10 Challenges Faced When Hiring a Virtual Assistant from Venezuela

Steve

So, you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner that has realized the value of hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) from Venezuela. Congratulations! Venezuelans are just as professional, hard-working and determined as any others.

The recent political and economic strife within the country has motivated Venezuelan workers to seek professional opportunities with foreign employers.

This scenario is the perfect setup for you as an entrepreneur looking for remote workers. While this working relationship is mutually beneficial, there are some things you must know before bringing a Venezuelan VA on board.

If you understand these challenges, you can create an environment where your Virtual Assistant thrives and produces quality work that sparks pride in both of you.

Here Are Some of The Challenges You Can Expect:

Not Understanding the Current Political and Economic Issues

While this may not be specific to your VA, you must understand what is happening in Venezuela as well as its potential impact on the typical workday.

Since President Nicolas Maduro has taken over, the country’s once well-running democracy has faltered. Inflation rates are the highest in the world, reaching more than 1.000.000% this year, food and medicine are inaccessible at times, and GDP has fallen 35 percent over the last four years. Venezuela went from being the richest country in the South American region to the poorest country in the world.

With that said, there are some good opportunities for employers to hire very talented candidates at the lowest rates worldwide.

Spotty Internet

It is an understatement to say that the Internet is the foundation for any remote worker’s profession. As of 2018, 81 percent of Venezuelans have reliable and consistent internet access but internet loss can still happen.

This can be incredibly frustrating. You’ve got deadlines and you need to communicate with your VA. We get it. However, do not let this deter you. While this can happen it is not frequent. Also, think about what they can do when there isn’t Internet access. Take the time to remind your Venezuelan VA that you understand the difficulties. But also have a backup plan if this occurs.

You may want to have tasks that can be done offline such as data entry, document editing, or scheduling which can be discussed with your VA ahead of time in case of internet issues.

You might also ask your VA to upgrade their internet connection if you need higher internet speeds. Venezuelan Internet speed averages 4-6 Mbps and costs approximately $3 a month.  Your VA can upgrade to higher speeds of 10 and 20 Mbps. for the modest cost of $10 – $20 depending on the provider and the area.

Failing to Effectively Communicate

Take a moment to put yourself in this scenario. Imagine yourself as a VA. You just finished the task of creating a list of over 100 potential partners and investors you were interested in. You feel excellent knowing that you researched these individuals well and included all the necessary information. You show this list to your employer and he has complaints, many critiques, and add-on requests that were not included in the original task briefing. Initially, he just asked for you to create a list of potential partners and investors, but now he is expecting things that were not specified in the original task.

How would that make you feel? You would likely feel frustrated and incredibly confused. So, don’t do this to your VA. Be very clear about what you need from them, and when you need it. Invite them to ask questions, and never hesitate to over-communicate. The goal is for this individual to produce quality work, so make it easy for them. Leave out vague and ambiguous directions, and describe precisely what you require.

It’s important to capture every step of a task, no matter how small. Write down all the decisions, actions, and thought patterns behind why this step is needed. It’s always better to be specific about each step rather than assume that something is common knowledge.

Blackouts

Imagine this scenario. You are on a conference call with your VA and are giving them directions on how to best schedule your meetings for the next week. Right in the middle of this strategy session, the call goes dead. You are met with a black screen as well as some feelings of annoyance and frustration. Over the past few years, Venezuela has had its share of power outages.

Again, we understand that this can be a challenging hurdle to overcome.  However, much like the internet issue it can happen but is not frequent.

In case of a blackout you still have a couple of options:

  • Have a backup plan to have your VA work on another project that can be accomplished offline.
  • Stress and worry about getting things done without really making an impact.
  • Quit altogether

I think we know which option you should take on this one. These things happen, and part of being a skilled and savvy entrepreneur is recognizing that things will not always go the way you planned them. This concept is a vital lesson that all entrepreneurs have to understand. So, instead of anxiously awaiting the next blackout, plan around it and let your VA know that you understand this problem is out of their control.

Failing to Provide them with Enough Work

Did you start your business without a comprehensive plan? It is doubtful that you did. So, why would you go into the hiring or outsourcing process without a solid strategy?

Creating an outline of what your VA will accomplish is not only the right thing to do, it saves you time and money.

Before you even begin to look at Venezuelan VAs to hire, take a look at your current tasks. See what can be done by someone other than yourself. Divide your responsibilities into:

  • Tasks you know you need to be involved in full-time.
  • Tasks that can be done by either you or the VA.
  • Tasks that do not have to be handled by you at any time.

Setting up a list divided into these three categories will let you adequately see how much help you need. If the second and third categories are higher than the first, then you a VA can help you.

Also, do not shy away from giving them complex tasks. If you take the time to communicate your expectations clearly and provide them with proper training, then your Venezuelan VA will do a stellar job.

Overwhelming Your VA

Now, let’s discuss the other spectrum. 

A mistake that many small business owners make is hiring a VA to take care of a multitude of different tasks. 

