The 10 Most Common Objections to Hiring a Virtual Assistant

I have been using a virtual executive assistant now for over a year. It’s one of the best business decisions I have ever made. Tricia, my assistant, has enabled me to focus on what I do best and less of what I either don’t do well or don’t enjoy.

A Woman at Work on a Computer - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/TommL, Image #19699722

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/TommL

As a virtual executive assistant, she is really no different than what I was accustomed to in the real world. She can do anything that doesn’t require her physical presence (like running errands or bringing me coffee).

For example:

  • She screens my e-mail. She checks my main email accounts, handles what she can, and “redirects” the messages that require my personal attention to my private account. She has reduced my email load by 90 percent.
  • She books my travel. She handles all the details, including airline reservations, hotels, car rental, etc. She sets up a trip in TripIt, so I have everything I need in one place.
  • She make calls on my behalf. She makes appointments (both personal and professional), confirms my appointments, checks my voice mail, and follows up as needed.
  • She manages my calendar. Almost nothing gets on my calendar unless it passes through her first. We have agreed together that I will only accept appointments on Fridays, and she works to stay within those boundaries.
  • She handles other projects as needed. For example, yesterday, my accountant and I decided we want to start using a hosted QuickBooks solution in the cloud. I gave Tricia the requirements and then asked her to do the research and make a recommendation.

Best of all, I don’t have to employ her full-time. I am currently contracted for just fifteen hours a week. Yet, it feels like I have access to her 24–7. She is uber-responsive and efficient.

My experience with Tricia has made me a big believer in the value of virtual executive assistants (VEAs). Naturally, when I share this with other business leaders, they are intrigued but often skeptical. This is unfamiliar territory to many of them.

Over the last year, I have catalogued the ten most common objections they have voiced. I thought I’d address those here in the hope of getting you the help you and I both know you need!

  1. I’m not sure about this whole virtual thing. Before I had a VEA, I was used to dealing face-to-face with the people who work for me. But increasingly, most of my interactions with others are virtual—via phone, Skype, or e-mail, webinars—regardless of where they live. This is no different.

    In fact, when you eliminate the requirement of physical proximity, it opens tremendous possibilities. Suddenly, you can source world-class talent from anywhere on the planet. Plus, new technologies make you feel even more connected.

  2. I’m not exactly sure what I would have them do. The most important thing is to think about yourself first. What are the three or four activities you do well and which add the most value to your organization? Literally write these down.

    For me, it is “writing, speaking, and consulting.” Everything not on your list is a candidate for delegation. By the way, to stimulate your thinking, here is a list of the most common tasks assigned to VEAs.

    Frankly, this kind of delegation is the key to leadership effectiveness—and making more money in your business. Stay focused on what you do best and figure out how to offload the rest.

  3. I’m afraid my VEA will be too disconnected from my day-to-day business. I was concerned about this too. But then I realized so many of my relationships are virtual. This was true even when I was in the corporate world. I had salespeople on the road, departments in other buildings, and entire divisions in other cities.

    Like everything else, you just have to be intentional about managing them:

    • You can schedule a weekly “calibration call” to make sure you are on the same page.
    • You can use Skype to replicate face-to-face contact.
    • You can use a private Facebook group to connect your VEA with your team.

    You can also include your VEA on corporate calls and invite them to be part your corporate annual retreats and other meetings. Before long, you will forget your VEA is virtual. I have.

  4. My company won’t approve access to our systems. This is a legitimate concern. Good IT people work hard to control access to sensitive data. But this too can be dealt with if you are thoughtful about it and ask your technical people for help in finding a solution.

    (By the way, this is also one of the reasons I use a domestic VEA provider. I just have more confidence in someone from my own county of residence. I realize that 90 percent of this is psychological.)

    Most modern systems do a great job of providing tiered access. You can start you VEA at the level of access that makes sense and then increase it as you gain experience and confidence. With so many companies utilizing outsourcing, this simply isn’t the obstacle it used to be.

  5. I don’t know how many hours the work will take. Most of us don’t. This is why we default to a forty-hour work week when hiring employees. But does every job require this amount of time?

    You really won’t know how long something takes until you determine what you are asking your VEA to do. Take ten minutes to write down all the things that you would like to delegate.

    Don’t worry about prioritizing the list. Just get the tasks/projects out of your head and onto paper. This is a critical first step in assessing time.

    Now estimate how long each task will take. For example, do you want your VEA to screen your e-mail? How much time are you spending on that now?

    And, don’t assume it will take your VEA as long as it takes you. This has been a pleasant surprise to me. In most cases, once your VEA is trained, she will be much more efficient than you.

  6. I don’t know how I would monitor whether my VEA is really doing the work. Fair enough, but how do you know whether or not any employee is really doing the work?

    The issue is not how long she spends at her desk but the results she achieves on your behalf. In other words, you evaluate her performance just like you evaluate any other employee—the results.

    You can also do status calls or reports, leverage project software like Basecamp or Asana, or simply ask yourself, “are things getting done by my VEA the way I want?”

