When we first mentioned to our team that we were looking into hiring virtual assistants to assist us with growing our consulting business there was a little hesitation, fear of change and why we going down this path as a business.

For many people who haven’t worked on a global scale or with multi-national teams spread in different locations, there is still the perception that this is the exploitation of people from disadvantaged countries. There was also the question around what will happen to me and my role.

People need to be educated around the fact that these virtual assistants are not being exploited at all. Technology is now giving them the opportunity to be employed by organisations outside of their home countries and earn a greater income to improve their standard of living. Many of these assistants are single mothers or are the main income earners for large families. If you treat them well and pay them on time they will quickly become one of your most loyal, hardworking team members.

Over time our support team have also realised that it has never been about training up virtual assistants to take over their roles. It has been about training up these virtual assistants to manage the repetitive, transactional, daily or ad hoc time consuming tasks so that our team have the time to research new ideas, software, applications and processes to constantly improve how we do things. Most importantly, it gives our local team members the time to develop themselves, their knowledge and their skills. A win/win outcome for both the virtual assistant, other team members and your consulting business.

It is not a question of whether or not you will employ a virtual assistant, the question is when. But great administration and support team members are very hard to find so you don’t want them to feel insecure about their future. Communicate with them, explain what you are trying to achieve. Put systems in place, document and video your processes and learn all you can about integrating virtual assistants into your team. It is all about education and embracing change and ensuring your consulting business is as competitive as possible during these challenging times.