What to look for in a Virtual Assistant (according to Your Executive Secretary)

I was recently asked what would be the Top 3 qualities that I would look for in another Virtual Assistant. A tricky question as for me a lot depends on what I was looking for that person to do – fill a current gap, complete a task that I didn’t have the skills or the time to do or provide a completely different service. So in answer to the question “What to look for in a Virtual Assistant (according to Your Executive Secretary)” – well I couldn’t narrow it down to 3 – for me there are 7 Top qualities that I would initially look for:

Virtual Assistant - Amanda Johnson
Your Executive Secretary – Amanda Johnson
1. Skills. These are very important because they determine how useful the chosen assistant will be to the business you are in. The more skills someone possesses does not mean they will be more useful to you, unless you are looking for someone who is a good all rounder. It goes back to my initial question, what will they be doing for you and your business. You need to find a Virtual Assistant who has the skills that will be needed in performing the tasks that you would like to delegate.

2. Time Management. This is very critical when outsourcing a project/task to someone else. You need to be sure that you choose someone who can meet the timelines you require.

3. Communication. This is a very strong part of any relationship. Generally you should agree by what method and when you will communicate. I always like to set some boundaries, whether that’s a timeline of when we will talk, whether I need authority to talk to others within a business or the levels of delegation I am being given without having to trouble the Business Owner. I also like to see weekly updates schedules for Clients who I work with on a weekly basis – these don’t have to take long but it allows me to keep up to date with where their business is going and any priorities that I need for the forthcoming week. So whichever communication method is chosen, it needs to be convenient for both parties. You may also have to factor in your time zones when deciding on a solution that is comfortable for both.

4. Professionalism. Professionalism is one of the things that will help you make a good choice. Lack of professionalism can bring down any business, regardless of the size. I need to be treated professionally.

5. Confidentiality. When I work with others, I need to know that their levels of Confidentiality meet my needs. I don’t want my business talked about with others (apart from in a good way) – I need reassurance that my business secrets are not being shared. So if you are considering using a Virtual Assistant, ask probing questions to see what other Client secrets they share (hopefully none) and check that they have the Clients approval to name them!

6. Honesty, Integrity and Loyalty. When you outsource to someone else, you need to have a great relationship with them – therefore I am need them to be Honest with me; have the Integrity to understand me and my business and the wherewithal to know what they can and cannot share, but ultimately to be Loyal to me and my Business – because at the end of the day, when they work with/for me they are representing me and my brand.

7. Adding Value. By adding value, I am not necessarily talking in monetary terms – it might be a skill or it might be a friendly face / trusted confident. For me this is often the “over and above” level of service and not the things that get paid for. The value that someone brings to the Relationship.

Hopefully these 7 points will help you know what to look for in a Virtual Assistant in the future. It’s also important to ensure that you don’t rush the process – you need to “know, like and trust” the person you choose. Sometimes this means just taking your time to choose the right person and other times, it may mean trying someone before committing yourself fully to working with them.

You might also like to read my Blog on Core Values and Standards in Business – as this will highlight the attributes that I apply to my business and think are vital to working with a Virtual Assistant.

The list of tasks a Virtual Assistant can help with is wide ranging. The most common things I have been asked to do since launch are: A Virtual Assistants Top 20 Tasks and as can be seen from the list, the type of tasks is endless and there are literally hundreds of different things a Virtual Assistant can do, but what most will do is take the time to get to know you and your business to advise where they can assist you best. At Your Executive Secretary, we offer a free consultation to learn about your business and to see what stressors are there and what systems and processes you already have in place, before advising how we can help you – our advice is free.

I would love to hear below in the comments box your experiences of choosing which Virtual Assistant to work with and what you answers you would have given to “What to look for in a Virtual Assistant?”

For more information on how we can help you to help you achieve your goals then please call Amanda on 01202 872061 or email [email protected].

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