When you consider hiring a virtual assistant for your team, you may face a range of obstacles, just like you would with any other employee. This is especially true if you are new to leading a team. It is true that working in a virtual environment brings its own unique set of challenges, which are distinct from those faced by in-house teams. 

However, contrary to what appears to be the widespread belief, the majority of the challenges that are encountered are related to things like your mindset, your systems, and how you handle mistakes, rather than having anything to do with the fact that the work is being done virtually. This is because the majority of the challenges that are encountered are related to things like your mindset, your systems, and how you handle mistakes.

Below, I have set out some key challenges you might face when hiring a visual assistant. Being aware of them makes it easier to deal with those challenges as they arise!

1. Challenging your own leadership mindset

The one thing that is most likely to trip you up is the way you think about being a leader. We see the following leadership mindset blocks all the time with our clients. No matter what kind of business owner we’re working with, this is always the case. We hear “It’s easier to do it myself” more than anything else. So let’s be honest. Most of the time, that will be true because it’s your business and you’ve been doing it yourself for a long time, making you an expert at it.

But now is the time for tough love. If you keep doing everything yourself, your business will never be able to grow. Yes, you can do it faster and easier yourself right now. But in the long run, it will slow you down, and with the right training, your VA will soon be an expert at it, too. In fact, they may become faster and better at some tasks because they will be able to focus on them more than you can when you are busy running your whole business.

“If someone else does it, it might not be done right.” People get stuck on this one because, like the last one, it’s true, at least for now. And no matter how organised you are with your systems and task lists, there will come a time when you give a process to your virtual assistant and it doesn’t quite work right the first time. But this is why you, as the business owner, need to keep an eye on your VA and give her helpful feedback. Over time, your VA will learn how to do tasks exactly the way you want them done. This will take them off your plate and give you more time to do what you do best. So it will be worth it for you, in the long run, to work through this mental block when it comes up.

“My only issue with the Virtual Assistant was that sometimes their work wasn’t as accurate or detailed as I would have liked it to be. For example, when creating the email newsletter for our company, the spelling and grammatical errors were very noticeable and distracting from our message.”

Kimberley Tyler-Smith, Head of Marketing, at Resume Worded

2. Virtual Assistants doing repetitive tasks

When routines routinely grow monotonous and repeated, the attention of the virtual assistants begins to wane. Because virtual employees are paid on an hourly basis, the office establishes a routine for each of their shifts. When combined with difficulties in communication, this can create a host of complications for VAs, making it more difficult for them to convey their ideas and plans in a way that isn’t disruptive to the process.

3. Ensuring Task Clarity for your virtual Assistant

I’ve said this before, but as the boss, it’s your job to make sure your virtual assistant knows what to do so they can keep working for you.

If you don’t give your virtual assistant clear instructions or goals, they may take longer to get things done or move your business forwards. It’s important to give them the tools, resources, and assets they need to keep moving forwards.

When assessing toys VA for suitability and the ability to work on their own, many places send a test task or include a trial period in their contracts.

When we have contracted virtual assistants we always include a list of job roles and expectations such as clock-in times and availability. Additionally, we always have potential assistants complete a short test of some kind to ensure they are detailed oriented. Some of the assistants we have hired this way have not only stayed with us for many years but have moved up into managing roles in the company.

Loren Howard, Real estate Investor and Founder Of Prime Plus Mortgages: Private Mortgage Note Investing

4. Identifying and accepting cultural differences with virtual assistants

Various countries have different cultural norms about the conduct of employment. It’s possible that imposing the work culture of one country on another one wouldn’t be the best course of action. What is considered typical in the work culture of North America may, the vast majority of the time, be misunderstood if it were applied to VAs in Europe or Asia.

For example, the majority of native Americans, Australians, and other western natives favour calling people by their names. On the other hand, the majority of Asian people have a high regard on age and rank, and they consider it rude if you call someone elder by their name.

There is also one notable distinction when it comes to providing feedback. People in most western countries are forthright, whereas those in Asia are cautious, respectful, and gentle. And a lot more cultural disparities.

Increasing our cultural understanding of one another is the surest way to boost our productivity at work. Establish connections with people and become fully immersed in the various work cultures.

