Guest blog by Le-An Lai Lacaba
Nowadays, everyone and everything is going digital.
I know what you’re thinking, “Duh, Le-an”.
But people usually imagine their products or their services going digital. They can get clients online and close deals without even having to meet them in person.
What people DON’T usually consider is having their team or employees working online.
And when they do, they usually Google “How to find a virtual assistant”. Right?
They will usually be greeted by a plethora of articles from job sites, business magazines, and other “authorities” on how and where to find a virtual assistant.
People go into these job sites, write up a quick job description of what they need, and think “I’m going to get the perfect person for my business.”
Aaaaaaand, they don’t.
They don’t know what tools to use, what systems to create, or even how to communicate with these “Virtual Assistants”.
And because they are virtual assistants, sometimes they’re hard to reach, hard to manage, and sometimes hard to scale.
Usually people think that they should hire for the different job roles they need to fill out, ending up with a whole team that they have no idea how to manage.
I’ve had clients who swore they knew what they were doing from what they’ve learned online, only to crash and burn and fire their virtual assistants.
Or they work with a Virtual Assistant agency, who hires the person for them, then abandons them to see what happens.
There’s rarely a follow through and in the end, both roads seem to end up with giving up and hiring in person anyway.
So, no, you don’t need a virtual assistant. The stress and the pressure of having to find, hire, and manage someone online if you have no idea how to do it isn’t worth it.
You need three things before you hire someone, whether it’s a virtual assistant or online employee:
Don’t hire if you don’t know WHO you actually want to hire.
I’m not talking about skills. You can train for skills if you need to.
I’m talking about, what characteristics do you want your virtual employee to have? If you’re someone who is detail oriented, do you need someone to organise those details for you?
If you’re someone who can be lazy or distracted often, do you need someone who is more assertive to put you back in the right track?
When you’re hiring, you’re not always looking for someone who is like you. You want to hire someone who can compliment you and your work style.
You want to be CLEAR on the type of person you want to work with, instead of getting blinded by their amazing resume and certifications.
2. Have your systems and tools ready
This is usually the boring part. It’s the part people don’t bother with. It’s the part people would rather skip.
But if you don’t have your systems ready when you start working with someone online, then you signed yourself and your employee up for disaster.
Unlike if you’re working with someone in person, you don’t have the ability to check on them personally or to see if they’re actually working.
Having systems ready like
- a daily report,
- or software that tracks their time and their productivity,
- or an agreed upon tool that you both use to track results is important.
You don’t want to keep paying someone without knowing what they’re actually doing, right?
And yet this is a mistake I’ve seen my clients do over, and over again. They keep paying for someone, thinking they’re getting the right results, without actually creating the systems to monitor and scale those results.
You can’t keep getting the same results if the system isn’t written out.
3. Have ONE employee
You read that right. You don’t need a whole team to run your business.
At least, not at first.
If you’re only hiring your first virtual employee, you don’t need to hire 5 more.
You start with ONE.
For example, you don’t need to have a whole team to handle your social media.
You don’t need to hire:
- 1 full-time graphic artist,
- 1 Facebook/Instagram/LinkedIn strategy expert,
- 1 Engagement expert,
- 1 paid ads expert,
- and 1 copywriter for captions.
That’s a lot of people!
You start with ONE.
One person who has the basic skills to create great graphics, who then can write the captions based on their strategy, and someone who can do the engagement and ads from time to time when you need it.
This is such a common mistake I see with clients, where they try to hire a whole team to do work that doesn’t even fill the 40-hour work week that they pay for.
Then your one person gets better and better at the job. With the right training and management, they can start managing other people for you, too.
That one person now has the knowledge and skills to manage other people since they know what it is you want and knows how to do it.
If you hire a lot of people right off the bat, you’re basically creating a job for yourself, which is Manager.
But if you start with only one dedicated person, then you’re only managing someone up to the point where THEY can be the Manager.
Hiring and working with someone online can be a headache all on its own. That’s why you don’t need a virtual assistant unless you have these three things ready.
Le-An Lai Lacaba
CEO & Co-Founder of 2xYou
Le-an Lai Lacaba is a young Filipina girl boss who is the CEO and Co-Founder of 2xYou, a Remote Executive Assistant Service company that helps connect entrepreneurs with the right Executive Assistant. She has been working from home since 2011, worked as a book editor at a US Publishing Company at 18, became CEO at 20, and partnered up with her boss to start-up 2xYou.