You hired a virtual assistant to complete tasks and to improve the efficiency of your business. Sometimes the standards of the virtual assistant may not be up to par. The virtual assistant may be putting your business reputation at stake with poor quality work or lack of commitment. Whatever your reasons for wanting to terminate your relationship with your VA the following list provides a guide for doing so gracefully.
1. Review the contract
More than likely you will have a written contract with the VA, read it again before taking any action so that you are aware of the terms of the agreement for terminating the contract. Some contracts require 14 days notice so keep this in mind.
2. Outline the issues on paper
You obviously will be having a discussion with the virtual assistant about the reasons for ending the relationship. It helps to have a clear picture yourself before you do so. Spend some time writing them out so you wont be at a loss for words when you meet with the virtual assistant.
3. Change passwords
Another thing to do before indicating to the VA that you wish to end the relationship is to change your passwords to any and all of your accounts that the VA may have had access to. Remember to do so for ftp accounts, shopping carts, online merchants, bank accounts etc. You most likely would want to trust your virtual assistant to do the right thing but you need to protect yourself.
4. Change Account Numbers
Change account and credit card numbers if your VA had access to these accounts. You may want to remove user privileges from any bank accounts.
5. Retrieve files and paperwork
Be sure to retrieve all your important hardcopies before firing your VA. In line with this ask for copies of electronic files also because your may have a hard time getting these after the termination.
6. Schedule a meeting
Now that you have done the necessary groundwork for protecting yourself and your business it is time to schedule a meeting. Did you meet with the VA in person on a regular basis? Then schedule an in person meeting. If your mode of communication was via telephone then schedule a teleconference. The point is to still be respectful of the virtual assistant by not taking the easy way out by just sending a quick email.
7. Provide Proof and Examples
Breaking up is difficult; sometimes the virtual assistant may be aware that the end of the relationship is imminent. Occasionally however the VA may be caught completely off guard and could be quite shaken up. It will be helpful to provide details of where she went wrong. For instance, the work was not up to caliber, lack of commitment, poor communication or inability to do the work. Highlighting the issues will give the VA food for thought so she can avoid future problems.
8. Be Firm
Some people will handle the break up in a professional manner and accept your decision. Others may not handle the rejection well and cry, make threats or beg for another chance. If you have given the VA opportunities to meet your standards with no luck then you need to be firm and stick to your decision. Remember that continued efforts to train a person that you are paying well to get the job done means continued loss of revenue for you.
9. Make Final Payments
Do you have any outstanding payments for the VA? Then be sure to clear your account at the meeting or make arrangements for immediate payment.
10. Advertise for a New Virtual Assistant
You now face the task of replacing the VA. To avoid past mistakes, write up a job description and include all the tasks that you need done. Reflect on the problems that you encountered before and list the qualities that you expect from the virtual assistant. What skills should she possess? Discuss this openly with all potential contractors so there won’t be any surprises in future.
Bottom line don’t be discouraged by the profession because of one or two bad experiences. There is a world of professional virtual assistants out there and one of them may just be the right match for you.