This a guess post by Matt Canty of Lifestyle Business Design. I’ve been a reader of Matt & John’s blog for many months now and when he approached me about doing a guest post I thought the readers of Planet Micro ISV might enjoy an article about working with VA’s.
Hiring a virtual assistant is a great investment for you and your online business. A reliable, trustworthy and hard working virtual assistant can help save you a huge amount of time and also money! Once you have the help of a VA you will find yourself trying to do multiple tasks during your regular working day so much less. It also gives you more of a chance to focus on core competencies and all those super important tasks that are directly related to making money. With a VA in your company/business you can focus on all the tasks that help actually grow your business. Why ever waste your time on boring repetitive tasks again there is simply no need to!
We have use Filipino virtual assistants to help our company make hundred of thousands of dollars and we believe that Filipino VA’s are the best virtual assistants in the word. Let me explain why.
- They are Hard working
- They are well educated
- They have great English
- Great communication skills
- Have excellent work spaces
- Internet is fairly reliable in The Philippines and is ever improving
- The Filipino culture is very close to western culture so you can get along with your VA better
- If you treat your Filipino VA well they will be loyal
- The Philippines has just about every skill you would be looking for from SEO to programming to content management
- Very Cheap…starting at $1.50/hour up to $8/hour depending on what you really need
So now I have convinced you of The Philippines right?! It’s quite obvious that it is one of the best places to go when outsourcing any basic task online. Basically anything you would ever want to do online you could outsource to the Philippines.
Where to get your VA from?
First you need to get a VA…there are many places to get a VA from, Odesk, Bestjobs.ph or remotestaffrecruit.com our recruitment service just to name a few. All these places have different prices and offer a different variety of skills.
How to actually work with your VA
Simply hiring a VA for is nowhere near enough to boost your business’ productivity. Instead hiring the right VA for the right task will. What do exactly do you really need? You should know your reason for hiring a VA before you even start looking. Your need for getting a VA should come from what your business needs the most help with and what you want to achieve. Make sure you have a clear plan before you get started and you have some training documents/procedures in places so they will be busy from the get go. There is no point getting a VA and then having them do nothing this will be a huge waste of time and money.
- No Recognition – Make sure you give your VA a thumbs up when they do a good job. A simple comment can go a long way. It will let your VA know they are appreciated. Failing to let them know when they have done a task well may get them down
- Socio-cultural Differences – While The Philippines culture is similar to western culture you should remember its not exactly the same. Sarcasm is something that should be avoided when working with Filipinos. Try to respect their culture and they will be much happier. Filipinos love their family always remember family will come first
- Tasks That are way beyond their skill set – If you set task that they really cannot handle for example getting a graphic designer to do SEO they will be frustrated and hate the task. The task will be complete poorly and your VA will be unhappy. Give them a challenge to keep them happy but not way out of their skill set.
- Having No Personal Relationship – Form a good relationship and they will be very loyal to you and your business. If your are close to your VA a high offer from another company will not even lead them away
Common mistakes To Avoid
- Thinking your new VA is a Machines – Your VA is not a robot that will just do the same task all day long try to give them some new tasks when possible and remember they are a human
- Not Keeping Your VA busy – there is no point having a VA if they are not kept busy
- Poor Schedule – Not being able to work with your VA if you’re in a different time zone or if you’re too busy can cause problems. Get them to work at least 4 hours a day when you are both online
- Not Following Up – not making sure you VA has actually done the work can waste you money if the task is not being complete properly. Always set a task and then follow up to make sure its always done
- Late pay – Always ALWAYS pay your VA on time even a day or 2 early. Your VA will be usually waiting for the pay to come in and the money will usually be spent before they even have the money in their bank/paypal account
Always Make Procedures
This is super important- You must always, always set procedures for your VA! Lets be clear your VA will not be proactive and will not be able to guess what you want done so you should be very clear what you want done. You have hired your VA to save you time so make sure they are doing exactly that! Here is how you can make/organise procedures:
- Project management software (Basecamp, Teamwork)
- Video or Audio Instructions (jing, camtasia)
- Calendar (google calendar)
- Procedures (documents, Google Docs)
- Screen Sharing (skype)
So there you have have a few reasons to work with virtual assistants and why you should work with VA’s in The Philippines. If you follow some of the management tips and tricks I talked about when working with VA’s then you will have a much higher chance to succeed at outsourcing. Remember if you outsource tasks and it fails, it is your fault not your VA’s. If you keep this in mind you will no doubt make outsourcing work for you and your business.
Matt is an expert in outsourcing to The Philippines and has been working with Filipino virtual assistants for more than 5 years. He is the co-founder of RemoteWorkMate (VA management service) and RemoteStaffRecruit(VA recruitment service) Check out his blog LifeStyleBusinessDesign