  7. I don’t want to commit to something before I try it. I totally understand this. I am much the same way. This works when you are trying out a new car or testing some new software. It doesn’t work so well with people.

    Why? Because people don’t perform as well without a commitment. Without it, you are saying, “You work for me, and, if I like you, I will keep you.” Try this with a traditional employee and see how far you get.

    The best VEA services (like the one I use) don’t just assign you a VEA at random. Instead, they find out what you need and then go through a rigorous process of selection. In essence, they are professional “matchmakers.” It requires a commitment by both parties to work.

  8. I’m not sure I like the idea of someone else picking my VEA. I understand this. This kind of hands-on management and attention to detail is what got you to where you are today. But it’s also one of the things keeping you from going to the next level. Let me explain.

    Remember what I said above about focusing on your strengths? You are probably not the best person to scour your local community looking for the perfect assistant. And why would you want to do the preliminary interviews and screening? You have better things to do.

    The best way to hire is to articulate the objective and then trust others to manage the process. This is why God made HR departments and executive search firms. I never—and I mean, never—made a better decision by going it alone.

  9. I’m concerned my VEA might misuse my credit card information. This was my biggest obstacle. Heck, I even wrote a book on the subject of privacy and how to protect your personal information. This issue is very important to me.

    Frankly, this is something you need to ask of any firm you are considering. You need to be assured that they have:

    • A great reputation and come highly recommended
    • A well-defined process for screening new VEAs
    • Appropriate policies in place for protecting your data.

    My VEA has access to my most sensitive data: credit card info, website logins, e-mail accounts, etc. She must have this to function well. But I only turned this over to her once I was confident I could trust her.

  10. I’m not sure this will improve my bottom line. This was difficult for me too. I hate spending money on overhead.

    But think of it this way:

    • What is your lack of focus and loss of productivity costing your business?
    • What could you be doing with your time if you were not buried in administrative detail?
    • What could you create that would truly advance your business if you didn’t feel so overwhelmed?

    If you see this as just an expense, you’ll never take your business or your career to the next level. You can only do so much. Hiring a VEA is a less expensive, less risky alternative to hiring a full-time employee.

If I didn’t believe in the value of hiring a VEA, I wouldn’t have spent this much time addressing these objections. I honestly believe this is one of the best investments you can make to become the leader you were meant to be.

If you are ready to take the next step, visit the eaHELP website and request a proposal. It is the firm I have used for more than a year. I recommend them unconditionally.

By the way, if you are looking for a position as a virtual executive assistant, eaHELP is currently hiring in all four U.S. Times zones. However, they only hire U.S. citizens living in the U.S. You can find out more here.

Question: What would a virtual executive assistant make possible for you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Learn how eight simple but powerful tweaks can help you grow your platform. Get my new video series, Your Platform Makeover. It’s free for a limited time. Click here to watch it now.

Get the FREE video series now

Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to self-hosted WordPress? Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

    Michael,

    Great points to help those who are on the fence about the value of a virtual assistant.

    I have been using a VA for the past several months and it has dramatically changed how I work. Or rather, “what” I work on.

    There have been two areas in which I have had to learn new skills:

    1. Being Disciplined About Delegating – Most highly-productive people don’t want to take the moment to stop and delegate something. I have often had to stop myself from going into my calendar and tinkering with something, when I should be sending a quick message to my VA to adjust things.

    2. Setting Up Workflows – The big returns I have started to get from my VA have been in offloading some tasks that I thought “only I could do.” However, via screencasts and some great apps like Clarify, I have been able to document the steps needed for my VA to take over even complex tasks.

    Would love to learn more about the tasks and workflows you have established with your virtual assistant. 

    Best wishes!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Craig. Some good stuff here. I had not heard of Clarify. I am definitely going to check that out.
      Speaking of workflows, I am writing a post now on how we do e-mail together. Thanks again.

      • http://Lbgtmsf.com Ted Werth

         I can vouch for Clarify.  I use it daily to provide tech support.  Like Craig, I have also found it useful to quickly create documentation allowing my admin to take over routine support items.  You can post docs online with a click, click to open an email with the directions attached as a pdf or past as HTML.  Great little program.

    • Bryan Miles

      Good point on #2 Craig! I agree … a lot of leaders like the idea of delegation … but when push comes to shove they hold on to everything. This discipline of delegation is key! Let’s do coffee again sometime!

      • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

        Thx, Bryan! :)

        Been meaning to connect again. Yes, let’s do coffee again soon.

        Will drop you a line.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      I think the discipline to delegate is what keeps most people from doing it. We can have a really hard time letting go.

      • http://marleeward.com/ Marlee

        I totally agree, Jeremy.

    • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

      Love #2 Craig.

      I used to screencast a lot of things, hand them off to my VA and ask if she could do it. Only once did she say no, that it was over her head a bit.

      I love walking in the office in the morning, having my calendar printed out (yes I have to walk to the printer but still), my email narrowed down, my flights booked, and the daily numbers pulled up on my screen first thing. We’ve worked together for five years and I trust her, so she has unusual access.

