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All week, I have been writing about the YouEconomy, a term used to describe the power of the individual offering their services to the market. The platform not of employees, but independent contractors, moonlighters, temp workers, diversified workers and micro-entrepreneurs.
In my last blog, I shared not only how we are all part of the YouEconomy, but more so, how we rely on this platform in our everyday lives. I referred to examples such as your attorney, doctor, house cleaner, mechanic and others as folks who provide you with temporary projects (haircut anyone) or virtual expertise, like your accountant. Your accountant is most likely not a full time employee of yours.
I also outlined some of my favorite virtual assistant platforms that can be applied to your commercial real estate practice, for such services as research, marketing, social media and even prospecting. However, with all the positive leverage you can secure with virtual assistants, there are also essential rules you should follow to make sure you do not get burnt.
Through scores of iterations in working with virtual assistants, I have found these rules to help me get the most in terms of quality of work and consistency in price.
7 Secrets to Successfully Working with a VA
1) Test your VA before hiring
If you have a project to secure hundreds of email addresses, then give them 10 contacts, whose email you know and ask them to secure these 10 as a test. You probably won’t have to pay them, and if they get all 10 correct – great, hire them for the big project. If not, move on to another vendor.
2) Always get samples of their work
Most VA’s will offer a portfolio of their work, and even share testimonials (Upwork is great for this). Review these portfolios as you may find their samples help you better define your projects.
3) Escrow your money -never pay up front
Another reason I love Upwork. Once you agree on the project scope and size, you fund the project through a simple escrow portal. The escrow is only released when both parties agree to the satisfactory completion of the project.
4) Have the ability to rate the VA
Several portals allow this. This is a key lever if a project is done poorly. I have given a vendor a choice of me paying for a project done poorly, and me rating the vendor very low, or me not paying the vendor and not rating the vendor. To no surprise, the vendor agreed not to be paid as long as I did not rate him (and rate him poorly). These ratings stay with the vendor, and it will hurt them for future work.
5) Assume your work will be resold
Sad, but true. You really have little legal recourse with projects you source to a VA, especially a VA located outside your home country. I had a VA in India purge a national CRE company’s entire broker list. Over 1,000 emails. It took them 1 day and cost me $85.00. I knew, however, they were going to resell the data to a list broker. You simply need to recognize this when working with international sources.
6) Never settle on the low cost provider
I have found, like in life, cheaper is rarely better. With several VA portals you can find your inbox overrun with proposals. The easy thing to do is delete all the higher cost options. Don’t. Review the proposals and pick 2-4 that you can test, regardless of proposed rate.
7) Understand the YouEconomy is a global economy
There are very capable people in India, Vietnam, the Philippines, and all over the world who have the skill set to meet your needs. Yes, I always prefer to fulfill my projects with US-based vendors, but also remain cognizant that sometimes better choices are abroad.
You are a big part of the YouEconomy. Follow these 7 steps and you will be able to grow your economy while leveraging the virtual skill sets of others.
If you have worked with virtual assistants, comment below and let us know any additional tips you may have.