Congratulations! It can’t have been an easy decision to let go of the reins, but you’ve made the leap, and hired a virtual assistant. Now what?
1. Be real and don’t assume.
Hiring a virtual assistant is not a magic solution to business problems. Virtual assistants are there to allow you to free up your to do list, taking care of menial or administrative tasks you don’t need to do yourself.
However, let’s be real, your virtual assistant is not you. He or she will do things differently from the way you might do them, so you will have to be flexible in your expectations.
Virtual assistants could be newbies or have plenty of experience, but still, provide some time for learning and adjustments to occur. Like the start of every relationship, flexibility needs to be exerted on both sides. He or she will need to modify their working styles to adapt more to yours, and vice versa.
2. Set clear expectations, objectives and deadlines.
Virtual assistants will be left floundering if you don’t make clear what your objectives are for the tasks you’ve assigned to them. Although they are professionals and have experience doing administrative tasks online, you should encourage him/her to ask questions so they can clarify certain instructions which may not be clear to them. Allowing them to do so lessens the time on guesswork and helps them easily decode your meaning.
Set clear deadlines for tasks assigned. It will not only help your VA schedule the rest of his or her jobs but also understand the urgency of each. Most VA’s have their own families or other concerns, so being able to consolidate and know how much time they have to work each task will allow them to organize their days better.
Determine how often you’d like to connect with your virtual assistant, will you be calling every day? Every week? Will you be requiring her or him to send daily, weekly or monthly work reports? Being clear about this, including how you will track their time, how you prefer communication or contact – email, messaging apps, phone or video calls, will make workflow processes smoother and minimize issues.
3. VA’s are assets.
Virtual assistants are there to make your life easier. Tasks like checking your inbox, calling, organizing travel itineraries, research, booking hotels or flights, bookkeeping, social media management and other tasks that take up a lot of time but don’t need your personal attention can be outsourced to a virtual assistant.
Offshore VA’s cost less than hiring one personally and in-house. With their vast experience and extensive skills, most of the time, they have the skills of 2 to 3 employees.
4. Trust your VA and step out of their way.
Take the time to train your virtual assistant in your way of doing things, but always with the eye of having them work independently in future. No one likes micromanagers, it creates a negative environment, and lowers productivity and work satisfaction. If there are specific systems that you use for your business, now is the time to give them access and bring them onboard with the way you do things.
Training should not happen only in the beginning. As your business grows, or you plan to make changes depending on the needs that arise, or you feel like your virtual assistant needs extra briefing on what your business is all about, don’t hesitate to touch base and provide them with extra training.
5. Be respectful.
Respecting your virtual assistant does not only pertain to entertaining questions and asking for suggestions or ideas, but also paying them on time, building a relationship with them and acknowledging that, though you are the client, they’re human beings. They have lives away from the work they do for you.
Reward and compliment them on a job well done as well. Doing this won’t take away from your accomplishments but will go a long way toward giving your VA a boost in confidence. It also lets them know they’re going in the right direction of what you want and expect.
Investing a little time and effort to train your virtual assistant and build a relationship with them can pay big dividends and improve their work output. It can be a big adjustment to let go of some control and work with someone you may not ever meet in person, but after crossing that hurdle and getting used to the idea, there’s no roadblock to ensuring your working relationship keeps getting better and better.