When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be tempting to set your VA to work after a quick introductory meeting and an explanation of what needs to be done.
But by taking just a few minutes to ask some key questions, you can be safe in the knowledge that you are working with a professional Virtual Assistant who is fully compliant with the legal and professional standards required of the profession.
1. Do you have appropriate insurance?
Professional Indemnity insurance is a must-have for any Virtual Assistant to protect both your business and their own. If your VA comes to your place of business or you go to theirs, they may also need Public Liability insurance.
2. Are you registered with the ICO?
If your VA handles personal data (and it’s highly likely that they do), they need to be registered as a Data Controller with the ICO. The same goes for Anti-Money Laundering registration if they will be handling finance-related tasks or accessing your financial information (although exemption criteria can sometimes apply).
3. Do you have a contract for your services?
It’s critical to define the legal and professional nature of your relationship with your VA in writing, to ensure that the scope of works, costs and any supporting terms and conditions are clear to both parties.
4. Have you got experience in the type of tasks I need help with?
This sounds obvious, but some VAs may be tempted to offer help with tasks they have never performed before. It’s in our nature to be helpful! Asking what experience your Virtual Assistant has in the areas you need support with will help to ensure a job well done.
5. What hours do you work?
In the past, we have been approached by clients who had previously hired a VA who didn’t work the hours in the day when the client needed them the most.
Virtual Assistants are freelancers, and so they are of course able to set their own working hours, but if you have a report that needs to be sent by 12pm on a Wednesday, it’s critical to check that your VA will be at their desk to do it for you.
Any professional VA should volunteer the above information in your initial consultation, but if not, use this handy checklist to ensure you engage with an Assistant who has set up their business in the right way and is qualified to do the work required.
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