7 Mistakes Business Owners Make When Working with Virtual Assistants

First, congratulations for dabbling into the world of offshoring! Whether or not you came to VA Platinum to get your virtual assistant for financial planning, a virtual assistant for mortgage broking, or an executive assistant, I like to commend you for taking a step towards freedom.

If you are new to offshoring, you are most likely to find yourselves questioning your decision due to unfamiliarity or culture shock.

I totally relate to waking up all sweaty and uneasy when I first started. Back then, I did everything on my own, searching from volumes of profiles in Upwork (formerly known as Odesk).

I remember having to deal with at least 15 people to find someone to replace a staff who suddenly ran AWOL.

Thankfully, I overcame it after learning the hard way.

I’m no stranger to the overwhelming looks of advisers and business owners coming to me to get some kind of assurance that they’re doing well with their staff.

Because of this, I was able to recognise what goes wrong in the mix and I’m happy to have figured out the ways to correct it.

So here I am, sharing the top 7 mistakes I find advisers and business owners commit when working with virtual assistants.

Let’s dive in!

1. Only hiring one (1) staff

It’s settled that an offshore virtual assistant costs 1/3 of what an office staff earns in Australia. If it is a matter of cutting costs, hiring 2 staff will still help you save.

Plus, there are so many benefits in getting 2 staff right off the bat:



Let me tell you an amazing discovery – staff train each other.

What I realised with my staff in the Philippines is that when they are paired up; they learn, grow and share knowledge together as one awesome unit – even without your supervision!

They are more confident, attentive and engaged because they know that they’re responsible for checking each other’s work. They work independently, but interact as a team.

Back up

Honestly, this is a fail-proof way of assuring that you always have a staff to support you in any given day.

If there’s an emergency situation and one staff member is away, you can simply endorse the work to the other staff you have present.

Let’s say, for some reasonable decision one of your staff member decides to quit – you won’t feel too pressured about training new team members because your tenured staff member can take care of the training.

Faster Task Completion

Having 2 or more staff makes the workload lighter. Staff pay attention to their work better because they have adequate time to complete their task and finish more in a day.

2. Starting with a Part-Time worker

If you want to keep the skilled and talented staff, please stay away from hiring part-timers.

It’s going to be a waste of your effort, time and resources.

Imagine having to train people who simply pop in and out of your business!

You see, part-time workers will not invest their 100% attention with you, as your relationship is limited. They can also be working part-time for someone else, and I hope it’s not for a competing business or else, your business might be at risk!

The bottom line is – if you want your staff to be involved in your operation for the long haul, you have to attract them with stability.

3. Being Task-Oriented with staff

Most business owners put up a wall between them and their staff. They take the work relationship to the bare minimum level of just handing over tasks and evaluating results.

I believe that I’ve emphasised this in almost all of my blogs but what I want you to do is to connect with them on a social level.

Leaving out that “human connection” dampens your work relationship and does not add value either you or the staff’s life.

I encourage all my clients to kick off their initial meeting with conversations that help the staff member understand you as a person and your goals as a business owner/adviser.

You have to lay a good foundation with your relationship with the staff because after all, they will be a part of your success.

4. Treating your staff like you treat Australians

I might be generalising (a lot) – but we, “the Aussies” are the chip-in-the-shoulder bunch. We’re not used to seeing people being so warm and friendly that we get surprised when we meet people from different cultures.

People in Cebu, specifically are the most fun and friendly!

Social connections are important to them. It is one of the most important traits that business owners or advisers fail to acknowledge.

Be friendly and sincere. You will be amazed at how you can connect with them instantly.

5. Hiring the first person they “think” is good for the business

Just because you find someone close to what you’re looking for doesn’t mean that you should close your door to other prospective staff.

The job of a good virtual assistant service provider is to give you the best possible staff that will help you grow your business.

In VA Platinum, we let your staff take aptitude tests and personality tests and even get their DiSC profile upon your request so we can be sure that they are culturally adept to work with you.

Trust me, the clients who have the most “culturally fit” staff took their time in choosing!

So say NO, if you feel that they are not the best fit – you’ll eventually find the right ones, and I’m sure they will be worth it!

Related topic: 5 Questions to Ask a Virtual Assistant During an Interview

6. Making tasks/systems before hiring staff

Do not create/document processes and systems before hiring your virtual assistants.

I recommend that for the first 2-3 months of working with your staff, you arrange training calls as often as you can. Avoid emailing them or Skype-ing them what you need to get done. Instead, have your staff record all your training sessions and ask them to create the processes by themselves.

This way, you’ll know how they understood it from you, and in return, you can coach them to change what they might have missed out on.

Related topic: Why and How to Document Business Processes – 5 Easy Ways

7. Giving all tasks at once

Do not drop tasks to their laps all in one go.

Let’s say, there are 25 tasks you need them to take over. Arrange it in the order of priorities. Train them with the first 5 tasks, check back their work and have them do it again until it’s perfect.

Once you’re confident about having them do it on their own, give another batch of 5 tasks. Do this until all the tasks are handed over to them.

Dropping everything in one go will overwhelm your staff so much that it might make them feel so burdened. Doing everything in a rush will also result in poor output due to the lack of guidance on your part.

So, for them to do a fantastic job, you have to agree upon a good pace where learning and coaching are possible.

If you have been guilty of committing a few mistakes I have mentioned above, bless your heart! I hope you find this article useful to turn things around.

I’m sure you’ll be interested to know more about what you can do to improve your offshoring experience.

Contact us today.

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