If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to work with a virtual assistant, there will ultimately be areas of concern for you. The very fact that you are beginning to think about hiring a virtual assistant means that you have already invested a lot of time and money and no doubt long hours into growing your business, your reputation, and your customer base. This is where a lot of the worry comes from; knowing that it is safe to trust a stranger with everything you have built from the ground up. Well don’t worry, you are not alone and there are so many ways to protect yourself.

Your main worries:

· Loyalty – how do you know that someone you have never met to be loyal to you?

· Time keeping – how can you be sure that your VA is working efficiently and not charging you for their coffee breaks?

· Trust – putting your trust in someone without having worked with them before

· Knowledge – knowing that your VA has the right skill set in practice, not just on paper

How to cover yourself:

· Draw up an NDA for your VA to sign (this is very common, and they will be happy to do so)

· Use a password manager to keep your online world safe e,g, Dashlane and Lastpass

· Set up logins for your VA so that their name appears on everything they do, you can also restrict access (the modern-day paper trail)

· Use online shared spaces rather than giving immediate, direct access, e.g. Dropbox or Google Docs

· Draw up a contract

· Trust your instincts – speak to them, get a feel for the kind of person they are

In reality, these fears are very real but the threat is not. VA’s, especially small and independent ones build their livelihood on trust, on their reputation, on their results. Small businesses need to work harder, stand out from the crowd and achieve more simply for survival. Just like you, this is true of virtual assistants. Therefore, by putting your trust in them, they are also required to put their trust in you – you also have a moral and financial obligation to them, as well as the responsibility of setting tasks with realistic expectations and time frames and supplying the information needed for your VA to do a great job for you.

It is also worth remembering that VA’s do not have an HR department to hide behind, no union, no large team to help shoulder responsibility or blame. It is always in their very best interests to be loyal, trustworthy and excel for you; hence a strong and beneficial symbiotic relationship is formed. Also you are not expected to trust blindly, start out with a few hours trial period, set your VA a task that you know how to do and see if they get the same result in the same time. Then add a few more hours, delegate a bit more responsibility and, brick by brick, build a relationship that you can depend upon.

The best way to choose the right VA is to look at their website, their reviews, their testimonials, their core values, their skills and experience and make a decision based on all of these. Trust your gut, it has got you this far!