You need a virtual assistant because you’ve heard life will be easier. 7 tips to smart success working with your Virtual Assistant so it will be. Set yourself up for success from the start, or you’ll defeat the purpose for hiring out work. You don’t want to spend more time managing, so work smarter.
You’ve figured out what to hand off and outsource to your virtual assistant. You’ve figured out you might even need more than one virtual assistant to cover everything you need to get off your plate. One virtual assistant doesn’t specialize in everything. If they say they do, they probably don’t do it all well. There’s a reason businesses specialize and virtual assistants are no exception.
You’ve hired a fabulous virtual assistant or two right the first time. You’ve chatted and decided they’re someone who fits your working style (aka the chemistry is good in a business sense not in a love connection). Plus, they have the skills you’re looking for to get to-do’s off your plate.
7 tips to smart success Working with your virtual assistant feels like a well oiled machine:
Yes, onboard them similar to when you onboard a new client. Share some of the same info about how you like to work, plus specific responsibilities related to their role.
- How you work together should include:
- Preferred way to connect with you (email, text, Slack, Skype, cell)
- Hours you expect them to be available and hours when you’re generally available.
- Programs or apps they will need to use and how you’ll set up passwords, share instructions and your process.
- Expectations about how and when they should expect to receive work from you. Are you ‘a send it as it comes’, once a week on a specific day, or do you plan a couple weeks out.
2. Share your Branding Book
You have one right ?! It’s really helpful if you can share details about your brand, business key points, messages, and the ‘look and feel’, even if they aren’t a designer. Make sure it includes what your business is about, who you work with generally, what your products or services are and which platforms /channels you use to connect with your audience (social media, email, Periscope etc)
This helps your virtual assistant get to know your business quick. The quicker they understand your business, the better they will understand how their role and responsibilities fit in, how or where they can add value and they can get to work.
Many business owners think they should only give information about the specific job they are handing off, but this is a big fat fail in my book. I’ve seen too many instances when only sharing the sliver of information your virtual assistant would need to do the work, is actually hurting the business. Virtual Assistants are experts. If they understand the big picture of what your business is about, they actually do the work better and often bring up ideas for new or better ways to do things.
3. Videos Rule
Create screen share videos for your virtual assistant when you’re explaining an activity they will need to repeat. Walk them through each step showing the program or app you use and what you want them to do. This helps get all the steps out of your brain, and gives your virtual assistant a reference tool they can go back and view again, instead of asking you a bunch of questions that could be answered in your video. Added bonus, the final work result is closer to your expectations. Big WIN!
4. Learning Curves
Realize there is an initial learning period, for your virtual assistant, to understand how you want activities done for your business. Sure it might be using the same app or program others do like scheduling in Hootsuite, but you have a specific process to your business and brand your virtual assistant will need to learn.
Be patient and be available to help speed the learning. The more informed your virtual assistant is on what you expect and how activities need to be done, the more time you save later. Check in with your virtual assistant early and often as you start working together. It’s an investment that will pay off big time.
5. Share Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
This is the bible on how you want things done in your business. If you don’t have SOPs, it’s a great piece for your virtual assistant to create once they understand your process. Their first-hand knowledge of doing the work, means the SOP will have all the details. You might even find your virtual assistant suggests improvements to the SOP and process, because they’ve found a better or more efficient way to do it.
6. Expand Responsibilities
If you need more help, expand your virtual assistant’s activities and responsibilities if they have skills and time to take on more. Of course they need to be interested in doing more too! It’s less risky to give additional work to someone you’re already working with.
If it makes you nervous to hand off more, delegate tiny bite size tasks that add up to the bigger activity. Yes, it may seem tiny enough it’d take you less time to do it yourself, but don’t. Hand it over so you build confidence between you and your virtual assistant. It’ll make you more comfortable with delegating. You’ll be able to spot any problems sooner on a smaller scale, so no chance of a big task going off the rails.
7. Time Investment
The best tip when you start working with your virtual assistant, is to know you’ll need to make a time investment. Time you’ll need to spend helping and guiding them as they learn how to do the work for your business. Since your time is valuable, it’s important to hire right the first time. Done right, it’ll pay off in a big way so your business feels easier and you can focus on your expertise.
Hit the Ground Running
You’ve got your virtual assistant lined up and you’re ready now to hit the ground running. Head in the right direction and put the 7 tips for working with your virtual assistant to good use. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your virtual assistant, give direction and generally keep communication flowing.
If you haven’t found a virtual assistant and don’t know where to start, pick up my 15 best places to find a virtual assistant (including my secret sources).