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Preparing to outsource can be scary, especially if you’ve never done it before. You may not have a clue about what you’re looking for or what qualities you’d like in a virtual assistant, you just know that there are some tasks you’re ready to outsource. I wanted to go over 5 of the most common and important questions (in my opinion) to make sure you ask a virtual assistant before deciding to work with them – I hope they give you some insight and guidance!
This may seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at how many people forget to ask what time zone someone is working in. Even if they are FROM the same country as you does not mean they work in that time zone. Virtual assistants have the ability to work from anywhere in the world, so they may be traveling constantly, but stick to one particular time zone that they work in.
Make sure to ask what time zone this is in and whether you can expect a response from them/get in touch with them within this time. You also need to think about what time zone you would LIKE them to be in. I’m 8 hours ahead of a lot of our clients and honestly, they love it. I’m finishing up their work just as they’re waking up, and we have a couple of hours to communicate before I log off for the day if there is anything to hand over.
Other clients prefer to only have an hour or two difference in time zone because of the tasks they are outsourcing or the way they like to communicate. Everyone is different, and there’s no right or wrong answer to this one!
Just like you would ask anyone who you’re looking at working with, you want to find out a bit more about what experience your potential virtual assistant has. You may be able to get a good idea about this from their website and their testimonials, and their list of services (they’re very unlikely to be offering services they don’t have experience with).
If there is something specific that is more specialized (e.g. SEO, Facebook Ads, etc) then you need to make sure you’re asking about this as these services are not as common and often need quite a lot of knowledge around.
Some may argue that this isn’t necessary, but just like any other business, I think it’s important to make sure that you’re covered, value your business and clients, and prepare for things to go wrong – that’s life!
Even though this may be considered a ‘small talk’ topic, I actually think it’s one of the most important things that you can ask. If you’re looking for a virtual assistant that you want to be more of a business partner and have a good relationship with, then you’ll want to find out a bit about their character and their story.
Finding out about how they trained to be where they are today, or any struggles they had when setting up their business will show characteristics you might be looking for. For example, determination, grit, resilience, and so on.
If you need to be able to get hold of a virtual assistant at all times of the day, you need to make them aware of this from the moment you have a conversation with them. They may have several clients and other commitments that would make it impossible or very difficult for them to respond immediately or within the hour, so if you need someone who can respond to you at short notice, make sure to mention it.
The average response time is within 24hrs, but this does vary between VAs and also depending on the tasks they’re doing for you.
Let me know if these questions have been helpful to you with your hiring process and if there are any other questions you feel deserve a spot on this list!
HEY I'm HOLLY!
Owner & founder of The Genie VA. A virtual assistant agency for wedding photographers