7 Costly Mistakes Entrepreneurs are Making When Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Money July 14One of the first questions I always hear from my clients is “how much is a Virtual Assistant going to cost me?” Most of the time they are just thinking about the hourly rate they will be charged and they don’t think about those hidden costs that can add up to hundreds and thousands of dollars each month. So before you even start your search for your first (or your next) Virtual Assistant, make sure you aren’t making one of these costly mistakes:

#1 – Your business is not Virtual Assistant ready
This mistake had to be labelled as the #1 mistake because so many of my clients are making this mistake. They are jumping into working with a Virtual Assistant without doing any planning whatsoever. They assign the tasks they think they should rather than the ones they should. They don’t know how to explain what they do because they are blindly going through each step without thought. In order to be ready for a VA you must know what to delegate, how it is done and be able to explain that process.

#2 – You conduct the search for your Virtual Assistant the wrong way
When I talk to Virtual Assistants about why they wouldn’t apply for a potential Virtual Assistant position the exact same reason seems to ring through. “I don’t think this person really understands the Virtual Assistant industry or really knows what they are looking for.” Potential clients searching VAs are making so many mistakes that are preventing the right VA from coming forward and working with them. Some of the top mistakes they are making are looking for a “laundry list of tasks,” expecting to pay peanuts for specialized services and really not knowing what they want, just to name a few.

#3 – Lack of Interviewing/hiring skills
I am often surprised how many people just don’t even do an interview. They send out an email with their needs, a Virtual Assistant answers to say they can handle it, sometimes a brief conversation follows and the next thing you know they are working together. Most importantly most entrepreneurs are hiring the first Virtual Assistant they speak with and the search stops there. No other interviews, no reference checks and absolutely no research to ensure they have the skills at the level their business needs.

#4 – Hire the wrong Virtual Assistant
As a result of mistake #3 many people often next fall victim to mistake #4. They hire a Virtual Assistant who has the wrong skillset or they hire a social media Virtual Assistant when what they actually needed was an Executive Virtual Assistant. There are as many different types of Virtual Assistants as there are skillsets that could be offered. You need to know very clearly what you need and then find the Virtual Assistant to meet those needs. Today there are multi-VA teams, OBMs, OMMs, solo VAs, Marketing VAs, Infusionsoft certified VAs, Legal VAs, Real Estate VAs, Techy VAs … the list goes on and with so many acronyms and types of VAs how is one to know what exactly they need.

#5 – You have no management skills
Many entrepreneurs build a business based on a passion they have and often that business becomes very, very successful with a lot of hard-work and then it’s time to get help! Great, but not a lot of these entrepreneurs come with a business degree or management background. The important thing to realize is you can’t build a successful support team to help you in your business if you don’t know how to manage those people.

#6 – You have no team-building skills
Mistake #6 ties in very closely to mistake #5 and often is the point at which every client-Virtual Assistant relationship breaks down. So many of my Virtual Assistant friends complain about the way they are treated by their clients. No appreciation, no communication, no regret for their ideas and input. If you want to build loyalty, you must learn how to treat others. It comes back to the golden rule, the simple truth is VAs are willing to bend over backwards for clients who recognize and appreciate them. The biggest way this mistake will cost you money is you will find yourself constantly in the hiring process replacing great VAs that aren’t willing to stick with you!

#7 – Communication breakdown
Plain and simple communication is key in any relationship, just think about your personal relationships and I know you will agree. The same is true for a client-VA relationship. You must find a communication system that works for both of you and then commit to it. The biggest reason a lot of client-VA relationships fail is because one or the other “disappears” and the communication comes to a halt.

If you are ready for a Virtual Assistant and don’t want to make these costly mistakes, I offer consulting to talk through your Virtual Assistant decision and ensure you are receiving a great return on your Virtual Assistant investment. I have just opened my calendar for four additional openings before the end of July, but they won’t last long. For those of you who are ready to hire a Virtual Assistant cost-effectively and want to work through any one of these costly mistakes to AVOID making it, please contact me.

About the Author:

Yvonne WeldYvonne Weld is the Virtual Assistant matchmaker and she helps entrepreneurs find their ideal Virtual Assistant so they can have more time to focus on making more money in their business.