      Now I am working ON the business within 30 minutes rather than spending my first 3 hours working IN the business.

  • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

    Michael, I am currently a satisfied customer (referral from you!) of eaHELP.com and I would recommend them to anyone. I personally talked to Bryan and Shannon Miles before signing up. I love their hands-on attention to the business. They put to rest all of my fears and gave me the confidence to take the leap.

    I have been using them for roughly 10 months now and I see this continuing into the foreseeable future. Hopefully, I can gain enough efficiency from my VEA to have the time to write that book I have been planning!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Chris. I’m glad this is working out so well for you.

    • Bryan Miles

      Chris! Thanks for your kind words! We love serving you … and we are so glad you feel like you are getting the efficiency and value out of our partnership! Grateful for you!

  • http://orgspring.com/ OrgSpring

    I’ve come close so many times, but still haven’t pulled the trigger. This post is  a big help. Thanks.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Good! I don’t think you’ll regret it. In fact, I think you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. ;-)

    • Phil_Rhodes

       Pull the trigger!  It took me more than six months to

      • http://www.eahelp.com/ Tricia Welte

        Thanks Phil.  We love serving you.  I am glad you did pull the trigger!

    • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

      Pull it!

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    What I like about the whole concept, Michael, is the fact that you don’t have to deal with all of the paperwork  associated with hiring an employee. You basically pay for what you need. I think this is truly one of the big reasons that we have a job shortage in this country. It is so complicated, risky, and expensive to hire a traditional employee anymore, that many companies or entrepreneurs are not willing to do it. The VA model changes all that.

    While I haven’t hired a VA yet, I have hired editors and graphics people for jobs from around the world. With solutions like PayPal for money transfer, hiring someone from a different country with a different currency becomes easy. Then there are services like Fiverr that allow you to purchase simple tasks like voice overs, icon creation, and simple editing quickly and easily.

    Until our government makes job creation easier, these virtual solutions will rule!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I agree, John. I think that’s the biggest selling point for me as well.

  • http://virtualassistant-live.com/ Michelle Dale

    Excellent article and great to read this from a clients perspective :-)

  • http://www.towardcontent.com/ Jonathan Wilson

    Michael,

    Of all the objections it seems the first is the hardest to get over. Creating a virtual relationship involves a large quantity of trust, and a willingness to try.

    I hired a Chicago-based programmer off Elance to do some work on a project and felt some similar objections creep up in my own mind. After several months though, that virtual relationship was just as strong as many of my face to face relationships.

    I would say to anyone to start small (with a small budget) and try it out. You don’t have to be “all in.” I think my first virtual project was only about $400.

    Also, check out Tim Ferriss’ blog – he has some advice on doing this as well.

  • Realchriselrod

    Hi Mike,

    I have been using a Virtual Assistant for the last 6 months. She has freed me up to spend more valuable time with my current clients and Raving Fans as well as developing relationships with new clients. She is quite capable of handling many of the mundane tasks that have to be done, yet can easily done by someone “tuned” into my world of business. Great posts. I highly recommend a Virtual Assistant. I’ll even share mine as she is developing her business !

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, Chris. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Good to hear from you, Chris! Quick question … how long did it take your VA to get tuned into your business? Was it a long learning curve?

  • Christian Willoch

    Maybe it’s the fact that I’m from Norway, and businesses are not as big as in the US. PA’s are not all that common. But now we have a Dutch owner, and all the executives there have PA’s. And as an subordinate for some of them, I feel it’s a drag to go through their PA every time I want to have their attention.

    I can understand that in big businesses, the higher the mountain of hierarchy, the more you need someone to filter for you. But I have at least two objections:

    1. Isn’t their a purpose that technology can be used to filter and handle a lot of all the requests that come in course of the day? Outlooks busy/free time functionality, autoresponding, e-mail rules, etc. etc. 

    2. Shouldn’t I have direct access to my superior or the manager I’m reporting to when needed? I believe it’s bad management to not have this.

    • Christian Willoch

      BTW, Michael: great blog! I have been subscribing to the RSS feed for some time, and you’re on my top 10 list.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

        Thanks, Christian. I appreciate that. I have always wanted to visit Norway.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      We do use e-mail rules, filters, multiple accounts, etc. This works where the request is pretty routine. For whatever reason, I get a lot of requests that require human judgment to process.
      I definitely think you should have direct access to your supervisor. When I was a CEO, my direct reports always had instant access to me via phone or e-mail. However, they learned that it was more efficient for them to go directly to my assistant for some things.
      Thanks.

  • http://www.matthewreedcoaching.com/ Matthew Reed

    Right now my ONLY objection is “I’m not sure how I’d pay for it…yet!” Close, but not quite yet. 

    • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

      May I say, “if there is a will, there is a way”? 

  • chasflemming

    It all sounds cool and at some point–as the need and the means come to fruition–I will look into this.

