So you have decided it’s time to hire a virtual assistant. It may be that your client base has expanded recently and you feel that you could do with some help, or that you don’t have enough time to grow your business alone while having to concentrate on the everyday tasks (not without being totally overwhelmed, anyway!). Whatever the reason, you now have a VA ready and waiting to help you with your business.
If you’re not quite there yet, check out my previous post on 4 Essential Factors To Consider When Hiring A VA
Some think that hiring a virtual assistant will solve their problems immediately and free up their time straight away. Unfortunately this just isn’t true – you need to be prepared to put the time in to train your VA properly before you can expect the results you want. Your virtual assistant will need to familiarise themselves with your company and the tasks that you hand over to them.
Don’t overwhelm them – it’s bound to take a little time to learn the ropes. Delegate one or two tasks at a time so that you can review their work properly and give constructive feedback.
However, be careful not to fall into the micro-managing trap. Give your new team member space to learn from the feedback you give them. Otherwise you might find yourself spending just as much time on their tasks as you did before! A good guide is to have a follow-up meeting once a week or once a fortnight so that you know how things are going and discuss any issues that may arise.
When it comes to training, there are several effective ways that you can convey instructions to your VA. I personally like to use a combination of video training and written notes. A great, free tool for creating screencast videos up to 15 minutes long is Screencast-O-Matic.
Having the right tools to work with your virtual assistant is essential. If you don’t have the correct tools in place, it will be impossible to have a productive relationship. Spend some time looking at the tools and systems you currently use in your day to day business to see if they are suitable for working with a remote team. If not, can your procedures be adapted? Or do you need a new approach altogether?
Here are some aspects of your business systems that you might need to examine when you start working with a VA:
If you are planning on sharing client files, business files or training materials, it is important that you choose a suitable file sharing system. Google Drive and Dropbox are two excellent options that we use in Boost Business Support.
When you are assigning tasks to your virtual assistant, you may benefit from a task manager program. Task management systems allow your VA to log the time it takes to complete tasks and the date they are complete, meaning you can see what is being done and when. I use TriggerApp, as it’s based online and links with my accounting software, Xero.
If you need to share multiple usernames and passwords with your VA for various tasks, you may benefit from a password storage solution such as 1Password or Passpack. These systems are highly secure and allow you share sensitive information quickly and easily.
If email management is one of the tasks you wish to delegate, you may want to have restrictions in place. Google Apps can help with this by letting you set up permission rules for what your virtual assistant can and cannot do.
If your new VA is going to be managing your social media accounts, Hootsuite is the perfect way for your virtual assistant to post updates without having to access the individual accounts.
Being contactable is important, as your virtual assistant may have questions in the beginning, so make sure that you are visible on Skype or Google Hangouts and check your emails regularly.
These are just a few key considerations to get you started! Depending on the nature of your virtual partnership, and the tasks you want to delegate, there may be other important factors.
If you’re unsure, just drop me an email and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have!