How to choose a VA

In my last blog, I finished by saying that a good VA will transform your business forever – so finding the right person or firm is the single most important decision you’ll make.

The first thing to ask is: what can a Virtual Assistant do for me?  It’s one of the most common questions I hear.  Generally speaking, VAs take on admin tasks, provide business support and many offer additional specialist services.  This covers things like:

  • PA support: diary and meeting management, travel arrangements, event planning, audio transcription, presentation creation,,
  • Business support: psychometric profiling admin, bookkeeping, proposal writing, tender applications, arranging insurance, health and safety policies, creating reports, website updating, social media management
  • Specialist services: copywriting, graphic design, website design, digital marketing, and much much more.

Once you have an idea of the support you need, research Virtual Assistants in your area, or those which come highly recommended.  Have a look at some websites, or check out social media pages to see how the companies relate to their customers.  Make a shortlist of no more than four.  When it comes to choosing between them, there are a few areas to focus on:

Skills – and personality

Of course skills are important if you want the tasks to be done well.  But once you’ve checked out those basic points, the relationship you feel able to forge with that VA is just as important.  Try to actually talk to two or three different VAs, and “meet” them via video conference.  Start trying straight away to build a rapport with that person and be open and honest at every level, not just about work.  Your VA should be looking to understand how you operate, what your circumstances are, what triggers stress and overwhelm for you.  Ideally they’ve got years of high-level corporate experience, giving you the reassurance they’ll be a reliable sounding-board.  You’re looking for someone with whom you can create a strong team, and someone you feel will be able to pre-empt your needs and be proactive, not sit and wait for instructions.

Specialist or all-rounder?

Some VAs operate in specific markets, either appealing to a particular sector or in providing a specialist service.  For example, if your business is medical or legal, you might want a VA working exclusively in that environment.  If you’re after a particular service such as sales funnels, Convert It, shopify or Activecampaign, look for VAs who specialise in this.

Otherwise, general VAs offer the most flexibility.  They are well versed in all the main business processes and should offer a wide network of associates for specialist tasks too.  Some general VAs work a lot with certain groups of clients – for example, we have experience with business consultants, coaches, trainers, CEOs and company directors.

Ultimately it’s about finding a company or a VA which feels like a good fit for you, and which fulfils your specific needs.

The technicalities

Finally, there are some sensible professional checks I’d advise you make before taking on a VA.  All VAs should be able to demonstrate they hold adequate insurance (professional indemnity is a must), and make sure they’re registered with the ICO for data protection and the AML if they offer bookkeeping.  Cyber insurance is good to have, but ask whether they have adequate systems backup and IT support on hand.  Cover is another consideration – do they have colleagues or associates who can provide seamless cover for illness or holidays? Finally, it’s always good to check that any contracts or Ts and Cs are legally produced.

A good VA should underpin your business, keeping things running smoothly back at the office, whilst you do what you’re paid to do.  The best VAs become a sounding board, an objective advisor, and a morale booster throughout the ups and downs of business life.  That’s why it’s so important to build that rapport from the very first meeting.

Next time – we’ll look at how to make the most of your VA relationship.


If you’d like to know more about how a VA could support your business, why not book a free Exploration Call with me?

Book a free Exploration Call with me here