How to Work With a Virtual Assistant

by Shannon Penrod

There are lots of ways that you can work with a Virtual Assistant.  My favorite way is through Motherhood Incorporated, okay I’ll admit that I’m biased.  I work for them.  But I also happen to think that they “get it right” – which is why I not only work for them, I’m a client too.

The most important thing when hiring any virtual assistant is to clearly define what you want the virtual to accomplish.  This might sound ridiculous, but hear me out.  Recently I hired a virtual assistant (from Motherhood Incorporated) to research Birthday Parties for my son who is about to turn 5 in a few weeks.  I started to do the research myself and quite frankly it was making me so crabby and taking up so much of my time that I realized I needed to outsource it.  I had to figure out exactly what I wanted to know.  I wanted a party for 30 children and 25 adults in a venue where the kids could get as loud as they wanted but where there was no huge ambient noise (I can’t handle the loud music at those bouncy house parties) I had a specific amount of money that I was willing to spend on the location and another amount on food.  I wanted a comparison of prices on if I did an all-in-one package or paid for everything separately.  And I wanted the work done in less than 24 hours.

I won’t tell you what I paid for the research but I will tell you that to do the work myself would have taken me at least 2 hours and what I was able to bill in that 2 hours was easily 4 times what I spent on the research.  The job was done on time and I was able to pick the perfect birthday venue for my son – AND I saved money on the location. 

The job was a huge success because I had the right person for the job. We have a mom who knows everything there is about having a party – I ‘m convinced she could throw a party on the moon with 2 hours notice. I gave her explicit instructions about what my expectations were.  I knew what information I wanted and when I wanted it.  I told her what to exclude (places that play loud music) so she didn’t waste time finding information I wasn’t interested in. 

Researching a Birthday party may sound like a silly thing to use a virtual assistant for, but it saved me time and money so I could attend to my business.  What ever reason you hire a virtual assistant make sure that you are clear about what you want accomplished and when you expect it done.  You will always be happier in the long run.