Hiring a virtual assistant is a win-win situation.You get to cut down on heavy work related burdens and get the best work life balance.

Additionally, the 80-20 rule comes into play where you delegate your to-do list to a willing worker, easing the time you have for boosting business or professional productivity.

But these 9 pitfalls can change the rules of the game and show you just why hiring a virtual assistant is not easy, if you just look for a quick fix without systems in place.

How to find the best virtual assistant is not the problem anymore.The issue now is how do you manage one.

Working with a virtual assistant is not about delegating a task and walking away.For many bosses, hiring, delegation and management are skills that have to be mastered.

Teamwork is at the heart of every business, and hiring a virtual assistant is no exception to this rule.You need to work hand in hand with your virtual assistant to give your business the edge up.

While there are many experts talking about what you should do, when it comes to virtual assistant management.

Here’s a guide on what not to do!

1. Hire the right professional for the wrong reasons

The biggest reason to find a virtual assistant is that it will save you precious time and offer returns on the money you invest.
For example, if you are a professional billing your client at $ 500 per hour and a virtual assistant takes on 7 hours of work at $15 an hour, that’s actually worth $ 3500 to you and you’re just paying your virtual assistant $75 for the work!

But just like hiring the virtual assistant for these reasons makes sense, here’s the reasons why you shouldn’t opt for virtual assistants.

Don’t think you need a virtual assistant when you don’t have a business need for one.

If you are hiring a virtual assistant as someone to take over your entire business, that’s wrong too. Your professional practice or business is founded by you.It needs your involvement and work.

A virtual assistant can compliment you, but he or she cannot be the panacea for all your problems!

2. Not clarifying tasks well enough

The job description needs to be clear, for any professional to be able to do the job. Virtual assistants are no exception to this rule.

It makes sense to allocate well defined tasks, so that you can get clear results and outcomes as a result.

Start with a clear job description and your virtual worker will be perfect for your work demands.

Till you are clear about how you will benefit from a virtual assistant, and have clarity on the tasks the virtual assistant will carry out, don’t expect your virtual worker to have concrete ideas either.  

3. Expecting too much from your virtual assistant

Having a clear job description is one thing. Expecting your virtual assistant to do all the tasks your work entails is another.

To maximize your time, you need to hire the right fit for the job, without loading the virtual assistant with too many issues and problems.

From bookkeeping to social media management or setting appointments and data entries, there are so many facets to a virtual assistant job.

But you need to remember the virtual assistant is only human.

Balancing multiple work commitments is only possible, if there are clearly demarcated work roles and clarity on what to expect from your virtual assistant.Expecting too much can prove to be your downfall.

Prevent your VA from exceeding his or her abilities because in the ultimate analysis, a bad hire costs more than just cash.

4. Language barriers hindering communication

While there are economic benefits to hiring overseas virtual assistants, you need to make sure your VA speaks your language, whether it is US English or Catalan Spanish.

Take the value of your time into account.

Remember that hiring a skilled and linguistically proficient virtual assistant can have direct impact on your professional or business success.

5. Not helping your virtual assistant

Another glaring mistake many employers make is to skip the preparation part, while hiring a virtual assistant. It’s not simply a case of delegating and forgetting.

Managing a virtual assistant requires effort on your part too. You need to document everyday and weekly activities to assess the tasks which can be delegated.

Detailed instructions on every task is essential for success. Set expectations in advance and set your virtual assistant up for success.

6. Don’t expect a plug and play experience

Even the best toys for your kids come with assembly requirements.

While hiring the virtual assistant, remember that there’s no such thing as plug and play, when it comes to a VA.

There’s some time before full productivity is attained and virtual assistant may even learn new skills on the job.

7. Micromanaging is mismanaging

The whole point of hiring a virtual assistant is to save time.

So, if first timers undo gains by falling prey to the temptation of micromanagement, it will defeat the entire purpose of hiring a virtual assistant.

Don’t micromanage, because it can actually stifle creativity and innovation. One of the most important features of best virtual assistants is that they are independent self starters.

Micromanage and you take this one big advantage away from them.

8. Set a task priority

If you delegate too many tasks, you may not get the desired results.

Rampant delegation can prove to be a wastage of money. You can sure list down all that you wish to get done by your virtual assistant but set a priority to tasks. Since they're a shared resource, they will work in tandem with your priorities.

9. Failure to Review Work

One of the biggest problems with people who hire virtual assistants is that they forget that they need to review the outcome of the tasks.

Remember that your virtual assistant may have queries and issues to be resolved. With a regular monitoring mechanism in place, timely amendments and suggestions can be offered.This prevents tasks from low success rates and virtual assistants from burnout.

The Bottom-Line

Pitfalls of hiring a virtual assistant without doing your homework are many.From failure to review the work, to lack of clarity about the job in the first place, your virtual assistant will fail if you don’t lend support in return.

Creating a good support mechanism and work process helps the both of you to work independent of each other, yet on a common goal. This helps minimise a lot of confusion and you can reap the best of your investment.

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Janhvi Johorey

Janhvi Johorey

Janhvi believes that each growth story is worth decoding and startups have staying power. A content writer by profession and a storyteller by vocation, she has a postgraduate degree in Applied Psycho

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