5 Steps to Hire Dependable Virtual Assistants
Can I depend on my VA day-to-day?
Will they do the job that I need them to do and will they do it at the quality I need?
And will my VA be available when I need them? When the chips are down and I need help ASAP?
If these are questions that are going through your mind when you think about hiring a VA, you’re not alone!
Dependability is a huge concern. Especially when you recognize that your business is like a baby. It’s so adaptable and it changes over time, but it is also fragile.
Delicate in so many ways.
It needs care, nurturing, and consistency to develop and eventually run on its own.
When you think of it that way, does it seem far-fetched that you react like a Mama Bear when it comes to bringing a VA in to help you take care of the business?
You’re trusting someone with your business baby.
You’re relying on them to nurture and grow it.
And it can be hard to trust that a VA (or anyone else) will take care of it the same way you would.
But it’s possible right?
You see other entrepreneurs and business owners talking about how they couldn’t live without their VA.
How their business wouldn’t be where it is without their VA.
How their VA just knows what to do and produce results without needing to be managed.
So how do you find those particular VAs?
The thing is, dependability and knowing that you can depend on your VA boils down to TRUST. And luckily building trust is something that you can actually systemize.
Here’s how you systemize trust and create dependable VAs in your business.
#1 Define what you need to trust in your VA.
Dependability starts with trust.
And just like so many parts of your business, this starts with you.
Ask yourself “What do I need to trust my VA?” This is different for everyone, but the common traits that I hear frequently from business owners are:
- Show up on time.
- Do what you say you’re going to do.
- Take responsibility for work results (good or not so good).
- Ask for help or clarification when you need it.
These are just a few characteristics to look for when you’re hiring a VA and you can point blank ask them for examples during your interview.
But you can’t ask the question if you don’t know what you’re looking for first. Find out for yourself what you need to feel secure working with a VA in your business so that you can screen for those characteristics.
#2 Train your VA on what you need to build trust.
It’s not enough to ask whether they have the trust characteristics that work for you. Take it a step further and explain exactly what those characteristics mean to you so that you can systemize your trust-building.
For example, in my team, consistent communication is something that I look for in all my VAs.
It’s not enough for me to look for those traits. I’m also telling them exactly what I mean when I say “consistent communication”.
And I hold everyone – INCLUDING MYSELF – accountable to that communication plan so that we don’t break ranks, we are on the same page, and we act in a predictable way.
When my VA and I both operate predictably and we know what to expect from each other, we can trust and depend on each other.
Whatever characteristics or traits that you need for trust, state them and hold you and your VA accountable for them so that you operate predictably and can systematically build trust.
#3 Maintain stability.
If you are inconsistent, constantly pivoting or changing direction, or jumping on new ideas or projects, don’t be surprised if trust and dependability with your VA is hard to come by.
Stability is the bedrock of trust and if your business operates on fire drills, last-minute projects, and shifting focuses and directions, it will be difficult for your VA to perform in a way that you can trust and depend on.
The amazing thing about being a business owner is that you have an intimate working knowledge about your business. This gives you great agility and you can see opportunities as they come your way…
On the down side, no one knows your business better than you. Just because you can shift gears and chase down the next opportunity, your VA might not be able to do that as quickly. And the more shifts you throw at them, the more likely it becomes that they won’t be able to meet your expectations.
So maintain stability in your business wherever possible so that you can operate predictably and your VA can keep the pace with you.
#4 Give feedback & address conflict.
I see it so frequently that a biz owner is uncomfortable giving feedback or having potential “conflict” that they quietly let go of trust and start resenting their VA.
You can’t trust or depend on someone that you resent!
It can be uncomfortable, but if your VA is not operating in a way that helps you trust them, then tell them.
And tell them specifically what they’re doing that makes you feel uncertain about whether you can depend on them and what you want or need to see, hear, or feel for you to depend on them.
By telling them specific things and having a plan for how you want things to change, you can get back to systematically building trust.
In my team, we address conflicts head-on, even when I am the one “in the wrong”. I’m happy to take that feedback and change the way I operate so that my VAs can trust and depend on me as a leader.
That’s what helps them show up and show out for me.
#5 Recognize that dependability comes over time.
There are some people that you just know right off the bat that you can depend on them.
But (for me at least), these people aren’t necessarily the rule. More often, trust and dependability are created over time, as your VA shows you in their actions that they can operate predictably and in a way that makes you feel most secure.
So it’s important to know this trust can take time to establish and for you to take your time with your VA – especially if you’ve had a negative experience in the past.
You can speed up this process by systemizing your trust-building process but it might take a little bit of time to stick.
Don’t abandon the plan.
Stay the course.
Trust the process so that you can have a VA (or a team of VAs) that you can trust and depend on to do the work you need to be done on a day-to-day basis and to show up for you when you need them the most.
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