6 Steps to Partnering with Virtual Professionals

Written by Tammy Durden

6 Steps to Help You work with a Virtual Professional

Helping You Go From Frustration to Satisfaction

Have you considered partnering with a virtual professional, such as a Virtual Assistant, Virtual Social Media Specialist or other type of virtual office assistance?  If you run a business, you more than likely have considered this option. Yes, even though I run a Virtual Services company, I have partnered with other virtual professionals, usually to assist with client work.  I am now considering partnering with one for my own company so that I can grow.  It is the reason I wanted to share these ‘6 steps to partnering with Virtual Professionals’  as they will take you from frustration to satisfaction.

I purposely use the term ‘partner’, because a partner is invested in your business, not just a ‘hired’ employee.

Did you know that if you partner with the right virtual professional for you & your business, you will have discovered the true Secret to Your Success!  It will make all of the difference in your business.  It can be the difference between stalling & scaling in your business. Why or How can this be?  A few reasons Virtual Professionals Pay for themselves & will take your business to the next level:

  1.  It will help free up your time for other focuses.
  2. We cannot be successful without the help of others, whether it be those who support us/alongside us, or even those who have to prepare us for our success (educators and parents for example).
  3. Your business cannot go further than work you can do by yourself, so in order to scale your company, you must begin to allow others to do some of your work.
  4. The BEST reason is because you cannot continue to work IN your business and be successful.  You must begin to work ON your business.

Today there are so many options available, that you do not have to hire in house. You can, instead, partner with a virtual professional to be an Assistant, your Social Media Specialist, Bookkeeper, even your Online Business Manager and so much more.

“Take the Next Step so that YOU can go from Frustration to Satisfaction!” td

I have learned a few things over the years, when hiring virtual professionals for clients. It can even be a little scary the first time we set out to do this, maybe even slightly intimidating.  No need to fear, as I will share some simple steps to help you.  Perhaps we can all go forward together and take that step of partnering with a new virtual professional to assist us.  Just remember:

“A business is a living organism and thrives with movement.”

Six steps to partnering with virtual professionals:

1.Are you ready?  Pause and really consider if you are at the point in your business where you are working too much IN your business and not enough time working ON your business?  Nearly all experts agree that you that a key factor in success is going from working IN your business to working ON your business. Many people either wait until they are overburdened, overwhelmed and stressed or they do it too early and are just not ready financially to manage taking this step. So, just take stock in where your company is and if you are really ready.

“Experts agree that in order for entrepreneurs to succeed, we must move from working IN our business to working ON our business. This is often a place where many entrepreneurs get stuck!  Getting stuck will mean stagnate in the life cycle of your business. If you do not take action, a stagnate business will eventually become a dead business.”

2. Make a List.  Make a list of tasks, or duties.  List those that you feel will move you from working IN your company to working ON your company.  In other words, what kind of items are bringing in More clients/customers and what work is something that has to be done, but does not have to be done by you?  You and Your business will Not Succeed IF You do not let go of some these things (unless you really do not want to move forward).   Remember that your business is like a living organism that can change, grow or even shrink with change.  You have some control over those things…what will you do to keep it growing and thriving?  One way to keep it growing is to get the help you need, so you can focus on other things.  Let’s get started on that growth by Making a List of things you can have your virtual professional do?  Whether it be administrative, design, social media, bookkeeping or other work, start a list.

“This process can even be the beginning of implementing systems in place if you have not already done so.”

3. Looking for a Perfect Fit?  Depending on the type of virtual help you need, there are many resources out there.  If you want to stay in the U.S. and not ‘outsource’ overseas, then I recommend checking your connections, especially on LinkedIn, G+ and yes even Twitter & Facebook; and remember to ask others what they suggest or who they use. You may be surprised who using virtual services and/or who is doing virtual work.  [If you are more interested an overseas outsourced professional, you can probably use elance, freelancer and some of the multiple sites like those.]

Another useful way to search for virtual professionals is on various online directories, that list virtual assistants, virtual marketing, virtual bookkeepers and more.  Some other directories are IVAA.com, virtualassistantville.com, and  VAClassroom (is beginning their directory that goes along with their teaching) and there are many more.  If you see someone that seems to resonate with you, then you can take the next step.

