10 Reasons Why You Might Fail With Your First Virtual Assistant

Jun 23, 2022

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Before hiring your first virtual assistant, it’s important to include failure scenarios in your research. While information about their services is vital, you should also learn from the lessons that others share from their personal experience.

Read along to discover 10 reasons why people fail with their first virtual assistant, and how you can learn from it to find success with every remote hire.

1. You Don’t Hold Them Accountable

Implementing accountability may seem like a challenge when working remotely. This is something the business world was able to explore as pandemic restrictions forced nearly everyone to work from their homes.

The mistake of turning to micromanagement has become common, but you can easily avoid this with your first virtual assistant.

Taking the time to have daily conversations about their tasks and plan of action can help in keeping them accountable for their productivity.

Practicing start-of-day and end-of-day reports can also be a healthy approach to managing accountability with any of your remote hires.

Finally, you can also implement the use of a time-keeping tool, like Timedly, or a project management tool that can track the time spent on their tasks. This can help you hold your virtual assistant accountable without driving them away by virtually hovering around them.

Healthy practices around accountability also help your virtual assistant manage their expectations and their productivity on a regular basis. This can help foster a healthy and professional relationship between you and them, as they grow into their roles.

2. You Don’t Treat Them Like Your In-House Team

Another common mistake that leads to failure with your first virtual assistant is treating them like an outsider. This can be an easy thing to do, especially when you already work with a local team, and have only started outsourcing.

Virtual assistants should be treated like remote team members. This means introducing them to the rest of the team when you start outsourcing tasks and including them in team meetings.

Treating your virtual assistant like an outsider can often lead to miscommunication between them and your local team, or make them feel less valued as a team member.

Over time, this can cause them to feel discouraged and run out of motivation to work with you. You may end up with an unproductive virtual assistant, or they can find a better team to work with.

Start including your virtual assistant in team meetings and have virtual gatherings to make sure they’re connected to their teammates beyond work.

Letting them know they’re valued in your company and reflecting it in the way you work can make them feel motivated in contributing to the growth of your business.

3. You Don’t Train Them on Your Systems

Training is essential for every hire, even if they’ve had managerial or executive-level positions in the past. The same goes for your first virtual assistant.

Part of successfully hiring a virtual assistant is training them on the systems you have at work. This includes training them on the tools and platforms your company uses for different business functions (your CRM, social media management tool, internal company database, etc.) 

You’ll also want to train them on company policies, your Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and what you need them to do on a daily and weekly basis for you. These steps ensure that they know how they can help, especially if that’s what you’ve hired them for.

Investing in your virtual assistant’s training also leads to higher productivity and fewer mistakes when they know what to do with the tasks they’re given. This is also part of introducing them to your team and informing them of the role they have in your organization.

 A virtual assistant who isn’t trained on your systems can be prone to making errors and have low productivity, eventually leading to unsatisfactory results for both you and them.

Training your VA on your systems, the tools you use, and how your team uses them is a worthwhile investment if you’re planning to hire a virtual assistant for the growth of your business.

4. You Believe Your Virtual Assistant Can Do Everything

Virtual assistants are still human, no matter what. Avoid making the mistake of expecting them to accomplish too many projects or tasks at once.

It can be quite nice to finally find someone you can assign some of your tasks to. However, do not make the mistake of believing that your first virtual assistant can do everything.

They may have a lot of skills in their repertoire, but they only have so many hours in a day. There’s also the adjustment period where they are still learning the ins and outs of being a part of your team.

Even if your virtual assistant is extremely skilled, it’s still unhealthy to expect them to do everything! Just because they may be a great graphic designer and video editor, doesn’t mean they are a great writer for your content.

Don’t expect your virtual assistant to work like a machine that immediately takes over minute tasks and does it repeatedly. Even AI needs some programming or setup before it can work.

Give your virtual assistant time to get used to working on your tasks, and make sure each task or project is explained in full detail before they start working on it. This prevents you from overwhelming your new virtual assistant with tasks. 

Remember to set humane deadlines, and keep communication lines open as well for corrective action and clarification. Your VA may also experience dips in productivity, so be sure to check in on them if they need more time or help in their tasks.

5. Your Communication is Poor

Poor communication can always result in disappointment. The same goes for working with a virtual assistant.

