If I were able to wave a magic wand and get everything that I wished for, surely I would conjure up a carbon copy of myself to be the ultimate, proactive virtual assistant. What is a proactive VA? Typically, the longer you work with your assistant, the better they get to know you, your processes and how you operate. You would not have to communicate with this person to the extent of someone you just on-boarded to your team, and could rely on them to do exactly what you wanted, in the way that you wanted it to be done. A virtual assistant who is a knowledgeable, savvy business veteran can really provide you with your money’s worth when it comes to your time and business.
On the other hand, a reactive VA is someone who does exactly what you tell them to do, exactly when you tell them to do it. This is usually a newer assistant or someone who very task oriented and does well with specific instructions. Being reactive is not a bad thing, and I’ll talk about that in another post, but it all depends on what you need.
Hiring a virtual assistant who is proactive as opposed to being reactive is great when you don’t have time to spend laying out all of the details and confirming what needs to be done. There’s nothing like the peace of mind you get when you know that your virtual assistant is quite capable of filling in the dots. There may be several different potential outcomes according to a set of parameters that only emerged as the job was in the process of being completed, and in this case you do not want to be on standby all the time to provide guidance in order for the virtual assistant to follow the correct path. A proactive virtual assistant will be able to take necessary action and will be the ultimate self-starter. You give them a few guidelines and they are able to run with the assignment to completion.
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It may be necessary for you to outline a set of parameters in the beginning when you initially hire your virtual assistant to work with you. But the beauty of working with an assistant who you know to be a self-starter and who will be able to make the right decisions is that you do not have to allocate a lot of your valuable time to be constantly on top of the job.
Looking at it another way, a proactive virtual assistant can be helpful the way that a business advisor would be and can also act as an early warning system if something starts to go wrong. Constantly on the lookout for potential warning signs or indications that things are amiss, your virtual assistant will know exactly the right time and the right place to get in touch with you, in order to ensure that things are brought back on track as soon as possible. Remember that there is always a time and a place for proactivity in terms of business growth and expansion, but there is definitely a need for a virtual assistant who will also be the eyes and ears of the operation, while the principal is engaged in more delicate or refined activity.
This of course is the tricky part. You probably won’t know if you have a proactive VA until you really get into the bones of working with them. For the first few weeks as you establish your relationship, much of their operation will be reactive in nature. I would advise you to find someone who is an independent VA or has the abilities and creativity to think outside the box. You wouldn’t want to hire a worker from another country for a wage of $4 an hour, because chances are they would be a very task oriented, reactive worker. In a previous post, I talked about why hiring an Ambitious, Entrepreneurial Assistant was beneficial, and this is a reason why. Those types of workers tend to be more proactive.
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