How to get the best from your Virtual Assistant

Hiring a team member can present it’s challenges so outsourcing your business administration to a virtual person can seem a little daunting if you have not done this before. It’s important that you meet them at least once before you make any decisions about hiring as a general rule. It is of course entirely possible to do this via a phone call or video conference but you will get a better sense about that person from a face to face meeting.   Whilst a Virtual Assistant will be able to do the job, the emotional bond can sometimes be far superior for some organisations in getting that right connection.

Having a physical meeting will have a bigger impact on a business and personal level and depending on how accessible this is then once you have your VA in place, a catch up once a month or bi-monthly would be worth doing.

As business owners, we can a misconception that because we have hired a new recruit, we can just throw them at the business to figure out what needs to be done.  Like with any new person joining a company, they need to have an understanding of the company and hands on training with any systems you use, processes you have set up and how you intend to work together on a day to day basis. There will be a settling in period which may be longer than if you hired an employee so a little understanding and patience is needed at this point.

Do you expect your VA to be available at certain hours of the day, everyday? Or can they mostly work on longer tasks and just give weekly updates? Set expectations for when you want to be online and available to reduce the frustration from not being able to reach your VA when you need them the most.

Ask your VA to send daily/weekly/monthly updates or use a Project Management Software tool to keep track of projects and tasks.  This will keep you satisfied knowing that the work is being dealt with and at what stage it is at.

If you expect a task to take 8 hours, ask the VA to come back after 1-2 hours with their progress. This will allow you to:

  • check their work to make sure their interpretation of the task meets with your expectations,
  • update instructions to streamline the task, or
  • cancel the task if it turns out to be a bad idea.

Business owners have their own style of communicating whether its email/phone calls/instant messaging or video conferencing.  As a Virtual Assistant we adapt to suit our client’s needs. Keep in mind that speaking is about 7 times faster  and about 4 times faster than typing.  Once you have established your working pattern with your VA, and you’re confident they understand your needs, the need for detailed instructions will be less and so naturally integrating faster communication methods into your workflow will happen. However, for longer project-like tasks, written instructions are better so your VA can reference back.

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