4. Verify the Facts – verify what they are telling you and do just a little research. After you find those that fall into the right category (ie: Virtual Assistant, Virtual Social Media Specialist or Digital Marketing, Bookkeeper, etc…), take the time to research them a little, look up reviews and even ask for references (or check their site for testimonials). See what they are posting on their platforms.  If all you see is personal pictures, parties and lots of nonprofessional postings (even try ‘Googling’ them), you may want to look at another possibility (unless you received a very high recommendation from a very trustworthy friend or colleague).  In the end, you have to be able to work with them and count on them to complete the tasks or work on time and in a professional manner (although I am sure you will find that most have wonderful sites & professional posts). When you do research and look at post history, this will especially help you if you are seeking out someone to help you with your social media.  It will be a firsthand account of the type of posting they can do for you also.

In a good virtual working relationship, you should become so comfortable with one another that it will be like working side by side. The difference is you will use a chat, Skype, apps, and other virtual means of communications with one another.  So be sure to talk and/or video chat with them a couple of times prior to deciding.  Make sure you have clarity on terms, pricing, how they keep time (if hourly) and how they invoice.  Ask questions now, because you do not want to go through the entire process only to find out that they cannot use a software system you use.  Also be sure to establish communication guidelines (how, when, etc…).

This could very well be one of the most important business decisions you will make and if you chose correctly, you will be amazed at how much your virtual staff will benefit not only you, but your company.  In fact, an article in Entrepreneur Magazine online, Brandon Turner discusses how important a Virtual Assistant (and can apply to all virtual professionals) can be for your business:

“An assistant should be your number-one most important hire because they are freeing up your time, which is worth far more than the developer or whoever else you might be hiring.” “So treat your virtual assistant role like it’s the most important role in your company — because it just might be.” B. Turner

5.  Act – Once you have taken the first steps to narrow down your choices to one person…ACT!  Do not hesitate once you know, because someone else may ‘snatch’ those hours you are desperately needing and they may have no time left for you.  And you really do not want to start your search over again, do you? Therefor, once you decide, take action.  I have had so many people begin talking with me about how much they need my help and our services, but are planning to do so in the future (2 to 8 weeks usually).  Sometimes, I will see them 6 months later (after thinking they had moved on to another virtual professional) and they still have not hit that ‘start’ button.  More than that, do you know where their business is on the growth chart?…flat lined!  So take action as soon as you decide, because it will move you closer to the goals you have for not only yourself, but your family and your business.

Do not use words like: ‘overworked’, ‘stressed’ and ‘I have no help’ as an excuse any longer!  It is time to finally do something about it, will you do it?

“As a business owner you know that you have to make choices and decisions every day, so do not hesitate with this very important one.” td

6.  Be forgiving.  When you begin working with a virtual professional for the first time, it is a process.  Take time to set up processes and communication means. Some clients like text messages, others prefer email. Those beginning set ups are so important, so be sure to take the time put everything in place and make the time to communicate on a regular basis, via phone or Skype.  Some business owners love working with virtual help and others need time to adjust to this transition.

Give them some leeway and authority to work on your behalf.  Remember, you will may need to explain some tasks, even if you have things in writing, and set time aside to be available to answer questions until they understand your processes.  It took you time to learn what you are doing, give them a little latitude in working with you and forgive when mistakes happen.  Mistakes will be made, and it helps to remember that we all make mistakes. Perhaps suggest clear direction how not to make the same mistake in the future. Realizing that they are probably more upset than you are will also help when this happens.  It takes time to get the flow right between you and your virtual partner, yet before you know it, you wouldn’t know how to live without them.

Ending THOUGHTS

I hope as you look for the person or company to provide your virtual business needs that these steps will prepare you for them.  I will keep you updated on mine and I would love to know when you ‘take action’ to hire your virtual staff.  If you have been through the process of hiring a virtual assistant or virtual professional, can you add to our steps?

Thank you for reading, it is always appreciated! If you decide you would like further help finding a virtual professional to assist you, feel free to reach out to me.  I will be glad to recommend a colleague if we cannot meet your needs.

Remember, hiring virtual staff will only increase your productivity (once they are trained)! It will FREE You up to focus on what you do best.  Now, take that next step today!

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