Virtual Assistant’s Are Highly Skilled Business Professionals
Many people think that a Virtual Assistant is an “off site” or “virtual” equivalent to an employee. Something akin to a secretary sitting outside a managers office, only “remotely”. That is simply not true.
Yes, there are people who “telecommute” from home. This means they work for an employer, and need clearance for time off for vacation, sick days, personal days, etc. They need to “check in”, so to speak. They are expected to provide “on demand” work and instant turnaround. These people are most definitely not Virtual Assistants!
So many times on Twitter, I see people seeking a Virtual Assistant when what they truly are seeking is an employee. Yes, Virtual Assistance may be a great solution to an entrepreneur who cannot afford to hire staff. However, if this sounds like you, you need to be able to forego some of the features of having an employee. For instance, Virtual Assistants are not available “at the snap of a finger” to their clients. They do not “check in”. They can structure their office hours and time away whenever they want. They don’t provide “on demand” or “I need it NOW” service (rush services do exist but they are almost always at a high premium fee and are subject to the VA’s schedule). You will not be able to directly supervise a Virtual Assistant like you would an employee. There is a certain level of professional trust and partnership involved when working virtually with a professional. This scenario is because a Virtual Assistant/client relationship mirrors the relationship of any two independent business people collaborating together on any project or task.
If you are the kind of person who wants to maintain a certain level of control over someone who is providing you with assistance, then you should be looking to hire an employee. If you don’t have the budget for this, you may want to check out your local college and inquire about their student work/study program. Many students will work for free to get experience in the business world.
If you are the kind of person who needs immediate turnaround, and someone to wait around during the day should you need anything, again, you need to hire an employee.
If you are at the level in your business where you have a steady flow of projects, duties and tasks that can be metered out over time, and are not a micro-manager, then partnering with a Virtual Assistant is the best move you could make! Check out this article I wrote for more reasons why using a Virtual Assistant makes good business sense. The Virtual Assistant retains authority over the methods, policies and procedures with which the work is administered, to assure it is delivered to you with excellence and in a timely fashion. Most Virtual Assistants have spent years honing their business skills, and are masters of their trade. Many of them have worked as employees and know how to best support an executive, entrepreneur or business owner.
If someone is looking for a Virtual Assistant, there is really a match for everyone. You should be as careful about what VA you contract with as most Virtual Assistants are about what clients they accept. A reputable and skilled Virtual Assistant will do/should do their due diligence with any potential client. This assures that the VA’s policies, procedures and business practices mesh with the potential clients needs and expectations and that both sides know clearly what they are getting from the other.
Are you an entrepreneur looking for your first Virtual Assistant? Are you a Virtual Assistant having problems with certain prospects treating you like an employee? I’d love to hear from you!
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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