If you are having difficulties getting started with your Virtual Assistant or have questions simply about Virtual Assistants in general, schedule a free VA Q&A and Yvonne can help you navigate the Virtual Assistant world!  https://www.timetrade.com/book/66TR1

Time to Relax

dreamstimemedium_34297294As business owners we tend to get so wrapped up in the day to day operations of our business that we forget to take time to stop and relax. Even when we do take a moment to slip into a warm bubble bath or relax in our favourite lounge chair we find our thoughts drifting back to business … so I started to ask myself why …

For myself the answer is simple, I have put my whole heart and soul into starting and developing a thriving business. It is very difficult to turn that off just because the “experts” tell us that we can’t let our businesses consume us. So what is a business owner to do, the answer is time and education. Just as it takes time to teach ourselves a new skill, it also takes time to learn a new behavior. Experts say it takes one month of repeated behavior before the behavior can become a habit.

So start small, dedicate 15 minutes a day to some form of relaxing whatever that might be. Treat yourself to an extra long shower, meditate, write, go for a walk – whatever that one thing is that will allow yourself to “forget” about business for just a short time.

We spend so much time worrying about keeping our bodies healthy we forget to also keep our minds healthy. Don’t forget that in order to truly build and maintain a thriving business it is imperative to keep ourselves alert and healthy too.

I hope you will join with me in this challenge to dedicate 15 minutes each day for the next month to yourself. I am sure that you and your business will both not only thrive but flourish.

About the Author:

Yvonne WeldYvonne Weld is the Virtual Assistant matchmaker and she helps entrepreneurs find their ideal Virtual Assistant so they can have more time to focus on making more money in their business.

If you are having difficulties getting started with your Virtual Assistant or have questions simply about Virtual Assistants in general, schedule a free VA Q&A and Yvonne can help you navigate the Virtual Assistant world!  https://www.timetrade.com/book/66TR1

Getting Your Business Virtual Assistant Ready

I am a huge believer that NOW is the best time to get a Virtual Assistant, even though many entrepreneurs are saying “soon” or “later.” It will take time to get the right Virtual Assistant in place and get to a point they are working cohesively with you. Many entrepreneurs make the big mistake of waiting too long and then they don’t have the time to properly on-board their new Virtual Assistant.

Each and every one of you should be doing things now to get your business ready for your first (or next) Virtual Assistant. Here are three things I tell each of my clients to start working on before our initial needs assessment and you can start working on these for your business too!

#1 – Developing Your Task List
taking notesI suggest you put a piece of paper beside your desk and start documenting on that Computer and Paperlist each time you do something you don’t like to do, know you shouldn’t be doing or you do something you lack the skills for. In a nutshell, if it isn’t a money-generating activity get it on that list. This will be the start of your task list.

Next take that list and start dividing it out. Label all the tasks with an A, B or C.

A – is for the tasks that absolutely are the first things you want off your plate!
B – is for the tasks that should the budget allow they would be the next to go!
C – is for the tasks that truly can wait; these are the ones you really don’t mind doing!

This will be a great start to developing a list of what you can give to your Virtual Assistant.

#2 – Start Documenting How You Do Things
Each person has their “own way” of doing things, the little idiosyncrasies of how you like it to be done. Although your Virtual Assistant will come with the skills you need they certainly won’t know how you like it done. For this reason you must start creating your procedures/operations manual.

The easiest way to get this done is to put your smartphone beside your computer and as you start to do something hit the record button (there are several apps out there that will allow you to do this!). Talk though what you are doing as you do it. Then start a folder on your computer to store these files (or better yet, Dropbox or other cloud storage). Then when your Virtual Assistant goes to do the task they can simply press play and you will be walking them through your process.

#3 – Create your Ideal Virtual Assistant Profile
There is so much more to a Virtual Assistant than skills alone. I often say to my clients it is so much more important to “hire for personality and train for skills.” I am not saying your Virtual Assistant shouldn’t have the skills you need, but without a doubt the best factor for success is finding someone who fits with your personality and who you can see building a long-term relationship with.

