Hiring an assistant is easy; firing one is a big challenge. Whenever you run into the situation that you need to fire your virtual assistant, because
- He performed poorly
- Your budget is running out
- The project is not successful
- Life gets in the way of handling an assistant
- You lose interest…
…then you have a hard decision to make.
Honestly, it’s hard to let your virtual assistant go because you
- took time to actively build trust and rapport with them
- invested time and money into their training
- have to think about how you would feel if you were let go from your own job
In the end, you paying a virtual assistant is your own business decision. After a fair time of notice you must be able to save your expenses. At any time of working with an assistant, you must be in the position to control your finances.
In other words: without the agreed work load from your assistant, he is not entitled to your money with no strings attached.
When you notify your assistant, dependent on how closely you know each other, explain your reasons. However, you don’t need to “negotiate your way out”. Don’t put them off your assignment from one day to the other, of course. Let them know beforehand so that they can look for another project on their own.
Ideally, phase out the time they work for you gradually over a few weeks.
Hire assistants to boost your online business or personal projects. But don’t burn money more than you want and feel comfortable. Always stay in control.
A practical example – Ending the contract with a personal assistant when it did not work out well
I have worked with a full time VA and delayed firing him even though I knew he was not doing a good job. That has cost me around €3000. Recently, I have hired a personal assistant and was not about to repeat past mistakes.
Firing a VA the right way = minimize your losses
Make no mistake: firing a Virtual Assistant always a loss of your money or your time. But if you manage it right, you can minimize the losses. Here is how I kept my losses at 30€ for a personal assistant.
- Followed best practices when hiring him (limited hours he can bill for, test task, good preparation)
- Kept close supervision on him (you can do that myself, in this case I have relied on my experienced hiring manager
- Tried encouraging, motivating and clarifying confusion before pulling the plug – you never know if it doesn’t work out well after all
By the time he has stopped responding, you can bet he has already given up inside on my project.
When I was sure it was not working out, we reached out a last time. After that, we removed shared assets and accesses, and ended the contract with him.
Take away lessons when you need to fire your virtual assistant
Learn from it, make it better next time, don’t let it pull you down
In my interview with Eric, we also touch on the emotional side of firing an assistant from a business owner’s perspective. Key lessons to take away are:
- Don’t feel you need to continue paying due to emotional attachment, if the results are not good.
- Clearly communicate to your assistant what will get them fired, or when you are not happy.
- Manage expectations and try to keep an objective perspective about your work relationship with the virtual assistant.