A very important thing to keep in mind is that virtual assistants usually work for more than one client. It is advisable to go for a trial run before going for something big long-term. You must be certain that you and your VA are on the same page.
On a general basis, virtual assistants work on an hourly basis or a project based setup. Initially, you should have the upper and lower values of your budget well defined in order to find out what you can get for that amount. More often than not, you will find that outsourcing, especially to countries like India where the quality of tasks performed is qualitatively high, is cheaper than what you were anticipating. The ROI on such investment is usually good in the long run.
You should give as much information to your VA as you can about yourself and your business, e.g., your ideal type of client, your style of business/branding, your goals and missions, objectives and visions etc. This will help you determine whether your VA is the perfect fit for you or not. Your virtual assistant may or may not have an onboarding process. If your VA hasn’t asked you the above questions, it is of utmost importance that you provide him/her with these information. It is mandatory for you to be as upfront as possible in order to maintain a profitable relationship with your virtual assistant.
Being straightforward about what you consider as a success of your investment is highly recommendable. Both the employer and the VA should have a clear idea about it. Boundaries and expectations are the secrets to great communication and a fruitful working relationship.
Lastly, you should make sure that you have a contract in place with your virtual assistant, no matter how short-term or small the project is. This helps clear any disruption in case of a dispute.
Have you considered hiring a VA? What hesitations do you have? If you could outsource ONE thing right now, what would it be?