    One of my concerns is the email screening. I recently had an unfortunate encounter with this when emailing you a question.

    Previously, I could email you a question and you’d either answer it or not. I understood your situation and knew you sometimes simply can’t take the time to answer these things. Interestingly, I had no way of knowing whether your emails were screened or not. Sometimes you answered and sometimes you didn’t.

    When I wrote you recently, I got a very nice email back explaining that you don’t have time to answer every email personally.

    Going forward, I am fairly confident that, unless I hit the sweet spot, you’re never even going to know whether I’ve written.

    When I’m writing a public figure–and I write often to very public
    figures–I’m used to sometimes being ignored and sometimes being answered. It’s just part of the package that comes with the privilege of communicating with busy people.

    Now, fairly or not, I feel condescended to and I no longer want to risk asking questions.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      How would you design it differently, Charles? I’d love your input.

      I get about 500+ messages a day, so reviewing them all would take me all day.

      • chasflemming

         The trouble may come when your tribe explodes, or when a new business or ministry venture brings in new streams of communication that you can’t handle. When this happens, folks that are used to getting in touch with you may suddenly find themselves cut off. If there’s no way to keep your earlier tribe connected, then you probably want to be careful what you communicate as you screen them. Any changes in protocol you find necessary should be as invisible and as gradual as possible.

        In my case, simply not responding would have been been more effective–and made better use of your assistant’s time.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          The problem is that not responding violates one of my core values—responsiveness. I appreciate your perspective, though. Thanks.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Thanks for the insight! I would love to know how you’d handle it? These situations are so difficult, and I’m always wrestling with what to say, not to say when I’m stuck in the tension between what I WANT to do and I what I realistically CAN do.

  • http://twitter.com/AceConcierge ♥ Suzie ♥

    Great post Michael. Virtual Assistants are certainly an added value to the life and productivity of entrepreneurs. Our goal is to give you back your time enabling you to focus on your core genius; the tasks and projects that ONLY you can do. 

  • CBowman

    From the other side…I actually work as a VA for EAHelp and just wanted to share some of my experience.  I love my work and I have found myself engrained the day-to-day, as well as the long term vision for my client’s career (and a few personal goals).  I find it extremely rewarding when I see his productivity increase and his stress decrease.  After only a 6 weeks, I find that the learning curve is flattening out a bit and we are moving on to more tasks for my oversight.

    I find that I have a wonderful client, who values me, respects me and has very open communication.  Having a great client, makes me a better EA!  What a great opportunity.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Catherine, for sharing that. I think it’s great to get the VEA’s perspective.

    • http://www.eahelp.com/ Tricia Welte

      Thanks Catherine.  Your case is a great example of what we strive for and why we serve the way we do.  A more productive client, an appreciated EA, open communication – it’s a winning combination for all parties.  Thanks for being a valuable part of the eaHELP team!

    • Teresa

      This is exactly the kind of position I’ve been looking for. What kind of wages could I expect to be paid?

      • Kay Baker

        Crickets…

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    It would make possible for me to focus on creating excellent presentations and powerful stories! Boy, you’re really tempting me with this post. All the objections are evaporating. I think I most need someone to help me with some of the tedious research I need to do for my blog, etc. That would be worth the investment for me. 

    • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

      Reading Michael’s post, I know it’s worth the investment for you, Michele. Your tribe is waiting for your excellent presentations and powerful stories!

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        Thank you, Joe! What a nice thing to say. I think I’m just about convinced. Had lunch with my husband and talked about it a few minutes ago. :)

    • http://twitter.com/CarlaRitz Carla Ritz

      Michele,
      I am a VEA and I have to tell you: the things you find tedious, some of us find very rewarding.  I have a love of research and organization that runs deep and I love being able to give my clients all the information they need in a useable format.  It is what I was wired to do.  Just another thing to think about – whatever it is you dread, there is someone out there who would jump at the chance to take it on.  

  • Marc Donaldson

    Can you give me a ball park range: how much does 15 hours a week cost?

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    The question hits home for me. My instant answer is an important task would have already been done rather than still be in process. I slow the process down.

    I recognize the power of virtual connections. Skype especially has proven a great visual way to connect with someone not in the room. I wrote of a short-term mission experience ( http://engagemagazine.com/content/across-room-or-around-world-lets-talk ) where my wife and I chatted every day (evening her, morning me) and it opened my eyes to a whole new opportunity to communicate with others.

    • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

      Good to read about your story, TNeal. Wish you the best as you consider going the high-tech way!

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

         Thanks, Joe. I am traveling it but ever so slowly.

  • Phil_Rhodes

    Michael, I hired a VA through EAhelp based on your recommendation.  It took me about six months to pull the trigger, but I haven’t regretted it.  I hesitated primarily because I thought, as a lawyer, a VA without legal experience and training wouldn’t work for me.  But, I worked through potential delegated tasks and realized that I needed help with many issues that didn’t require legal experience and training.  Plus, my EA, a highly intelligent assistant, has learned to perform some “routine” legal tasks as she learns my business.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m so glad, Phil. Great story. eaHELP is the BEST. I couldn’t be happier.

