Can I Trust a Virtual Assistant?


One of the hardest things about running a business is trust it to someone else – especially when you put so much care into your business. It’s difficult to find and train the right people for your business if you don’t have experience.

Many times when things go wrong we pull back and think “I just can’t trust my team; they keep screwing up the most basic things!” Sometimes this means shying away from the growth potential in your business or fighting against your team.

Here are 3 tactics to building trust with your team:

1. Use A Contract

Fears are rooted in ego – often times it’s our tendency to protect ourselves from pain. So while you can’t let those fears stop you, listen and take action to do what’s necessary to protect the business. You wouldn’t jump out of an airplane without a parachute and a contract is your parachute.

Start at the beginning of your relationship with a contract, a common practice in online businesses. A professional agreement may also include non-disclosure or non-compete clauses. When hiring you can interview people on their values and issues of integrity but asking them to sign to that intent is added protection.

If you haven’t used an agreement like this before you can have a business lawyer draw one up quickly to protect your interests. An agreement also details what happens in case of a dispute, giving you options if things should go wrong.

2. Be the Coach

Imagine for a moment that you’re teaching a child how to do chores around the house. But every time Junior misses a step or forgets something you step in and do it yourself. Sure, the task may get completed quicker *this* time but Junior will never learn how to assist and you’re wasting your time. What’s worse, if you do this in your business you’re also wasting money paying someone and not letting them learn.

When you transition to a team in your business, you’ve got to change your role from being the player on the field to the coach. Your role is changing so there’s bound to be some growing pains. As you’re training your team, instead of getting upset about what went wrong, figure out why.

Let me illustrate this with an example from one of my clients. One of the early systems I co-created with Charles was his e-zine process. And once we hired an assistant to manage the weekly e-zine, the first week went great. Except Charles needed changes to the pictures inserted in the e-zine. Which told me that 99% of the system was working and we just had to make changes to that last 1%. So we went back to the system and gave more detail, added some screenshots and a video showing how the image should look. The next week it was perfect!

Typically, business owners can’t see the big picture on their own and, when frustrated by a mistake, say “forget it, I’ll do this myself!” Here we were able to isolate that there was a lack of clarity in the directions. The great thing about Charles is he stuck to it and six months later the system is still working!

3. Extend Trust in Pieces

Instead of handing over the keys to the kingdom, it’s normal to extend information and access to your team slowly as they continue to prove themselves. I was once given credit card information via chat for a brand new client – before the contract was in place! Do you see how that could have gone horribly, horribly wrong?

Again, I recommend using Backpack because you can separate your business information on individual pages and grant access per person, per page. Trust your intuition when it comes to extending trust – sometimes it helps to set benchmarks so that you check in on your team members and set goals.

If you’re working with a coach or consultant, you can get feedback about how your team is doing and when it’s acceptable to extend more trust. Many times we’re too close to the situation to see clearly so having outside perspective is important.

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