6 Tips For Working With A VA

Big news here at Boost HQ – in the last couple of weeks I finally hired my own assistant, which I’ve been talking about for so long! And in fact I didn’t just hire one, I hired two!

In the true spirit of virtual working, both of my new team members are entirely remote, with Samantha based in Nottingham, UK and Sue based in Alicante, Spain.  At the moment, Sue and Samantha are helping me with my own internal tasks, but soon I hope to have them assisting me with client projects as well.

So today I thought I’d share with you 6 tips that I have experienced first-hand since hiring my own virtual assistants:

1. Start small

If you’re thinking about hiring a virtual assistant but you’re not sure where to start, go with something small, like updating your mileage record or typing up some business cards.  You’ll be able to leave concise instructions and it will give you a chance to get to know each other’s capabilities and working style and before moving on to bigger projects.

2. Consider the long term investment

Remember that delegating will inevitably take a bit longer to start with. You’ll need to write the instructions, source files and passwords and allow your VA to get to know the software you work with.  But all of this is a long term investment in your working processes and it will ultimately free you from your business.

3. Make sure they have everything they need

Remember that your VA can only do the work if they have all the information and files that they need.  I spend a lot of time chasing clients up for files to allow me to move the project forward, but ensuring that everything is in place from the start will keep project lead times and costs down. If you need to provide larger files, or lots of files, for your VA to complete a task, Dropbox is a fantastic way of sharing files quickly and easily.

4. Build a system

Where your VA is going to be helping you on an ongoing basis, it’s important to establish a routine and a process for how the work will be completed. First of all you should establish your workflow – do you expect your VA to be available at certain hours of the day? Or will you leave them to work on longer projects, but require progress updates? Once these elements have been established, you can assign tasks to your VA creating a routine for their workflow and deadlines for each task.

5. Leave clear instructions

When delegating, remember to explain the task fully in a step by step format.  It’s always important to be as specific as possible and assume nothing when assigning a task.  This may feel like overkill when you are used to undertaking the task yourself, and you feel that it is quite self-explanatory, but leaving detailed instructions ensures there is no room for error or miscommunication. Where possible show your VA an example of the finished task, or provide them with an example to follow. Marked screen shots are a great way to explain a task to your VA.

6. Invest time in training

Your VA may require a little training to get to the point where they can work without your aid.  They may have the skills and personal qualities you are looking for, but every business is different and has its own way of operating.  The aim is for your virtual assistant to be able to work effectively and efficiently without you by their side to instruct them on everything you want them to do. Spending time on training in the beginning will be extremely beneficial in the long run.

Follow these 6 tips and your virtual partnership will be off to a great start! Do you have any other bits of advice for new delegators?  Let me know in the comments!

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