Start now to write down what your ideal Virtual Assistant looks like. What personality traits are important to you? Remember they will be the front line of your business in many cases.

There are definitely a lot of things to think about when it comes to finding the right Virtual Assistant for your business. I often use the analogy “Your ex-boyfriend is someone else’s husband!” Simply put, just because he wasn’t the right fit for you doesn’t me he wasn’t for someone else. This is so true when it comes to Virtual Assistants. No two Virtual Assistants are the same and knowing exactly what you are looking for before you start the search will mean a greater chance for success with your Virtual Assistant!

For those of you who are ready for a Virtual Assistant in your business and would like to talk further about making sure you do your search right the first time and save countless hours and headaches looking for the wrong person, I invite you to schedule a conversation with me.

About the Author:

Yvonne WeldYvonne Weld is the Virtual Assistant matchmaker and she helps entrepreneurs find their ideal Virtual Assistant so they can have more time to focus on making more money in their business.

If you are having difficulties getting started with your Virtual Assistant or have questions simply about Virtual Assistants in general, schedule a free VA Q&A and Yvonne can help you navigate the Virtual Assistant world!  https://www.timetrade.com/book/66TR1

Great I Have My VA, But Where do I Start?

One of the very first steps I take my clients through is determining what tasks are best to delegate to a Virtual Assistant. My only goal is to find out which tasks will have the biggest return on investment. We spend a lot of time talking about different types of tasks and creating the final task list to be given to their virtual assistant.So Many Questions

Providing that list to your Virtual Assistant and actually getting started can be two very different things. I know because I personally just lived through this very thing. I partnered with my first Virtual Assistant last year, solely to help me with my social media and I didn’t have any problems with delegating that, as a matter of fact I was happy to hand it over. I essentially told her my goals for social media and let her “run with it.” However partnering with my second Virtual Assistant this past week was a completely different story. I had my list of tasks but I was at a loss with where to start. Fortunately we are well on our way now and moving forward, but it was a much slower start than the last time. I knew that if this was an area I struggled with, many of you probably do too, so let me share the steps I took to get from idea to implementation!

Step #1 – The brain dump call
Getting on the phone with your Virtual Assistant and getting everything out of your head has got to be the first step. Having the list was one thing, but taking the time to walk my Virtual Assistant through where I kept everything she would need, the process I take my clients through, where I stored all my files, the list goes on … was a completely different thing! And an important thing at that. One of the systems I help my clients with walks them through this very process and as such it was important for me to take this step with my own VA.

Step #2 – Just start out small
The best way to overwhelm a Virtual Assistant is to expect them to do everything within the first few days of working with you. Prioritize your tasks list and ask yourself what is the first thing you need to get off your list? Start there and when your Virtual Assistant gets the hang of that task add another. With the right VA on your team it won’t take long until the entire list is on their plate and not yours, but overwhelming them with everything at once may just send them running for the hills!

Step #3 – Start documenting everything
The biggest stumbling block to delegation is not having the systems and processes documented. This is what holds most people back is having to take the time to walk their VA through why and how they do what they do. I suggest to every one of my clients to have their VA document this process as they take over each task. This makes it easier as your business grows and it becomes important to bring on additional team members!

When you start with these three small steps I know you will be moving from “how do I start?” to “why did I wait this long?”

About the Author:

Yvonne WeldYvonne Weld is a Virtual Assistant matchmaker and she helps entrepreneurs find their ideal Virtual Assistant so they can have more time to focus on making more money in their business.

If you are having difficulties getting started with your Virtual Assistant or have questions simply about Virtual Assistants in general, schedule a free VA Q&A where I can help you navigate the Virtual Assistant world!  https://www.timetrade.com/book/66TR1

How do I Keep up with all this Social Networking?

Sorry I have been missing in action … I can’t believe how busy I have gotten … trying to keep up has become insane!! In the past few months, I have added 4 Associates to my Multi-VA Business and I have taken on the role of VAinsider President at VAnetworking.com . All this while trying to find a way to keep up with all the social marketing that is out there.

Between Facebook, twitter, blogging and all the other social media markets and networks, it really is difficult to keep up, but I am determined to do it. I am going to try a lot harder to keep up with my blog and to keep up with all this social marketing!!

