How Do I Work With a Virtual Assistant?
I often hear people say, “well I’ve thought of working with a VA (Virtual Assistant), but I really don’t even know where to start.” Here are a few tips on how to best work with a new VA.
While this may seem like a no-brainer, it is more than just communicating your initial expectations. Just as having someone in the same office or next cubicle, there are touchpoints required to ensure you are syncing up on your ongoing needs and projects. I recommend having a weekly meeting with your VA, at least at the beginning of your relationship, to ensure the work output aligns with your expectations and needs.
You may hand off items that are very easy to do. However, you may be handing off a more complex process that requires additional touchpoints to ensure that your VA is trained adequately. This is particularly true if you don’t have written procedures in place. Your VA is an extension of your business, and if you don’t take the time to prep them to represent you properly, you will have regrets in the end.
While your ultimate goal is to free up your time and take tasks off your plate, you do need to put that effort in upfront. I know some of you are thinking “I just don’t have that kind of time.” Let’s look at it with a simple equation:
Weekly task 30 Minutes
Training needed 2 Hours (2 – 1-hour sessions)
Time per year 26 hours (30 min *52)
Yes, you need to put in more time than the task takes upfront to train someone, however your ROI is 26 hours freed up over the next year. Business leaders understand the true impact of delegation. Add in a few more tasks and you can see that the time freed up will lend to greater productivity.
How will your VA know what tasks you need? That’s where that upfront communication is key in the success of your new VA. Decide up front what tasks are recurring. These can easily be put on a calendar as a reminder or in a project management software such as Asana or ClickUp and set to recur at the necessary frequency.
For the tasks that are not recurring, determine how this information will be delivered from you to the VA. There are several different ways to give your VA the tasks you need done. Email is very effective, as is using the project management systems noted above. Both also provide documentation trails. Texts and messaging apps like Slack or Teams are also very effective. If your initial communication and workflow doesn’t work well, go back to your VA and redefine how you send work, communicate, and expectations.
This part involves evaluating and adjusting. What is working well and what could be improved? Have a conversation with your VA that is focused on finding out how they think the first 30 days of your relationship is working. What needs do they have that will lead them to being more successful at representing your business? What needs do you have that are not being met or that are new?
Many VAs have multiple areas of expertise, tap into that. At DCA Virtual Business Support, we’ve had clients who have had multiple VAs to fill various needs. While DCA has a wide scope of services, we don’t do everything. If you’re curious about how DCA helps our small business clients, schedule a call.