021 STBS: 5 Mistakes That You Should Avoid With Virtual Assistants

Happy new year! Alright, so in this episode we are going to talk about some mistakes that EVERYONE makes when hiring and leveraging virtual assistants and how to avoid them.  Most of these are common sense, but some take some time and experience to evade.

The problems you'll face

I am certain that most problems with virtual assistants don't come from the VA themselves, but from the employer.  We have a lot of skills and ideas in that noggin of ours that we take for granted, but often we are blind to the fact that what we know is not always common. That being said, most problems that you'll face can be avoided simply by taking a step back and to allow your VA to give you some feedback.

The easy button

Having a VA doesn't mean that everything is going to be easy and that you no longer have to work or think.  It's quite the opposite.  while you may be working in a more executive capacity you still need to develop training, make business decisions, sell, market, and so on.

That means that you will be going from comfortably implementing, to making decisions that can affect someone's life and career.

Hiring too quickly

Done this multiple times… it sucks.  When you hire too quickly you tend to become unfocused and things stop going well.  Start off small and work your way up with a staff.  The last thing you want to do is let a good person go.

Under-utilizing your VA

While you shouldn't expect your VA to make business decisions, you also shouldn't expect too little from them.  If you have someone who is skilled and willing to learn, give them hard tasks to do and let them know that they can always ask you for direction if they need help.  You'd be surprised at how adaptable and amazing some VAs can be.

Overwhelming your VA

While you don't want to under-utilize them, you also don't want to give your VA so many different things that they get paralyzed.  Give them one thing at a time and let them master it before they move onto the next.

Not delegating value added tasks

Do you want to save time or make money.  The majority of the time the latter will do both.  When possible, always give your VA a value-added task to do that either helps you to make sales or increases the capacity to make more money.  the more money you make, the more likely you are to give bonuses and be motivated to increase your business goals.

There are many more

Of course, this isn't a comprehensive list, and I go more into the details in the podcast itself, but if you avoid these you'll see some great results.  These all boil down to being a leader.  Buy mastering leadership and decision-making, you'll become much more profitable in your VA-driven business.

Bonus: Found a great site that has a pretty accurate price range for VAs.  Check it out!


  • Paul Tran

    January 13, 2011

    You make more mistakes than you care to…& that's why you're successful =)

    Great podcast, Bud; my VA's facilitate my ability to grow the business, but are NOT the Easy Button!

    • Dean Soto

      January 15, 2011

      Thanks so much, my friend! You are seriously going to kill it with your new VA! Can't wait to see the benefits of your adaptability in action.

  • Matt

    January 25, 2011

    Another mistake is poor communication (I know I've been guilty of this). A majority of the time whenever something happens that I didn't expect with someone on my team, I always blame myself. I didn't set the expectation well enough, or I didn't relay everything on the project or something. I think one of the most critical elements of working with VAs is hiring with great communication skills. And this isn't a way one street… it's a two way street, the VA needs to be great at communicating via e-mail as well. Typically, I can gauge this during the interview process and sometimes I intentionally start the process via e-mail just to test communication.

    • Dean Soto

      January 27, 2011

      Oooh, good one. Yeah, great point. Having a VA that doesn't communicate on a regular basis, doesn't give updates, or doesn't communicate at all is a killer.

      This is hard sometimes with VAs in certain countries though because sometimes their culture doesn't jive well with constant communication. Some VAs feel as though they are being rude if they try to talk to their boss all of the time. so yeah, in that situation you definitely need to set expectations up front (like to said).

      That is super smart to start seeing how they communicate by having an email exchange before hiring.