exceeding customer expectations, client communication and satisfaction.
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