5. What happens when there is a language barrier with your virtual assistant?

It could appear to be a real challenge for virtual assistants to work with clients from other countries. If you and your client do not speak the same language, it will be exceedingly difficult to communicate with one another about the service, specifics, and pricing associated with the project. Because of this, all of the virtual assistants in need to be proficient in the four facets of the English language—listening, speaking, reading, and writing. It is necessary to have a thorough understanding of the requirements of the customer in order to deliver great service and achieve desirable outcomes.

If the VA you hired speaks a foreign language, communication may be difficult. In-person encounters are also impossible if they are in another nation. You may also need to oversee the VA for a few days while they learn the ropes.

Yanis Mellata, founder and CEO of Kosy Office

This can also lead to the next topic which is the lack of communication

6. When there are communication issues with your virtual assistant

The fact that there is no ability to communicate face to face is the primary disadvantage of using virtual assistants. It is a job that can be done totally online, and the person can work from wherever is most convenient for them. Virtual assistants make it a priority to maintain stable lines of communication with customers in order to circumvent this issue. These methods, like as emails, messaging applications, planned video conferencing, and phone calls, are typically the channels that are utilised to reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings occurring between VA and the customer. To avoid problems with the network, you will need to ensure that you have good connectivity and broadband.

I had an experience with a virtual assistant who only inputs manual hours and then tried to claim credit overthe work of several other virtual assistants. When confronted about it, hejust blocked me and the rest of the team and ended the contract from his end.

Veronica Thompson, the COO of Everyday Power

7. Dealing with Privacy around the use of virtual assistants

f you are dealing with someone online, you might be cautious to hand over passwords and other sensitive information to your virtual assistant because you are unsure of the level of security provided by their laptop.

With this in mind, you are able to take back access to files using Google Drive or Dropbox, and you can use programmes like LastPass or OnePass to securely exchange passwords. In addition, you are able to take back access to files or prevent downloading as required.

It is also important to remember not to send any sensitive information during the first get-started phase and to give sufficient time for trust to develop between you and your Virtual Assistant before disclosing any information to them. 

Clearly articulate any privacy clauses in your VA Contract and ensure that you have a plan in place should you need to terminate your VA contract

8. Identifying when your virtual assistant might be under stress

Virtual assistants frequently put in long hours, which might cut into the time they have available for their own hobbies and interests. Anxiety and stress are almost always inescapable in modern life. Virtual Assistants are aware of these challenges and many have designed programmes, such as mentorship sessions, to assist clients in overcoming them. It is a wonderful way to unwind, take some time to reflect on what’s going on in life, and relieve some of the stress that comes along with it.

9. Global Time Differences

When working with customers located in different time zones, virtual assistants are faced with a huge issue. Typically, this entails resetting one’s internal clock to conform to the new time zone. It is possible that one’s performance will suffer if they are unable to adjust to change. Depending on the specifics of the project at hand, customers can instruct their virtual assistants to work at the same hours each day. Even before you hire the assistant, you should come to an agreement on a work schedule. That ought to be sufficient to get ready for the adjustment, and it will assist establish whether or not the VA is capable of doing the obligations in an adequate manner.

10. When your VA has connection or connectivity issues

Internet connections might be significantly slower in certain places of the world. This might be disastrous for organisations, resulting in a lower quality of experience for customers, slower productivity, irritation, wasted time and energy, and wasted time and energy. In a similar vein, Virtual Assistants would devise an efficient timetable for customers so that they could avoid the data traffic, particularly during the busiest times of the day. Finding a technique to communicate effectively using an alternate method is essential in the event that network problems cannot be avoided.

Depending on where your Virtual Assistant is located, the infrastructure that they use, such as their internet connection speed, electricity, and the instruments that they use, such as their laptop, might be a cause of difficulty for you if you are not prepared for it.

When you are conducting interviews for potential Virtual Assistants, one of the most crucial questions you can ask candidates is about the reliability of their internet connection and whether or not they have any backup plans in place in case their primary connection goes down.

Asking them about their situation or simply asking them to give you an update if there are any upcoming blackouts would help both of you plan out the week better. Electrical blackouts might also be a scheduled event. Therefore, asking them about their situation or simply asking them to give you an update if there are any upcoming blackouts would be helpful.

It’s possible that you won’t have enough money to buy your virtual assistant their own laptop. If this is the case, you’ll need to either specify the type of laptop you’re looking for from the beginning of the hiring process or consult with your virtual assistant about other options for providing them with the tools they require to complete the work.

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