“Never tell people how to do things; Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” – George S. Patton
I recall reading an article where business owners/solopreneurs who outsource to Virtual Business Managers/Virtual Assistants said that at first, they found the idea of “letting it go” very disturbing. However, they realized that not only were tasks completed better and faster, but their operations and communications were streamlined and the business owners now had time and ability to focus on their own core competencies.
However, I see people make these 5 mistakes when they try to delegate and work with a Virtual Business Manager or Virtual Assistant.
Mistake 1 – Micromanaging
I get it – you worked so hard to form your business, to get it up and running. Your business is built on your sweat and tears, so to speak, and it’s hard to let go of control and to trust that someone else can do things just as good as you can.
If you are afraid of being unable to trust your VA and will want to be involved in all the aspects of the outsourced work, then not only you create more work for yourself, you are also distracting the VA because now the time is spent on answering your emails, calls and reassuring you that all is alright.
You can choose to keep doing what you do. Or, you can start with delegating smaller tasks first, to see how it goes. As you keep building the trust and see the results you are looking for, you can add more and more work.
Mistake 2 – Treating VA or VBM as your employee
VAs and VBMs are business owners, just like you. They enter into a working relationship with you as an individual business entity. Perceive them as your business partner, but keep in mind that they have other clients to cater to, as well.
In order to accommodate all the clients’ needs, projects and deliver the promised results, the VAs and VBMs have develop their own systems and procedures, their own schedule and different policies. So, if your VA doesn’t pick up the phone every time you call, know that you’re not being ignored. Instead, he or she is simply focusing on a project and doesn’t want to be distracted, and will call you back as soon as possible.
Isn’t it reassuring to know that he or she devotes the same amount of attention and energy to your projects, too?
Mistake 3 – Being nonresponsive
Depending on the type of work you are delegating, a consistent communication with you may be necessary for your VA/VBM to execute the project. Or, there might be an unforeseen issue, or a need for some additional information. It is very important for you to respond in a timely manner otherwise the work cannot be completed or will be delayed.
Mistake 4 – Being the “I need this yesterday” type of person, always chasing deadlines and falling behind
I understand you want to hire a VA/VBM so you can stop spinning in the catch-up game; however, it is my experience that this would only result in consistent rushing, unsatisfactory quality of work, anxiety and at the end, both you and your VA/VBM we will be unhappy.
Another “flaw” that falls into this category is procrastination. As a business owner, you set the bar and if you can’t stick to your goals, get things done and keep putting them off – what makes you think your VA/VBM will miraculously change that? In this case, you would need a personal assistant who’ll be with you consistently, reminding you of the to-dos, and keeping you accountable.
Mistake 5 – Indecisiveness
You and your VA/VBM can work on setting goals, deadlines, desired outcome, or devise strategies together. But if you are having a hard time with sticking to what has been agreed on, and are consistently changing your mind, there will be a problem.
Even though you pay your VA/VBM for the work done, and each revision or additional time spent on going back and forth would be reflected in the cost of the service, the main objective of working with an VA/VBM is to help you get things done.