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Ten years ago, Virtual Assistants were hard to come by, but now what with everyone wanting to work from home and wanting to work for themselves, Virtual Assistants are popping up everywhere, and in fact, the question is are good Virtual Assistants hard to come by?

I was recently told a story of an individual who had set up as a VA but had no administration experience, let alone having the more advanced digital skills such as website maintenance and social media management. What she did have was a laptop, knew how to check emails and use Microsoft Word. So technically yes, she could very well have assisted with certain virtual tasks and could, therefore, label herself as a Virtual Assistant. And unfortunately, as the industry grows, as with many industries, this has created an environment for underperforming Virtual Assistants to ‘pop up’, and arguably the good Virtual Assistants are becoming harder to find.

What should you be looking out for?

  • The first thing to notice is their charge rate. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. A good VA usually charges between £25 – £30 per hour, and this will often reflect their experience. If you’re being offered much lower than this, I would ask questions.
  • Does their website look professional? Can you find the information you need to easily? Is there an SSL Certificate, a Cookie notification, and a Privacy Policy? A good Virtual Assistant will understand their requirements under GDPR and will be taking data protection and privacy seriously and will be registered Data Controllers with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
  • Check their email address. Are they using a professional, secure email or are they using Gmail or Hotmail accounts, or worse, are they using an email address which they may have set up when they were at school… you know the ones!
  • Do they respond to phone calls and emails in a timely fashion? If they take more than 48 hours, are you going to get your work on time?
  • Do they stay virtual? Although work is carried out remotely, a good VA will happily jump on the phone or Skype with you, or if you’re local come and visit you at your office or meet at a coffee shop just so you know you’re dealing with a real person and vice versa. A good Virtual Assistant will realise that building a strong relationship with a business and its owner is vital to them being able to carry out work on your behalf.

Part of the issue with finding a ‘good Virtual Assistant’ is that what works for some won’t always work for others and is subjective to your needs. The most important thing is to do your research and plan. What is it you are looking for a Virtual Assistant to do? Be upfront with any VA and ask them if they have the skills needed for your specific tasks. Again, a good VA will be honest and if they can’t they’ll say and may know of someone who does. Set them a simple initial task similar to what you’ll be expecting of them, but not something that’s important and see if it meets your expectations. Because experience and expertise are often so vast and different amongst VAs, you may have chat to several Assistants before you find the right one for you, but that is how you will find the perfect fit for your organisation.

If you would like to see if I would be your perfect VA, please drop me a line at emma@theumbrellatree.co.uk or call for a chat on 07977 640119.