Questions to ask when looking for a VA

Now obviously a lot will depend on what tasks you’re after and what experience or expertise might be necessary.  (If you’ve not narrowed that down yet maybe look at my previous posts).  There are some standard job interview questions that you could run through but before you get started there’s one thing that is crucial to remember – this isn’t a job interview.

Don’t get me wrong, you’re going to be paying for them to do a job, but if you start off treating it like a formal job interview you may not get as far as if you’d approached it like a conversation where you’re scoping out a partnership.  You’re paying for a service that they’ll provide, but they aren’t an employee and the relationship should be different.  On a day to day basis it may not always feel different, but it is.  As a VA myself if someone starts a call acting as if I’m going to be an employee it’s an immediate red flag – it demonstrates to me that they likely don’t understand my business model, they may not be understanding of my turnaround times and my way of working.

What doesn’t set alarm bells ringing, however, are questions that demonstrate interest in me, my skills and my experience.  Conversation should flow and be two-way, but there are, of course, some practicalities to cover off, including:


It’s a great opportunity to put out there what your expectations might be and understand what the VA might be able to do.  Chances are if they can’t meet your exact requirements, they can offer an alternative that would still work.


Is it just them, or do they work with associates? Do they have back-up for unexpected sickness etc?


Do they work on an hourly basis (with what increments), or is it monthly fee based on the completion of set tasks/projects? Is there a deposit, do they split the payment, do they invoice upfront or in arrears?


What’s their preferred methods? And what about other software/apps/programmes they might use to help keep on track and up to date without endless random emails/messages etc.


I’m not for one second suggesting that the VA should be giving you a free trial period that you don’t pay for – if they’re doing ANYTHING for you, you should be paying them fairly.  No question.  But, maybe for the first few months, the required notice period from either side is a bit shorter while you both find your feet and a routine.  


This will obviously depend on what tasks you need doing, what information and what systems they may have access to.

Bottom line is any VA who isn’t keen to answer these questions is probably best to avoid.  The best VAs are upfront, say if they can’t answer something and will then go and find out, and they will be like that because they’re running a professional business, and not just trying to make a few quid.

Oh, and one last thing too – keep an open mind.  Know what you want, but be open to suggestions remembering that although they don’t know your business inside out, the best ones really do know what they’re doing and have experience in doing it well!

Once you’ve had your conversations and have found someone you want to work with, then keep the conversation going – let them know and get ready for the information and formal documentation they’ll be sending your way.  Which just happens to be the subject of the next post in the series (I know, fancy that!).

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