    • http://www.absolutelyvirtual.com.au/ Monika

       Phil I’m glad you found a VA that can help you but there are also many VAs that specialize in supporting clients from the legal profession.

  • http://twitter.com/lynntotherescue Lynn Dye

     Hi Michael,
    I came here to get a link to one of your other articles for some client work and saw this one and had to comment!
    I’ve been a VA for 4 years and went through a 20-week training program that provided a foundation for setting up my business.
    Most of the sticking points mentioned have to do with trust. I have at least two phone interviews with potential clients so we can get a good sense of each others work and communication styles. Something has to ‘click’ before each of us says yes.
    Another policy I’ve found useful for my clients is to have a 10-hour a month minimum. I’ve found that less than this doesn’t allow me to stay connected and engaged with what my client wants to achieve (#4 above).
    It’s definitely doable to securely have email access. I’ve done this with multiple clients as well as using SharePoint and other cloud and web accounts.
    I’m humbled at how quickly my clients will trust me with personal information. I value that trust and put in our agreements that their business remains between us and it won’t be discussed to the outside.
    Using help from the Philippines is crazy popular right now, but I think you are spot on saying to find a U.S. (or wherever the client is),  based VA. Someone outside this culture may be able to do the work, but the  cultural nuances are there and will usually lead to a miscommunication.
    Appreciate your support of the industry!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Lynn. I initially tried a VA from another country. It really wasn’t a positive experience. (I realize that others have had very positive experiences.) Nothing against the rest of the world, it’s just that I like supporting people in my own country. Thanks.

      • http://www.HireYourVirtualAssistant.com Owen McGab Enaohwo

        @mhyatt:disqus I will love love love love to change your opinion about working with a Virtual Assistant from another country, especially one from the Philippines. I am so eager to change your opinion that I am will to give you a chance to try out our services for FREE for 14 Days and if we suck please feel free to let your audience know. 
        We now live in a global society and there are VAs around the world. It does not necessarily mean that because they are located in the US then they are the best. Granted there might be cultural issues but even that is something that can be minimized if handled properly.Are you up from my challenge?

  • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

    Thanks Michael for sharing another great post on hiring a virtual assistant. To me, it’s a stretching thought nevertheless something worth doing.  A virtual assistant can surely reduce my administrative workload and help me focus more on speaking and coaching. And that’s the factor that motivates me to consider this modern-day option.

  • http://www.michaelgholmes.com/ Mike Holmes

    I must admit: I really have only used outsourcers (which are people from the Philippines or India) to do little administrative tasks. But I have yet to try a VA. Thank you Mike for this post which may push into this new arena!

    • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

      Mike, my VA is in India. She has a BA in economics, writes better English than I do, and handles the most complex reports and Excel things that I don’t even fathom. All for less than $10/hour and I overpay compared to the average over there because I want to.

  • Carmelo

    Hi Michael,

    To veer off the current subject just a bit, I noticed that you’re going to write a post on how we e-mail. That will be interesting! We’ve gone over to the Twitter world and instant messaging and texting, etc. And of course we have these comment arenas. 
    Yet, something is missing in our fulfillment in life. Humans want to really interact! We want more than the casual touch. We need it. Email is one way to get close to that.

    Here’s the thing. It’s simply impossible for someone like you to offer that to everyone here and we need to understand that we can’t seek that from you (or any of the “guru-type” figures online.) Does this diminish your value? Of course not. Although, for those that expect more than what is possible it may seem to.

    I think sometimes we want, event expect, something for nothing? Well, you have been very generous … it’s much appreciated!

    Carmelo

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Carmelo. This is a very good point. Thanks.

  • Sarah Cole

    You absolutely rock!!  It’s the best written article with regard to the mental roadblocks people have in hiring VA’s (virtual assistants).  Thank you for taking the time and helping our industry!!!  Sarah Cole VA on Demand

  • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

    @mhyatt:disqus Great points Michael. I’ve used a VEA (overseas) for about 5 years now. Got the idea first from Tim Ferris’ book. I never did get down to 4 hour work weeks but I cut about 20 and had a new freedom.

    She literally took care of all of my admin tasks and begged for more. She was always asking for more work. I am not an admin type and hate mundane tasks so it was a perfect fit.

    • Kay Baker

      Yeah she’s always “begging for more” because she’s basically a slave to low wages.

  • Pingback: The 10 Most Common Objections to Hiring a Virtual Assistant ... | Utah Metals and FabricationUtah Metals and Fabrication

  • http://somewiseguy.com/ ThatGuyKC

    As great a concept as a VA is for hiring an assistant, I think it’s also a solid job opportunity for someone organized, articulate and professional looking to work out of their home.

    No commute = no rush hour traffic

  • http://www.isimplifyva.com Melissa

    Terrific article, Michael!  I have worked as a Virtual Assistant for the past 7 years.  It allows me to stay home (and homeschool) my special needs kiddo.  And I love what I do!