Instead of just hiring someone to handle some specific tasks and duties they are looking for someone to:

  • Schedule all business meetings
  • Answer customer calls
  • Provide support through email and live chat
  • Write blog posts
  • Post to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram
  • Reach out to influencers
  • Do data entry
  • Create email and send newsletter campaigns
  • Develop WordPress sites
  • Take care of your on-page SEO
  • And the list could go on and on…

Hiring one VA to handle multiple facets of your business is a huge mistake. Not only does it bring stress to your VA, but it does not acknowledge where they are the strongest. Find out what your VA’s strengths are and align this with what you need. This tactic will diminish work overload while also giving them tasks that are a priority to you. Productivity severely suffers when anyone is faced with too much to do.

Starting with High Expectations

Now, let’s clarify this entry. As an entrepreneur, your job is to walk into every project, with clearly defined goals and expectations. However, when you are working with people, you have to create some wiggle room in your expectations. There may be times when a VA missed the mark on scheduling appointments for next week.

They could have misunderstood what you meant when you told them to conduct “market research.” Either way, it is likely an issue of miscommunication then one of deliberately bad performance. Remember, they are learning more about the job and your expectations. Give them time to pick these things up. Guide them to what you need. Adjust your expectations, and let them “wow” you in time.

Hiring Too Many VAs in the Beginning

When you first discover how effective and affordable hiring remote workers from Venezuela is, it can be easy to imagine the possibilities and get excited.

But if you have ever managed multiple employees in an office, you know what are some of the common issues you can run into. And these same challenging situations happen when dealing with remote workers.

Communication, personality differences, performance management, and many other problems are also more challenging to handle when there is a distance between employers and their employees.

Now, multiply this with a higher number of workers.

Also, take all the issues touched on in this list, and realize that you may be dealing with them per VA. So, solve this problem by starting with one VA, and see how it works out. Take the time to develop a stable working relationship with them. Also, allow yourself to learn how to grow into the leader you need to be.

Only once you feel comfortable and have seen where your VA thrives hire another one to the team.

Failing to Provide the proper Training

Everyone needs training when they start a new job, right? So take the time to train your VA as this is important for developing a successful working relationship.

Like any other employee, your new VA needs to be trained. Training is crucial to ensure you get the most out of your remote employees.

Properly training your VA is a time commitment but you have to understand it is a normal step of the hiring process.

There are many efficient ways to train your VA:

-Set up a Resource Base

Every time you create a video, process, or training package, upload it and store it there. It creates a knowledge base of all the details that go together to make the team work as a well-oiled machine. It creates a central point for your team members to access this important information. It also means you are not repeating yourself with training and therefore taking up your own time to do the same task over and over again. Setting up a resource base can be as easy as using a WordPress blog. Simply install WordPress in a directory, add a free theme, and begin to add content to it. It is not viewable to the public, only accessible by you and your employees. It takes about 10 minutes to set up and it works perfectly as a knowledge base for storing video, audio, images, and text.

-Use Video and Audio

The old saying says that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and with video being 24 frames a second, you certainly cannot compete with that.

You can use ScreenFlow on a MAC, many PC users will recommend software like Camtasia and Snagit. There are also free solutions with the most popular being CamStudio, OBS Studio, and Flashback Express.

These tools allow you to record processes and deliver important instructions via video. Not only is it far more personal, is also easier to do. You just need to open up your laptop, hit record, deliver the content, and upload it straight to your training resource base for your team to watch. It takes longer to put instructions into an email for a complex task than it does to record a video screencast of what you need to do.

Video helps to overcome language barriers, and explain tasks more clearly and it is a resource that can be used repeatedly.

-Send emails with “Step-by-step” instructions

While there are more efficient ways to communicate today, the good old-fashioned emails are still valid…

Just make sure to be detailed in writing the process and how you want the task to be completed.

Use screenshots to explain in detail what you would like to get done. Tools help you take fast screenshots that you can then even edit……..

-Use Project management systems

Use software like Basecamp, Salesforce, Hubspot, Bitrix24, Insightly, and Zoho. Through the Basecamp system for example, individual reports on tasks are submitted via email automatically. You can converse back and forth on tasks and it is also a method of tracking what work has been completed and assigned.

We’re sure you can think of a few other training methods to use.

Just remember that training your worker isn’t a one-and-done sort of thing. You must continue training them throughout their employment.

Not being Patient

Has your VA disappeared for periods without notifying you? Is their work lacking the quality you are used to? Instead of immediately firing them, ask them what is going on.

Take the time to dig deeper into why they are being unproductive. You may be surprised to find out what is behind their slump in performance. It could be problems related to the job but it could also be a personal issue that is taking them away from their work. Before taking any drastic action, take the time to ask questions.

In short, take the time to learn about their culture, understand and prepare for some of the external drawbacks (blackouts and internet issues), and always keep communication lines open.

Again, Venezuelans are as motivated and hard-working as anyone else. With the proper training and knowledge-sharing, a Venezuelan worker can be the perfect solution to help you grow and expand your business.

Steve

Steve

As the CEO and spokesperson for Pros Marketplace, my role involves connecting Latin American professionals with remote job opportunities worldwide. Anyone can create an account, apply for jobs, and secure employment without any charges. With 30 years of corporate experience, I am committed to carrying my son's legacy forward by contributing to progress and innovation in our society. A portion of our earnings goes towards organizations supporting spinal cord injuries to make the world a better place for all of us. Let's connect and become part of the Pros Marketplace family.
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