I am finding the most difficulty with twittering … I want my tweets to be informative and more than just … gone to eat dinner with my hubby … but I find it hard to know what my followers will find interesting. If anyone has any links with respect to twitter and how to know what to twitter about, I would love to know them.

I attended a great seminar the other night at vanetworking.com on facebook and how to use it for business so I set up a fan page. It is still a work in progress, but then again, like I said … I really need to figure all this social marketing out or I am afraid I will be left in the dust!!

Anytime is a Good Time to Start Over

Many people look at January 1st as not only the start of a new year, but also as a start of other things … a new outlook, a new project, a new idea …

Others view August/September as not only the start of a new school year, but the start of other things.

Without meaning to, I “started” over this September. I was speaking with the coach that is in my business networking group and she asked me when the last time I looked at my business plan was. I told her that the last time I reviewed it was when I wrote it 2 and a half years ago. She encouraged me to have a look at this plan and to “make some changes”. See when we start our business we spend a lot of time planning what our business will look like and how it will work, but once our business is actually started, we forget to take the time to see if it looks like what we had first pictured.

I am not saying that it is wrong if our business isn’t exactly as we plan (as we all know businesses evolve and change), but there is a lot to be said for taking the time to review our plans and “freshen them up”.

We don’t need it to be the start of a new school year or the start of a calendar or fiscal year. Today is just as good a day as any to decide that it is time to “start over”. Give ourselves that chance to try a new project, review our business as it is and determine if there are changes that might grow our business …

I have spent a lot of time since that conversation with that coach doing just that and I have been amazed at the results. Without even trying, my business is moving forward and growing … some of those ideas that were in my head have been committed to paper and I am striving to make them happen!!

So my question to you is this … what are you waiting for? Why not “start over” today and try something new with your business? You might be amazed with the results!! Then take some time to let me know what you tried and how it worked out as I would love to share in your success with you!!

I admit it … I’ve been in a funk!!

First I blamed it on the stress of trying to sell my house, then I blamed it on the children being home for the summer and finally I blamed it on being too busy, but finally I realized that no matter the reason it was time to pull up my socks and “smarten up”.

Yesterday at my BNI meeting our President said something that really made me stop and think. “You have to feel your way into a new way of acting not act your way into a new way of feeling”. In other words instead of acting as if everything is great, it is time to change the way you feel about things and other things will fall into place … so that’s just what I did.

I took some time to think about why I was feeling the way I was and decided it was time to stop “feeling sorry for myself” and start remembering that I am a successful business woman for a reason. I can put on whatever show I want to, but unless I start feeling better about myself and about what I am doing people will eventually see through the “veil” I have created.

So once I came to this realization I realized it was time to “brush off my goals”, re-write my schedule, and start working on all those ideas in my head instead of just leaving them there. So watch out world because I have a new attitude!!

What is a Business Owner to Do When Life Gets in the Way?

I can’t believe how far behind I am at my blog. I come in with good intentions, but it seems that blogging seems to be at the bottom of my totem pole of important things to do. (Well actually me time for hobbies and interests is actually at the bottom!!) I don’t intend for that to happen, but it just does … it seems that when life happens the things that we begin to not “keep up” with are the things we enjoy the most!!

I love to write and I love to blog, but finding the time seems to be a challenge. See, in the hierarchy of tasks I tend to put them in this order …

– client work
– family time (especially now that the kids are home for the summer)
– promotion of my business (ie networking events, meetings with potential clients)
– household chores and tasks (especially now that we are renovating our new home and trying to sell our present home)
– writing, blogging, working on other projects for my business (oh if you only knew the ideas that are swirling in my head, but I don’t have the time to implement!!)
– hobbies and interests

As you can see, although blogging is not at the bottom … it just seems that the days seem to slip away one at a time and although my intentions are good ……..

So to all my faithful readers I do apologize for not keeping up and when life seems to get back on track, I promise to be back and I am sure you will be excited when I finally find the time to get these things moving!!