    Just a little word of advice from a VA veteran to those thinking about hiring a VA - 
    Remember that Virtual Assistants are running a business, too.  Often we forget that other folks have overhead (office expenses, technology expenses, billing software, etc.).  If a VA names her price, try not to act too shocked.  ;)  We’re taking on all of the risk and all of the employment taxes for our clients!  :)

    If your VA is a good one, you’ll make that money up in saved headaches and recovered work and creativity time.  Most of my clients make more money now than when I first signed on with them!

    • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

      And you have some pretty stellar clients too!

      I thought about something from your comment. Since you take on all the overhead, taxes, etc. it makes it absolutely the best way to get help for a single-person business. 

      • http://www.isimplifyva.com Melissa

        Absolutely, Matt!  That’s what I always try to explain to potential clients.  And clients need to be careful as well that they don’t try to “go all employer/employee” on their VA because they could face tax evasion charges.  Supposedly, anyway.  I’m not a tax lawyer. ;)  

        • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

          Nice disclaimer :)

  • Tom

    Michael,

    Would you be interested in previewing a book for single women – about not being pressured to marry but to rely on God?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m afraid, I can’t. I get asked this several times a week and just don’t have the time. Thanks for thinking of me.

  • http://www.authorpeterdehaan.com/ Peter DeHaan

    I’ve been running a virtual business for eleven years; a virtual assistant would be a no brainer!

  • http://SourcesOfInsight.com/ JD Meier

    Beautiful insights and pragmatic examples.

    I like the fact that you made the point to write down your top three to four activities that you do well.  

    That is a big deal.

    Never outsource your core competencies :)
    Outsource the routine and mundane (or the things that suck your life force out.)

    It’s how you keep growing where it counts, expanding your capabilities, and giving your best where you have your best to give.

    I’m also a fan of business skills for life.  I believe that everything we learn in business and strategy for a sustainable business … including differentiation, vision, mission, values, and effective outsourcing … apply to a sustainable life.

    > I don’t know how many hours the work will take.
    I’m glad you pointed out that you first determine the work the VEA will do.  In project management, the secret of hiring the right people and building an effective schedule and knowing the actual cost in terms of time, all flows from having a great undertanding of the actual work …

    … List the job.  Identify the skills. Identify the time.  Add some buffer.

    Of all the insight you shared, the area where I still have the deepest question, is how you train somebody to filter your email for you.  That takes so much judgment and so much empathy, and in today’s world, it’s a really big deal, so I wonder how you were successful here? (I imagine something like a student-driver model, where you pair for a while, and then eventually they take the wheel?)

    I actually see many of the same skills involved in leveraging virtual assistants, are the same skills involved in building high-performing teams around the world.  I was lucky to be in a group where we would find the best people around the world, bring the dream team together for a blockbuster project, and turn virtual into an advantage.

    BTW — in my interactions with Tricia, she’s been great.  Very professional, and great follow up.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      J.D., I am planning to write on how to train someone to do e-mail. in short, start with the lowest level requests. The things you find yourself responding to repeatedly with the same answers. This is the kind of thing you can offload pretty easily and work up from there. Thanks.

  • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

    Working in the technology world, I can tell you the concerns you mention about IT are primarily from very large companies, especially if they have compliance concerns.  They are legitimate, but there are ways to work with these concerns.  

    I have had interactions with your VEA when I guest posted, and from the side of your “constituents” (meaning those you connect with via your blog), I can tell you she was always uber-responsive from that side too!

  • Sonia Schenker

    Thanks for this terrific article, Michael.  I’d like to share one more view from the other side. I became a freelance EVA when I was laid off in 2009.  Now I work fewer hours, have no commute and earn more money. My clients pay for projects they need and only when needed, plus they think I’m a magician because I perform tasks that take time away from their core competencies.  As a bonus, I have multiple streams of revenue; if I lose a client, it’s a smaller hit on my budget
    than losing a paycheck.

    There was a learning curve to becoming a business owner vs. being an employee, but the experience has been invaluable.  Now I have my dream job and secretly am grateful to the guy who let me go!  As an employee I was overhead.  As an EVA, I’m an asset.

  • Dougross

    Heard about tis for first time last night. Talking with a guy at a restaurant he told me he found a new – and better job – in two weeks using a virtual assistant out of India. Now, today, you write about it. His new job cost him $25.00. He and his wife were celebrating. Pretty amazing.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That is pretty amazing!

  • Woodynash

    You can share access to password protected websites with your VA without actually exposing those passwords by using LastPass.com. This is an amazing app which keeps the password hidden and fills them in for your VA. If you ever part ways you can simply revoke their ability to use those passwords. It works like a charm!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That’s very cool. Good to know.

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    Great post. I want to have a virtual assistant in the future. 

  • http://www.bobarron.com/ Bo Barron, CCIM

    Michael – I’m actually in the process of making my office virtual completely.  This means that I am turning my live, on-site assistant, who is an all-star, into a VEA.  I’m sending her home and I can’t be more excited about it.  Were I to not already have an assistant that I trust, hiring one would be a no-brainer…after I got over the 10 points you mentioned above.  Thanks for making this a topic of discussion.

