Well, Get ready to get abused and understand few things on how to avoid getting abused.
Here is some insight about how these VAs work and when you should hire a VA and when you should not hire a VA. If you are a small business and you not ready to expand and setup a full ON office in Pakistan, Philippines or India yet then you will have to learn how to manage these remote employees as we expect a full ON abuse by these remote employees. So below are few key points for you to understand.
1. VA (Virtual Assistant) is a remote employee working for you from any lower income economy such as Pakistan, Philippines, Bangladesh or India etc and helping you with all day to day tasks including Listing creation, Customer Support, Feedback removal, Negative review removal or assistance, handling FBA shipments, Creating inbound shipments or whatever day to day tasks you have.
2. We not going to debate about weather a Filpino VA is superior over Pakistani VA over Bangladeshi or Indian VA and we not going to talk about which race is better, honest and more professional since the primary goal of EC (Extreme Commerce) is to promote Pakistan and build this back office support economy in Pakistan and bringing Pakistan on world map when it comes to Back office service economy.
3. You hire a VA from $400 all the way to $1200 depending on VA’s skills, knowledge, experience and abilities. You can find Less intellect vs smart, experienced vs inexperienced, Super capable vs less capable.
4. No, you cannot rely on a VA to run your business. A VA cannot run a business for you and earn money for you. You earn yourself and VA is just an employee. If you cannot command and lead the VA then do not expect VA making money for your business. VA’s don’t make money otherwise they would be business owner themselves. If you want VA to make money for you then you need a team. A team comes with Team lead + VAs. So the team lead is the most important person. You need to ensure a super capable, smart and capable team lead and pay him or over pay him because he/she is the one who is going to get the jobs done for you.
5. If you are too busy with your day job and you want someone to help grow your business then you need a partner. Not a VA. An Entrepreneur partner can lead and grow the business for you but a VA won’t be able to grow a business for you. If anyone thinks hiring a $400 VA will make them rich then they are living in a world of fantasy. And if anyone claims they are doing it, then all I ask them is one question. “How long you have been selling on Amazon?” Let your VA get your account suspended for life, then only you claim your skills and knowledge of this business. Do not start making claims about your skills and knowledge after selling on Amazon for few months.
6. How long a typical VA will spend a day? A very honest and good VA cannot give you more than 5-6 productive hours a day. So make sure you do not make a deal of 8 hours daily. You make a deal of 12 hours daily. This way he/she is available for 12 hours but the productive functional hours would be 5-6 hours max. Why is that? Remember a VA is working from home. There is no manager handling or watching the VA but his wife is the manager asking him to go and buy tomatoes and potatoes and pick up children from School. VAs tend to abuse the business owners. So make a contract so they are available for 12 hours at least. This way you have higher availability hours vs less working hours.
7. You must understand the difference between availability hours + working hours. No matter what you do, working hours cannot be more than 5-6 hours. A good and honest VA also have children to pick up from school and when they wake up, they are replying you from the bed telling you “Boss, this is exactly I am working on already”. While they are in the shopping mall, they will tell you “You are right boss, I found the bug or the issue of the listing already and I am on chat with Amazon CSR right now”. While visiting grandma in hospital or visiting mother in law’s house, they will be responding to you “Sir, I found the solution already and had a detail discussion on phone with Amazon. Now the next thing is to upload an excel sheet template so I have started working on it already”. Trust me, there is going to be so much BS. As a business owner, I have seen it all my life.
8. So expect a full on abuse from any remote workers since they mix up their personal life and work very quickly. Getting up late in the morning. Replying you from toilet, replying you from shopping mall, replying you from car, replying you from the house of Mother in law, replying you from the comfortable seat in cinema while watching the movie. So basically this is called “Availability hour” vs “Working hours”. So 12 hours of availability is no big deal. It’s not cruel at all and you are not violating human rights by making a contract with them to be available for 12 hours at least with 8 functional/working hours while expecting that you not going to get more than 5-6 working hours anyway.
So let me summarize. This verbal or written contract is important. It’s more about your understanding of how things work with remote employees. As a business owner you should have this knowledge because when you hire these VAs, good or bad, you don’t see the wife behind the scene, Mother in law, Children, Grandma in hospital, Tomatoes and Potatoes being part of their life.