Once you’ve hired a Virtual Assistant it’s important to work on maximising the benefits of working with them. Let’s take a look at 10 hacks for small business owners and entrepreneurs who are looking to get the most out of their Virtual Assistant.
1 | Provide clear instructions
This is particularly important, especially at the start of the relationship when the Virtual Assistant is still learning about you and your business. You need your Virtual Assistant to understand exactly what it is you want them to do, so make sure you provide clear and detailed instructions either by email or if possible over the phone or by Zoom.
Doing it face to face works well as the Virtual Assistant can ask questions if he/she isn’t sure on something.
2 | Be patient and kind
In the early days as you and your Virtual Assistant start working together, you will need to be patient whilst they get up to speed. It does take a little time for a Virtual Assistant to understand the in’s and out’s of your business so remember to be patient and kind. There is where regular catch ups work well.
3 | Provide training
If you use a system or tool that your Virtual Assistant has never used before, then it might be worth providing some training. You can do this over Zoom, or perhaps schedule a training session with the system providers. You’ll want your Virtual Assistant to be up to speed quickly so make sure training is a priority if it’s needed.
4 | Set priorities and expectations
Your Virtual Assistant doesn’t only work for you, he/she will have other requests from other clients. Agree a system with your Virtual Assistant at the outset for how you’ll prioritise tasks. When sending an email task perhaps use the following:
- Urgent – [specify time needed for completion]
- Action – [please complete task by today/tomorrow/end of week]
By using the above structure your Virtual Assistant will know what is expected of her and he/she will be able to plan her work for the day.
Remember if priorities change, don’t forget to communicate with your Virtual Assistant about those changes.
5 | Communicate with your Virtual Assistant
Like with any working relationship, communication is key when working with a Virtual Assistant as they will be remote. It’s always advisable to schedule regular catch up’s, especially in the early days – more on that at point 7 below.
6 | Provide as much information as you can at the outset
Once you’ve confirmed with your Virtual Assistant that you want to work together they will send you a contract and onboarding form. The onboarding form should hopefully ask you lots of questions about the way you work, your business, your preferences etc.
Giving as much information at the outset will help your Virtual Assistant in the long run as she wont need to keep asking you questions.
7 | Have regular catch ups
Schedule a recurring weekly or fortnightly call with your Virtual Assistant. Ask them to draw up an agenda for each week which covers:
By going over everything that is highlighted under the headings above, you’ll find yourself handing over more tasks, thus freeing up your time to get on with other things.
8 | Brainstorm and share ideas
As part of your weekly/fortnightly/monthly call, have a brainstorming session with your Virtual Assistant. Let them know what plans, projects and ideas you have for your business.
Listen so what they have to say and get them involved, ask them for their suggestions. They work with other clients remember so it’s always good to find out how they support them too.
9 | Provide feedback
We all like to receive a thank you every now and again. If your Virtual Assistant has done a great piece of work for you, tell him/her how grateful you are. If they’ve really made a difference to your life – tell them!
10 | Make them feel part of the team
We all like to feel part of the team. If you work with several consultants/freelancers then send out regular news bulletins, get everyone involved in the latest updates of your business. Schedule quarterly zoom events so that everyone can meet.
Whether you’re already working with a Virtual Assistant or you’re looking to start, I hope these hacks were helpful!
I also have a FREE workbook “A business owner’s step by step guide to hiring a Virtual Assistant” which might also be of use.