Hiring a virtual assistant can be a game changer. When you have a good relationship with your VA, you not only have more time but more energy to get through your to-do list. On the flip side, losing your VA can be devastating. If you have good systems and procedures in place, it may not be too difficult to find a replacement EXCEPT that developing a good camaraderie takes time.
There are many reasons you may lose your VA, ranging from the VA changing direction in their business to burning out. You might have no control over the reason they leave if it is a business decision, but you definitely can help prevent burnout. Below are some tips for balancing workload without losing your virtual assistant.
When you first started, maybe you agreed to 5 hours per week but you have only been using them consistently for 3 hours per week. Now you need to up it to 10 hours for the next few weeks in preparation for a major event. When you first started, your VA consistently blocked 5 hours per week for you. After losing out on that potential income and turning away other clients, your VA eventually opened up those 2 unused hours and is now completely booked. They may work extra to meet your 10-hour demand, but may also fire you when they reach burnout.
Yes, the VA should also be checking in with you. Remember, though, communication is a two-way street and they do not know what you have coming up. Be sure you are clearly communicating what your anticipated needs are.
Set reasonable turnaround times
By definition, a virtual assistant will have multiple clients. They may not be available to answer your call if they are supporting another client. If you consistently expect them to respond or complete tasks instantly, they will likely fire you before you can say please.
Have regularly occurring tasks
If you constantly drop last-minute tasks in their lap, they are likely to disappoint you with their turnaround times. Your VA is supporting multiple clients while also balancing their personal lives. Having consistent, regularly occurring tasks gives a balanced and predictable workload that results in quality work. Last-minute requests result in rushed and shoddy work. Requesting those repeatedly also results in losing your VA.
Respect call and text times
As a business owner, you work all hours of the day. It is not fair to expect your vendors (and yes, your VA is a vendor!) to do the same. If you are going to text late at night because a thought jumps in your head, that is fine but you have to stress you do not expect them to respond until business hours.
More importantly, if you agree to only call during certain hours, you must respect that agreement if you want to keep your VA long term.
No long periods of silence and then sudden, whirlwind, large volume of work
We get it, as a business owner, you wear every hat and may not have time to sit down and determine what you can delegate every week. You may start with good intentions and then over time, go back to doing everything yourself. Then one day, it hits you: hey! I have a VA who could be doing this! And with your excitement, reach out and dump everything on them.
Check back to what we said about availability. Your VA kept their calendar open for you and eventually moved on. Dumping your excitement on them after a long period of silence is not going to get excitement in return. You may get a ‘get lost’ notice instead.
Agreements not demands
Remember, agreements are better than demands. If you set the tone from the beginning that both parties will agree to certain work structures and abide by those agreements, then you can check in on those agreements from time to time. Making agreements and checking in on them is the best way to weather the ups and downs of your business with your VA in full support.
For more information on hiring a virtual assistant, contact Freedom Makers. We can help match you with the right person to handle your administrative tasks.