Wherever you hire your virtual assistant, it’s important to pay attention to communication. Especially when talking about tasks and expectations, details are highly important.

This begins with your job description. Make sure to communicate your company’s growth needs, the skill gap you expect to fill, and the tasks your VA will be working on.

You’ll also want to be great at keeping in touch and keeping communication lines open. Using apps like Zoom, Skype, Slack, and even Messenger can be tools where you can communicate with your VA throughout the day or week. This is important in collaboration, managing tasks, and planning projects with your VA.

Oftentimes, entrepreneurs experience disappointment with their virtual assistants due to a lack of good communication. Make sure you’re giving clear instructions, but also let your VA speak their mind, especially with questions, suggestions, and managing deadlines.

6. You Hire Your Virtual Assistant on Hard Skills Alone

Successful hires aren’t based on hard or technical skills alone. All roles require a good mix of hard and soft skills. This also goes for your first virtual assistant.

Soft skills are typically related to your virtual assistant's personality traits, making it important that you ask situational questions during their interview.

This is also why Virtudesk uses the DISC personality assessment when screening virtual assistants. Doing so helps clients find professionals who not only match their skill requirements, but also a team member they would love to work with.

Basing your virtual assistant hire on just their hard skills could set you up for failure. You should also consider soft or interpersonal skills when looking for your first virtual assistant. 

7. You Don't Create Systems and Structure for Them

Your VA should be treated like your other staff, and should also be trained in the systems and tools your team uses, but they should also work on a separate structure.

This can be even more problematic if your VA is your only remote hire. Remote management requires that an organization designates a workflow for tasks involving remote team members.

Creating task checklists of their daily and weekly tasks can also be a great way to create structure and clearly communicate what you expect from them.

Accountability, project management, and communication are the main reasons why you should do this. Not taking the time to create a system for your virtual assistant can mess up team dynamics as a whole, and lead to more problems than you initially had without a VA.

8. You Don't Provide Feedback

Feedback is important! This doesn’t only apply between you and your customers. Providing and getting feedback from every hire, including your first virtual assistant, is essential for well-rounded management.

When you neglect giving reviews or evaluations to your VA, they won’t know what they need to work on and will never know how to improve. This can lead to a disappointing situation with unpleasant effects on your business.

Even seasoned virtual assistants need your feedback to have an understanding of the best way to work with you.

Have regular meetings with your virtual assistant to discuss their performance, quality of work, and expectations, and to exchange feedback so you can continuously improve your work together.

9. You Don't Onboard Them Properly

Properly onboarding your first virtual assistant is fundamental to having a successful relationship with them. Forgetting to do so can have a negative impact on your overall experience.

In this part, you’ll be introducing your virtual assistant to the systems you’ve put in place to work with them. That includes the tools they’ll use for their tasks, meeting team members, setting boundaries and expectations, and answering any questions they have.

Your onboarding process is the key to properly integrating a virtual assistant into your business. Incomplete onboarding will hinder you and your team from maximizing the benefits of having a virtual assistant.

Take the time to prepare the onboarding process for your virtual assistant to avoid making your first virtual assistant hire a wasteful and disappointing process.

10. They Just Aren't The Right One

You may have tried everything on the list so far, yet your first virtual assistant hire is still a disappointing experience. That’s understandable. Maybe they’re just not the right fit.

Before giving up on your first virtual assistant, however, make sure you’ve given them time to integrate themselves with the team and the work.

There is a trial and error element to finding the right virtual assistant for you and your business. It may take some time for you to find another one, but it’s a great investment for your company’s future when you do.

Working with a virtual assistant company like Virtudesk can help you cut down the time it takes to find the right one. After a discovery call, you’re given a lineup of the best candidates who match your needs, and it’s only a few steps after that.

The searching and screening process is easily cut down when you do this, and you also get to work with an account manager who will help you along the way.

why people fail with their first virtual assistant

Bottom Line

While some entrepreneurs consider it the end of their outsourcing experience, failing with your first virtual assistant is not the end.

If anything, it’s a learning experience that can teach you invaluable lessons you will use as you continue to scale your business.

As you navigate success with your virtual assistant, don’t forget to continue to address issues that may come up along the way. The road to success isn’t linear and has ups and downs you’ll need to work with.

If you’d like to find success in growing your business with a Virtudesk virtual assistant, fill out this form and one of our Consultants will get in touch with you.

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