There are articles all over the Internet touting the benefits of using a virtual assistant. For business owners who want to focus on the big rocks, delegating work to an assistant saves time and energy that’s better spent on building a business.
The potential to develop a “Fred and Ginger” relationship is what virtual assistant companies sell, but what tools should a business owner bring to the table?
The misconception, which business owners learn about the hard way, is that virtual assistants simply show up and start working. The virtual assistant industry places great emphasis on the convenience and cost benefit of virtual assistants. This has often led to unrealistic expectations on the client side.
Here are some tips for clients on how to succeed when using a virtual assistant:
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Make The Suckage List
To be blunt – make a list of the tasks that suck. Yes – they suck time. They suck energy. And they suck because you have to do them. There – you just delegated work to your assistant.
The whole point of having an assistant is to allow you the time to focus on the essential tasks for your business. Travel planning, events, email are all tasks that take up enormous time, and these are all doable by a competent assistant.
Get It Together
Before you even entertain the idea of bringing on an assistant, do some housekeeping.
Now that you have an initial task list, create procedures for those tasks. This is where video tools come in handy.
Decide on a communication method. Are you an email junkie or a texter? Let your assistant know how you want to communicate about work flow.
System access is a colossal time waster. Decide what systems and what access your assistant will have. Make sure they have log in credentials from day 1.
Prepare To Train
You will have to train your assistant. I repeat. You will have to train your assistant.
This is one of the main reasons why client/assistant relationships go in the dumper. As I was mentioning in the beginning of this article, there are various misconceptions about what virtual assistants do.
I can tell you the one thing they cannot do is plug in, power up, and start working on your tasks.
You’ll need to provide procedures and/or training sessions as part of your onboarding process. The upside to this is – if you are looking for basic administrative help, a virtual assistant is already going to be proficient in those systems.
Give yourself 2 weeks to get a virtual assistant up to speed on all your tasks. That may seem like a long time, but allotting this time from the beginning will prevent time wasted down the road.
Would you hire a Java programmer because they “seemed nice”?
Definitely not. Assistants are the back bone of most companies, so take time during the hiring process.
Do you need an administrative assistant or an executive assistant? What is their background? And most of all, why are they working in the virtual industry?
Many professionals leave brick and mortar companies for family responsibilities, a career change, more flexible hours. An assistant must be able to create professional, positive interactions as they are representing you.
Make sure your assistant can explain why they are in the virtual industry.
Don’t Be A Stranger
You can never over communicate with virtual workers. If you do, you can scale back.
A good place to start is with a weekly check in conference with your assistant. You may even request an end of week status report to review how projects are coming along.
Don’t be afraid to ask your assistant about their strengths and weaknesses, and how they would like to improve. Your virtual assistant may have additional skills they can use to benefit your business.
It may take time to meet and train your assistant on a regular basis, but it’s an investment in your business for the long run.
No Assistant Yet? Let Us Help!
Virtual Gurus offers virtual assistant support packages that work for your business. Need a skilled professional to tackle that email inbox? We offer competitive pricing packages and excellent administrative support. Contact us today for a hassle-free consultation.