4 Signs You’ve Found A ‘Perfect’ VA
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Skilled and dependable, with a keen eye for detail and keeping abreast with the ever-shifting developments online. These are MUSTs for virtual assistants. But beyond that, what makes one a true gem?
Have you ever employed a skilled virtual assistant as amazing as Sherlock Holmes (as he’s portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr.)? At first it was awesome. But then it denigrated into wishing you could strangle him.
At USource, the following ‘signs’ are ideal characteristics we instill in ourselves as part of our SOP (standard operating procedure), in a document called ‘Do What’s Best For US.’ (And not to be promotional, but they’re characteristics I see in my teammates. I’ve had other teammates before, and even had my own team. The values I outline below, when present, make the work not only easy but something we actually liked doing, and doing well, to boot).
Just like on-call secretaries at the office who become such a close friend to your family you begin thinking of them as a distant cousin (whom you happen to love more than your real distant cousins), virtual assistants become such an integral part of a business that their personalities and values–as much as, and sometimes more than, their skills–are essential in determining the success of your business relationship.
If you see the following ‘signs’ in your VA, hold on to him/her. You’ve found a treasure.
Your VA truly cares
Quite a few new entrepreneurs, startups and established companies still cast a wary eye on outsourcing because of the disconnect that usually happens when you hire an ‘outsider’ who wouldn’t be affected if your startup venture takes off or fails. But if you hired a good VA, you wouldn’t feel this. S/he asks questions, makes suggestions, cheers and commiserates whenever appropriate.
You don’t feel like you’re just one of his/her jobs. Your skilled virtual assistant even makes you feel like you’re their only client. They brings ideas to the table, and sees their part through in those ideas, including problem-solving. They don’t simply wait to be told what to do, but take initiative about tasks and issues, and propose solutions and workarounds. This caring is important for startups and new entrepreneurs, who could be easily discouraged and intimidated as they move forward.
Your VA admits to mistakes
Work submitted comes with an anticipation for revisions. Your VA knows a fresh eye would always spot things, and is always eager to improve. Your skilled virtual assistant doesn’t take criticism personally (although of course, if you hired a good one, you’d find your criticism is mostly a constructive on the work done, rather than a reprimand).
As for mistakes and blunders, no hiding, no excuses. Mistakes are inevitable, and while we do our best to make you superhuman, none of us actually are. Mistakes happen. And when they do, does your VA own to it and apologize? Bonus if your skilled virtual assistant is also immediately ready with a solution to make things right, or to make it up to you.
Your VA bends backward for you
Well, not too much and not unrealistically. VAs are usually protective of the ‘free’ part in ‘freelancing’. But s/he is flexible, offering you several windows of availability for certain tasks, and accommodating your preferences as best as possible. You may encounter skilled virtual assistants who are so set in their ways, and so convinced that their way is the best, that they refuse to venture outside their comfort zone. Not good, neither for startups nor established businesses. You want a VA with moxie to help you achieve your goals, who’s willing to adapt and be trained as much as to suggest effective systems to best complete your projects.
Your VA does not seem like a robot
Skilled virtual assistants include a healthy sense of humor in their arsenal, which makes working together pleasant. S/he’s a person with quirks, likes and dislikes, not a robot who reports and makes submissions. Without oversharing and overstepping professionalism, your VA shares bits and pieces of how they live, and in return, also ask after you, giving compliments and commiseration–whichever one applies to what you tell him/her, or what they observe through doing their work for you. You even have inside jokes.
Many startups depend on internal, interpersonal charisma between the new entrepreneurs and their employees. Your VA gets along well with teammates they come into contact with. They contribute to a chummy working atmosphere. No condescending–they never act on any notion of superiority, even if you make him/her another freelancer’s superior. ‘Power-tripping’ can cripple a team and even a whole company.
The takeaway: Your VA is skilled and reliable. But does s/he also have a good moral fiber? That’s the person we are all lucky to work with. Skilled and reliable is enough to get you going, of course, but you want an EQ (more on this soon) as much as IQ.
If this list gave you a bonus-giving mood, great! If this post made you discontented, look around for your own ‘perfect’ VA.
Image: Wiki Commons