So you have made the decision that 2012 is going to be your year. You want to grow your business and you have decided that outsourcing your administration to a Virtual Assistant is the way to help do this.

Great decision! This can be a very scary time outsourcing parts of your business, but never fear Little Miss Useful has some great tips to make the outsourcing process a little smoother.

1. Start out small

I have outsourced myself and know first-hand what it is like to feel like you are losing a little bit of control in your business (particularly hard if you are a control freak like me!), so the best way to do this is to start out small.

Once you have found a provider, start by sending adhoc jobs and as you receive the work back and feel ready to hand over more, then do so. Starting out slowly helps to build the trust between you and your Virtual Assistant.

2. Be specific

Being specific about what you want and also what your deadline is will definitely make outsourcing easier. Your Virtual Assistant will more than likely have a few clients at a time so the more specific you are about a deadline the better your outcome will be.  It also makes your virtual assistant’s life a little easier when it comes to prioritising tasks.

The other thing to do is tell your virtual assistant which are your priorities, particularly important if you hand over a long list of things to do. Tell your VA which is the most important to you to be completed first and then work from there.

Quick Tip: Also be very specific with how much time you want spent on a task, which will avoid any high bills. My clients can quite often say keep going until you have done 2 hours work and then let me know where we are at. It is a great way to stay in touch about a project and also keep your costs under control.

3. Don’t choose a Virtual Assistant based solely on price

I know price (especially in small business) is a consideration, but please don’t let it be your only consideration. You are paying your Virtual Assistant not only for their time but also for their expertise and knowledge. My client’s quite often don’t only use me to do the work but also to consult for my ideas on how a process can work better. What you need to look at is the value you are getting from your Virtual Assistant instead of worrying about the price so much.

JUST FOR FUN! I saw this on Facebook the other day (can’t remember who shared it, so sorry to whoever it was!) and thought it was very clever and oh so relevant.

4. Do your research

Finding the right Virtual Assistant can take time, so make sure you do your research. Ask colleagues if they have ever used a VA and if they have any recommendations, I don’t think you can beat recommendations when working with a Virtual Assistant. There are also dedicated websites and networks that help you find the right VA’s. Companies like can help you with your search. Companies like that usually have reference checks and certain service level standards they operate to.

5. Always sign a contract

There I said it and yes a lot of people don’t like to work using a contract, but it is so important that you do. The contract protects you and tells you how your information is used. More often then not, when working with a Virtual Assistant you need to give them access to a lot of sensitive information, whether that be passwords or actual information on your products. So a privacy policy and contract is a must!