  • Karen Brockman

    You made some great points, Michael!  Point #2 is what most of my clients and potential clients struggle with the most.  A good VA will be able to help and train their clients on best ways to delegate the work.  It’s an educational and training process for both.  Of course, trust must already be there for the client and VA to decide to work together. As trust builds, delegation becomes more of a natural process.  The client begins to think – Oh, yes, I don’t have to do that task because I have a capable assistant now!
    Thanks for listing these objections.  I may be sharing your post to help future potential clients.

  • Felice Gerwitz

    I used a VA and had her sign a non-disclose form and she ended up quitting and working for a competitor. That has really caused me concern. I’d love another VA however, this time I will use her more for some of the skills you mentioned rather than sensitive information dealing with my webinar and publishing business.  Reading your article has given me the confidence to give it another try! ~ Q: do you think it is appropriate to have a VA sign a non-disclose?

    • http://twitter.com/savvyvirtuals Savvy Virtuals

      I would say yes, it certainly is; especially if the nature of your work requires it. Bear in mind that it would need to be reviewed by the VA and take into consideration any laws which might apply in his/her country of operation. Ensure that there is a level of comfort between both parties about the Agreement. 

      Some non-disclosure forms will require that the information gained during the partnership is not shared within a certain number of months after termination of the partnership. 

  • Poppy Smith

    I read one of your previous posts about hiring a VA.  Did it three weeks ago and I’m delighted. Slowly working through backlog of ideas and projects.  Feeling relieved already. Thanks for encouraging this path to more productivity.  Poppy Smith, Speaker/Author

  • http://bekdavis.com/ Bek Davis

    great article.  a virtual assistant wears many hats & I think many business owners don’t understand the amazing business growth impact a VA can offer your business.  i’m all for using virtual assistants in my business.  

  • Sahar

    Dear Mike,
    Thats a very thorough article, as usual very well written and thought through.
    One point you raise is quite surprising to me: you say you hate spending money on overheads.
    While I understand the unnecessary inefficient spend that go through overheads,
    one of the beauties of leading a business is to provide jobs to people.
    From what I know from reading you, I believe you also see the power of supporting others to earn their livings. How come you hate spending money on overheads?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your comment.

      For businesses to succeed, they must be profitable. The more overhead you have, the more revenue you must generate. So I like keeping my overhead as low as possible, so I don’t have to generate so much revenue. To say it another way, I try to be frugal.

  • Pingback: Expanding Your Family? – 2 Ways You Can Expand Your Business So They Both Grow Together | Virtual Assistant Live

  • Pingback: Capital Decisioneering | Get a virtual EA today

  • http://www.remotestaffrecruit.com/ Philippine Virtual Assistants

    Cheers for this post Michael.  Hiring  for a Virtual Assistant is very efficient as we know that employing them has a lot of advantages. We will have more enough time and focus dong most important things.

  • http://www.lifestylebusinessdesign.com/ Matt John Canty

    I agree that virtual assistants can make things easier for you. Best thing really, is you can do more with your business, family, relationship, and other aspects of your life since your VA will take care a lot of things on your behalf. By the way, what made you decide to trust Tricia about your most confidential stuffs like credit cards etc.?  I believe this is really tempting for her to take advantage. Tricia must be really trustworthy, isn’t she? Is she Filipino? I guess Filipinos are really people whom you can trust. I have worked with them for how many years now and most of them have really proved this to me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TychiManagementGroup Chibi Gary

    My partner and I recently just launched our VA business.  Becoming a VA offers so much more diversification of our skills and brings about more challenges; something I was lacking in the corporate world.  With our corporate experience and educational background I decided to go at this full-time while she assists part-time.  It was great reading all of the positive feedback from those of you who are or have used VEA’s.

  • http://twitter.com/idealhelper Ideal-Helper.com

    One of the biggest, untapped potentials that you can use when you hire a virtual assistant is that often they are highly trained extremely capable people who are specialist already.

    Just as you wrote in your post; you can find experts within virtual assistants. If you know how to use their knowledge to make profit, then it’s a wonder why not more small business owners are fighting to get a virtual assistant on their team.

    Of course you’ll have to differentiate between the claims those VAs make and the real skills that they have, but once you find such a gem, it’s smart to not let him go.

  • http://www.alldaypa.com/ Joanne

    Great post. I think it’s extremely important to build some sort of relationship with your virtual assistant. The part you mentioned about not trusting them with credit cards etc is extremely valid. Get to know them, test them out, go off reputation and hopefully you’ll have an assistant that you can rely on and leave to the job in hand without worry!

  • http://www.Tufable.com/ Tufail Shahzad

    Michael,Very potential and important points you’ve highlighted about having a virtual assistant, I was looking for the same because I’m itself a virtual assistant but didn’t find the required information just like this. I don’t know why people don’t understand benefits of having virtual assistant, even Gmail also introduced features to collaborate with physical assistant/virtual assistant. 