Co-Authors Nominated for Prestigious Virtual Assistant Awards

London, Ontario, Canada – The Virtual Assistant industry is gearing up for the 3rd annual Online Virtual Assistant Convention (OIVAC), which will be held from May 15, 2008 through to May 17, 2008. The highlight of the event will be the International Virtual Assistants Day (IVAD) celebration on Friday, May 16, when the announcement of the winners of the prestigious Janet Jordan Achievement Award and the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction will occur.

Co-Authors of the book “Managing Your Thriving Business for Success”, Sally Kuhlman and Yvonne Weld, have each been recognized by their industry as nominees of these awards. Kuhlman for the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction and Weld for the Janet Jordan Achievement Award.

The OIVAC website states that the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction is to “honor a Virtual Assistant who has been in business for at least 5 years and who has contributed to the industry in such a way that it has provided a positive impact on many others and helped them to build a successful business.” The OIVAC website also states that the Janet Jordan Award is to “honor a newcomer Virtual Assistant who has been in business for less than 5 years and has reached a milestone in their short career in the industry. This milestone needs to be an accomplishment that has helped to boost their new business to an overwhelming success.”

These nominations that prove that Weld and Kuhlman truly know what they are talking about and they also give their book credibility. Many books on the market today are filled with repetitive materials that are unsubstantiated. In other words, not too many authors “practice what they preach”. The fact that these authors have been nominated for these awards goes to show that they are truly running successful businesses and are being recognized by the industry as leaders and role models.

“My goal in writing the book was to share with business owners the elements of my business that have attributed to my success such as goal setting, boundary setting and good time management”, Weld stated. “Many business owners struggle to determine why their business isn’t working without first looking at themselves and the management style they bring to their business.”

Kuhlman believes “most people can be taught good management skills and, by utilizing those skills, run a successful and thriving business.” “We don’t want others to make the same mistakes we have and wanted to provide a resource that would give entrepreneurs the tools they needed to run a successful business.” Both Kuhlman and Weld have learned their management skills through trial and error and life experience.

About Yvonne Weld
Yvonne Weld is the owner of Canadian based ABLE Virtual Assistant Services which opened in April 2004. Yvonne brings knowledge from a number of resources including personal experience (8 years in her previous employment as an Office Manager), education (graduate of several courses at the Small Business Centre, London, Ontario) and her love for information through reading and internet research. For more information visit the Web site at www.ableva.com.

About Sally Kuhlman
Sally Kuhlman is the owner of Virtual Simplicity located in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been providing virtual support to entrepreneurs since 2002. For over 15 years she has been professionally engaged in business management and administrative work. Sally has a bachelor’s degree in Social Ecology specializing in Psychology and Human Behavior. For more information visit the Web site at www.virtualsimplicity.net.

About Managing Your Thriving Business for Success
For more information about Managing Your Thriving Business for Success and how to start organizing your time better, visit the Web site at www.thrivingbusinessmanual.com/managing.

The 3rd annual OIVAC is to be held from May 15-17, 2008 and will include several training teleseminars and workshops as well as an opportunity to network with Virtual Assistants from around the world. For more information visit the Web site at www.oivac.org.

Goals for my blog in 2008

Hi all,

I thought it might be easier to have a “purpose” to my blog and something for you as my reader to look forward to, so this year I am going to start something new. Beginning next week I am going to have something each day of the week for you to look forward to.

Manic Mondays – This will be the day that I will talk about ways to take the “manic” out of your business. Such things as scheduling, boundary setting and work/life balance to name a few.

Top Ten Tuesdays – This will be a series of top 10 articles that I will write. They will be everything from 10 ways to use a VA, 10 things to grow your business, and other top ten articles. Each week will be a new article that will get you thinking “outside the box”.

Wishful Wednesday – This is the day that we will talk about wishes and hopes for our businesses and how we can make those wishes and dreams come true. I will talk about the importance of goal setting and other important tools for growing a thriving business.

Thankful Thursdays – This will be my day to really stop and think about at least one thing that week that I am thankful for. I hope that you will do the same thing too and post your items you are thankful for too.

Freebie Fridays – Finally this will be the day that I will offer a free tip or idea for your business. It might be a simple tip, a quote to think about or it might be a review of something that I utilize in my business.

So here we go … I will promise to try my best to keep up and be diligent with these topics for you.