Before you "hire" a virtual assistant use this as a litmus test to make sure they are the right person to hire. Skills are no doubt important but what you need is a little something extra. Outlined below are not just things to look for in your virtual assistant, but features to your working relationship that you will discover to be mandatory.
Don't want to feel bad about delegating work to them. You should look forward to the feeling of relief you get when you get off the phone with them knowing that your business is being . And the reverse is also true. They should look forward to lifting the burden off you so you can refocus on your highest-payoff activities.
Let's face it. The internet puts the "virtual" in "virtual assistant". Without the internet the industry wouldn't have two legs to stand on. Maybe some industries can get away with hiring extra help who can be managed by phone exclusively. But I'm betting since you're reading this you're probably doing business over the internet, at least in a moderate capacity. Somebody who doesn't know how to configure their Outlook can be more of a drag than an accelerant to your cause.
Ability of Communicate
Prose is great but it matters little if the essential meaning gets lost in translation. The ability to communicate transcends mere words on the page or the ability to formulate sentences. That's what kindergarten is for. There's a certain "something extra" that comes across when the person communicating possesses that "magic". It's the kind of communication that motivates and reassures. The kind that can calm us down or excites us to action when we need it. It's also the kind of communication that picks up where you left off and never rests.
Ok, I made up that word. You'll want someone who is prepared for the workload ahead. Someone who is familiar with the ups and downs of the business environment and is committed to helping you see it through, though the work may below them. Someone who doesn't give up at the first sign of adversity. It's difficult to tell who has it and who doesn't. This is the kind of trait you can only find out about through trial and error. A track record of seeing things through to the end is the best indicator.
They Can Anticipate You
This is by far the most important and yet, least recognized attribute. Even delegating projects to somebody else takes work if in pursuit of your goals. First you have to determine which group of tasks needs delegating. Then you need to brief the person on each task. Managing projects is so much easier when you've got someone by your side who understands your long-range visions, can quickly connect the dots between action and benefit and can propose items you might have overlooked.
If you're looking for someone with these qualities and the work ethic to support you in running your business, then there's someone I would like to introduce you to. Please send me an email if you would like me to set up an introduction.