4 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring Your First (or Next) Virtual Assistant

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Whether you’re ready to hire a VA (like yesterday) or are intending to hire one in the near future, this post will help you to prepare well. It’s also going to save you from hiring someone who is not really a good fit for you and your needs.

A few weeks ago a girlfriend posted asking for advice about hiring her first VA, and then a former client of mine asked me about the hiring process, and I knew it was time to write this so that more women could benefit from it.

So, if you need to hire help in growing your business and body of work, and you want to do it well the first time around, let’s dive right in:

1. Don’t Hire a Shadow VA (I Repeat: DON’T Hire a Shadow VA).

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Have you ever heard of the term ‘shadow artist’ by artist and author Julia Cameron? If not, here’s the skinny: a shadow artist is an artist in hiding — an artist that hangs around other artists but doesn’t make her own art. In some ways, she denies her gifts (and what she really wants for herself), while she unconsciously fills a void by hanging around others that are doing the work she wants to do.

Look, there are virtual assistants who do NOT want to be virtual assistants, floating around everywhere in the online space. VA work is a means to an end for them. Like, they don’t actually want to take tasks and to-do’s off your plate, they’d rather be in your shoes. Usually it goes something like this: someone who wants to be running her own visionary or mission-based business says, “let me work for someone who is doing what I want to do so I can learn from them while I grow.”

And while the desire to work for someone who is doing what you want to do might seem innocent and even intelligent, in my honest opinion, it quickly becomes a conflict of interest. 



Here’s the thing: as someone who LOVES to pass off the not so exciting tasks and to-do’s to someone else, I can tell you that the energy exchange between you and the VA is everything. You DO NOT want to feel like you’re burdening someone with the tasks you’re assigning to them. NO. You want to feel excited to give them the tasks, and you want to feel that they receive them with arms wide open.

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I know, I know, it IS strange (to me at least) that some people actually want to handle things like customer service, scheduling emails, setting up automations, handling client care, sending agreements, setting up opt-in pages, tracking data etc. etc. but trust me, those people DO exist and they are a total joy to work with, because you feel GREAT giving them those tasks.

What I want to help you avoid here is a) holding back the tasks and to-do’s you most need help with because you feel the person on the receiving end of said tasks is annoyed or not excited by them and b) getting into a short term work scenario in which the VA soon decides that she needs to up-level and step into her vision.

While you will want to cheer her on (rightfully so) you’ve just spent your precious energy and time training her, and now you’ll need to start over with someone new.

My fool-proof method for vetting out the shadow VAs? Ask each VA you interview a series of questions that helps you to see their big vision for themselves and their life. If their genius zone and vision for themselves doesn’t involve working on a team for you, or for someone like you, they’re not the right person for the job. Next! 


The second mistake to avoid when hiring a VA is…

2. Not Knowing What You Need (Very Specifically) Before Hiring.

Make a list of exactly what you’ll be delegating, before you start looking for someone.

What are the programs and apps you need this person to be proficient in? What tasks will you be sending to them? What are you MOST excited about taking off your plate? Keep a piece of paper near your computer or work space, and every time you catch yourself doing something you don’t really feel is the BEST use of your time, write it down. You can go back later and categorize some of these tasks or ‘energy leaks’.

Think of this as you getting clear with the Universe. You’re like, “Hey God, hey Universe, I need a supportive person to help me with my mission.” If you’re not clear on what the person will need to help you with, you’re not going to know how to choose the best fit for you, when you start the hiring process (even though you’re highly intuitive, clarity on this is still so vital).

This leads right into the third mistake to avoid…



3. Hiring Without Assigning a Test Project 



It’s not only vital that you know what tasks and to-do’s this person can take off your plate. It’s also vital that you get to know who they are. Their energy and their vibe matters. You’re going to be working closely with this person, you know? You want it to be an uplifting and supportive match. This is why I recommend having a ‘trial period’ through a test project. After the project, if you’re happy with the way it went, you can officially bring them on board. 

The test project will help you determine things like:

  • Can they communicate openly, clearly, and effectively?

  • Are they late to meetings?

  • Do they make excuses, or do they own their shortcomings and mistakes?

  • Are they happy?

  • Do they have a problem solving mindset? 
Do they gossip?

  • Do they take pride in their work?


  • Are they so bogged down by 100 clients that they bring stress into your business and creative space?

You won’t know the answers to these questions until you get started on a project together. Make an agreement to start with a test project (you of course pay them for this) and at the end of the project you can determine if you want to bring them on board, fully. 



