Online businesses have different demands compared to brick and mortar stores. For one, it’s more marketing intensive as it requires you to be more visible since you don’t have an actual store people can go to. You need to be knowledgeable in SEO, content marketing, and more. Not to mention that competition online is stronger than ever. Simply put, it’s something you can’t possibly run on your own and this is where hiring virtual assistants come into play.
Who is James Schramko?
Schramko is the founder of Superfastbusiness.com. He quit his job in 2008 and ventured into internet marketing. His website helps online business owners grow their companies through coaching, web development, traffic, and SEO. Schramko is known for helping online entrepreneurs create lasting and valuable businesses that fit with their lifestyle.
Guidelines for hiring virtual assistants
In his podcast, Schramko starts off by advising business owners that part of having their own business is scaling it and adding more people to assist them. He said, “At some point you’re going to need to scale your business by getting people to come on board and help you with your business.”
TIP #1 – Get an assistant.
A team is formed by adding one person at a time. Schramko said, “One of the best things you can do is get yourself an assistant. These days we hear the term VA or virtual assistant. Now I found that having a virtual assistant to help me coordinate the things that I would’ve done myself is actually getting more leverage for me.” He added that having a VA is like having extra hands and legs.
TIP #2 – Choose a VA that can represent you.
Schramko said that you should hire a virtual assistant that could represent you. She should be capable of communication with other members of your team. If your VA can help you manage your systems and communicate on your behalf then you’ve found an irreplaceable one.
He explained, “The other thing is it’s important that people know that your VA is representing you within the business. So when your VA asks for something they might as well know that it is literally coming from you. And your VA is the person that you’ll be communicating with more than most people.”
“So it is essential that you pick a VA who is switched on, who understands what it is that you’re trying to achieve and that thinks in a similar way that you would think about things. So they could almost anticipate the way that you’re going to ask for things and the way you’d like to receive things. And once you get that communication in place a VA will be an irreplaceable person in your business,” he added.
TIP #3: – Always go for two.
Schramko believes in the importance of back-ups. He suggests that there should be two people who can perform any task in your business. He said, “Of course one person doing it is the minimum but if that person is sick or wants to have holidays, you are now single point sensitive.”
He adds that this also makes hiring and training easier. You have one person who trains while the other one continues the work thus causing no disruptions in your operations. You need to have more than one virtual assistant to ensure seamless workflow.
He shared his own experience on this, “That has been one of the critical keys for us on our transition from going from one team member, me, all the way up to, I think we’re in our 60s now in the last few years and just from natural growth of our business and being able to cross train and grow each department. As soon as you hit a team of 3 or 4 people, that team is probably big enough and you should now add another layer.”
TIP #4 – Set clear expectations.
Schramko is the kind of leader who goes for tough love. He would rather set firm boundaries and loosen up later on than start weak and then shift to being strict.
He explained, “When you’re starting out with new people it’s always a good idea to set clear expectations and be quite firm from the outset about what you do want. It’s very hard to be soft and have weak boundaries and then to tighten them up later. It’s much easier to be a little bit tighter and a little bit firmer from the beginning and then to ease up as you get a working relationship with your people.
He added that this also helps in determining if you really hired the right virtual assistant. If your VA is unable to meet the high expectations you’ve set then you can go and look for another one.
Schramko advised, “Please, start off firm, be very clear about what you want and if you identify that you’ve got the wrong person, it’s better to act on that early rather than later.”
Schramko’s approach to working with virtual assistants is more preventive than reactive. He sets clear-cut rules, prefers working with two or more, and establishes communication structures that go through his VAs. He looks at his virtual assistants as team members and not merely service providers. This allows him to train his VAs more effectively and establish a successful working relationship with them.
Find out what other entrepreneurs have to say about working with virtual assistants!
About Pepper Virtual Assistants
Pepper Virtual Assistant Services is a business solutions firm that specializes on administrative assistance, customer support, CRM, copywriting, and personal virtual assistance. We take pride in our reliable service and responsive client handling which embodies our team’s optimal performance.