Over the years I've found that, while my success is in my own hands, a portion of that success can be attributed to the relationships I have with others--especially the virtual assistants that are an integral part of my team and help me maintain a better work/life balance. They keep me from getting bogged down so I can focus on revenue-generating tasks.
That doesn't mean that a virtual assistant just magically makes all your problems go away. Whether you hire a VA through an entrepreneur-focused service that helps you with work and personal tasks, such as Zirtual, or anywhere else, that VA is only as good as the working relationship you have with them.
Here are the top 10 mistakes that could kill your outsourcing relationships--so avoid them at all costs. You'll greatly improve your relationships and your chances for success.
1. Providing poor or no feedback
I get it, you're busy. That's the reason you hired a VA in the first place. Don't get caught up in the daily grind of growth and miss the chance to give your VA insight into how they're doing--especially if there are ways to improve. If they don't improve, then no one benefits. It only hurts the working relationship.
2. Not being fair
Don't be a hypocrite. Never expect your VA to be hyperresponsive and on the ball about every little detail, then sit on a task or request. It ruins the trust and credibility in the relationship. This isn't just limited to your virtual assistant: don't do this with any employee.
3. Not opening up to your VA
The most effective virtual assistants have a strong understanding of what makes their employer tick. You can drag the efficiency down if you don't share enough of your life with your virtual assistant. You can delegate a lot more if you're transparent with both your home and work life. Only then can your VA know how to best sync up with your needs.
4. Holding back the calendar or email
I understand that some of us like to manage our inboxes and our calendars. I get that some of us are just control freaks when it comes to these things. But if you can't delegate these two huge time wasters, then you'll destroy your productivity.
5. Not communicating enough
The key to success with a virtual assistant is communication. They aren't in your office, they work remotely. So if you fail to provide all the details, then the work relationship will suffer. Your assistant is a partner in your success and in helping you achieve your goals, and they're only as effective as you allow them to be. If you're not communicating effectively, or enough, it only hurts you.
"Here's an exercise for you...what if you were sent to the hospital with a medical emergency (think worst case scenario)," asks Carrie Wilkerson, author of Barefoot Executive. "You are not able to speak, or text or email. What would your family, your team, your assistant need to know in order to keep things functioning?? Of COURSE they won't do it as awesome as YOU--but it could get done!"
6. Inability to delegate
Nothing will drown you faster than an inability to prioritize tasks and delegate responsibility. If you can't ask for something to be done, and don't know how to explain getting it done, a virtual assistant is no good to you.
Darren Rowse of ProBlogger recognizes the struggle in his blog post. He says, "I love the idea of VAs (virtual assistants) and can see a lot of tasks that I could potentially have one do for me--however, I've never really felt completely comfortable with the idea."
7. Not providing details
The longer your VA is with you, the better they understand your business and the rationale behind a task. If you don't communicate the details, though, you remove their ability to anticipate your needs and you kill their ability to help you succeed.
8. Undervaluing their worth
Your VA is your partner in achieving your goals. If you don't value their talent and abilities and don't trust them enough to delegate important tasks, then you kill the relationship. They'll leave to work with someone who appreciates what they can do.
9. Underutilizing your VA
You can undervalue your own worth just as much as your virtual assistant's. This happens far too often when you continue to waste time on activities that can easily be handled by your VA. This, and # 8, go hand in hand.
"The principle is that people with the highest level skills should be doing the highest level work," writes Liz Strauss, CEO of SOBcon and GeniusShared. "You, as CEO of a Fortune 100 Corp, making coffee might be nice, but you're a VERY EXPENSIVE coffee maker. Let's say the main work you do is worth $100/hour. If you can pay someone to write your bills $20/hour for 3 hours and you stick to what only you can do, you're not spending money, you're making it so that you can earn $240 more in those three hours."
10. Expecting too much
A good virtual assistant will probably put themselves in a position to respond no matter the time of day. That doesn't mean you should take advantage. Just because you're trying to operate 24/7 doesn't mean your VA should. Going beyond established hours strains the relationship and will burn out your assistant.
If you haven't hired a virtual assistant to help with your daily business, what's holding you back? Share in the comments below: