Kissing Frogs

Anyone who’s ever dated has heard, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs until you find your prince/princess.”

Since finding the right fit for your virtual assistant is a lot like dating, you’ll probably do your fair share of kissing frogs till the right person comes along. You wouldn’t marry someone just because they listed all the same likes as you on their online profile. You’d want to get to know the person beyond the selfies and carefully worded bios. Right?

The same is true when searching for a virtual assistant. When it comes to finding the right fit for your business it’s important to know three things:

1. The clearer you are on what you need, the better the pool of candidates you’ll find.

The dating pool is murky enough. Simply saying you’ll work with anyone who can do the tasks on your to-do list is sure to get you plenty of options, but how do you narrow them down without going on a multitude of dates? Think about what’s important to you as a business owner aside from your task list.

What kind of person do you want helping you in your business?

Should they be fun, serious, laid back or type A? Think about the skills and qualities you lack and find someone who fills in the gaps.

2. Set realistic expectations for the type of virtual assistant you’re hiring.

Most potential clients don’t realize there are two types of VAs – Business Partner Minded and Employee Minded. Most VAs don’t advertise the type they are. Knowing the difference between them and the kind of support you need will help you set realistic expectations for the kind of support you’ll get.

  • A Business Partner Minded-VA is more collaborative. They look at your business, vision, goals and needs as a whole. Is the task you’re asking for going to push the needle forward or is it busy work? Does it contribute to your goals?
  • An Employee Minded-VA is a doer. They look at the task at hand and will do it as instructed.

3. Beware of cultural differences when hiring overseas VAs.

Like most US companies, many entrepreneurs are being encouraged to find their virtual assistants from India or the Philippines. There is nothing wrong with these assistants. However, it’s important to know where their culture differs from yours.

  • Their grasp on English slang and writing is not the same as a native speaker. A client asked her assistant from India to find her “edgy” photos and got a folder of table edges.
  • In her book, Beyond Wins, Mala Subramaniam, shared how cultural differences can derail negotiations and projects, because the Indian people do not say no to white employers. They just don’t do the work.
  • I’ve heard stories of Filipino assistants just disappearing with no notice and without completing the work. It happened to me with someone claiming to be a Get Response expert.

This is not to say, avoid certain types of virtual assistants. There are great overseas VAs and not so great US based VAs. Not everyone is going to work out, but each time you learn more and get clear on what you want and need. Start with small projects and retainers so you can get to know each other. And kiss as many frogs as it takes to find the right fit.

Do you have a frog story? Let me know in the comments.


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