How can a virtual assistant help you?

Hi Savvies,

I'm asking my first question here today, I would love to know more about what businesses think and want from a virtual assistant.  All comments welcome!

How would you and your business benefit in having a virtual assistant and what stops you from contracting a virtual assistant?

Sorry that is more than one question, regards Maria

Top voted answer
Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh Cofounder at

Top 10% Market Research

Virtual assistants would be great for random tasks however I suppose it's the unfamiliarity factor that deters most of us from using them. We're not sure how reliable they are. Doing business face-to-face is just something we're used to. Putting a face to something gives us some confidence. It's hard to judge whether someone is good or not for the job online. How would you suggest we go about looking for a quality VA?

Maria Nikas

Maria Nikas , Founder/CEO at

Hi Yee, thank you for commenting and you have bought up a very good question, this is a concern for many people, when I first started I relied alot on referrals and my first clients were people that I knew. We all fear the unknown and I have heard many stories.
One of the first things you would look at is testimonials and how long the VA has been in business, and also what their online presence is like and who they are affiliated with.
Either set up a phone or skype session with them, treat them as you would a potential employee in an interview. Do they offer a service agreement, do they offer a risk free guarantee, I'm currently updating my website and I will be adding a 30 day risk free guarantee. Hope this helps I will also write an article/blog post on this in the next few days.
Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh , Cofounder at

Great advice Maria. Really appreciate the insight. I'm looking forward to the article!
Lisa Ormenyessy

Lisa Ormenyessy Business Coach and Marketing Specialist at

Hi Maria the one characteristic I would like in a VA is initiative.  A proactive VA would be a god send and worth their weight in gold. :-)

Maria Nikas

Maria Nikas , Founder/CEO at

Hi Lisa, I agree initiative and being proactive is a must when working with any employee, contractor and especially a VA as you can't see them all the time you think 'ok what are they up too'.
When you first hire a VA it is good to introduce them to the business and tell them what you want, what you are about and your goals, make sure you are both on the same page. Let your VA know that you are open to suggestions and happy to take questions just like any new employee you will have to spend a bit of time with them at the beginning and set some goals too.
Iain Dooley

Iain Dooley Owner at

Hi Maria, I love hiring virtually. In fact, I currently have on staff an accounting assistant, sales assistant, 2 editorial assistants and 2 project scheduling assistants.

The key for me has always been to have adequately defined roles, and adequately defined processes.

I think a lot of people expect to hire a VA and have all their problems solved magically, but hiring someone to do a clearly defined role with properly written documentation can dramatically decrease the hassle and risks associated with outsourcing work.