  • Pingback: 5 Minutes a Day Can Transform Your Life - 30 Second Jenspiration Tip

  • http://twitter.com/SpringboardDesi SpringboardDesigns

    It’s important to note that not all virtual assistants are executive. Most entrepreneurs can benefit from at least two different types of virtual assistants- the type you refer to and marketing virtual assistants.
    These VA’s make updates to your website, help promote your content on social media, get higher search engine rankings, engage with visitors on social media and help you find prospects for your business. If you had both of these teams working for you- THEN you can focus on  the things you do best- creating content, speaking, networking etc. Things you absolutely can’t farm out.

  • Pingback: Podcast 001: Leveraging Your Time With a Virtual Assistant

  • http://twitter.com/GalFridayAndrea Your Gal Friday

    Thanks for cheering the virtues of a VA.  As the owner of a VA business, I would also like to stress the importance of taking the time to choose the right VA that fits your needs.  There are literally thousands out there and it can be a daunting task to find one that fits your business.

  • Alexander Green

    I have started using www.sgsolutionsus.com VA for almost 2 years so far it’s beed a great experience. They have a web development and SEO team also working along with the VA’s so that basically takes care of all my business needs. I guess that’s one advantage of working with a VA company. Will let you know if my opinion changes about them though, but so far so good.

  • Pingback: Why you WOULDN’T hire a Virtual Assistant. | St. Clair Virtual Support

  • Maregray75

    Hello. I am entering this conversation fairly late, but I’ve stumbled across this posting more than once, and read it through each time.  You make fantastic points Michael.  I think it’s fair to say that Virtual Assistants are probably as nervous as the business owners who are seeking them.  It’s likely to be slightly uncomfortable for both parties until a mutual foundation of trust is acheived, and that is when a great relationship is formed.  My $.02  Marie Gray – Gray’s Virtual Office

  • Sue

    Michael thank you for your continued support of the virtual assistance industry.  Another key point, though there are VA staffing firms which hire VAs as employees most VA firms are small business owners.  As small business owners we have a peer to peer relationship with our clients not employee to boss.  We bring our support expertise along with the knowledge of operating a small business. 

  • Sue

    Melissa,

    Good points - I’ll add a few additional ones for the audience regarding fees. 

    Keep in mind that a professional virtual assistant is a small business owner just like her clients.  Most clients prefer to partner with us long-term which increases the know, like, trust – priceless in a virtual relationship.  In order to stay in business long-term we charge fees which cover operational costs and reflect our knowledge and expertise.  Someone who is not a professional VA will not have these costs however they may not be in business long and they may not want to be.  Some who call themselves virtual assistants are doing virtual work until they land an employee position.  Professional VAs have chosen virtual assistance as their career – most of us own our firms similar to our clients. 

    Before partnering with a VA I coach and encourage potential clients to consider which they prefer – PT worker/employee vs. long-term partner with a business owner mindset.  One size does not fit all and that’s okay.  There are many great solutions in the marketplace today.    

    Michael on behalf of my fellow VAs thank you for being a consistent supporter of our industry.  I’ve been in business almost 10 years and have heard your name often.   

    Sue Harrawood
    Peace of Mind Virtual Assistance
    VA Client Relationship Coaching

  • lea@bpo24hour.com

    Slowly working through backlog of ideas and projects. Feeling relieved already. Thanks for encouraging this path to more productivity. clients prefer to partner with us long-term which increases the know, like, trust – priceless in a virtual relationship

  • Mel Mccauley

    http://www.sgsolutionsus.com has been amazing, I’ve been using it for nearly a year now, and have never really had a problem with it.

    My VA is an absolute star, before I started using these my life was complete chaos, constantly being frantic and running around, So im glad this company has been able to change that.

    A few of my colleague have also took on board my recommendations and have started using 247 as-well, and they’re all saying positive things.

  • Nico

    Thank you for this, Michael. I read everything you write. This and the life plan ebook will no doubt be your biggest impact on my life this year.

    I have been on the fence for 3 months about a va. In fact, even went so far as to interview a candidate, locally, only to not follow up due to the question of what exactly I would have her do.
    This is solid advice. Time I put it into action.

  • http://www.yepiclip.com/ yepi

    This article is very interesting. Thank you for giving me very detailed information and specific. Actually I was very impressed with what is on this site.

  • shhsecretary

    Thank you Michael for putting this in a context that I’m sure a lot of business entrepreneurs have been thinking about for a long time. As an Australian Virtual Assistant, it really great that you say engaging a ‘domestic VA’ is the path you’ve taken. I feel the same way, it’s important to have the same cultural understanding sometimes in business, although a lot of my Australian VA colleagues have overseas clients as well. Tricia sounds awesome! Shauna from Secret Secretary.

  • http://thesmartpa.com/ mivp

    I think the discipline to delegate is what keeps most people from doing it.
    http://thesmartpa.com/