Outsourcing some of your business tasks to an outside consultant or Virtual Assistant is one of the best things you can do for your business. You will be able to focus on the tasks that require your specific attention; the administrative tasks will still be getting done, you will find you are less-stressed, and will have more free time to enjoy with your family. If you are apprehensive about handing over a portion of your business to a stranger, the following are some tips on how to work effectively with a contractor.
- When you start looking for someone to work with, ask your other business friends for recommendations. Ask for the names of people that they have personally worked with in the past; if they haven’t used the type of assistant you are looking for, they may know of someone who has.
- When you interview a potential consultant or Virtual Assistant, ask them for the names of people that they have worked with previously. Always check these referrals. Ask questions such as how they liked their work, if the work was finished on time, and if they would hire the them again.
- You should also ask to see some samples of the consultant’s work. Do they have a style that is similar to the style you are looking for? Does the work look polished and professional or slapped together? Are there obvious mistakes?
- Since you will be working together a lot, make sure that your personality does not clash with the consultant or Virtual Assistant. How do you like to communicate? If you like to talk via telephone and your consultant prefers email, this could pose a problem.
- Find out how the consultant or Virtual Assistant likes to be paid before you hire them. They may accept full payment after the work is completed, or they may ask to be paid half of the payment before they start. Many consultants and Virtual Assistants will accept Paypal, but, again, make sure you both understand how the payment process will work before you commit to a project.
- In addition to the payment process, you will want to make sure you both understand how the consultant (Virtual Assistant) will keep track of time and how you will be notified of their progress. You can use an online task assistant that you can both access. You can put up information such as due dates, notes about the project, etc; and the contractor can give daily feedback on the progress they have made.
- If you are comfortable working with someone virtually, you can look for specific niche service providers at VAClassroom and International Virtual Assistant Association Directory.
If you are worried about the consultant/Virtual Assistant having access to sensitive information and possibly stealing or leaking your ideas, have them sign a non-disclosure agreement. If they do take your idea or tell your idea to someone else, you have legal recourse.
Once you find a consultant/Virtual Assistant that you enjoy working with, you may want to consider putting them on retainer. This means that you are guaranteeing them a certain amount of hour’s worth of work each month. They will know you are a consistent client and will most likely give you a price break.