How to Select a Virtual Assistant, Offsite Specialist or Remote Professional

Real estate agents, coaches, speakers, authors, artists, small businesses and other entrepreneurs are using outsourcing more and more every day. What troubles some is how to go about selecting the best in the business. It’s not always easy to pan for gold online. With that in mind, I’ve compiled this checklist list of things you should consider when you are seeking a specialist to help move your own business ahead.

How to Select a Virtual Assistant, Offsite Specialist or Remote Professional

When Seeking Individual Offsite Providers:

  • Always require and check references. Check every single one.
  • Don’t hire a generalist. Outsourcing specialists are a benefit to your company only if they bring the specific skills you need. You can hire generalists for onsite work or use temp agencies as needed for general or clerical work.
  • Does your potential specialist do outsourced work full-time? Part timers only dedicate a few hours a day or a week to your needs and you will split that with any other clients they may have.
  • Get information. Ask about background and real-life experience in the areas you need and a history of delivering those services via digital means. Consider and weigh formal education, professional experience, longevity in business and client references.
  • Investigate. Check into the certification requirements if you seek certified individuals. If everyone passes the “tests” — do the tests indicate skill?
  • Rates will vary, but your end cost is what matters. Recognize that specialists may accomplish in 15 minutes what it could take two hours or more for a beginner to accomplish – and the pros will deliver a better end product.
  • You get what you pay for. If a “VA” is charging less than $25 per hour, they probably aren’t seasoned. If they do not yet know the costs associated with running their own business, do you want them helping you run yours?
  • Do they seem too eager? If so, you may not want them. Hungry often = new or less than experienced. Sometimes you strike gold with a wonderfully experienced newcomer, but often your projects are merely their training ground.
  • Do they interview YOU? Most professional providers will. If they aren’t asking questions to help you define how you see their role in your business, you should be concerned. Excellent outsourcing providers ask excellent questions.
  • Do they educate you about this way of working? If you are new to outsourcing, most professionals will take a few minutes to ascertain your level of comfort and will help to explain to you how it works, and how they (or someone they recommend) may help you.
  • Are they busy? Most professional providers of a certain caliber have a full client load. You know the old saying, “If you want something done, ask the person who is busy” — not the one just standing there. They accept only the “cream-of-the-crop” new clients — and only those they believe they can help.
  • Don’t be offended if you are referred on. Most professionals will send you to another provider if they don’t have the time in their schedule or if they don’t have the specialized services they feel you need.
  • Professional referrals will help you find a good match. Someone in this business is careful about referring work to others. It puts their own reputation on the line. Not every referral is a perfect match, but your chances are improved when a professional outsourcing specialists makes a recommendation.

© Copyright 2005 by Angela Allen Parker of Wicked WordCraft

For more information about hiring the perfect offsite professional the first time you try, visit RemoteProfessionals.com.

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