That Virtual Assistant should have made it right or refunded your money, Ric. I hope you requested a refund.
As when you contract to anyone in any industry, a little due diligence really pays off. Working with a Virtual Assistant is a positive experience for many- but just like every other industry, there are some VAs out there who are not what they claim to be. The same goes for attorneys, IT professionals, auto mechanics, accountants -- even doctors!
For anyone looking to contract a Virtual Assistant, here are some suggested questions to ask before selecting them
What professional experience do you have, and how long have you been in business? Sure, everyone has to start somewhere, but not with you! Even if someone is new to the VA business, they should still have significant work experience to establish that they are capable of fulfilling the requirements of the project.
Are you able to provide references of past or present clients? Get references and check them. You`ll want to know a few things such as... Did they complete the project on time and to the client`s satisfaction? Would they be willing to work with them again? Better yet, ask your colleagues and associates if they have worked with a VA that they would be willing to recommend -- but still check their other references, too.
Are you willing to sign a non-disclosure and non-compete agreement? This is common, and I would certianly request this any time I was going to hand over any aspect of my business affairs, no matter what. If you have questions, ask an attorney more about this.
What client information do you consider confidential? If the VA doesn`t quickly reply with a resounding "EVERYTHING!"... then keep looking. In fact, go ahead and make this your first question so you don`t waste your time if they don`t answer properly. A reputable Virtual Assistant will take every extraordinary care to protect the client`s priviliged information and should consider ALL information to be privileged and sensitive unless specifically directed otherwise by the client.
What is the expected turnaround time for my project? Be clear about your needs and get the project completion date, as well as benchmarks and milestones, in writing. If unforeseen events arise or your needs change, that can always be amended (again, in writing!).
If I am dissatisfed with your work for any reason, what is your policy for resolving this? Asking this will not only help you understand their policies, but it will make it clear that you are interested in only the highest quality work product. Make sure that the VA is confident that their skills are adequate for the task and that their policies are acceptable to you.
Of course, it is always important to have the project parameters, due dates, and payment terms clearly defined in a WRITTEN contract/ work agreement. This keeps both sides informed of their responsibilities in the transaction and preempts many "misunderstandings".
Search for a true professional whom you feel you can comfortably team with. Don`t look for the cheapest VA; look for the most qualified. Ideally, the value an expert VA brings will pay for itself in terms of increased opportunities and revenue resulting from your more effectively leveraged time.
RosannaTussey4/9/2008 7:08 PM