Which leads me to ONE more mistake I want you to avoid…


4. Hiring Someone Who Doesn’t Take The Initiative 



You’re already busy. You have enough on your plate. The last thing you need is someone asking you step by step instructions on how to do something that they can easily google or find the answer for in a forum somewhere. Hire someone who can receive a task, and figure that sh*t out for you, without you needing to be super involved.



If you loved this and found it helpful, leave me an emoji in the comments below.

And, if you’ve started the process of hiring a VA leave me a ‘1’ in the comments, and if you’re ready to get started (especially after reading this) leave me a ‘2’. 



Big Love,



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WANT MORE?

Go From Overwhelmed to On-Point with Your Purpose Work with the Deeply Supported Mother Workbook

deeply-supported-mother-workbook

If you want to:

  • identify what needs to come off your plate NOW

  • map (and start to magnetize) your ideal support system with one of my favorite exercises (SO YOU CAN SHIFT INTO TRULY THRIVING)

  • get instant insight on doing work and motherhood on your own terms 

  • take the next-level action steps you’ve been avoiding

Then, this is for you. Download it below for instant access. 

 
 
 

I Stopped Being a Martyr and Finally Hired a House Cleaner (and It Healed My Most Important Relationship).

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I hated the fact that I was always cleaning. Not only was I angry that I was always cleaning (and never getting anywhere with it) but I was constantly micromanaging my partner to get his help with the tasks I didn’t like doing. 

I would say, “Hey, the toilets need to be cleaned” or “Hey, the kitchen floor is super bad” and then he wouldn’t do it within the time frame I wanted it done, so I would end up cleaning it all, while feeling angry that I was the one doing it. 

*Side note: I don’t like when anyone tries to determine what I do with my time and energy, so I don’t blame him, and this actually isn’t about him at all. It’s about me, and my patterns, and my responsibility to address them, for myself, and for my children.*

Eventually the anger I felt about cleaning, turned into resentment. Why was I the one always cleaning? Didn't we all live here? Why is it that he/they can just relax, while I have to clean? When will I get to enjoy that? How can I change this?

I started the process of hiring a house cleaner (more than once) but couldn’t seem to follow through on actually hiring, so I started to examine this dynamic, with even more curiosity.

What was really preventing me from having more ease, more enjoyment, and less on my plate? It was easy for me to say I wanted all those things, but why was it so hard for me to actually let go of the housework?

The strange truth that I discovered: It was much harder for me to let someone else clean the house, than it was for me to actually clean the house. 

Because if I wasn’t getting recognition through cleaning, what did that mean for my self-worth and self-image? Who was I, and how could I measure my value? The hard truth was that I was really comfortable in the role of ‘the one who cleans’ because I unconsciously used that role to secure love and recognition for myself. 

When I finally hired someone to clean our home on a regular basis, I was forced to explore what might happen if I became a version of myself who didn’t clean, and didn’t suffer for acknowledgement. 

The best part about finally letting go, and investing in the support I knew I wanted?

My intimate relationship with my partner improved drastically. Sex is better. Everything is better. Because I no longer need to be seen as someone who ‘does it all’ I’m enjoying life much more. And because I no longer feel overwhelmed by the cleaning, I no longer try to micromanage his time and energy. 

Suffering for love (aka martyrdom) was something I witnessed as a child, and it was something I continued to perpetuate, until I decided not to anymore — until I decided that my worth wasn’t tied to the results I produced in the home, but rather to the essence of the woman I am. 

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a breeze. 

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The part of me that only felt worthy, if she was producing some kind of result, did not want to let that source of recognition go. And if I’m being honest, that part of me still exists and seeks acknowledgement in other ways. 

It took a few visits from the new cleaner for my nervous system to adjust, for me to really relax (instead of fret about while she cleaned), and for me to actually feel worthy and deserving of that kind of support. 

Are you actively examining the ways in which you suffer (or over-work) for love, approval, or recognition? Are you aware of the disempowering ways in which you seek acknowledgement from others?

Are you attached to playing a role that you don’t really enjoy, because you think it makes you a more valuable person? 

It’s time to stop that, 'cause you’re worthy, without the suffering. 

Big Love,

Jillian Xx


WANT MORE?

Go From Overwhelmed to On-Point with Your Purpose Work with the Deeply Supported Mother Workbook

deeply-supported-mother-workbook

If you want to:

  • identify what needs to come off your plate NOW

  • map (and start to magnetize) your ideal support system with one of my favorite exercises (SO YOU CAN SHIFT INTO TRULY THRIVING)

  • get instant insight on doing work and motherhood on your own terms 

  • take the next-level action steps you’ve been avoiding

Then, this is for you. Download it below for instant access.