How to work with a Virtual Assistant to improve efficiency

Working with a Virtual Assistant (VA) is a great way to improve your productivity in your business. If you haven’t worked with a VA before, the onboarding process might feel a little daunting.

Whether you are looking to work with a VA now or in the future, here are 5 tips on how to prepare for working with a Virtual Assistant.

Identify the specific tasks you want to delegate

Identifying specific tasks will help you understand exactly what level of support you need and how often. These should then be discussed during the consultation and also included in the terms, that way, both you and your VA are clear on what is expected.

If you’re not sure on the specifics, why not take five minutes at the end of your day to think of all the admin tasks you worked on, and ask the following questions:

  • Did the tasks help you achieve your core business objectives?
  • Were they the best use of your time?
  • Were they tasks you enjoyed?

If the answer is no to any of them, can they be the tasks you outsource?

Set clear instructions

Make sure you have clear instructions for each task you wish to delegate. The more detail you provide, the quicker the onboarding process will be. These must include any deadlines or KPI’s that need to be met. Step by step instructions can eliminate any potential mistakes. It also helps your VA to carry out the tasks the way you prefer.

Having said that a lot of clients I’ve worked with haven’t any instructions written down, they’ve all been in their heads. If this is the case, I have previously helped clients create documented processes at the beginning of our contract. Not only was this useful for me, it also provided the client with written documentation for the future. If this is the case for you, many Virtual Assistants will be only too happy to help you.

Do your research

The term Virtual Assistant is very broad and we all offer different areas of expertise. Having identified the specific tasks you want to delegate, take a little time to research into who offers the ideal support for you. Look into their work history. Are they experienced in their field? Do they have good reviews? You could even ask recommendations from other businesses who have worked, or are working, with a Virtual Assistant.

Make sure you also get a feel for their personality. Yes experience and ability is very important, but so is rapport. Chances are you are going to be working quite closely with your Virtual Assistant, and like any other new member to the team, you need to be able to work with them and trust them.

As a side note, do not put on social media that you are looking for Virtual Assistant – you will be inundated with messages!

Communication is King

Think about how often you will want to communicate with your Virtual Assistant. In the beginning it’s best practice to have regular catch-ups to give feedback on the work produced. I find these really useful to make sure I’m on the right track.

Discuss your preferred method of communication, especially for times when the matter is urgent. Some people prefer emails, some text messages or even WhatsApp. My clients have a variety of preferences and it’s important to be able to communicate in whatever way is easy for them.

Think about security

Make sure a Virtual Assistant can access your systems remotely. If you have secure logins, will they be able to externally access your CRMs, accounts or emails?

Do you have any confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements you will need them to sign? Will they need a DBS check before working for you?

It’s worth asking what security measures the VA has in place. For example, I always work in my home office on a secure network (never in a cafe on an open network). I have BitLocker installed on my computer. I work in the Cloud as much as possible to avoid data being saved on my computer. If any documents are saved to my computer, I use Eraser to delete it. These are specific to my set up, but you should think about your requirements from your Virtual Assistant.

On-boarding anyone new into your business might seem daunting. You might be concerned about how long the process will take. This might be the reason why you keep putting it off. But trust me, by investing a little time and effort at the beginning, your VA will soon be up to speed and you will very quickly see the benefits from hiring a Virtual Assistant.


Craig Barker, Koobr

Here at Koobr, we hired Assistopia and Andrea to assist with client communication, project management, CRM administration and many more things. Andrea also identified areas of the business where we could make more money, a task which resulted in generating income that more than paid for her role for a year.

We think of Andrea as an integral and essential part of our team, all of the staff love working with her!

Craig Barker, Koobr
Owen Conti, Managing Director of Code 56
One of the great things about working with Andrea is that she’s not just virtual – she attends team meetings, keeps herself up-to-date with our operational challenges and offers suggestions on how to help.

Andrea and Assistopia have been instrumental in improving our invoicing process significantly and now our credit control is actually under control thanks to her hard work. She even handles our tediously boring jobs quickly and with a smile too!

Owen Conti, Code 56
Simon Thacker, Director at Greystone Advisory in Derby

I’ve worked with Assistopia with 2 organisations and it is clear to see that Andrea is organised, dedicated and asks the right questions and can work autonomously with the ability to push on a project. She is diligent and demonstrates her experience time and time again. I would recommend!

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Andrea helps me with research projects. She is friendly and professional and always delivers on time and to brief. By working with Andrea, I’m able to free up some of my time so I can expand what I’m able to do for my clients.

Freelance Technology Reporter, BBC
Mike Hindle, Founder of Clearcut Derby
It’s been really great working with Andrea and Assistopia. Andrea is very organised and professional – exactly what I needed from a virtual assistant. Highly recommended.
Mike Hindle, Clearcut Derby
Matt Elliott, Owner at Nutrition Angel
Andrea is the Donna to my Harvey!
Matt Elliott, Nutrition Angel
Lisa Edmundons, Owner of Amber Wills & Estate Planing Services, Derbyshire

Assistopia and Andrea have been such a help to me and my business. Andrea is a self starter, flexible, approachable and extremely professional. I would not hesitate in recommending her and Assistopia to anyone.

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When I looked for a virtual assistant in Derby, I came across Andrea from Assistopia and asked her to help me complete a complex digital administrative task that I was finding very time consuming. Andrea came to the table with a quick understanding of what needed completing, took full ownership of the task and I couldn’t be happier with the end result. Highly recommended.

James Blake, Powerful Ideas