I’ve found in my work as a Brisbane Virtual Assistant that the fear of hiring a VA is surprisingly abundant. I understand trying new ideas is concerning for some, so in this post, I clarify some of the unknowns.

The Australian Virtual Assistant industry is rapidly growing and as such is still a fairly new concept for most small businesses. Of course trying new things and sharing your precious business operations with a remote offsider is initially going to be daunting.

In this post, I outline my three-step process I take when I begin a new virtual project, so you, as a potential-hirer-of-VAs, know exactly what to expect.

Hiring a VA, Step One: The Initial Discussion

Once I am contacted by a potential new client, I have an initial discussion with them to find out:

  • What type of service they are after – copy writing, copy editing, virtual proofreading, WordPress website design, email marketing, typing hand-written notes, reviewing presentations, social media campaigns, online marketing – the list goes on, but this is just to give you an idea of the types of things you can outsource to a virtual professional. Read this interesting article, if you’re not sure what to delegate to a VA.
  • How long they anticipate the job is going to take – some clients know but some don’t and that’s okay.
  • When they would like me to start – an immediate start is usually requested and I will try to accommodate a new client, but to be realistic, I sometimes need to shuffle other client work around in order to start straight away. And this can take some time.
  • What their budget is – it’s important to discuss rates and budgets during the very early stages. My preference is to find out what the client’s budget is and go from there. If I can meet their budget, then I will (and I have) in order to build a professional relationship that can lead to more referrals. If the client doesn’t have a budget, then I outline my hourly rate or can spend more time detailing a package rate to suit a project-specific task.

Hiring a VA, Step Two: The Follow-Up Email

Once I’ve had a chat with the client about their needs and their budget, it’s now time for me to follow up with an email.

I find the follow-up email is a really easy way to ensure that both parties are clear on the outcomes of the initial discussion. It also provides me with an opportunity to:

  • Give examples of previous work specific to the job that demonstrate my experience
  • Highlight some additional ways I can support their needs (maybe offer a service that complements what they have requested, that they hadn’t considered initially e.g. if a client requests a WordPress Website Review from a structural point of view, I might offer copy editing, at a reduced rate, as well)
  • Present a quote for the job discussed that also outlines payment options
  • Emphasise my set up as a Brisbane Virtual Assistant (especially if locality is important for the client)

Hiring a VA, Step Three: The Client Welcome Pack

When we have reached an agreement and before I commence work for the client, I like to send them a Welcome Pack as part of my own induction process – most new clients have not worked with a virtual assistant before, so I think it’s really important to induct them into the world of working with a VA.

My Welcome Pack contains:

  • What we have discussed to date about the project and my understandings of their expectations (in an attempt to avoid any miscommunications).
  • The ways in which I conduct my virtual business taking into account hours of operation and code of conduct.
  • The best ways to contact me during and after office hours.
  • My formal agreement that I send to all clients. It is very important to me that we are both covered should any unforeseen circumstances arise.

And Lastly

Virtual assistants are professionals that bring a wealth of knowledge, passion and experience into their chosen field. They work from their at-home offices in order to provide an exceptional service that allows flexibility and options that businesses may not have considered before. I cannot stress how working with a virtual professional will save you time, money and a lot of worry – especially if you are a growing small business.

This three-step process that I undertake is my own but most virtual assistants will follow a similar indoctrination process.

You can read more about working with virtual assistants and finding your perfect VA at VA Placements – a free VA recruitment service.

If you’re interested in becoming a virtual assistant, head on over to 121Temps – they have a great mentoring program that just might be what you’re looking for.