Having a virtual assistant is an exciting experience and when it works well it's amazing for your business as well as your sanity. That being said, if you attempt to overload your virtual assistant and give him or her way too much work, you'll notice the detrimental aspects of this quickly. One of the reasons that I chose to write about this particular topic is because I have seen many people making this mistake on a regular basis and when they do so, they realize that they wish to terminate their relationship with their virtual assistant.
Sometimes the end of a good virtual assistant and client relationship is not due to mistakes on the virtual assistant's part, even though the employer may see that things are slacking and falling off and this is what prompts the termination of the contract. Read on to learn more about three things that give you a clear sign that you have overloaded your virtual assistant as well as what you can do to salvage the relationship and get back on track.
Why So Many Virtual Assistants End Up Having This Problem
Many virtual assistants end up being overwhelmed with too many tasks simply because they have been amazing at their jobs. Many of them have what I like to call superhero syndrome which means that they want to please their clients and do more and more to achieve the goals and make the client happy. While this is certainly a noble effort, it's one that can actually beat your detriment if you don't communicate to the client that he or she has given you too much work.
A virtual assistant needs to be knowledgeable about his or her own limits and understand the best ways to handle the situation if it arises. It’s definitely a good idea to want to please your client, you should also be aware of when they are approaching way to close to your own limits so that you can fix this situation and find an appropriate solution.
Sign #1: The VA Begins to Get Sloppy
You will notice that work begins to get sloppy when you have given your VA too much work. Sloppy work on its own does not necessarily mean that you have over delegated things but instead your virtual assistant in this particular situation may be unable to keep up with the amount of task that you are giving him or her and may not want to say anything.
There are many different reasons that work can get sloppy including the person having something going on in their personal life, taking on too many clients on their end or simply being bored of the work. But you should definitely make an effort to discover this as soon as possible. Ask your virtual assistant what the challenges he or she is facing because you may be able to do something to help address these problems in the long run. If it's a personal issue, of course, it's also your sign to determine whether or not to continue working with this particular virtual assistant.
Sign #2: Deadlines Start Being Missed
You will notice that deadlines come and go when your virtual assistant is overloaded simply because he or she can work 10 or more hours a day and not be able to keep up with the workflow. This is certainly not uncommon if you are approaching a major concept like a product launch or something similar but if this becomes a regular habit, then it's a sign that you actually need a second virtual assistant or you need to relieve some of the pressure on your initial virtual assistant. You run the risk of burning out a perfectly good VA if you do not make the effort to discover what's going on and figure out how you can help. Remember that many VAs are not necessarily motivated to let you know what is happening because they will feel embarrassed or simply don't think of it. So it's your job as a client to do the extra legwork and discover what is going on and specifically how you can help.
Sign #3: Your VA Becomes More Difficult to Communicate With
If you were easily able to touch base before but it's now practically impossible to get in touch with your virtual assistant, it could be because you have given him or her too much work. Some virtual assistants like to focus completely when they are working on a particular client's project. That means they turn off their phones, emails and other notifications that could distract them.
If you have given your virtual assistant a great deal of work and he or she doesn't feel like they come up for air, you run the risk of burning them out or making them dislike working for you. It's a good idea to notice when this continues to happen. Of course, lack of communication is not a sign all on its own that something you have done has influenced your virtual assistant. Instead, there may be things going on in his or her personal life but it is a good opportunity as a client to reach out and touch base.
Your virtual assistant might not even realize that you are aware of the lack of communication or the missed deadlines. This is your opportunity to step in as the manager and find out more information so you can rectify the situation as quickly as possible.
What to Do When Your VA is Overloaded
If you realize that you have given your virtual assistant too much to do and have noticed one or more of the signs above, there are a couple of different steps you can take. This includes:
Hiring another virtual assistant to pick up the slack. If you choose to do this, identify what your current virtual assistant is best at or enjoys doing and allow him or her to continue. It's natural for virtual assistant to grow into a bigger role in your company as you evolve.
Take back some of the tasks yourself. If you cannot yet afford or if you don't want to manage another virtual assistant or a team of individuals, you may need to take back some of the tasks yourself. For example, perhaps you gave your virtual assistant a task like updating SEO tags in your website but because this is not his or her area of expertise, it is taking much longer. If you identify that task that your virtual assistant doesn't necessarily need to do or detracting from the things that he or she does best, it's a good opportunity to identify somebody else or to do it yourself in short term until you can find another solution.
Be aware of the signs of giving your virtual assistant too much to do. It could lead to a significant slowdown in your business and a deteriorating relationship between you and your VA.