You’ve done it! You’ve hired your first virtual assistant!
You can hand off a to-do list, some system logins, and boom! All your problems are solved, right?
Despite what various Internet gurus preach on the web, this isn’t the case. Even if you are matched with an assistant with the right skill set, the time you invest in training your assistant will factor into your assistant’s success. Virtual assistants are self-starters, but that doesn’t mean they magically show up and fix your business.
A virtual assistant is going to become an integral part of your team, whether it’s for the long term or the duration of a project. Once your virtual assistant understands their tasks and expectations, they will save you time by managing your administrative tasks and to-do list. You will have the freedom to work on the strategic tasks that only you can do.
Here are a few basic tips to kickstart a successful work relationship with your virtual assistant.
Before you bring a virtual assistant onboard, do some brainstorming on topics such as:
- Who is your ideal assistant?
- What tasks take up your time?
- Are you willing to train an assistant and delegate work?
- Do you need a full time or part time assistant?
- What are the main skills they’ll need to have?
- Is there a personality type or work style that you prefer?
This doesn’t have to be a formal list, but the more tasks, ideas, and preferences you consider will make it easier to find a virtual assistant that will be a good fit.
Systems Are Key
Here’s another item to consider – do you want to set up your systems, or leave them to an assistant to create?
In the past, I have recommended setting up systems first and training an assistant. However, I’ve seen clients bring virtual assistants onboard because they desperately need an assistant to set up a system.
If you’d like an assistant to manage and develop systems for you, make sure you hire a virtual assistant with a successful track record of tasks such as these.
You’ll need to delegate responsibilities and access to virtual assistants for them to work at this level. The advantage is virtual assistants not only set up systems, they write procedures on how to manage those systems. That’s a bonus.
If you’re more of a hands-on type of client, creating training materials first and then delegating to an assistant will ensure that you’ll be able to hand off tasks with fewer road bumps.
Don’t underestimate the convenience of video tutorials. Talking through a process through a video screen share is less time intensive and easy to produce. Your assistant can use the video tutorial to master the task and eventually create a formal written procedure.
Go Ahead – Overcommunicate!
I know, you’re really busy. However, if you disappear on a regular basis, provide no direction, and never answer questions, don’t expect miracles from your assistant.
Here’s where to consider your assistant as another team member that brings value to your company. If you hired a new team member in your office, would you routinely ignore their existence on a regular basis? Probably not. Well, get ready – your virtual assistant is a real team member, they’re just in another location.
It’s better to overcommunicate with a virtual assistant because you can always scale back over time. As your virtual assistant becomes more proficient and independent working on tasks, you can adjust the time you spend checking in.
Another benefit of good communication? All the daily and weekly check-ins, video conferences and consistent communication keep your assistant on track. Also, this provides you a better idea of the quality of work your assistant is producing. You’ll be able to redirect your assistant and fix flubs before they turn into anything major. The more you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your assistant, the easier it will be to delegate in the long run.
A competent virtual assistant can manage tasks, streamline business operations and stay one step ahead of you and your busy schedule. As with any work relationship, it takes time, communication and training to build success. When you choose an assistant carefully, set up systems, and communicate, you’ll see your business thrive.
What are your tips for working with a virtual assistant? What are some tasks you recommend delegating to save time? Join the conversation below!