Back in April 2014 we wrote a piece outlining some of the questions I think it would be wise to ask a Virtual Assistant before you started working with them. Since then we’ve been answering these questions so you’ve got an idea of my stance when it comes to work, and whether or not Time Saving Heroes might be the right solution for your business.
Today we’re looking at what the biggest challenge might be in a VA role.
Of course, it’s difficult to answer that question accurately right now without having a specific client in mind. However, there are some things that often come up when starting a new VA working relationship, so I’ll tackle those.
Many clients get in touch with a VA because they’ve reached the point where they want to clone themselves. Essentially they have so much to do, and too little time to do it that they end up feeling completely overwhelmed.
Unfortunately, that feeling can last well in to a VA relationship with clients feeling so confused about what it is they want to achieve, and therefore unsure what they should be offloading to their new right hand woman.
It’s perfectly common, but it can take a little while to get over. Personally I always sit down with a new client and ask them what their biggest problems are at the moment, and what it is they want to achieve. We then start with that, and wait for everything else to naturally fall in to place.
Failure to delegate
The vast majority of my clients are microbusiness owners or sole traders. As a result they’re the only people that have ever worked in the business, and it really is like their baby. It’s one thing recognises that they need help to take things to the next level, but it’s a whole other ball game actually getting to the point where help is accepted.
Many clients find delegating hard work, especially if they don’t have any real management experience behind them. Problems can arise if they worry that they won’t get done, or that it won’t get done to a good enough standard. Some even worry that they’re going to come across as being bossy if they keep putting demands on you (even though it’s your job).
Again, I always sit down and try to get to the route of the problem and ascertain why they’re reluctant to delegate work when they know they need to. Talking through their feelings, potential control issues and what they’re worried about is a great way to get them to see the bigger picture, and start to resolve the barriers they’re putting up.
I’m 50% VA and 50% therapist most of the time.
Communication can be an issue in any relationship, but when you’re predominantly working in a virtual capacity it can all be made a lot worse. Clients will always have a preference as to how they want to work, even if they don’t openly state it.
Conflicts can arise if they tell you to email them with everything, but then don’t respond to the emails because actually they’d prefer you to call. Or vice versa.
Some clients really want someone to be in charge of them, but they don’t articulate that. Which means you can spend a few weeks waiting patiently for them to get back to you, when in reality they need you to pick up the phone and nag them.
All new relationships take a while to settle down, and a good VA working relationship is no different. You have to take the time to get to know each other and find a way to work in harmony together. Once that’s done, there really are no problems.