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3 Qualities to Look for In a Virtual Assistant

Updated on January 7th, 2017

Over the past few years, one of the most valuable investments I’ve made in my business is hiring a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant is a person who can help a business owner with a range of tasks including but not limited to answering e-mails, posting to social media, managing a calendar, and more.

Virtual assistants are great because you can outsource tasks that you don’t enjoy or don’t understand. I’ve had two different virtual assistants, and both are amazing. Below are some of the qualities they have that anyone should look for when hiring a virtual assistant for their own business.

1. Responsiveness

When you are trying to hire a virtual assistant and you interview several candidates, play close attention to how responsive they are. The best virtual assistants are quick to respond to e-mails and requests. This is really helpful if you have a last minute change or a short deadline.

Of course, it’s important to be reasonable and you can’t expect your virtual assistant to respond to you on holidays or other days off, but overall responsiveness is one of the most important qualities to look for in a virtual assistant.

2. Discretion

Even if you don’t think your business requires a lot of discretion, you’d be surprised at how important this is. You don’t have to run a medical practice to want to keep information private. Remember that even if you run a small one person business, it’s important that you don’t share your payments, expenses, or clients with the world.

Having a virtual assistant who is trustworthy and discreet is very important. I’ve had two virtual assistants and I had them both sign a non-disclosure agreement. I don’t mind telling my friends and fellow colleagues about my business or who I’m working with from time to time, but I want it to be my choice who knows about my business. Ultimately, I want to have someone on my team who I can trust.

3. Attention to Detail

There’s nothing worse than having a virtual assistant who is sloppy. I’ve heard of many business owners who hired virtual assistants to complete certain tasks only to have to re-do those tasks themselves because of sloppy work.

Before you hire someone, be sure to call their references and also look at past work. If they have good attention to detail, you can rest assured they will have good attention to detail in all aspects of their lives. One great way to tell if they have good attention to detail is to look at their e-mails. If they are riddled with typos or careless mistakes, is that someone you want to represent you and your business in an e-mail?

Ultimately, there are many important qualities a virtual assistant must have but attention to detail, discretion, and responsiveness are three of the most important ones. If you can find a virtual assistant with these qualities and more, you will be well on your way to having the help you need in your business so that you can focus more on the work you love.

Catherine Collins Alford

Catherine Collins Alford

Catherine Collins Alford is a nationally recognized author of the book Mom's Got Money, an award-winning freelance writer, and the co-founder of

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