Mistakes to Avoid When Working With an Outsourced Virtual Assistants

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By Pratik H

Virtual Assistance is relatively a new concept in the market. However, it is a growing concept, one that can be the make or break move in any business. Hiring a virtual assistance is a definitive winner going forward as it not only cuts down on costs but helps to improve the productivity of the business.

The Virtual Assistants are ideally suited to take up tasks like social media tactics, video editing, and blog posts. They are independent contractors who provide services to the aforementioned domains. Also, they are well suited to tackle these operations via a phone call, over the Internet etc.

With a number of options easily available out in the space, it is not a very difficult to rope in a Virtual Assistant. However, there are few mistakes small businesses and/or start-ups tend to make. These mistakes eventually hinder the pace of the growth of the companies in the longer run, and also many technical problems.

We identify the list of common problems that may not appear to be technical but are very critical.

Not being prepared

This holds true for almost all outsourcing functions. Being prepared and knowing what to achieve is the biggest stepping stone, and this holds even more substance while hiring a Virtual Assistance. Initial preparation is required at all stages, you should know what you want to achieve from the VAs, you should have the rough blueprint ready and you should be also very clear as to what want from the VAs.

Chalk out a clear plan, as to be sure of the duration of the relationship and the about the specific tasks you want the VAs to assist with. If you want any extra benefits out of them, it is best to put it down formally. The importance of a blueprint thus holds true.

Also, a proper job description should be made available so that both the partners are on the same page. This becomes very important if the VAs are settled overseas and the thus there are bound to be cultural differences. At no stage jump the gun, take time to select the best possible VA, and then build a relationship by being specific at all times.

Not reviewing their work

After step 1 is achieved, the job is not over, in many ways it has just begun. It is true, that the Virtual Assistants are competent enough to carry out the job delegated with efficiency, but nothing should be taken for granted. One of the biggest mistakes that firms make is to forget all about the work down by the VAs. Initially, this lack lustre approach becomes the Achilles heel down the line.

It is up to you to carve out time from the calendar and review the work done by the VAs at all times. Never hesitate to give your feedback if it so requires and make the communication a two-way street. There have been instances when the VAs are not outgoing and hence they might hesitate to inform you about any problems and hurdles which they face. Thus, it becomes very important for you to communicate with them in the initial days and guide them if they do find few roadblocks along the way. No one will stand to benefit if the entire process is made to go over again, thus is it very important that a common ground is created.

Hence, a 30-45 minutes feedback session during the initial days is an absolute must to build a relationship and get the desired results.

Not having a training period

Another important area which needs focus is a training period provided to the VAs. Very often one of the biggest mistakes made by entrepreneurs is skipping the initial training provided to the VAs.

They think that the VAs are experts and they know what should be done without briefing them. This is one of the mistakes made. A formal training is needed and it should be looked into as an investment and it is bound to yield more in the future.

Not creating a working environment

Very often forgetting to create a working environment is one big issue which props up later and creates a hurdle in the proper functioning. Hence, it becomes important that a proper system is kept in place for smooth functioning.

For instance create a list of the most regular and frequent errands to be done. For instance the process and sequence of events should be noted down in a specific order so that there is no incessant questioning and answering the same facts day in and day out. Compile all the passwords if the task is a virtual one in a document and save it for any future references. This will help in saving a lot of time and effort. Also, ask the VAs to jot down anything which is new so that there is constant and continuous flow of information to and fro without any bottlenecks.

By being involved too much

Once the working environment is established and everything else has been sorted out it is very important to maintain a certain distance from the day to day affairs. One of the perils of micromanagement is that the VAs will get a sense that they have no free hand in anything they do.

Thus the purpose of delegating work to a VA is defeated as much time will be wasted in only delving too much into every facet. This will also hinder the pace of the work as much time will be only be divested into discussions and debates.

Not devoting time to proper planning

Often we come across the term crisis management, which is nothing but demanding something at last moment without any proper planning or any due information.

Nothing good or fruitful came come out of any emergency, hence it becomes very important to stick to plans which have been decided upon. It also depends on how long you take to review the projects and give the clearance.

Never go into any crisis, and make sure everything goes according to plans.

Expecting more than the capability
One of the biggest mistake that businessmen commit is to expect more than what can be offered. Never forget that the VAs are just to compliment the main job and not to take over the entire business. Hence the expectations should also be formed accordingly.

Whenever any demand or requirement has to be met make sure that the request is clearly stated and not in any roundabout manner. This will enable in the smooth process and crisp flow of information. At all times, make sure that you and the VAs are on the same page.

Not respecting the assistance

It is a very common happening that the timings of the Virtual assistance and yours might not match. Very often it may so happen that the VAs are someone who are located overseas and there is massive difference in the time zones.

Hence it is just not feasible if you expect the VAs to work according to your whims and fancies. Respect their timings and try to be accommodating.

Also, understand that the VA is not only responsible for your delegated jobs. They might also be taking care of other client’s activities and the sooner you understand this and be comfortable with it the better it will be. The relationship should be cordial at all times, both the parties should be comfortable with the arrangements, and this will only be possible if you respect your VAs.

Not knowing when to end the relationship

In the end, knowing when to snap your ties is very important. This is not a charity where emotions can afford to dictate terms.

Hence, it is very important for the business person to be aware of the output being produced. If it is not up to the required standards it is best to cordially end ties and look for other options.

One of the very frequent mistakes committed by business personnel is to continue a stagnant partnership just for the sake of it. Guard against complacency at all times!


Working with a Virtual Assistance is a very productive process as it is a way to increase the revenue without much ado. It is up to the businessman to make use of their expertise and use it to generate profits.

There is absolutely no need to communicate at all times and thus it also becomes quite time saving. However, there are few mistakes which we have identified above which should be guarded against.

Just like the businessmen need the help of Virtual Assistance, the VAs too need to businessmen to survive in the competition. This should always be the focus while fostering relationships.

Like everything else, honesty is required, free communication is needed and mutual understanding should be maintained.

Plan well in advance, set a time frame and avoid the clichéd mistakes, this is a win-win situation for everyone. Be smart, sceptical and sensible and then sit back to reap profits!

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