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Virtual assistant myths – which ones are true?

Hiring a Virtual Assistant

The virtual assistant industry is ever growing – and many of us are realising that we can achieve the same or greater results by working remotely. And as this shift is happening, more business owners are hiring overseas workers to make their businesses more profitable and durable.

There is a lot of information out there about Virtual Assistants. The many different options make it hard to understand how to get started, which VA agency to work with, how to go about hiring – and what to do once you are working with a remote assistant. 

But amongst the copious amounts of information available, there still remain a few misconceptions around what a virtual assistant is and how the whole concept works. Before you make any decisions, let’s clear a few things up so you can make an informed plan… let the myth busting begin!

VA Myth #1: Outsourcing to a VA takes away opportunities from my home country

This is a biggy that I see many people contemplate. In reality, for most people who are considering hiring a VA, the alternative is hiring no one. They often can’t afford that extra expense in the business. Taking the smaller, more affordable step of bringing a VA on board vs an in-house admin promotes a more profitable business. In turn, this allows your business to grow larger and support more internal workers, and to do it more sustainably.

VA Myth #2: A virtual assistant will solve all my problems

If only it was that easy! Entrepreneurs who begin working with a Virtual Assistant under the pretenses that it will fix everything that is wrong with their business as some sort of miracle solution, are seriously mistaken and setting themselves up for failure.

Virtual Assistants can be an incredible asset to every business – but if you don’t know what you want them to do, how to manage them, or have direction for them you are setting them and yourself up for a poor relationship and ever poorer results.

VA Myth #3: All virtual assistants are the same

Another very costly misconception. Hiring just any VA that you come across is another way to set yourself up for failure – unless you just happen to get very lucky. Proper interviews, explanation of job expectations and ongoing performance management is going to be vital in choosing the right person. 

Each VA is unique in their skill set and weaknesses (yes, all VA’s have weaknesses), so you need to get to know who you hire first to make sure they are a match for your business. For some business owners, they may want a creative assistant to handle content creation, others need someone who is detail-oriented. Picking the first resume that pops into your inbox, thinking you will achieve the same result regardless of who you choose, is not the ideal way to get started.

VA Myth #4: Virtual Assistants are flaky and unreliable

This is an unfortunate stereotype that has come about due to the actions of a few – but I dare you to find any country in the world without flaky, unreliable employees. If you hire the right VA, chances are you are going to find someone more loyal, reliable and hardworking than you would have ever expected. Place importance on your hiring process and give yourself the best chance of success.

VA Myth #5: Admin work is really the only thing you can outsource

Do not limit yourself to outsourcing just admin work! Here are some examples of roles you can outsource to a remote assistant – but there is seriously no limit. If the work is computer-based, it can be outsourced. There are some very skilled virtual assistants who can take on a lot more than admin tasks like managing your emails and calendar!

As I mentioned, there is so much information out there about how, why and what to do with a VA – but the biggest things I would recommend you keep in mind are: 

1. Understand the long term benefits of working with a VA, versus the short term impact of a potential lost job in your home country. 

2. Don’t make any assumptions about what is and isn’t possible. 

3. Implement an in-depth hiring process to ensure you only have superstars joining your team!

For more tips, be sure to check out our new book, The Virtual Assistant Advantage


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